Making Up Is Hard To Do

Sunny Frazier 5Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today with her thoughts on the comfort of putting on one’s face.

The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, is in bookstores now.   //

Last month I wrote about giving up multi-tasking. Today, I’m sitting outside getting some sun, topping off the pool (despite the threat of rising water rates), drinking oolong tea and writing today’s column. So much for good intentions.

The topic for today is cosmetics. I’m a fan. I must be as I have quite a collection. I even cleaned out my medicine cabinet so I could fill the shelves with lipsticks, foundations, eye shadows, face creams and fingernail polish. Sometimes I just open it up to gloat over my treasures. Walgreen’s and Revlon are making a fortune off of me.

But, there have to be limits. The other day I was standing in line at Subway to order a meatball sandwich on Italian bread when I happened to glance at two customers down the line. I bent toward the short woman my age standing next to me and soto-voiced said, “What’s with all these fake eyelashes?”

We both covertly looked at the young women. Their racks of lashes reached out, obscenely thick, obviously fake, distractingly ugly. My new friend and I smirked at each other and rolled our eyes in tandem.

I’m not sure when this trend took hold and spread so widely. Is it the Kardashian effect, the result of HD TV or just this season’s focus? Some years it’s the smoky eye, some years neon lipstick. Right now beauty is defined by lashes that crawl on the face like spiders. Spider lashes.

You have to be young to get away with trends. A young face is a blank canvas. It hasn’t achieved character lines yet so young women experiment with manufactured color. When I was 18, “Toast” was my favorite shade of lipstick. It gave a shimmery, if anemic, look. I remember doing white eyeliner when it came over from London. I even used a brow pencil to dot fake freckles on the bridge of my nose to look cute. I never could do mascara; my lashes are long and the stuff just smudged my glasses.

My mother loved makeup and refused to be seen without it. She put on her face first thing in the morning and wore it all day, even if she never left the house. She had porcelain skin but smoking took its toll. It was her firm belief that her pancake makeup should be 3 shades darker than normal and chided me for choosing “ivory,” which is my natural tone. She also loved blue eyeshadow even after it went out of fashion. Red lipstick, always bright red.

Fools Rush In 2One thing from her era I’ve never understood is drawn-on eyebrows. I’ve never even plucked mine since they are always hidden under a fringe of bangs. I think they are reasonably pretty, as far as facial hair goes. I find myself checking out the brows of other women, fascinated with the pains they go to making weird crayon lines over their eyes. At first I thought just women of the previous generation were victim to this unfortunate trend, but I’m seeing more young women following suit. It looks silly.

Makeup has been around as long as civilization. Cleopatra was no slouch in that department. Marie Antoinette took it to new heights with fake beauty marks and hair up to here. Elizabeth I slathered on white lead makeup, which ate away skin. It hurts to be beautiful.

No matter what the promises from the manufacturers, no makeup is going to erase the fine lines, the demarcation of a life well-lived and a face well-lived in. I still use makeup but strive to make it look like I don’t. I go for a “natural” look. The foundation barely covers but has an spf 15, lipstick is a light rose called Sugar Plum, blush is a pink cream and the lightest violet on the eyelids. I want people to see me, or a better version of me–not a mask.

22 thoughts on “Making Up Is Hard To Do

  1. You know what? I like your multitasking — getting some sun, topping off your pool, drinking oolong tea, and writing your column. I could go for that especially on nice days like today. 🙂
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal – Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews


  2. This one made me laugh. Nothing can cover up all my wrinkles. I have a granddaughter who sells cosmetics and one of the most popular items is a mascara that looks like false eyelashes. If I wore something like that I’m sure I’d look very strange.


    • They have mascara that does that? Well, that’s a new one on me. I just can’t get on board with this trend but it seems to have taken hold. What next, I wonder?


  3. The title of your post is just as great as the title of your books, and they are GREAT. Sunny, besides books, I am a make up, skin care addict, and like you, at my age, I try to make it look au naturel. I stopped wearing powder because it goes into my lines, and I wear very little foundation, but I have to have my eye pencils, eye shadows, lip liners, and lipsticks, and many anti aging products. Thank you for this neat post ( store your cosmetics in a dry cool place.


  4. LOVED this post! You made me laugh. I don’t wear makeup too often because it makes my eyes so tired (does that happen to anyone else?), but when I do I love soft colors that don’t look too bad on a forty-something face. I, too, used to wear the almost-brown lipstick with lip liner, but now I opt for a light pink gloss. And my son has the most gorgeous eyelashes, but he didn’t get them from me. Just remember to take the makeup off every night!!


  5. Thanks for giving me a chuckle. Great post! However, I can answer the drawn on eyebrow question. My real hair color is blonde. Well, so is the dyed hair. But the issue is that my eyebrows are so light that I look like I don’t have any. Same for my eyelashes. Consequently, the eyebrow pencil and mascara companies make a wad off me. : ) Just thought I’d mention it. I’ve been accused of shaving off my eyebrows because they’re too light to see without pencil. ) Oh, and I’m like your mother. Make-up goes on whether I go anywhere or not and stays on until I wash it off at night.


    • This is cute! I know about the eyebrows. I have dark hair, or I once had dark hair ( now it has quite a lot of grey), but my eyebrows are naturally thin and have always been relatively light.


  6. I only wear makeup when I’m going somewhere special. It could be because I’m home more than I’m out so I don’t see the point. Plus I feel like you do Sunny, natural is better.


  7. I really enjoyed this post! I had to smile when reading about your Mom. I think my Mom thought it was a mortal sin not to have her lipstick on– even when cooking breakfast. I smiled but I’m definitely her daughter as I don’t go out of the house without my lipstick on. Now that I’m retired I skip the foundation occasionally to let my face breathe ( or because I’m being lazy) but never no lipstick.💄💋💄


    • Since I moved to my small town of Lemoore, I don’t feel the need to do much to go out. I do put on foundation and yes, lipstick is a must, even though it seems to wear off too fast. I also need a bit of blush so I don’t look anemic. There’s a certain amount of freedom to choosing to go out without putting on a full face.


  8. Well being prior military the lipstick was part of the uniform and still is to me. Eyelashes, never wore them but for the most part ladies get the semi perms or perms at their salons done. Each lash is placed and glued. The finest are mink. Usually only the young kids get the store brands. At least that is what I’m told.


    • I had no idea! Ridiculous. We had a woman in our bootcamp company who got up extra early to put fake lashes on. In bookcamp!


    • Yes, yes, Tammy Faye! The older we get ( and Sunny, we are the same age) ; we need to lighten up on the type and the amount we wear. I stopped using mascara ( only if I go out- out), which is rare, but I still use my eye pencils and eye shadows, and blush, and sometimes foundation. I spend mucho tiempo on my skin care ( cleansers, serums, moisturizers and spf).
      And my lippies.


  9. Well, this was happy, fresh post to read. I wish I could lounge around while writing one the way you have. I honestly still spend hours writing anything. I think I’m a naturally bad writer who is just so persistent I always get something out that’s at least reasonable, but it is with stress and hard work. I envy you. I used to wear artificial eyelashes. They were in style when I was in my thirties. They were not thick like the ones I see cropping up now. I actually liked them, but they were sometimes hard to get glued on.


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