Saturday, 10 April 2010

Beauty 10 Commandments: Advice for desperate addicts

 As a makeup and beauty addict (say it with me) I have fallen into various traps, driven by a desperate hyteria that can only be quenched by the next big purchase. However as advancing age looms, the wizened and critical force to objectify the mania wavers falteringly before me.

I hereby collect up the ten tips that may help us all.

1. If it's Limited Edition, don't panic!

Yes, buy a backup if you love it. I know, we should fight against the company's wicked manipulation to trigger the wartime rations impulse of hoarding before it's too late - but it's only makeup and we enjoy the collecting as much as they enjoy the profit margins. If you love it, buy two. But, don't do what I do, and buy six or however many you calculate will last your lifespan. It will be repromoted, either explicitly or anonymously, in the company's future offerings. And if it isn't, let's face it: with all the billions of different brands and products open to us, is any colour truly unique? I want to say yes too, but rationally? Don't panic when it's limited edition, sold out, or "rare".

2. Don't get blinded by hype.

Like fashion, don't forget what suits you before you get swept up in the latest new must-haves. Trends are great, but being a fashion victim is excruciating. That new lilac lipstick/ bubblegum pink might not look good to anyone outside of the beauty community vacuum. We all love it but the man on the street thinks what the hell is she thinking. F** them it's my life, etc. Yes, but dearie you should stick with pinky coral lips and a rosy coral blusher. The purple blusher and lilac lips simply don't look pretty once out of their packaging, OK? Think about the hyped up trends: (a)Does the colour suit YOU; (b) Do you have dupes already? (c) Will you look back at the photos and squirm? Let this be your sacred checklist and you will be fine.

3. Don't get swayed by celebrity endorsements.

"Angelina Jolie uses this lipstick." The magic words that will have a million women flooding the counters. I hate to be mean, but Angelina Jolie could probably make your Barry M chalky lipstick look great too. But without making it personal, one woman's natural lip pigmentation makes a lipstick look pink, another makes it look mauve, and the difference is drastic - so just hold on before you attribute a celebrity's beauty with their favourite product. I love knowing what makeup a celebrity is using, especially ones who you can tell revel in beauty as much as we do (i.e Kim Kardashian) but aside from the fact that one woman's winning formula is another's disaster zone, celebrities are not above corruption and might sometimes promote without true conviction. Allow yourself to be inspired, but just exercise caution on all counts.

4. Don't buy makeup for the wrong reasons.

If it's for charity, who would be so callous as to say that's a bad reason? It's a great reason. Try to remember about what colour suits you as you buy it, but anyway, charity is always to be encouraged. I am referring rather to the danger of buying a product for its scientific claims. Organic; Anti-Ageing; Smoothing; Moisturising. These buzz words should all probably be ignored, as they are usually arbitrary. I want to like organic stuff but often they simply don't perform as well. I want my makeup to last, or my deodorant to work. Unfortunately limiting ingredients often limits the effectiveness of a product. Obviously ethical concerns, (as with charity) remains a justified reason for purchases. Just don't be unduly influenced by the words on the box.

5. Update and assess your makeup habits.

Put simply: What suited you a few years ago looks like mutton dressed as lamb now. Your makeup and the way you dress unfortunately has to be age appropriate. Pressures of society mean that neon green eyeshadow looks cute on a 16 year old and embarrassing on a 30 year old. I wish it weren't so but it is. Hair colour changes also can make your once perfect makeup staples look dated or off. Don't get stuck in a makeup rut. Conversely, that taupe eyeshadow you are addicted to, have you ever thought plummy purple might look great instead? Don't be worried that adding colour will make you look like a clown. A shot of colour might be just the boost your face needs.

6. Don't match your makeup to your outfit.

This is a personal pet peeve I suppose, but to my mind, matching makeup to your outfit always looks like you are trying too hard. Makeup is best when it gives the impression that it was just thrown on absently, and you would look great with it on or off. When it draws attention for matching your dress, you are edging closer to admitting that makeup is a deliberate crutch. It also looks old-fashoned, unimaginative and twee. Matching your nail varnish can be cute, and red lipstick to a red dress is fine, but matching pink lipstick to a pink dress, or worse - matching eyeshadow to an outifit... cringeworthy.

7. Makeup rules are there to be broken. But anarchy is overrated.

Yes they say dark eyes and bold lips are a no-go. Yes they say lipstick is for lips. But this eyeshadow makes a great blusher. Innovation and defiance in the face of prescribed makeup rules is all well and good. But just think: clichés and stereotypes and rules are usually borne out of elements of truth. "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" after all, as that most famous and enigmatic quote goes. Remember that makeup has been around for a LONG time, the quest for beauty is never-ending, and certain "rules" that have come about, cannot be written off: they have probably been tried, tested, failed, and thus crystallized as a rule.

8. Makeup has a shelf-life, a stale collection is worthless.

Makeup is not going to last forever, so break into that deluxe compact and enjoy it whilst you can. Rotten makeup is smelly and ugly, even the packaging will look dated if you give it time, so it won't make you happy to collect it and leave it untouched. Take a photo for posterity if you must.

9. Turn that frown upside down, etc.

Can anything rival the delight of shoe shopping? Here are my brand new Victorian style booties for reference:
Perhaps nothing can beat that high. But, an incredible tonic for depression is to put your face on. If you're upset, put on your mascara and blush. Instant lift guaranteed. Don't go barefaced because you feel you don't have the stamina or happiness to put on some jolly colour. Go extra glam if you're feeling glum, it will always help. 

10. Respect your makeup addiction if it makes you happy.

Enjoy your makeup shopping and don't get jaded. Respect your tried and trusted HGs and don't compulsively go searching for their new rival. Well, unless you feel you've outgrown the old standby. Hype can blind you to override your own personal faves. Take time out to 'shop your stash' before you unwittingly buy a million dupes. Build up a flattering colour identity that you know works. Enjoy new product launches, but not at the expense of your true love products. Don't let your collection get out of hand (see Commandment No.8) and don't buy too often, or the glamour of new makeup gets trite. Check out drugstore products if you really get a makeup craving. And if you have a sanctified allegiance to a high end brand, indulge your habit, but be aware, and be sure to enjoy it.

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

Oh wait I am getting carried away now.

... What would your 10 Commandments be???


  1. Hahaha i love matching eyeshadow to my outfit :P lol when i do something super fun and pink in summer i do pink eyeshadow or if do a cute blue dress i do dark navy makeup :P I dont do it all the time but i think its personal preference :) I love having fun with makeup but i am a bit obsessive when it comes to matching! hehe Great post!! :)

  2. @Superficialgirl Oh NO!!! I don't think we can be friends anymore. haha thanks xxxx

  3. Lots of truth and wisdom in this post!

    My problem is that I'm always tempted by beautiful (usually bright) colors that are totally wrong for me.

    I'm also guilty of saving "the good stuff" instead of using it. Commandment #8 reminds me that I need to organize my makeup drawers and make sure the high-end products are where I will grab them first. If something has to go bad before I can use it up, I'd rather it be the drugstore makeup.

  4. @Ms.M -Thank you! I am so glad to help, yes believe me I completely identify with that! But saving beautiful makeup is a mistake, that's the conclusion I've reached.

    I recently bought a MAC bright pink pigment (Brash & Bold) even though pink looks dreadful on my eyes, but if I mix it with purple I can force it to work. Maybe you can mix colours to still make use of your brights...

  5. Great post! I totally agree with all of it, especially using the beautiful things. I don't believe in saving things for special occasions.

    And If is my favorite poem ever!

  6. This was a fantastic post! You summed it up nicely, especially about limited edition stuff haha xox

  7. @GlossQueen+@Sophie Thank you so much xxxx

  8. I had to laugh at my self after reading the first one! I just purchased three backups of a perfume I discovered had been discontinued, and I planned to go back for more next week. But after reading your post I had to laugh at my self. What does it matter how many I buy? They won't last the rest of my life, and in a few years my taste might change. So why waste the money? I need to just enjoy and appreciate it now. :) Thank you for your very helpful advice for my makeup/ perfume addiction! *HUGS*

  9. I am guilty of putting palettes in drawers and forgetting that they are there! One of my commandments would be to organise your make up so it is accessible. I have all my eye shadows/lipsticks/nail polishes in one place so I can choose my products "chocolate box style"! It's very therapeutic!

  10. @JenLuvs2Shop
    Haha I'm empted to say perfume is a grey area... well, at least, there is more capacity for a scent to be inimitable than a lipstick. However, in the round, prob still comes within the Beauty 10 Commandments. Thanks! Glad to help a fellow addict!

    Ooh chocolate box style, I like it! Who needs chocolate when you have a pretty eyeshadow right!


  11. Amazing post!! I think I'll have to printed and put it in my room as a reminder x

  12. @Noris hahaha I would love to think that could happen!!! Thanks!!

  13. What an enjoyable read, Gail! Very sensible 'rules' for makeup addicts to live by.

    My gosh, you would actually buy more than one backup?! Six?! I don't think I've gotten to that stage yet. ;) LOL @ taking a photo of a new untouched product for posterity. I think I've been doing that quite often lately, but in my defense, I've been taking the photos for my blog....I'm just documenting my journey. [looking innocent]

  14. @Witoxicity haha yes a blog can mask the difference between healthy and unhealthy levels of makeup enthusiasm! xx Thanks!