the ask@AAR: Do you care how you look? (I do!)

I grew up in peak beauty tip times. Every magazine, newspaper, and friend’s older sister shared how to look better. Starting in junior high, my friends and I spent hours in the drugstore cosmetics aisles, spending our babysitting money on peppermint Lip Smackers, shimmery blue nail polish from Covergirl, Love’s Baby Soft, and Great Lash (it came out in 1971). I used lemon halves on my elbows, slathered myself in Noxema, and wondered if I should try the Grapefruit diet. (I did not.)

Me at 18 with too much concealer on!

Part of it was the culture–for all that we were counterculture*, we still really really wanted boys** to like us. But part of it was me. I’ve always loved makeup although I think the point of it is to look as though your more attractive self isn’t wearing any.

In my 30s, I was an actual makeup artist for Prescriptives (I kept trying to get my clients to wear less) and I’ve done the makeup for my friends and family when they’ve gotten wed. I am one of those people who, every day, puts on tinted sunscreen, lipstick, and earrings if I’m leaving the house. It makes me happy.

What does not make me happy, however, is spending a lot of money on skin care and makeup. It’s always seemed unnecessary to me. (The best part of working for Prescriptives was the free stuff!) Most skin care products are utter crap (and I say that as someone whose husband is a plastic surgeon) and most makeup is wildly overpriced. (IMHO)

So, for no reason other than I was thinking about how much I love my lipstick this morning, I thought I’d share my favorite beauty products and ask if you have any you love.

I can’t use Retin-A, which my husband the plastic surgeon will tell you is the best skin care product known to woman. Unfortunately, my skin thanks to my Ehlers Danlos is too thin. I do, however, use a daily retinol lotion from Beauty Pie. I love Beauty Pie. Almost all my skin care comes from there–their products are affordable, they don’t irritate my skin, and I love how they make me feel. My favorite products are their Super Retinol and Soul Providers body scrub. I’ve recommended their stuff to many and everyone seems to be happy–even my sons use them!

I didn’t start using a moisturizer until last year other than Vaseline to take off my eye makeup. But this year, my skin got too dry and needed something more for the day time. So, my one real splurge is Bobbi Brown’s Vitamin Enriched Face Base. It’s amazing stuff but I do hate the price. I’m currently searching for something like this but cheaper but, as yet, have been unsuccessful.

I swear by Supergoop! Mineral Mattescreen. I’m not a foundation wearer but I like a tiny bit of coverage. I add a tiny bit of shimmer to it using Beauty Pie’s ProGlo and I’m good to go. If you don’t care about the tint, my daughter says Trader Joe’s offers the same sunscreen for even less money. I set my face with loose power–Neutrogena makes one I like–because I’ve oily-ish skin and because my mother taught me to hate a shiny nose.

For makeup, I’m a minimalist. I use a Beauty Pie cream blush, Covergirl lipstick, and NYX smoke eyeliner. If I want to jazz it up, I have a drawer full of inexpensive lipsticks that I sometimes play with.

Now, I’m sure some of you are thinking WTF? Don’t I know that seeking beauty is a hallmark of the patriarchy? Is there shaming involved? And to you, I say, that’s not how I see it. AND, I promise, next week’s ask will be back on topic.

In the meantime, if there are any beauty buffs out there, what are your favorites?

* Heh. It’s a pun.

** I didn’t meet my first out lesbian until college so my early life was, as most my age, exceedingly heteronormative.

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