I knew nothing – nothing about makeup, that is. Most of what I had had been given to me, and wasn’t the best quality, and my daywear consisted of eyeliner and mascara – job done.

So I turned to the internet for help (my mum certainly wouldn’t’ve been any use) and watched youtube videos. Seriously? Yes, seriously. I learnt how to put on makeup from youtube videos. I also researched products and read reviews. I tried on samples in department stores and rated whether waterproof eye makeup was really waterproof and how long the lippy lasted (crucial: lipsticks never last any time on me and I intended to be (and indeed come the day did find myself) kissing and eating and drinking).

I learnt how to put on mascara to full effect (false lashes were a no-no), lipstick to hide a thin upper lip, what “primer” was, and what “lighteners” were – because foundation was something I was also adamanent against: I had never wore it, except when acting at 13, and I wasn’t going to cover up my freckles with a mask so that I looked nothing like myself on the day. If the photos were awful as a result, at least they’d be honest!

I looked at colours and decided to be adventurous, to get a purplish lipstick to compliment my dress – a new colour for me (besides the vivid Haloween purples). I wanted to keep my eyes more natural and went for brown liners and mascaras instead of my usual black. At my grandparents’ house, I tore a picture out of their telegraph of a woman with lovely soft brown eye makeup, and stuck it to a piece of cardboard; likewise I made two Audrey Hepburn “eyebrow” cards – and used these on the day for makeup guidance. This worked really well, as I had a clear idea what I was doing and could refer and compare as I worked. I’d recommend!

In the end, I bought and used rather a lot of makeup, although I didn’t compromise any principles and give in to pressure to wear foundation (immense!). I also acquired some of it for free! Here is the collection:

From left to right and in order of application:

1. Primer (in a little lip salve tin). I actually stole this from the shops in lots of tiny bits of free sample, which I collected together until I had enough. I thought I might as well apply some in case it helped the make up stay, and since it didn’t budge on the day, I can only presume it worked!

2. Lightener for round my eyes, brown bones, nose, outlining lips, et cetera. Bought from the Body Shop. Mine is the lightest shade as I’m really pale behind the freckles.

3. Powder, just to lightly dust my face (not to look like vampire). This is just something I had lying around. It’s just ordinary talc.

4. Blusher and eyeshadow, with lots of brushes. The brushes I bought from the Works for £2, since I needed some new, pointy ones and it’s so much cheaper to get ordinary brushes rather than makeup ones! The blusher I’ve had since I was about 13 and was given to me by my mum at the time, but I was only applying a little and like the colour, so I didn’t feel the need to buy a new one. The blusher my grandma got free from somewhere and sent to me, supposing I wouldn’t really use it, not knowing that it was in just the colours I’d had in mind!

5. Lipliner and sharpener – old sharpener, and liner bought from the Body Shop to match the new colour of my lipstick. It’s actually a bit darker, and when I coloured in my lips before putting on the lipstick, I looked like a child who’d been at the strawberry jam – disastrous! Luckily my manytrials had forewarned me about this, and I wasn’t phased.

6. Lipfinity lasting lip stuff and gloss coating – an excellent buy (online) and the only long lasting variety I had tried which could withstand two let alone three of eating, drinking and kissing. I bought ‘Iced’ 160 and love the colour – just that slight bit purpley and soft in colour. Donald recommended I go for a stronger version of my lip colour and more natural look, but my lips are very red and again, this just looked like a strawberry jam disaster, so I said No.

7. Eyeliners – I bought a brown waterproof one online for a couple of quid and, because it was a lighter brown than my hair colour, added definition with a touch of black liquid liner, which I could add as a very fine line.

8. Waterproof mascara – I got a black one free from the Body Shop when I bought other make up, but wanted brown, and my mum picked this up for me. It was good stuff, but I didn’t like the brush, so I removed the brush from an old Maybelline mascara, washed it, and used that for good application.

9. Lip gloss, again from the Body Shop, which was a bit more purpley than the lipstick and very sparkly, adding a nice gloss! It did come off pretty quickly, but I expected that and it was only a frivolous addition. It lasted until the kiss!

Not made up (the “basis function”):

The wedding day – partly made up (the freaky state):

Halfway through the reception (and after a little wear and tear):

I’ve never understood girls who have their hair or makeup professionally done for a ball or a night out, but a wedding was the one time I might have justified it – but didn’t. Guy would never have understood, and furthermore, I didn’t want to. I especially didn’t want to have no choice over the products, nothing left to show for it and an argument over foundation. Wedding morning stress could easily be achieved in my case by having a stranger all over my face and being forced to trust them completely and not interfere…! At one point after reading a discussion on a forum, I actually had a nightmare about my mum and best man forcing me to have my make up done and making me late for the wedding. It was my one and only wedding nightmare.

So I was always going to do my own makeup, even if I knew nothing. And it is one of the things I am most satisfied with… I look back at my photos and the faultlessness of the makeup, and think, wow, I did that. I did that from scratch, knowing nothing at all about it, learning slowly, using resources from round the world, practising, trying products, and I got there – I learnt enough. I achieved something. I was able to look like me and only wear the makeup I was comfortable in, but still do a good, lasting job. And of that, I am proud.


About RowenaFW

I am a Fish. But you wouldn't know it just from looking at me. View all posts by RowenaFW

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