Confessions of a Cosmetic Queen

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Photo by Oleg Magni on

As the song goes, your face is your fortune, and with the beauty industry yielding millions of dollars a year,  our endless fascination with makeup guarantees most of us drop a small fortune to enhance our looks, giving us the confidence to be at our most spectacular for all occasions.  It’s such a form of personal expression, that many of us do feel naked without it.

Helen of Troy was rumored to have the type of beauty that launched a thousand ships and it seems that she was in good company in the cosmetics department. The Ancient Egyptians used kohl to enhance their eyes, so we owe Cleopatra and her brethren a huge round of applause for bringing us the jet black extended cat’s eye. Elizabeth I of England had olive skin like her mother, Anne Boleyn, and books claim that she lightened her complexion with a concoction that included egg whites, and possessed an absolute adoration for perfumes.  Considering the return of the Black Plague, and how the masses had rather lax hygienic habits during the Renaissance,  this was a welcome distraction for those nauseating smells in the musty castles. The Golden Age of Hollywood brought forth beauty tips we still remember today. Through the expertise of makeup artist Max Factor, Joan Crawford rocked  a lip style in what was known as “the smear” , further cementing her status in the beauty hall of fame.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that my own obsession with makeup started at a very young age. I was told by my mother many years ago that I have been into cosmetics since the tender age of two, where I would hoist myself up into the tall chairs at the department store makeup counters and positively mystify the saleswomen with my knowledge of what each product does.

Now, if I were stuck on a deserted island, not only would I want food, water, and shelter, I would absolutely want my makeup bag there.  If Ginger, Mary Ann, and Lovey Howell were able to look so put together while they were waiting to be rescued, there’s no reason why I couldn’t pull it off!  Believe me, I have spent many years attempting to perfect my look!

So, what’s a gal to do when she’s shopping for the goods to make her look and feel très jolie?  The Cosmetics Queen is ready to bestow her wisdom and recommendations for products !  Now, I’m pretty sure you’re asking just how much I know about makeup. I may not have had makeup artistry training, but as Shelley Long quips in Troop Beverly Hills, “I have a black belt in shopping”.

Being the beauty product junkie that I am, I have gone through hundreds of eye shadows, lipsticks and glosses, mascaras, and eyeliners. Many have come and gone with no chance of a return, but only a select few have made it to my permanent collection.  These are the few, the proud, the constant.  Take some notes, and stock up!

Urban Decay Eye Shadow in Mildew: I have always adored UD’s high pigment eye shadows, and this rich green is my unequivocal favorite. It’s a phenomenally gorgeous color that makes my eyes pop.

Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion: This easy to apply primer is available in several shades for different properties, as well as skin tones. I stick to the Original formula and my fourteen pounds of eye makeup usually stays put.

L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara: Out of all the high end and drugstore mascaras I have tried over the years, I keep going back to Voluminous. Not only is it affordable, but it lengthens and thickens my lashes like nobody’s business. My current favorite is the Feline Noir.

Rimmel Stay Glossy 3D Lip Gloss in Back Row Smooch: This British brand is pretty popular here in the States, and there hasn’t been a product of theirs I’ve used that I have disliked. BRS is a striking opalescent pink, which looks great alone or layered over a lipstick. I actually mix lipstick into the bottle to get my signature shade of Hot Pink.

Rimmel SpecialEyes Eyeliner in Black Magic:  I am a classicist, which I why I use nothing but black eyeliner! Since I put on quite a bit of eye shadow, I need an eye pencil that will easily glide on over it and bind to it. This does the trick!

We all know that change is good, but one point of frustration I seem to have had over time is discontinuation. I fall in love with something and use it faithfully, until it goes off to the beauty graveyard. Of course, all companies want to bring in fresh, new product lines to replace those that are outdated or simply not a high seller.  When these items have gone on the chopping block, I will buy up as much as I can, but it’s still quite disappointing. There have been instances where I’ve been one lucky ducky, as products sometimes get reformulated and repackaged and put back on the market!

Regardless of the constant turnover of products, experimentation leads to evolving your look. That doesn’t mean I don’t give credit where it is due.  Personally, I have avoided dark lipstick since that fad in the ‘90’s and my ruddy complexion has no need for blush.  As I continue to get older, I have and will always rock gray and green eyeshadow, pink lip gloss, and black eyeliner and mascara as long as there is a Walgreens or Macy’s within driving distance!

The eternal parade of products are made to enhance our unique beauty, so get out there and give different looks a shot! If you aren’t a huge fan of lipstick, try a tinted lip balm! If you have gorgeous blue-green eyes, a sweep of a light brown eyeshadow will enrich the shade!  Makeup is a great accessory to any ensemble, from jeans and a black blouse to a formal evening gown.  Remember that beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but your radiance will come from within.

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