February 3, 2014

The Art of Make-Up // Lessons Learned

Finally. A chance to sit down and write about this topic that's been bouncing around in my head for the past year. Yeah, it's make-up related, okay, well it's only about make-up, but it's the journey that I've been on with it that makes it seem worthy of talking about. As of right now, I would consider myself a pretty big fan of make-up. I wear it every day, I get way too excited about new palettes, and hell, even old palettes, and it's something that always has the ability to vary depending on the day and the mood. If you would have pulled me aside, say, I don't know, 12 months ago and asked me where I stood on make-up, there probably would have been no definitive answer. Sure, I wore it and had a pretty good selection of random drug-store products from the past years, with a few higher-end GWPs my mom would pass on to me, but I hadn't come to appreciate it yet.

This makes me think of the time where my dad took me out shopping when I was in the eighth grade and I wanted to browse around Sephora. He let me have one of those whole make-over deals where they make you look all natural even though they use 15 different things, and was so sweet and bought me most of the things she used on me. This was a rare event for my dad and I. First enough to be out shopping, and then him footing the bill for this make-up regime that would hopefully make me look a bit better. I brought all this stuff home and hardly used it. However, I realized its worth, kept it over the years, and made sure to dabble in it over time. I was never one for taking longer to get ready than really necessary. I always tried to have my outfits picked out in advance and my makeup kept to the same products in order to necessitate pretty much the same look each day. I also never really understood how someone could spend so much money on something like make-up. I always kind of stuck to that whole you-can-get-more-for-less when it came to buying new stuff and always stayed within conventional brands. I loved the idea of toying with outrageous colors and looks, but could never quite get it right and it always seemed a bit intimidating. Oh, I'm sorry, I mean really intimidating. 

I was never really "shown" how to do my make-up. Okay, I probably was, and my mom is reading this with her head in her hands because I can't remember the time she taught me the proper way to apply blush. I did however spend a large amount of time sporting a decent bit when I was a kid,due to skating competitions, but I wasn't a make-up prodigy at a young age...or at any age really. I mean, I cared about how I looked and I did my face up well for having the tools at hand that I did. Now it's a bit of a different story.

Cue up to last February, ha, actually, a year ago TODAY, where I got recruited to work at Ulta. The three current managers had pranced into my restaurant where they were greeted by me, their hostess. There I was, chatting them up whilst seating them, and upon the ring-out, they had asked me if I was interested in a position.

This is actually me on THAT day last year.
This was the very thing I was wearing. I was in support
of the Ravens who had won the Superbowl the night before,
and was wearing as much purple and gold as I could muster.
I mean, I knew how to do my make-up, I had
the cat-eye going in this picture, but it just seems like a forgery now...

I had taken them up on their offer and was kind of over-the-moon about the whole thing. First off, I will say, that I was recruited for sure on my personality. I connected really well with this group of gals. It definitely was not for my skills in the application department. So I started working there and I could tell there was a lot to learn. A LOT. Like I said, I had never really CARED about HOW make-up was applied, I just went for it and hoped for the best. I had such a small clue about what thing was better than the other, and how a different brush could make a world of difference. I asked the girls so many questions about products, especially during 28 Days of Beauty and other campaigns with large sales on certain items, and ended up building up my inventory beautifully. I got some great items for some great prices, and I even got things that I had no real idea what they were for, but found out how to use them, and became attached. We had a lovely little discount there and such a rad group of girls who knew their stuff when it came to all things beauty. It was such an awesome experience to be thrown into an environment like that, where people come to you for questions and opinions. You're forced to learn it really quick and get your recommendations straight. What you always end up learning in life, some things at different points depending on the product at hand, is that you're going to have to pay more for quality. Quality often does not come cheap and requires a bit of investing and brand loyalty. Did I feel bad recommending the $22 mascara over the $8? No, because you're going to use less at a time and be happier with your turnout. It's hard to say that though, because even though I KNOW high-end products and cosmetics have a better turnout, it can be hard to justify spending certain amounts on certain items. It's about knowing what products are worth the money, and what products can be supplemented. I became attached to quite a few brands over the course of working there, specifically Urban Decay, Benefit, LORAC, and Smashbox. I recommended these brands often and tried to learn as much as I could about various products. Even for the six months I did work at Ulta, I still couldn't fully nail it, I still wasn't fully armed with a proper make-up stash.

What was funny, was that even though I bought so much when I worked there, ever since I've left, I've been able to buy more, even without my discount. When my transfer fell through when I moved and I came to terms with the fact that I'd no longer be an Ulta girl, I still found myself turning to that store when it came to my beauty needs. I had fallen in love with the aspect of high-end makeup, bright colors, contouring, brush sets, palettes, and of course, $22 mascara. Some real stellar coupons came my way, gift cards from Christmas, and of course a small influx of money, which led to some real awesome purchases over the past couple months. With what I'm currently equipped with, and having my experiences working at Ulta and recommending products and inspiring beauty, I honesty feel I have such a large appreciation for make-up. I know, that sounds exceptionally lame, but hear me out.

An artist sits down at an easel and pulls out brushes and paints, and lays them out around them. Depending on the mood or the vision for that day, they'll pick up a brush, dabble it in color, and begin to create. They'll grab another brush and accent whatever it is they've just applied to the page, and they'll continually build and add on and modify. This is what putting on make-up feels like each day for me, and for so many other people. The options seem endless, the looks you can create have little limit. The brushes you choose to use will create the effect, and how you wish to apply it can make all the difference. It's fascinating to me how much I learned in the past year about something I've been doing for the past 12 years. There are certain things you realize you simply do not need, but you also discover those products that make your life just that much better. People constantly knock make-up as something one uses to cover up true personality or call it a form of deception. Many are there for the expression, accentuation, and art aspects. For years I did my make-up in such a boring way to satisfy the fact I was wearing it and getting by. Now that I have the tools and the means, I'm given so many more options.

 The daily mashup: Napoleon Perdis Primer, Neutrogena or Benefit foundation, Physician's Formula minearl powder, Hoola Bronzer by Benefit, High Beam by Benefit, Erase Paste by Benefit, LORAC eye primer, Inika loose powder, Laura Gellar baked marble eyeshadow, Smashbox Sparks wondervision palette, & NYX brow powder.

I ordered this mother of all brush sets on BHCosmetics. I initially got it to add in a few brushes
as gifts, and then took my functioning brushes and added them in with the set and kept the rest of them.

Ahh. My mascara/eye liner bag. This is chocked full of goodies. My mom scored me this set;
that allowed me to boost up on certain products. Smashbox, CK One, and Benefit
have to make some of the best mascaras and I'm stoked they were all in this kit.
 I use the liquid liner by LORAC and I think it's just the bee's knees.
I love it and it was such a remarkable change switching from Revlon to Front of The Line in terms of look and application ability. I honestly shuffle between mascara all the time because I have so many
lurking in the bag. I absolutely adore colored lashes, so I have purple, turquoise, and blue mascara all on lock, but green mascara would be pretty righteous as well...

Confessions of a Concealaholic was also another must-have for me.
It came equipped with a mini primer and erase paste that I use often. I love
this concealer and recommend it for sure.

Stila's self-adjusting blush is Coral is pretty rad and always a part of the daily game.
....yeah I dropped it. :(

 The choices! Some days are harder than others on trying to pick a look to go for. These palettes pretty much sum-up what you need to have in terms of shadow colors. I adore these palettes and recommend them any chance I get. Lorac Glo-Getter & Pro Palette, Urban Decay's Naked 3, Vice 2, and Ammo Palette. Smashbox's Wondervision Mega palette. They all have awesome pigment and a great range of colors within each palette, which makes them all pretty worthy of owning.

Here's some recent & decent shots that show off the make-up.


So all-in-all, the whole process felt like a journey. Not having any clue and wanting to spend very little time on these things transformed into me being able to recommend products and likely spend up to 25+ minutes on my makeup. I'm just glad that I had motivation that gave me that opportunity to learn more about something that seemed so frivolous before. It's time well spent; it does dive right into that artistic tone and gives you the freedom to accentuate and create what you'd like upon your face. It's not deception, it's an art form.

x x

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