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February 2003
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Friday, February 06, 2004
posted by TheBroadroom.Net at 11:05 AM (Pacific)


Things have changed a lot since I was growing up. In the 70's - early 80's period, in the South, I would say most women wore a lot of makeup. And, if you read the beauty magazines (I certainly did), they always had a set routine for you to follow.

The thing is that it's not individual. What works, or is necessary, for one woman, will not work nor be necessary for the next.

I wore plain old foundation for a very long time...I liked it It was either L'Oreal or Almay...since drugstores tend to switch formulas, I always checked out those two brands first and picked something from either (L'Oreal's colors were better than Almay though).

The liquid L'Oreal foundations never give "full" coverage though. I used to think that was kinda bad...because I'd read magazines and the model's skin in them was always absolutely perfect. No freckles, no undereye circles, yadda yadda...

I remember this one day very well. It was years ago. My husband was looking at a picture of the model Carre Otis.

Thinking back on it, it was a beautiful picture. I don't think she was wearing any foundation at all. I don't even remember if she was wearing makeup. It was just a clean, perfect, glowing picture.

Then he took this Chanel ad pic...you know, the flawless complexion ones...and asked me which one I thought looked better.

I was really confused. I mean...all of my life, I have somehow felt that skin should look the way it did in the Chanel pic. Not where you can see freckles. :)

Finally he said that he preferred the Carre Otis pic. I can admit I was surprised.

Since then...I have pondered, off and on, the whole makeup mystique. The Chanel pic, was targeted toward me. The idea being that I would strive to attain that flawless complexion look.

But--the Carre Otis pic may well have been targeted more towards men.

Both faces were naturally beautiful, there's no doubt about it. But the heavily made-up face...the one we're taught is most attractive to men...lost out to the face with next to no makeup on it...when tested on an actual man.

Anyhow back to the individual thing.

The ideal mouth in the 70's was a sort of small, well-shaped, kinda WASP-y :) mouth. I could never do that. It just did not work for me.

My lips are naturally full. Only recently, when full lips became the thing, did I ever consider that having such lips just might be an asset.

But they're the same lips! Did they become more beautiful? No. The times changed, that's all.

I used to hate my eyes. Looking back on it, the ideal eyes from that period are Caucasian type eyes--nice big eyes, big lids, nice crease, yadda yadda...

My eyes have a definite almond shape to them. I have a crease, but it's not a big dramatic crease.

In short, following the same makeup tips for Caucasian eyes--put a medium eyeshadow on the lids, deep shade in crease, light shade to highlight--never worked for me.

The medium shade on the lids, makes my small eyelids next to disappear. I get a beady-eyed appearance.

Doing a full crease with a deep color, likewise, does not work. It only works if you have more crease to begin with.

Light shade to highlight...not a bad idea, but again, it doesn't apply to me. My browbones don't need highlighting. I like to put a little bit of a highlight color right under the arch of my eyebrows, or else nothing.

Lining...we were taught to line the entire eye. Women wore eyeliner all the way around the eyes back then.

But for me that doesn't work either. I rarely line the entire upper lid--just the outer third or so. And I never line the lower lid at all.

Mascara--is supposed to be a required cosmetic. But I don't like mascara. So I don't use it.

I have Asian eyelashes--they're straight. I stood out when I was a kid in Virginia. I was the only "white" girl in the class with straight eyelashes.

And I have Asian eyebrows. They aren't heavy like Caucasian eyebrows. So the advice about how to pluck and shape your eyebrows, never applied to me.

Basically it took me a while, but I concluded that no one race was the standard of beauty. Having all-Caucasian features, or contorting my own features to try to make them look Caucasian, would not necessarily make me beautiful.

I mean it took me years and years to understand that...that there was a whole world out there. That conforming to a narrow set of standards was...stupid.

I suppose it hit me most when I came out here to California. Because California is...California.

That was the first time in my life that I ever saw, up close, so many different kinds of people. It was dizzying at first.

And Northern Cal is different from Southern Cal. In SoCal, people are very into makeup..and they're good at it. Northern California has more of the natural look. But California overall, particularly at that time...was a revelation to me.

The people were...wealthy. This was the height of the California gravy train and the height of Hong Kong. More than wealthy...they were sophisticated. They looked good. I was very impressed.

Of course all of that has changed now. When Hong Kong went back to China, I was amazed at how quickly the Hong Kong Chinese disappeared. In less than a year's time...those beautiful, sophisticated people...who had come from Shanghai to begin with (I have no idea where they were before then)--simply vanished.

More slowly, the rest of the people of San Francisco changed too. I don't like going there now. What can I say? The place has changed. I still see a lot of the San Franciscans, but usually not in San Francisco.

Oh well. What was I talking about?

Oh yeah. It was at that point that I started to realize how brainwashed I really was.

Why had I thought I would have to become something I'm not, in order to be beautiful?

Was it that easy to brainwash people? Just go around repeating the same thing over and over again...that such-and-such coloring or features were beautiful--perhaps more beautiful than such-and-such coloring and features?

On what basis?

Since then...yes, I have been fascinated by these concepts.

One is that what women think is attractive to men--may well be more attractive to women than to men.

e.g. the "flawless complexion" is a concept that is much more sold to women than it is to men.

Two is the notion that people--women particularly--their idea of what is beautiful, can be so easily determined by...marketing. Women particularly because the marketing is much more aimed at us.

Three is what a waste of time it is, to try conforming to what someone else tells you is beautiful, rather than thinking for yourself.

That is today's deep thought. :)