Learning How To Do My Makeup “Just Because”

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a shiny make up bag with an open zipper showing a jumble of make up insideThis summer I decided I wanted to challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone and learn one new thing “Just Because.” I wanted to refresh something in my life, just for ME.

When I was 20, and on my own, I took the time and effort to figure out my make-up – I’d try different methods from Cosmo, friends would make suggestions before a night out, and I would experiment with new things. Eventually I got comfortable with applying concealer, mascara, etc. Fast forward 16 years (oof): I’ve had a kid, uncountable sleepless nights, I still (weirdly) get acne, my jawline is beginning to soften, and I don’t feel confident covering up my undereyes. During a conversation with a friend, I summed up the feeling: “I just don’t know how to put makeup on this ‘new’ face.”

And to be honest, I wasn’t even sure where to start. I don’t have the time (or energy) to find YouTube tutorials on how to apply makeup on a 37 year old face (Do these videos even exist?), and I’m not the type of person who wants to try a bunch of different makeup to figure out what looks best. I’ve stuck with the same makeup brand all these years because I’m comfortable with them, and they’re at my price point. I have learned a few tricks from Instagram reels that were like “Hey, if you remember ‘this event’ it’s time to stop doing xyz with your eyeliner” – which makes me feel old, but also hey, thanks for the tip.

For fun, I follow Kelly Ella Makeup on Instagram, a local independent makeup artist (and fellow mom) in the RI/MA/CT area. Every time she posted pictures of a confident woman doing a headshot I thought, “I should really reach out and get a lesson, she’s so close.” But I knocked the thought down with, “It’s probably too expensive. She’ll probably have me use all kinds of expensive makeup or suggest I replace all my stuff.” The idea was both exciting and frankly terrifying, so I kept it on the ‘someday’ back burner. Then she posted a lesson she did that caught my eye and I decided, “That’s it, I’m going to learn how to do my makeup for this face.”

I took a deep breath and reached out to Kelly on Instagram – this was totally out of my comfort zone – and she could not have been kinder! I immediately felt at ease. She laid out a few options of what she offered that I was looking for, and I chose a personal one-on-one consultation with her. This particular consult would cost $125, and she would come to my house with her own kit, teach me, and make suggestions. I figured this would allow me to pick and choose the makeup and methods I liked without ditching all my stuff. Her weekends are booked for weddings and other events, so we chose a weekday afternoon for her to come over.

I don’t know why, but I had this feeling the consultation would be like the makeup counter at the mall: she’d do an application that I’d never be able to replicate, but I’d smile and nod and say “Oh yeah, totally. I can do this in the 15 minutes I allow myself in the morning before school/work,” while in reality not having a clue what she’d just done. It felt like such an extravagant thing to do for myself, and I’ll admit there was some guilt in spending the money.

I could not have been more wrong.

 

First of all, when she arrived at my house she had me smiling from the very first minute – I felt like a movie star.  She had me wash my face completely as she set up her make-up chair and ring light in the dining room and opened her cases like Mary Poppins. Then she started by taking a really good look at my face in the light. She explained my face shape and skin type, and then went about ‘color matching’ me. I instantly recognized the difference between a YouTube tutorial and a makeup artist: Kelly was there to tell me how to put makeup on MY face, not hers. In fact, during the lesson she even said “I would do X for my own face, but in your case I would suggest Y to make your eyes pop.” She talked about the difference between creams and powders, and which to use when. We talked about my specific sun-spots and how to cover them if I wanted. That was so comforting – it wasn’t “Ugh, you should definitely cover this or you should contour that” – it was “Here are some of the best ways to enhance what a beautiful face you already have.”

We talked about the importance of hydration for skin – both inner and outer. She made it a point not to say ‘as you get older’ but rather ‘as your skin matures.’ There wasn’t any trying to sell me on a specific product; it was ‘This is what I’m using, this is why I like it, here’s another alternative one I like, and with any you choose just make sure it has xyz’ She gave me a history lesson on how contouring began, and then taught me exactly where on my face I could do it. I learned so much in our time together that I have 2 pages of notes!

Here was my biggest takeaway: JOY. Absolute joy. It wasn’t my gorgeous face, or that I had laughed for two hours straight (I can’t imagine walking away from her without having a smile on your face!) I was joyful that I had learned so many new things. That I wasn’t as ‘not with it’ as I thought. The confidence I walked away with! I now know what’s right for MY face shape and skin type – but I wasn’t made to feel ‘old’ – I was made to feel special and beautiful.

There are terms we’ve heard ad nauseum, and as mothers have become slightly numb to: “Self-Care”, “Self-Love”, “Pamper Yourself”. I personally dislike all of them, as they feel like something to add to the bottom of my to-do list, and if I don’t check it off I’m doing something wrong.

So I’d like to change the wording, and encourage this instead: “Just Because” “Just for Me” “Because I Wanted To.” I learned how to put make-up on this face for those reasons, not to ‘pamper’ myself. The happiness and confidence that comes from doing something for ourselves is worth every penny invested. I’m so happy I stepped out of my comfort zone; now I walk away with a fresh confidence I didn’t know was missing.

So what’s something that’s been on your ‘someday’ back burner? Learning to paint? Getting a subscription to a cheese of the month club? Running a race? Starting a Podcast? It’s time to change the vernacular around Moms ‘pampering themselves’ to feel some ‘self-love’ – and start doing things for ourselves ‘Just Because’ we wanted to.

 

[If you’d also like to reach out to Kelly Ella Makeup for a consultation you can see her Instagram here, and visit her website at here]

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