...After all, 'maquillage' is French for makeup. Though in truth, I picked it because it sounded lovely, not because of any makeup obsession. However, in the past few weeks and months, I have developed an unhealthy interest in cosmetics and scents.
I think it's fair to say that most little girls get their first experiences of makeup from their mothers, and I do dimly recall images of my mother in the mid-nineties, her hair in a perm and her eyes lined in royal blue, somehow managing to look absolutely lovely despite the fashion of the decade. My mother didn't often wear makeup, but when she did, she did it well. Nowadays, she forsakes it completely (honestly, the woman doesn't need it, she's beautiful in her own right), which means that I had no real example of cosmetics while I was a teenager and I've had to come to the interest in my own time. What I have inherited from my mother is a love of Chanel perfumes. Ever since I can remember, there has been a bottle of Chanel eau de parfum on her dressing table. Well, if you're only going to have one indulgence, why not make it a bottle of Chanel! Mum's a No. 5 or No. 19 girl, she always has been. She's surprisingly strict with them, designating No. 19 as a 'day-scent' and No. 5 for evening, whereas I wear whatever scents I have (currently Soap & Glory eau de toilette, not exactly the same league!) all day, any day. For me, Coco Mademoiselle is the only way to go. All-purpose and wonderfully chic, what else could I ask for? It's aimed at the younger generation, but it's still in that timeless bottle that looks perfect on any dressing table.
So, since I've had to branch out into makeup on my own, what have I found? Two of the best brands out there, that's what. I know I have little experience with makeup, but all the previous things I've tried haven't come up to my standards. Which is possibly why I stopped bothering. A small budget restricted me to brands such as The Natural Collection and Avon. These were fine for my uses at the time, but now I've discovered better, I couldn't go back. Now I have Bare Escentuals and Urban Decay in my life, and we're having an extremely hot affair.
Let's do Bare Escentuals first, since it's complexion products I have from them. No point putting lovely colours on a face full of oil and pot-holes, after all! Through being unemployed and a student, I have discovered and acquired an extremely embarrassing habit of watching QVC, the shopping channel. The one primarily aimed at middle-aged housewives who grow tired of Bargain Hunt. Hence the embarrassment. However, they tend to have big brand names and pretty reliable products. In the run-up to Christmas they had a series of presentations from Bare Escentuals, a company that produces a mineral makeup series called Bare Minerals. Not the most imaginative of names, but it does what it says on the tin. I liked the idea of mineral makeup, as I have combination skin and large pores and I'd like something that could cover it all up. So after watching a few of the presentations and becoming suitably intrigued, I was seduced by a Today's Special Value offer a few weeks ago.
In this lovely pink box there are eight goodies which I absolutely could not resist. There's the foundation, concealer, mineral veil, face colour, mascara, gloss and two brushes; one for concealer and one for the all-over colour. It's basically everything you could need to make your face look presentable but not overly made-up. It's looking caked in makeup that I always get scared of, I don't think my face can take a lot of product. Plus I don't want to end up looking like a ganguro girl. Srsly. I'm actually so wary of over-doing foundation etc., that the first time I used this kit I didn't put on the contour colour. According to my mother (because let's face it, she'll tell me if I look awful) the light foundation mixed with the very pale mineral veil made me look unhealthy and washed-out. Thus I learned that Bare Escentuals put the colour there for a reason, and that I do not know better than professional makeup artists. Go figure. But once I applied everything, I was completely satisfied with it, it's lovely stuff to wear. Plus because there's a layering technique to it, you don't end up wearing more than you want.
The second thing I absolutely could not resist was this.
This is the Urban Decay: Book of Shadows vol. III. And it's gorgeous. I did try my hardest to resist it for so long, which was easy for a time because it was sold out. But then House of Fraser got some stock in and I knew I was fighting a losing battle, partly because of the makeup, partly because it's New York themed, and I'm headed there in August for my twenty-first birthday celebrations (omgsuperexcited etc. etc.).
Inside there's sixteen beautiful shades of eyeshadow, two eyeliners and a teeny tiny bottle of the eyelid primer potion. Don't ask me how the latter works, I have absolutely no clue and there's so little there that I don't want to waste it just for practice. I did dodd a bit onto the back of my hand and it seemed to make the skin a little dryer and smoother, so I suppose it's for ridding the eyelid of oils. The colours themselves are amazing, my horrid little webcam doesn't do them justice. They're all so vibrant in the trays and there's a good mix of mattes, shimmers and glitters. A few surprised me in how neutral they were on the skin, but the ones that are meant to make a statement really pop. It's a really lovely mix of everyday and glamour. The eyeliners (which are a makeup item that I do use frequently) are the best I've ever tried, it only takes the lightest touch to get them on. I'm very much enjoying practising with them and hopefully they'll get their debut sometime soon. As for the results of my practising...
I leave that judgement up to you.