Sunday, August 24, 2008

Welcome to My Makeup Mindset...

...and do excuse the fact that this mindset looks a bit barren at the moment. I am, essentially, a blogging newbie, and it will take me a little time to get things set up the way I want them. So, please be patient, and I promise it will be worth the wait.

Despite the fact that the layout of this blog is incomplete, I wanted to introduce myself and let you know a bit about what to expect in the coming days. Of course, you can read a little about me in the aptly titled "About Me" section, but what I can write there is limited to a certain number of characters, and I don't think a description of ANYONE can be limited that way!

So, who am I and why should you care about what I have to say about makeup? After all, as I've noted, I'm not a professional makeup artist, and I am not affiliated in any way with any makeup brand. Instead, my life is rather ordinary at this time. I am in my mid-30s, and I'm currently a medical writer for an academic biotech institute in North Carolina - I write and edit scientific manuscripts, grant applications, book chapters. Basically, if a piece of written communication is heading out of the institute, I am usually involved at some level. Before that, I was a scientist, working away at the laboratory bench, attempting to find ways to improve cancer treatment.

However, I love makeup, and I have loved it since my first eyeshadows, liners, and mascaras were purchased at CVS with saved up allowances at ten or eleven years old. I do not know where my love of cosmetics came from, as all of the women in my family go makeup-free 95% of the time, and often, when getting ready for a fancy party, my mother would ask me how to bring her "face" from the jar to herself.

But somehow, the makeup gene was passed to me anyway, and I love everything about makeup. I love the feel, the smell, the look of the packaging. A soft powder brush gliding over the skin is one of life's greatest pleasures for me. For the last 20 or so years I have tried countless products, countless looks. I have read all kinds of beauty magazines and websites. I've gone through glamourous phases, natural phases, and all the phases of "faces" in between. I have I've developed favorites of all sorts, and I've hated some products so much that I've thrown them out after one use. You will hear about all of this, as I will continue to try new things - my beauty routine is not a static thing, but an ever-changing adventure. Sifting through these products is like panning for gold; there is always that delicious anticipation of finding that glittering, perfect nugget of a product.

I love doing makeup for a lot of reasons. First, it's my artistic outlet these days. My life is, essentially, technical - as a scientist and now a science writer, everything must be logical, scientific, structured. My left brain talks all day - but that leaves my right brain begging for its say. When I was younger, with that expanse of time waiting to be filled, I would draw, paint, and take craft classes to get into that right-sided world where logic and structure are optional. But today's grown-up world is different - my job requires a lot, I own a house that must be cared for, there are errands to do and bills to pay. There is precious little time to sleep, much less work on a painting or sketch the trees outside my window. There is, however, that little chunk of time in the morning when I'm getting ready for work - I can take my blushes and shadows and begin to paint. My face becomes a canvas for combinations of colors inspired by life - a floral arrangement, those trees outside, an ad in a magazine. Taking my makeup brushes and dipping them into my little pots of makeup is my art.

I also love makeup because it reminds me that I am a woman. Since college, I have lived and worked in a male-dominant world. I went to MIT and majored in nuclear engineering, and then went to UCLA to get my Ph.D. in biomedical physics - obviously, with those disciplines, I had to get used to being the only woman in the room. Then, as I continued in science, I stopped noticing I was the only woman in the room. In science, everyone becomes a colleague, and people's sex, including your own, fades to black. In science, for lots of reasons, it is very easy to lose yourself. Makeup, for me, is a lifeline back to reality - putting it on reminds me that I am a woman, a sensual being, and an original.

I like to think that these 20 years of makeup practice has given me a lot of knowledge - recently, people have begun to ask me how to do their makeup, and so I thought perhaps it was time to begin to share what I know.

I would also like to share something else here, and that is the fact that, while mainstream brands like MAC, Dior, Smashbox, and the like are fun and pretty, there are other options... options that may be better for us in many ways. Importantly, in today's faltering economy, these other options are much less expensive, and will allow more people to experience the sensuality of makeup. When you think about it, paying $24 for a mascara or $14.50 for an eyeshadow really is outrageous, and while these brands certainly have nice things to offer, they are out of reach for many. I have purchased some of these brands in the past, and will probably occasionally use them here in this blog...but I really want to focus on smaller, indie brands with excellent quality and lower price tags.

I hope that this blog is enjoyable for all who come here... and I promise that some "real" makeup posts are coming soon (as well as a fancier, prettier layout to look at).

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