I love makeup, it is known. My love of beauty supplies has been acknowledged and accepted or ridiculed by my friends and family for many, many years. I have hosted many days of beau-tay, involving everything from facials and makeovers to hair dye and styling. Friends have had me do their makeup for special occasions, and I've even had the privilege of being asked to do my best friend's and a cousin's makeup at their weddings.
I honestly cannot remember a time in which I wasn't fascinated by articles about the latest beauty trends, spent way too much time in the drugstore makeup aisle, or said "no" when offered a free product demo/makeover. Most people have something they spend more money than they should on, and for me that something has been makeup.
Despite my love of cosmetics, I have never considered myself an expert of any kind. I have watched many a makeover show, read many a beauty tips magazine article, even watched the video and read the cards that came with that Victoria Jackson makeup kit I bought back in the dark ages (the 90s, from an infomercial!), but haven't really practiced these techniques regularly. I love making recommendations of products, especially when I find something I love, but I'm not a professional, and the only face I feel truly comfortable applying makeup on is my own. I love it when folks let me make them over, and trust that I won't make them look like clowns, but I know I'm not contouring their faces or hiding any imperfections as well as a professional could.
I know I'm a geek about makeup, but finding others with my same obsession has been tough. All of my really close friends indulge me, but none of them get as excited as I do over a new limited edition release, or know their favorite eyeshadow shades by name. The closest I came to finding others who shared my love of cosmetics was at department store makeup counters - but those people were always trying to sell me something. Ditto with those at-home cosmetics sales ladies. I thought we were bonding over finding the best mascara ever, but they were just trying to recruit me into their pyramid scheme sales team. Thankfully we now live in an age where everything is easily searchable, so the resources for beauty junkies like me to find others with the same obsessions have dramatically increased.
Not too long ago, I was trying to give myself an early '60s look, and went on YouTube looking for a tutorial on applying false lashes, the one thing I had never quite gotten right. That search opened me up to the world of YouTube beauty gurus. Since I fell down that rabbit hole, I have spent most of the time I used to spend playing mindless games on my computer watching beauty tutorials. They help me relax at night, and a lot of them are quite funny.
The thing is, a lot of these YouTube beauty gurus are really, really young. It seems like most of them were born after I graduated high school, and several are still in high school. They are personable and funny and most of their makeup collections make mine seem really insignificant (they have makeup ROOMS, I have a tiny desk), but I wasn't really learning anything I hadn't already picked up from reading beauty/fashion magazines. So I started searching, and discovered a group of British professional makeup artists that I now feel are my friends. Even though we've never met. Or interacted in any real way.
Among my new "friends" are two sisters, Samantha and Nicola Chapman, who have a channel (and a blog) called Pixiwoo. They are both professional makeup artists and have been for 10+ years. I love their knowledge, sense of humor, and their accent. Yesterday I was doing my thing, watching videos to empty my mind/relax, and saw their latest posting on Male Grooming and Make-Up. The video is worth checking out if only for the fact that Nic (yes, I call her that, we're "friends") is working on a male model who is super good looking. Anyway, watching her working on him reminded me of my first model, the person besides myself that I practiced all my skills on - my lovely father.
I have always been a Daddy's girl. My father was widowed when I was very young, and didn't remarry until I was teen, so there were many years where he had to play a double role with me. He played tea party with me, gamely ate all my early experiments at cooking (I still don't know how he ate my first attempt at shortbread cookies, he had a stomach of steel) and somehow even weathered puberty without killing me. But most importantly in this tale of a makeup geek: he was my first model.
There was many a Saturday night that if I wasn't attending or hosting a slumber party, I would kill the time by offering to give my father beauty treatments while we watched a video. Thankfully, my father would more often than not give in to my flights of fancy. At first I think it was to shut me up (I was pretty persistent) but I'd like to think after awhile he came to enjoy the free grooming and facials. I don't think he ever really enjoyed the hair styling and makeup applications, but he would patiently sit through it all. He let me give him facials, curl his hair, try to cover his gray, pluck his eyebrows, apply makeup, and paint his nails. Except to loudly complain when I whipped out the tweezers to turn his uni brow into two distinct things, he was the perfect model. Among the various looks I styled for him, I turned my father into a punk, Born in the USA-era Bruce Springsteen, and Santa. I won't embarrass the man by posting some of the after shots, but they exist.
My father takes longer than I do to get ready every morning - he takes longer styling his hair than I do with mine! I don't know if all those years of serving as my model awoke some love of grooming in him, or if I just didn't notice his preexisting love as a kid. He loves getting new products and gets a weekly manicure. My father has always been a history geek, but I think he may be a bit of a latter day beauty geek as well. Either way, my geeky tendencies were definitely inherited.
Dad still lets me give him facials and attack him with tweezers. We live in different countries and don't see each other as often as I'd like, but that doesn't make him any less of an important presence in my life. Last year was the first Father's Day we got to spend together in a long time, and it was lovely to be able to treat both of us to a day of beau-tay, together. Things were a bit different, this time we went to the nail salon instead of me painting his nails 5 different colors, but the overall tradition of my father patiently letting me test my amateur cosmetology skills on him continued.
So basically what I'm trying to say is, I really, really love my Dad, and I think I lucked out with him. Sure, he can infuriate me more easily than anyone else I know, but he also gives the best hugs, and is a pretty good model. I thank him for norturing my makeup geekdom. Happy Father's Day.