My Thousand-Dollar Face

An appointment with a makeup artists prompts a barrage of products and a some soul searching.

by Jan • More.com Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

My lips needed to be moisturized, plumped and “prepared” with three products, costing $18, $22 and $7. Did I mention I use ChapStick, and when I’m really rolling in the dough, the Burt’s Bees version?

Now done with prep which, Gwen intimated, is absolutely crucial to setting the stage for facial appearance bliss and in general, to a life well lived

First step in the next stage — Makeup Concealers, which are different from the Skin Care Concealers. I was too intimidated to ask Gwen how they differ; they just do. I think they have more pigment, a word I have never used until now. One concealer (from a tiny pot, $45) was sponged beneath my eyes and over the fine lines above my upper lip. (Yeah, I smoke, so lock me up or report me to New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.) Another concealing “essence” ($110) was applied with a brush ($22) to the dark outer corners of my eyes, as opposed to the general eye area. If I am counting right, five separate things had now been applied to my eyes, and we hadn’t gotten to actual color yet.

Next came the actual face foundation, which entailed an agonizing selection process involving formulas and shades, discussion of applicators (brushes vs. sponges vs. fingers).  I think I dozed off during this part. Finally, application of a “lifting” foundation “specially selected” for my many facial faults ($37 per bottle).  At this point Gwen had me look in a hand mirror to admire the perfect palette that now comprised the canvas for applying actual color to my face. I literally recoiled. I looked truly tragic … a scary white blob. It is true that my skin showed no blemishes, discolorations, lines, bags, puffiness, dents, large pores or other imperfections. It also showed no life whatsoever. I could have auditioned for a Zombie video.

But I am not being fair, commenting on an incomplete canvas. Gwen actually showed modest enthusiasm (a hint of a smile) when it came to the Blush category, calling it the most important face lifter. Blushes come in several formulations (cream, gel, cream-to-powder, tiny pots of what our grandmothers used to call “rouge,” etc.), but she skipped the tryouts (thank you, God!) declaring only the powder version would work for me. She chose a shade I would normally never consider (kind of a bright fuschia), saying it would tone down in the application.  (Small powder compact cost $45; brush applicator, $34.) She demonstrated an application technique I had never before seen (and could never duplicate). It involved starting at the hairline, then sweeping in and out in a figure-eight pattern down the side of the face (repeated on the other side). Could this possibly imitate real color dispersion … on a human face? When she proudly held up the mirror to display this handiwork, I let out a peep. I looked like Bette Davis in “Baby Jane,” and said so.  She attempted to tone it down with a clean “correcting” brush ($22), but it still screamed makeup to me. 

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