I was very much a tomboy growing up, but that didn't mean I wasn't interested in makeup. Before I was officially allowed to wear makeup, the only time I got to put on my mom's makeup was if I was "dressing up as a clown" or something like that. So that's how I got my curiosity fix until I became "of age" to wear makeup in my mom's eyes.
The magic number was 14 if I remember correctly. So for my birthday my mom loaded me up in the car and we went to Hypermart. (For those of you that didn't know the joys of Hypermart, it was a Super Walmart before Super Walmart was Super.) We went to the makeup aisle, which was like a giant super buffet of makeup. How is one supposed to choose from all of this? Well it was the early 90's which means left over 80's for moms especially I think. My mom wore wet-n-wild hot pick or any hot pink derivative there was for lipstick. I am not a hot pink girl especially when it comes to makeup. I knew this then and I haven't changed much in my color preferences. So rather than pick out some bright red lipstick, my mom thought it was a genius idea to get the green and orange lipsticks that are supposed to magically formulate with your lips to make the perfect color for whoever was wearing it!!! I knew nothing about makeup so who was I to argue?
Next it onto blush. My mom wore it, my friends all wore it so I figured, you are supposed to wear blush. Right? So we got some shade of pink blush because that's the only color you have to choose from for blush.
After blush came foundation. I still don't know what foundation is supposed to do for a 14 year old girl but we got some. I just remember lots of girls looking splotchier and oranger, or pinker than they did without it. So we picked a color by putting it on my forearm. Funny thing about the forearm, it's not exposed to the sun like the face it. hmmmm. No wonder high school is filled with a bunch of girls with a clear line around their jawline that changes colors.
Let's see. Eyeshadow. Oh wait, mom didn't wear eyeshadow so there wasn't much of a need for this. So I'm pretty sure we didn't get eyeshadow on this shopping trip, but it's possible that we got one of those multicolored eye shadows. But I would have received no instruction on how to put it on or make it look nice. But I know that we did get mascara, because a girl with full eyelashes has a need for even fuller eyelashes that will flake into her contacts causing her to pick off the rest of the mascara off her eyelashes leaving them only naturally full rather than extra full. But at least she can see again without constantly blinking or picking at her eyelashes. Come to think of it, my eyelashes aren't nearly as full and beautiful as they once were. Thanks Mascara!!!
So I had all this makeup and didn't really know how to make it complement my face rather than look like a clown. This is because my practice was strictly clown related. That didn't mean that was the look I was hoping for on a daily basis. We went over the basics but really I'd been watching my mom and my friends apply it so all that was left really was practice. So this is what I learned about my new makeup either immediately or over the years:
1. If the lipstick is green or orange, and specially formulated to blend with your chemistry to find the perfect color for you, it will turn out hot pink, or some derivative of hot pink. Avoid these at all cost. Go somewhere you can test colors on your lips.
2. Foundation will actually magnify your acne problem, making it look worse than it is. It was not for me.
3. Concealer will do the same as foundation to draw attention to your acne problem.
4. Blush in combination with the green or orange lipstick will make you look more clownish than when you dressed up as a clown. Blush was not for me either. Still isn't.
5. Mascara just wasn't meant for me. (see above discussion about mascara if you don't know why yet)
6. Mastering the art of eye shadow would take many years of practice, and asking people who seem to apply it well just how they do it. Watching them if you get the chance helps too.
7. Translucent, colorless powder would do the best job of accomplishing my main goal, which was absorbing oil, without drawing too much attention to my acne problem and giving me a hideous makeup ring around my jawline. Once pharmaceuticals came into the picture, I realized just how little I needed makeup.
8. I needed a job if I was going to get the makeup I wanted.
9. Perfecting the art of making up my face without looking like I have a load of makeup on is a challenging and continuous process as I age and my skin changes.
10. Pick a feature to emphasize and go easy on the rest to avoid the clownish look. For example, in high school I chose lips. Now I prefer the eyes, sans the mascara. This is because lipstick has to always be applied and/or gets clumpy. Eye shadow done well, can be applied once and you're good to go all day long.
It took me several years (after college, I think) to come into my own and get comfortable with makeup and the look I wanted. That's not to say I didn't use it in the meantime. It just took that long to run into people that gave me tips and tutorials that I liked for features I liked as well as product recommendations. My mom took me to do a few makeovers in high school, so it's not like she didn't try to give me the help I needed, and she didn't force her colors on me. I think makeovers just generally result in the whoreish look since they want to subsequently sell you everything they use on you. So it really was more of being patient and finding things that I was comfortable with at each time in my life rather than feeling like I always had to be made up perfectly, or use every product that my friends did.