To many of you, it might seem odd to read me talking about makeup in my blog about crafting… but when you think about it, makeup is an art form designed to decorate your face/showcase your features in ways it doesn’t show naturally and thus, it’s something I thought I’d share with you guys! Also, if you let me get away with the “to travel well is a craft” idea to include my travel blogs here, then this is not that big of a stretch 😉
As the title of this blog entry indicates, makeup for me has been a journey, with many moments of really feeling the power of makeup to its full extent, to full-on “my bare face would’ve looked better” staring contests with the mirror. Having other people do my makeup helped me realize that my eye-shape is not something everyone can do well, and I need to know the credentials of the makeup artist (MUA) before booking as I had many experiences where I was unhappy with my final look, probably because the MUA lacked proper training – or frankly – talent.
When I was little, the makeup of the 90s was very easy to follow as it was very bold, no proper blending needed, and my mom’s makeup bag had everything I needed to make myself feel like a grown little woman. I went to an debutante academy where they taught modeling, dining etiquette, makeup, etc. and I “learned” to do my makeup there, which when looking at my pictures it’s a clear reflection of that 90s wild stamping technique…
It’s funny to think that at that time everyone was saying congratulations for doing such a great job, and it looks like a watercolor mess in my lids haha!
As I went into my teenage years, the makeup trend that took me over by storm was the use of heavy and thick black eyeliner. At this point, many people were getting their top eyelids tattooed, so it was kind of a movement. Looking back, it definitely was not the most flattering look for me, but I was not the only offender by a long shot, so I think I can get away with this particular crime.
Then, as I hit the late high school, early college years, I came to realize something: I did not know how to properly put on eye shadow. Or rather, I couldn’t put it on symmetrically and if I went for a smokey eye, I’d end up looking like I got hit in the eyes. This drove me to a simple winged eyeliner look for every single activity ever, which ended up being my signature routine for years.
I tried doing a smokey eye for a NYE party, and I hated the way it looked. No blending, it just looked like I pressed my lid to the shadow pane…
So for years this was my look. Simple winged eyeliner – which sometimes made my eyes look droopy, like here – and zero eyebrow love…
Around this time, I also was not aware that my arched eyebrows were criminally thin and not properly framing my face, and sometimes, you couldn’t even see them with the flash. To this day, I constantly berate my friends for being terrible friends for years and letting me out of the house looking like that. I know we all had arched over-plucked eyebrows, but I feel like mine were the WORST. I finally fixed the shape of my eyebrows in April of 2016, but I still didn’t understand the importance of filling them in until that December. And then, I filled them in a little TOO much…
In late 2016 at 27 years old, I hit the lowest of low points with makeup; my older brother was getting married in Uruguay, which meant I couldn’t use a familiar MUA, but I also didn’t trust myself with a good beat so I wanted to book a professional. I went with a recommendation from the event planner to get my hair and makeup done at a salon my sister in law frequents, and I got taken care of by the owner, who upon hearing that I was the groom’s sister, decided to show off and take “extra special” care of me. She didn’t ask me what I wanted for makeup, but just decided to do a black smokey eye on me when she heard I was wearing a black dress. My hairdo (which was supposed to be a simple pony) was also massively butchered by her, but we’ll stick to the worst makeup experience known to men here. I can’t bring myself to post full pictures of my face here because the internet is forever and I truly looked the worst I have ever looked, but here’s a collage of different parts of my face so you can see the train-wreck that this lady did to me:
Look at my eyes. Both eyes are completely asymmetric in color and where they end. All the fallout under my eyes… Incomprehensible. Now my lips. I have one of the most defined cupid*s bow I have ever seen, and I have no idea how this lady could not follow it…. honorable mention to the bottom left smear. And that horrible horrible color.
No, of course I didn’t go to the wedding like that. I ran to another salon across town that my dad could vouch for because of other good work they had done, and they fixed me *just* in time to not miss the wedding shuttle to the venue.
This event completely subconsciously triggered something in me to want to learn to do makeup so that I’d never go through that feeling of helplessness again. I slowly began to creep on the YouTube makeup channels to see what they had to offer. I watched the gurus for their personalities, and I didn’t really think I was learning anything just from watching, but I was slowly taking in techniques, product recommendations, and more tips than I could realize. Nikkie Tutorials, Jaclyn Hill, Tati Westbrook, James Charles, and others were slowly teaching me the ropes as I built a “how-to” repertoire in the back of my head. In May of 2017, I tried applying fake lashes on for my little brother’s college graduation, and I failed. That was the third time I had attempted to wear them with no luck. Then, the timeline of my makeup confidence started to build as I practiced and didn’t feel like a complete troll each time:
- July 2017
I decided to do a themed makeup for a Clasico game between the Real Madrid and Barca teams when they came to play in Miami. As a Barca fan, I wanted something blue and red on my face. I took my time with it and kept it simple and *gasps* attempted to apply fake lashes and I DID IT! I felt like the prettiest girl in that whole stadium that day. I was super over made-up, but I felt so accomplished!
I showed up to one of my good friend’s bridal shower, and my best friend (who is a makeup artist and REALLY REALLY good at makeup) said to me “your makeup looks boss!” and that’s the day that my confidence went through the roof and felt like I was ready to work a Sephora counter lol.
My friend was getting married, and I wanted nothing to do with any MUA. So I went for it, and did my own hair and makeup. I practiced all week and went with a neutral look but I swear it took me hours. It’s still my Facebook profile picture, over a year later!
Another wedding, another makeup look, and this time I wanted to go full dark glam. It might have been a lot, but I felt SO accomplished. It took me about three hours total, with about half the time just on the eye shadow.
Wedding in DR. Again, it may be hard to tell but between the face and the eyes, this took about two hours (and I messed it up because I blinked too fast while my eyeliner was still drying). I felt like a full-on pro and guru by now.
- November 2018: James Charles X Morphe come out with an artistry palette to kill all palettes, and I decide I have to buy it, and I’ve used it more times in a month than I ever used my Jaclyn Hill palette, which I’ve owned for a year and a half!
On the left, I went for the full cover look of the JCXM palette and I’m in shock that it turned out as pretty as it did! In the middle – first of all, my bathroom lighting makes my hair look like the red of my dreams! – you can’t really see but I tried a cut-crease with a liquid shadow for the first time and it turned out really nice! On the right, I tried a crease shimmer liner based on a Pinterest picture I found and I loved it!
After showing you my journey and sharing all of this with you, I want to make sure to say that I’m still very much learning and evolving in my makeup skill set. Every single time I do my makeup I still doubt myself and whether it will turn out well, but I’m getting better at it and the result always makes me happy. I have learned that the following are musts for me:
- I need to use tape for my eye shadow: this is a non-negotiable for me. If I’m doing more than a natural look, I need the tape to guide my strokes, otherwise I still look like I got punched. The tape is magic!
- Good tools are life-changing: it’s no wonder I couldn’t create better looks with a limited 3-4 brush selection from eco-tools. Cheap ends up being expensive, always. I invested in Morphe brushes (which are still some of the most affordable in the industry) and my blend game is forever changed.
- Good makeup is key too: this is obvious, but when you have the right paint for your canvas, it all works out beautifully. The right primers and bases, good pigments, etc. can all really help you along the journey.
- Gurus still make mistakes: James, Nikkie, Tati, everyone I look up to can still have a bad makeup day, and so can I. Glitter, false lashes or a beauty blender can usually come to the rescue.
If you feel like there’s something you’d really like to learn, don’t let anything stop you. Practice until you feel comfortable, and make it your own. Learn what works for you, and stick to it. 2017 was a very tough year for me emotionally, but it will always go down as the year I learned the power of makeup and empowered myself through honing in my skills with it.