Monday, August 25, 2008

Makeup is a Mystery

There are times when I seriously think I should have be sent to a workshop on why I need to do all the things that women do when planning a wedding. I’m a very organized person, so getting things done is not the issue. The big problem for me is understanding why certain things are done and in what manner I should do them.

Frankly, I probably rushed into a lot of things because I didn’t think my final choice would matter all that much. In some situations, I had the impression that I did not have the time to do the research I needed to do.

One of the most foreign subjects for me has been hair and makeup. I didn’t start moisturizing regularly until my mid-twenties. I didn’t start moisturizing before bedtime until five years ago. Eye cream is something I dabble in when I remember. Exfoliation is something I started doing only because of the wedding. Facials? I’ve never had one – ever. It’s been a very slowly evolving process.

As for makeup, the only thing I can say I consistently do is fill in my brows. That’s something I remember picking up after reading some Glamour magazine article talking about putting on a minimum every time one steps out of the house. The logic made sense to me and I’ve found that the few minutes it takes to add a bit of shadow is worth how it frames my plain face. Most work days, I’ll also throw on a bit of neutral eye shadow. Lipstick is unlikely because I’m not one to remember to apply it every couple of hours. I stand a better chance with tinted lip balms.

With all that, here’s what I have done in the past four months. In May, I had my first makeup test with a recommended Channel artist. She did a very nice job, but given that it was my first run. I just felt it average. Also, she charges $300 which was above what I had budgeted. After thinking about it for a month, I told her that I couldn’t go with her due to price.

In June, I went for a trial run with an Asian beautician who does both hair and makeup. I think she thought it a bit odd that I wanted to do a trial run of the makeup. It’s like she expected me to just show up on my wedding day and have perfect makeup. Yeah, right. Inside the salon, everything seemed to go well. I was a little frustrated with how long everything took but felt I couldn’t complain much for the price. Hair and makeup would be less than $150 though I’d have to drive 20 minutes to her salon. I felt like it was put on pretty thick to cover my freckles and blemishes. (There’s an Asian artist for you.) Unfortunately, when I recently looked back at the flash photos we took afterwards, I realize that I look like a ghost. No kidding! She tried to lighten my skin color and so my face doesn’t match my neck one bit. Yuck!

Technically, I’m still booked with her, but this week I need to tell her that I just want to do my hair. The debate is whether to bring a picture and tell her the truth to see if she can change things, or just say that I’ve decided to do my makeup myself?

Last month, my friends took me to Nordstrom’s to help with my frustrations over makeup. They sat me at the Bare Escentuals counter where a decent woman applied my makeup. It was an introductory job, and we all felt very satisfied with what she did. It looked natural and didn’t feel heavy. I talked with her and negotiate $100 for makeup (and she’d come to the hotel).

I went again this weekend to experiment with colors and try out my individual, false eyelashes. Since I wear very little makeup on a daily basis, it was hard to gauge what was the right amount of makeup, plus the store lighting was awful. I knew that I would need to go outside. Even just walking through the mall, I felt like a clown, probably due to the long false eyelashes. Driving home, I could see in my visor mirror that the pinkness of the makeup on my face did not match the natural color of my neck. It felt wrong.

I happened by another makeup store. I was curious to check out a new sheer foundation by a local makeup artist. The guy at the store approached me and we talked about the product. He offered to try some on me but I explained that I was already wearing makeup for a test run. I told him I was wearing Bare Minerals. I took advantage of the situation and asked what he thought of it. He said it looked fine for day wear and that the lipstick color was perfect for photos. He advised that you want to go a little more dramatic than normal for wedding photos. He cautioned me that Bare Minerals while a great everyday product, is not ideal for photos. He says it has a finish that shows up poorly in photos. He definitely encourage me to try the foundation that I picked up. When I left the store he also offered his services for my wedding.

Tim’s probably not the best person to ask for makeup opinion, but in the grand scheme of things, his opinion matters most because I want him to think I look beautiful at the wedding. He said it looked a bit dramatic. I asked if he recalled the other times I’d had makeup trials and he seemed to like those other times better.

We snapped a couple pictures. The ones in the shade looked fine. However, whenever we used flash, be it to reduce the harsh sunlight or illuminate the inside of a building, my face looked a bit shiny. Granted, I have oily skin, but it had only been a few hours since the makeup session. I can’t imagine I got that oily. Plus, the shine was consistent all over my face leading me to believe it was something about the makeup.

I looked at the pictures again later and checked my face in various lights. I felt uncomfortable. Wearing the makeup for more hours did not change the shine. I also noticed my eyes felt a little agitates and tired. I don’t know if it was the eye shadow products or the false eyelashes. When I took off the makeup, my skin felt slightly irritated. I don’t recall any of this happening as a result of the other two makeup trials. Am I imaging things? Am I allowing myself to be influenced by the concerns I’ve read on the Internet and by the makeup store guy?

I wrote the makeup gal late yesterday evening. I told her that I am not confident in the makeup and explained my concerns about the pinkness and shine. I asked her for suggestions on what might be done to correct the problem. Part of me wants to stick with her, but another part of me just wants to do it myself.

So now, I truly understand why it's so important to start shopping around early. I know that I shouldn't make commitments until I've experimented with many products and talked to several people. It's tiring, but not I see why it would have been better to have several sessions over a period of a couple weeks so I could compare more easily. Leaving it until two months before the wedding is stressing me out!

I hate confrontation and I’m getting *uncomfortable* telling these people that I’m unhappy and trying to give them direction on how to make things better. Do I give the Asian woman or Nordstrom gal another try? Should I grovel and try and get artist #1 to take me back for the $300? It just seems so expensive… . ARGH! Now I really wish I'd learned better techniques for applying makeup. HELP!


zerodoll said...

i don't know what advice to offer other than, dramatic maekup will look a LOT less so (ie it will look normal) when you've got a beautiful, fancy wedding gown on. same for the hair. i'd also say you probably don't want to try this time yourself, and if someone can come TO you, that's a huge bonus.

teahouse said...

Yeah, I actually had a run-through with a makeup artist that made me look like the dude from "Farewell My Concubine" (see my blog post).

In the end, I went with a friend of a friend who gave me a very natural look. And I'm happy I opted for that - I wanted to see photos of myself and know that it was ME, not think, "Who is that?"

mini said...

hmm ... i was a bridesmaid at a wedding recently and had my makeup done for the first time. i was not very happy with the result, but she was the bride's choice for all of us, and it was the day of the wedding, so i really had no choice.

in the end, i think an accentuated natural look (oxymoron?) is best. like teahouse, you don't want to look completely foreign in your own wedding pictures, but you also want the glam and want it to be extraordinary

it's hard to tell where that line is between "special but true" and "dramatic and fake" with people like us who don't wear a lot of makeup

also, "shininess" may be because you're in plain clothes, and you can't go wrong with what tim likes better.

Pandax said...

I think the shininess is a combination of my oily skin and the know shimmer from the ingredients in the brand of makeup I tried. I've read in boards that people have complained about cornstarch affecting how the makeup wears in photos.

I'm also really afraid of having a whole portfolio of pictures where my face doesn't match the rest of my skin. I wonder if this bride thought her face looked off compared to the rest of her?

Sitcomgirl said...

Part of the thing too (at least from what friends have said)is the heavy make-up looking geisha-y. Can you maybe find an Asian makeup artist at one of the department stores? My mom had done one of my Asian friend's makeup for her wedding and it came out fine in pictures and wasn't too heavy either. The key is just finding someone who knows what they are doing. Don't worry about cancelling appointments of being firm on what you want, after all it is your wedding and pictures that need to look good.