Make-up Scavenger

Ha. As if.

I’m a make-up scavenger. My “collection,” if you can call it that, includes several tubes of chapstick wrapped with promo copy of local banks and fundraisers, a few Clinique relics that came with my mother’s kits ten years ago, the vestiges of several Halloween costumes, and a few hand-me-downs from better equipped friends. I don’t think I own a single item that I picked up in a store, decided I wanted, and purchased. Not even nail polish.

I feel like I missed out on some essential pieces of girl-knowledge, the ability to choose a palette of shadows, to know what an eye primer is, to discern quality from junk. Then I get irritated with myself for attributing too much weight to what is, essentially, a super heteronormative view point in which women are supposed to pay big bucks to make themselves look pretty for the benefit of men. That’s not a tradition I really want to be a part of, nor an industry to which I really want to give my dollars. Except when I do.

This weekend I spent more money on make-up in one fell swoop than I have in the last five years combined. By American beauty-spending standards, I’m still in the “mere pennies” category, but it felt like a lot in the moment. I was with a friend, in a Georgetown Sephora, and I was suddenly possessed by the desire to have more at my disposal than cast-offs.

It felt like a change, like a step closer to grown-up land. I’m not just a scavenger of make-up. I approach most commodities that way, furniture, food, clothing, books. Probably half of what I own was owned by someone else first. Sometimes I go to work without packing lunch, assuming I’ll find a leftover bagel from a breakfast event, or the remains of a fruit salad. Part of it is certainly frugality, but part of it is also this inability to recognize that I’m at a stage in my life where I can by new things, where the $6 saved by the stale bagel isn’t going to break the bank. I haven’t full transitioned.

So my make-up purchase this weekend felt like a step towards the adult mentality of investment (in self, in professionalism, in quality), instead of my typical scanvenger mindset. In that sense, I’m pretty pleased. But it also felt a bit like a resigned sigh, like an acknowledgment that part and parcel of being a professional, adult woman is some sort of proficiency with face-paint.

Related Post: I don’t know how to shop anymore.

Related Post: Too pretty for math? It’s math!

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Filed under Body Image, Gender

5 responses to “Make-up Scavenger

  1. Well said. I’m a bit of a makeup scavenger too. I sometimes buy things with more intention, but only under the influence of others. I bought an eyelash curler in China when charmed by a fun Chinese salesgirl. It came with mascara, which I continue to use even though it’s probably past its time. I always buy the same full-face product, Clinique City Block, and I’ve asked people to bring it for me from the airport’s duty free shop. But I’ve never learned all the tricks of smashing makeup. My inner sorority girl is still slightly disappointed. But that inner sorority girl also loves having more skilled people make her over. At least I wear full makeup so rarely that no one has gotten used to seeing me in it. I’ve always thought that wearing tons of makeup on an everyday basis was an excellent way to dull the effect when you’re really dressed up for something special!

  2. Pingback: Advice from a Make Up Artist | rosiesaysblog

  3. I love the weekends when I can wake-up late without having to do my hair or wear any make-up. I do so in the name of maintaining a “professional appearance.” Too bad our natural are not good enough for he professional work place.

  4. Pingback: “Don’t worry, we’ll get it all fixed” | rosiesaysblog

  5. Pingback: It’s telling that they call it “cover-up” | rosiesaysblog

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