Scattered Words for a Windy Sunday

The past week has been unusually busy, so I haven’t had a chance to take photos and write paragraphs and all that. But I’ve had a series of fugitive beauty-related thoughts, none of them quite substantial enough for an entire post, and I thought I’d compile them here before the wind blew them away.

1. My boyfriend is visiting for the week, and we had an early Valentine’s Day tapas outing on February 13 and spent V-Day itself on such thrilling tasks as walking to the grocery store in the snow…

…and making vegetarian chili from this recipe (plus 1.5 tablespoons of cocoa powder, and minus the celery because who puts celery in chili). I marveled at the alien symmetry of the innards of a bell pepper:

2. My Valentine’s Day nail polish was Zoya Gilda, a fuchsia microshimmer that gives an almost foiled effect on the nails. Unfortunately, Gilda is something of a problem polish: it takes a long time to dry completely, it starts chipping within a day or two, and it’s thin enough that I can see my nail line even after three coats. But look how pretty!

3. I’m right-handed, so why does the polish on my left hand always chip first?

4. On the aforementioned visit to the grocery store, I discovered that Betsey Johnson’s bankruptcy has driven her to sell her name to Kleenex. This made me sad, but it also made me buy a box of her zipper-printed Kleenex.

5. With wind chill, it’s currently -6° F. Today we ventured into town and my face got so numb that I couldn’t talk properly, as if I’d been injected with novocaine. Last summer, I noticed that very hot days sapped my motivation to put on eye makeup, because I knew that part of it would melt off; this winter, very cold days have had the same effect, because I know that my eyes will tear up whenever I step outside. My FOTD, if you can call it that, was MUFE Smoky Extravagant mascara (last year’s Sephora birthday gift), NARS Coeur Battant blush (totally unnecessary on a day when the high winds guaranteed a strong flush), and Revlon Colorburst lipstick in Fuchsia:

6. My endless appetite for lipsticks both awes and terrifies me. I have so many, yet I can always think of a color that my collection lacks. Lately I’ve been wanting a trashy white-based pastel pink like MAC Saint Germain, a hot coral-pink matte like Revlon Unapologetic, and a neutral mauve-pink like NARS Anna or MAC Pink Plaid. I also suspect that Bite Cava is the cool-toned nude I’ve been pursuing for years now. Four lipsticks! How is that possible?

7. I’ve been thinking a lot about the disconnect between two current ideals of beauty: the “effortless beauty” that we encounter on sites like Into the Gloss, and the obviously effortful beauty popular on Instagram: multicolored ombré lip art, eye looks with a dozen different shadows blended perfectly into each other. How did these two extremes develop? I’d like to write a post about it sometime.

8. On Tuesday I’m getting my first haircut in seven months, and it can’t come soon enough. A blunt-cut long bob is still my ultimate goal, but for now I’m going to have the longest layers cut off so that everything can grow out more evenly. I hope to end up with something like this…

…and eventually, something like this:

9. After an overnight visit to an out-of-town friend this week, I realized that I have three styles of makeup: understated but visible, for professional situations; experimental, for days when I’m not likely to see anyone I know and can float anonymously in and out of crowds; and almost completely bare, when I’m with people I love and trust. Making myself up before going to see close friends feels like an insult to them. But why should I attach this moral significance to makeup? Do I, despite my feminist protestations, make myself up for others’ eyes and not my own? Is there really a difference in the end? Maybe not. No one lives in a vacuum.

10. I’ve mentioned a few times that I never wore makeup in college. One of the chief reasons was my desire to impress my professors with my intellectual seriousness. I had a horror of seeming immature. Over the years, I’ve lost some of my unquestioning reverence for the academy and its pretensions, and my makeup has gotten brighter and more playful in response. Two years ago, I had lunch with one of my undergraduate professors, who looked askance at my lavender nail polish: “What color are your nails?” I was surprised to find that his reaction gave me a small sense of triumph. It took me a long time to learn how to be young. I’m still learning.

10 thoughts on “Scattered Words for a Windy Sunday

  1. Every time I try to post a comment on your journal, it gets eaten and I have to start all over. :/ Freaking Google.Anyway. I was saying that the Instagram style of makeup has to be, in part, related to the internet making subcultures and their \”extreme\” styles more accessible to the general public, ie drag, goth, steampunk. I used to get weird looks when I said I admired drag queens; now just about everybody likes at least one bitch's makeup on RuPaul's Drag Race.The effortless look probably has a lot to do with new technology and our understanding of it. I mean, a lot of people who aren't in to beauty at least know to put on sunscreen and wash off their makeup, which is a step up from when I was a kid. And the leaps we've made over the past decade in terms of formulations? Sweet lord.Of course, both are impacted by the prevalence of airbrushing and the omnipresence of social media.Last but not least, feminism. It goes both ways.


  2. Hope you are enjoying the holiday and staying warm, AB! I think you look beautiful with or without eye makeup. :)I'm so smitten with the second pic (for haircut). Love the eye makeup and her soft peachy lips. I think I still want Gilda, which I think will match Revlon HD Pink Ruby, which would be an amplified version of Revlon Adorned. 🙂


  3. 🙂 AB, I hope you had a wonderful weekend with your bf! Love both Gilda & Fuchsia on you bc you totally always look amazing in those garish colors and wear them like YLBB & YNBB! How you do that? <__<


  4. \”My endless appetite for lipsticks both awes and terrifies me.\”How do we stop this?! I'm holding on by a thread til I'm tempted, again, to buy another tube. 😦


  5. I feel like the \”effortless look\” is something utilized more by those who are fashion-oriented and revere \”French chic\” posting outfits while heavy obvious makeup is loved by those who post more close-ups and selfies on Instagram. That's not always the case of course and I could be way off, but I see way more references to \”effortless\” on fashion blogs than anywhere else. Looking forward to your future post on that.


  6. I think you're right about the influence of drag on mainstream culture–I wish I knew more about that. I also think that the Instagram style of makeup (for lack of a better term) is still very much subcultural. I spend so much time looking at makeup online that I sometimes forget how infrequently I see people in the real world wearing those elaborate eye looks or lip art or whatever. There's also a classist aspect to this: websites that tout \”effortless\” beauty often suggest that heavy, Kardashian-esque makeup is trashy. Plus, not everyone can afford the finely honed technologies that make your skin look flawless!


  7. I'm staying warm with difficulty! And thanks. 🙂 I've been really lazy about eye makeup recently, but I just received my four ColourPop eyeshadows in the mail, so I'm looking forward to putting together some bolder looks!Gilda is a beautiful polish. I do recommend it, even if the formula isn't ideal, because the effect is so dazzling. Also, polishes seem to chip on me more quickly than they do on others, so you might find Gilda less problematic than I do.


  8. We've been having a great time! 😀 We just went for a quick visit to NYC, in fact. As for the garish colors, my coloring just manages to tone everything down. I don't know how that works, but it's both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I want to look tacky, you know?


  9. I wish I knew how to quell my ferocious lipstick appetite! I often wonder how long it would take me to get through all the lipsticks I currently own if I refused to buy another until they were finished. I'm guessing…five years? Maybe more? I did resist buying Cava at Sephora today, though, so I'm not totally irredeemable.


  10. I agree, though there's also the #nomakeup and #nofilter thing on Instagram. And ugh, I am so tired of \”French chic.\” I remember rolling my eyes at that French Women Don't Get Fat book ten years ago. How is that cliche still popular? I wish I'd known how cool I was back when I didn't own any makeup but lip balm…


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