Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Un Peu De Maquillage

The New York Times recently published the analysis of a study that determined that wearing makeup can help advance a woman's career, as long as it's not overpowering.  Apparently, the appropriate application of cosmetics to a woman's face makes her appear more trustworthy, reliable, and competent.

To be honest, I hadn't contemplated this before, but must admit that I do buy it.  I didn't think about the fact that my makeup might advance my career, but I have always been aware that I will do better professionally if I take care with my appearance.  My job is quite public and I feel that taking the time to look put-together is a sign of respect for both my position and my employer.  It might be anti-feminist to say this, but I enjoy putting on a face before going to work because I feel more ready to appoach the day once I've swiped on some mascara.  (The article calls the confidence gained from cosmetics a placebo effect but, to be honest, I think that it might be more valid than they give it credit.)

Given what I do, which involves a decent amount of event-management, my makeup bag has to be ready for a morning meeting over coffee in town or an evening drink at the bar before a performance of our latest production.  I don't like lugging around a tote full of supplies all day every day - I am intimidated by the women who apply their cosmetics on the train, pulling out one specialist brush after another from a bottomless purse - and so I stick with basics that can be gradually reapplied throughout the day, increasing in intensity as needed.

My go-to choices are below; all are standard except for the eye liner, which only comes out after dark.  They're all pretty low-key because my mother taught me - as Coco Chanel says above - that you know you've done a good job putting on makeup when no one can tell you're wearing any.  "Your makeup shouldn't be noticed," she told me.  "You should be."

My sister turned me on to Laura Mercier's Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer and now I swear by it - I don't know at what point you're supposed to switch to the normal tinted moisturiser, but I'm terrified that my skin isn't finished making a mess of itself and so I'm erring on the side of caution.  (I'm currently using Fawn, but as my summer color is fading I'm soon going to have to switch to the paler Bisque.  I'm very upset about it, naturally.)  Laura Mercier also makes my favorite eyeliner.  I find the soft kohl pencils easier to use than other options, though that may be because I'm not doing anything that takes true precision.  My preferred color is Black Violet; it really draws out my eyes without being too harsh.  My mascara is classic Maybelline, and I'm really not picky about which version of theirs I use though I think I was drawn to this one because "The Colossal" sounded hilarious.  Similarly budget is my C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve, which used to be sold at pharmacies but has now become a hipster thing, I think, and I use it for its chapstick-like properties as well as the hint of color it gives my lips.  Last but not least is every East Coast prep's blush of choice: Nars Orgasm, which looks good on almost every skintone.

Of course, like any good girlie girl, I'm always on the lookout for new products, so if you have any suggestions please do share!  After all, I can experiment a bit more when I'm off the clock...


  1. You dont ever have to switch to a regular tinted moisturizer if you like what this one is doing for you. My skin is on the drier side yet I still use oil free ones. I just make sure I moisturize before I apply my makeup and let it soak in.

  2. I'm 51 and still get the occasional breakout, so I guess it all depends on the individual's skin. Enjoying your blog so much, Betsy! Makes me feel like a kid in London again!

  3. I believe it! In China the women are getting plastic surgery just to get ahead in the board room! See you at AG's event tonight :)


I love reading your thoughts and suggestions! Please do leave a comment so we can get to know each other better.