Occasionally during the week, I’d catch sight of myself in a mirror, devoid of makeup, and think, Where did my eyes go? But as the days wore on, it felt remarkably liberating to just get up . . . and go.
I also began to forget that I didn’t have my face on, so I became increasingly less self-conscious. If I didn’t give my low-maintenance look any thought, then neither did anyone else. I questioned my assumptions: Did anyone honestly care if I was wearing makeup? Did they treat me any differently when I was au naturel? I was surprised to find that the answer was no, not really. The only person giving it a moment’s thought was . . . me.
But as this exercise wound down, I realized that what I think is what matters most. And the truth is, I just feel better—prettier and more professional—when I’ve given myself every cosmetic advantage. My low-maintenance mother says I was born this way—that as a toddler, I’d insist on a change of hair bow just as she was trying to hurry my twin sister and me out the door. “But what’s wrong with your yellow one?” Mom would plead, one foot in the car. “It doesn’t match my dress,” I’d wail. So as much as I grasp the convenience of dialing it back, I won’t be doing it regularly. I like looking my best and enjoy every moment of the primping process.
A Minimalist Goes Glam
By Jennifer Laing
I’ve been a beauty writer for 20 years, but for the past decade my office has been a desk in the living room. That means my work wardrobe is jeans and a T-shirt, and my grooming routine is similarly low-key: cleanser, tinted moisturizer, cream blush, eyebrow pencil, some lip balm. I blow-dry my own hair, and I wear nail polish . . . almost never. So when More asked me to switch routines with Jacqui Stafford—who appears on TV regularly and is never without impeccable hair and makeup—I knew I was in for beauty boot camp.
First, there was the e-mail from Jacqui detailing her daily routine. It began, “Jen, don’t panic,” and went on to enumerate a long list of cosmetics and -personal-care items. Next, a bag of these “Jacqui products” arrived, jammed with scented body wash and lotion, five bottles of nail color, three bottles of moisturizer, an eyelash curler—you get the picture. Then I received a schedule of Jacqui’s maintenance appointments, which include blowouts at an Upper East Side salon and regular visits to not one but two dermatologists. I was overwhelmed, but also a bit excited.
My new daily routine started with Erbe Lavender shower gel, followed by an application of Jo Malone Grapefruit body cream. Both were divine, and as Jacqui promised, they transformed a ho-hum morning washup into a spa-level experience.
I could have lingered in the shower just inhaling the aromas, but there was makeup to put on—and a lot of it: an Olay CC cream, a Clé de Peau concealer, a T. LeClerc pressed powder, an Urban Decay eyeshadow primer, several Bobbi Brown eyeshadows, two Nars blushes, a Make Up For Ever concealer pencil, a By Terry eyeliner, a Maybelline mascara, a Shiseido lip color and a Chanel lip gloss. According to Jacqui, applying all this would take me just six and a half minutes. It took 20. By the time I was done, my son was late for preschool and I still hadn’t made the bed or cleaned up the breakfast dishes. Telling myself to start earlier the next morning, I raced out the door. As I was leaving the school, another mom asked where I was going all dressed up. Since I was wearing my usual jeans and a T-shirt, she was obviously responding to my Olympic-level makeup. I took this as positive reinforcement.
Jacqui’s weekly routine also included two salon blowouts. So I went to her favorite spot, where Nurten, Jacqui’s stylist, did a fabulous job: My hair was bouncy, with a hard-to-achieve-on-your-own bend at the ends. Checking myself in a window, I had to admit I did look better.
The makeup application got easier as the week wore on, but I never came close to Jacqui’s record time. What’s more, by the end of the day, I was dying to wash everything off.