Changing Trains

Sixteen. That was how old I was when I started with makeup. Late, I know. I studied in a mission school run by Roman Catholic nuns. We wore uniforms to school and our hair always had to be neat. If you had long hair, it had to be tied up in a neat ponytail or be braided. No makeup. No rings. No bracelets (unless it was for religious reasons). No long fingernails either, let alone nail polish! Watches were allowed and if you had a ponytail, you could tie a pretty ribbon to it. But only black, white or blue.

So, I led a pretty simple carefree teenage life, not having to worry about my image in school or keeping up with the Joneses. Nobody got bullied for looking plain because every student in school was plain! It was an all-girls' school, so there were no boys to impress.

At sixteen however, I developed a mild interest in makeup and I remember asking my mother shyly if I could try some makeup. She thought I was still too young for it but after a long pause, she said, “Some colour on your cheeks would be nice.” And so began my journey.

She bought me a blusher. It was a Revlon, I recall. It was a shade that was a cross between purple and maroon. I felt so pretty the first time I used it. Adult, almost. And I used it too for my Confirmation in church. My mother also let me use her lipstick that day. Just some colour on my cheeks and lips so that I wouldn’t look too pale.

I never progressed further than that in the subsequent few years. It’s funny when I think about it now. I never moved on automatically, as one would expect, to eyeshadows! How strange. It was only when I started working that I did get into eyeshadows in a small way. I can’t recall exactly how it began, but I suspect I must have bought a little drugstore eyeshadow duo. It was probably a Maybelline or L'Oréal. Knowing me, it would have been in a neutral shade, something like brown and black, or light brown and dark brown. Over the years, my eyeshadow colours stayed pretty much the same, although sometime in between, I added a peachy coral shade and it became a trio! Woohoo! I somehow used my instinct about which colour went where. I never really read fashion magazines for ideas and back then, unfortunately (or fortunately!), there was no Youtube. The peachy coral shade went on the upper section of the lid, the brown shade on the lower section of the lid close to the lash (almost lining the eye) and the darkest shade on the outer corner of the eye to give depth. Colour for my lips and I was done!

Well, two small (but in no way insignificant) changes to my routine took place some years later. The first was the addition of an eyelash curler and a clear mascara, introduced to me by a friend who also never used much makeup (Birds of a feather flock together?). My straight lashes wouldn’t have stayed curled for very long if not for the clear mascara.

The second was that I started trimming and shaping my eyebrows and I think that was one of the top turning points in the journey of my beauty awakening. I was so amazed at how my face changed by just having my eyebrows shaped!

So, whatever happened to the blusher, I hear you ask?

Abandoned. Forgotten.

I was plagued with acne problems from my late teenage years and I was advised to stop using makeup on my skin. Hence, the absence of blushers and foundations from my makeup routine for many years. The few times when I did bravely try foundations or blushes turned out disastrously wrong - I broke out in a big way. So, except for my eyes and my lips, the rest of my face was a no-go zone.

A year ago today, I embarked on a search for makeup that wouldn’t cause breakouts. I would have been quite happy trudging along with my no-fuss routine, but I was getting married. Oh gosh, I thought, what am I going to do with makeup for my wedding day?!? I couldn't look plain on my big day! Grit my teeth and apply whatever foundation and blusher and then, regret and suffer with clogged pores and acne for months (or even years) after that? No way, José . I couldn’t let that happen to me again. Not again.

I spent weeks researching on the internet and I learnt for the first time in my life about this thing called mineral makeup. Good for sensitive skin, doesn’t clog pores, doesn’t cause acne. I was sceptical. I've heard those great marketing lines many times before, but I had to try something. Upon further research, I discovered that there were so many mineral makeup companies out there. The choice was bewildering!

I narrowed down the list to four or five and I ordered sample foundations from them. However, despite having the samples, I never really got down to seriously trying them out because I was simply paranoid. What if they DID break me out? It was just a few short months to my wedding day. Well, up till today, they are still sitting neglected in my drawer. Oops!

The one brand that stood out in my research was Jane Iredale. I somehow felt confident about this brand. There were many good reviews for her foundations. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any samples. So, I had to get full-sized foundations. It was a gamble, but I had to give it a shot. Desperado!

I did patch tests at first - one day along my jawline, another day on my temple and yet another day on my forehead. No breakouts. A month on, I gathered my courage and did a full-face application and prayed really hard. No breakouts the next day! Or the day after that! I must say that THAT was the most important beauty awakening moment in my life. It dawned on me that there really does exist a foundation that wouldn't break me out. Alleluia!!

Thanks to the Jane Iredale foundation and blusher, I was able to look radiant and naturally made up for my wedding day. Sigh, Jane Iredale, you are my saviour.

There was no stopping me after that. I have since bought many items from the Jane Iredale range of products, from concealers to blushes and even eyeshadows, and eye products from other brands as well. That Jane Iredale discovery woke me up from my makeup slumber. I was stuck in a rut and I didn't realise it. Ever since then, I've become more vain (yikes!) and I'm now always drawn to beauty and makeup counters when I'm out shopping. Drawn to them like a magnet, much to the amusement (though sometimes displeasure) of my hubby. My eyeshadow collection has expanded (modestly) and while I never owned a single mascara (the clear mascara doesn't count, OK?) and eyeliner a year ago, I now have six mascaras and eight eyeliners in my possession! It's quite scary when I put this into perspective..........but I'm having so much fun!

This has so far been my journey in a nutshell (ahem!). I am such a late bloomer in the world of makeup, no thanks to my history with acne. It's been like a journey on an old drabby train that's been chugging along slowly, at times sputtering. Then, suddenly, I've hopped onto a brand spanking new bullet train with lovely colourful seats!

"Where is it taking me?" I wonder excitedly.


Gail said...

Oh you write beautifully, it was a crime not to have had a blog before now! I am really looking forward to hearing how your journey unfolds!! Great opener! xx

Witoxicity said...

Ah dear Gail, you're too kind. Those are such encouraging words coming from someone who's writing style I so admire! I'm so chuffed that you've become my first blog follower. What a big confidence booster it is! Thank you! :D said...

HAHA! Sounds like someone is finally learning to celebrate her femininity and enjoy being creative with it! At least you dont have awful photos lurking out there of you in drag queen makeup like some of us:P

Witoxicity said...

While it may be true that I don't have photos of myself in garish makeup lurking anywhere, I do have some with ridiculously red lips and even some with dark brown lips! Please bear in mind that I have THICK lips. :D I don't know what was going through my head back then...subconsciously trying to compensate for lack of pizzazz on my eyes and cheeks, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading your posts. So glad you found a foundation that works for you! It's not just that you found a foundation that works but that you were able to feel beautiful & comfortable in your own skin on such an important day.

I started a little late with makeup too. In the last few years, my little makeup bag has grown to a drawer. Be could happen to you too:P

Enjoy your train ride:)

Witoxicity said...

Thank you so much for dropping by, aestheticcoo! I am indeed enjoying my train ride. Like you, I also started with one little makeup bag but now, it's......mayhem!!