Am I An Adult Woman If I Can’t Handle Sephora?

So, news alert: I went into the gaping maw that is Sephora last night, for maybe the second time in my life, and I offer this as a follow-up, albeit inconclusive, to the question Logan posed this summer, “Is Sephora a Dream or Our National Nightmare?”

I was having one of those moments where you’re walking down the street on your way to somewhere and you glance into Sephora and think, “Is tonight the night I start wearing lipstick and instantly become a more attractive version of myself for the mere price of $36, or should I keep walking?” Well I don’t know what came over me, but last night I shifted from foot to foot, took a swig of my water bottle, then dashed in.

I’d just returned every single item of clothing I’d bought on a winter clothes shopping trip a few weekends ago, so I figured why not spend all the money I’d just gotten back? It’s basically free money. It’s not like I don’t have to buy a $500 plane ticket and Christmas presents for everyone I know in the next month, not to mention make Thanksgiving dinner in five days for the most awkward group of people imaginable (okay, not really, but it’s going to be me, my fiance, his dad, and my mom).

So I put all thoughts of budgeting out of my mind and soldiered on, remembering all at once the problem of shopping in a winter coat: you’re either sweating in it or holding it under your arm and dropping it on the ground every three minutes. I chose the former, so the neon lights and the toxic perfume smells were particularly potent. Instead of driving me back out onto 18th street, they just pulled me in deeper. I would persevere! I would look back on this night as the night everything changed, it all fell into place, beauty routine-wise for me — and to think, I almost didn’t go in!

First I saw the hair care section. Theirs is not normal hair care selection so much as it is, “a few shelves of the most expensive hair care products we could find, presented to you without price tags.” Perfect. A sales associate handed me a basket, which I took in my vulnerable state, and started filling with $30 mousse. I paced, I read labels, I weaved between other customers also trying to change their lives via Bumble and Bumble.

See I have perfectly straight, flat, fine, crappy ass hair, and whenever I get a haircut I tell the guy, Oh I just want it to be wavy and tousled. Of course this is impossible, but I still haven’t given up the dream. I figured if I bought $60 worth of mousse and “shaping cream” things would really come together for me.

Then I went to the lipsticks — NARS because it seems fancy and what the hip moms on Mormon mom blogs wear. I stood there for maybe 10 minutes in a lipstick daze, half-tempted to buy a lipstick based solely on the name (Roman Holiday, seems fun), but decided I should try them out. But what does this mean? I walked over to the mirror and tried to jab at the lipstick with a Q-tip then put it on my mouth, which is not, I should point out, an effective way to put on lipstick. so I gave up and started putting them on my hand, which told me nothing. Then a sales associate started butting in front of me to give someone else a tour of the lipsticks so I scoffed audibly, told myself that rather than take any $40 chances I would go home and Google exactly what shade of lipstick the Mormon moms wear, then skittered over to the nail polish.

Nail polish is a thing I know how to do, so I started putting the testers on my nails. I thought about standing there and painting my nails with it, but then chickened out and put two nail polishes in my bag. I haven’t painted my nails in probably a year and have never gotten a manicure in my life, but hey, you never know. I couldn’t find a price tag anywhere. I held them in my hand, told myself maybe I would give them as a gift. But what if I wanted them? But a gift would be good! Should I go buy more, and just give everyone I know nail polish? But it could be $20? Ahhhhh.

I looked down at my little bag and saw the $60 worth of hair products that I knew would not magically give me curly, voluminous hair, and was tempted to place the whole thing down on the ground and run out. I was really feeling faint by then. But what if someone saw me? The place was crawling with employees who had nothing else to do but ask if you needed help. I would be caught. So I persevered.

I dragged myself over to the cashier line in a sweat, then stopped at all the tiny travel-size, point-of-sale gift things. They are all so adorable and would fit in your purse and then you could be a person who has fancy hand cream in their purse, even though you don’t need hand cream and have never used it in your life! But the package is cute, and kind of grandma-ish looking in a comforting way, and you’d feel so prepared. Or a box full of tiny lipsticks! Which I could buy to discover what kind of lipstick works on me in the privacy of my own home, even though the answer is no lipstick works on me and no matter what it is I feel uncomfortable and self-conscious and slowly bite all of it off anyway.

At this point people were lining up behind me but I was paralyzed staring at a case of miniature nail polishes that still cost $30. Someone looked at me with a really concerned face, “Are you in line?” I looked at my hair products and nail polish and panicked. “Um, no, I mean, yes, but only halfway, so uh, just go.” She shook her head and went around me and I stood there frozen, half in line for a few minutes as people passed behind me, debating what I should do.

Suddenly doing anything but running back out into the cold air seemed impossible, so I returned the nail polish, put the hair shit back where I found it, and dropped the Sephora basket onto the ground.

I got on a bus ($2.50) went to where I was going (happy hour with old co-workers, free) with three painted nails, flat hair, and no lipstick. Then I went home, had a slice of pizza for dinner ($4 plus $1 tip) and went to bed. I woke up in the middle of the night after a bad dream that I was, honest to God, at the ER and debating with the intake nurse about whether I could afford treatment.

Today, I am looking at my thumb and kind of wishing I got one of the nail polishes, and already re-convincing myself that “curling mousse” (is this a thing?) will solve all of my hair problems, but I will try to look for it at the drug store first.

Photo: br1dotcom

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65 Comments / Post A Comment

Liz the Lemur (#3,125)

I can barely handle the makeup aisle at Target, let alone Sephora.

gyip (#4,192)

I can’t handle it. I feel like I can’t go there unless I’m completely made-up and had my hair done. Which is never. In a way, I’m glad because it seems like people love Sephora and/or it destroys their lives.

I generally shop online or find something I want and dart in and out and try not to make eye contact with anyone lest I encounter a “ugh” expression directed at my gross face.

Anyone have a recommendation for a non-sticky lip gloss? I’m not big on lipstick …

@gyip oh man I swear the lighting in Sephora makes you look as terrible as possible so you’ll buy more! I always feel like I look great (for me) when I leave the house and then the second I walk into Sephora it’s Grease City with zits that have seemingly popped up in the 10-minute drive to the mall…

gyip (#4,192)

@Madeline Shoes Right??? Shouldn’t they have more flattering lighting? It’s like store dressing rooms with terrible mirrors and lights. We buy less stuff if we look like saggy zombies, hello!

@gyip Absolutely. I recently bought a pair of stretchy pants at Old Navy because I figured if my butt looked good in the horrific lighting and environment that is the Old Navy dressing room, then those pants must have turned me into Gisele-effing-Bündchen or something.

Meaghano (#529)

@angry little raincloud oh god the Old Navy dressing room lighting is LIFE RUINING.

ms.eliot (#5,394)

@gyip oh man, you are so right about having to already be made up before you go into Sephora. One time I ran in to replace a tube of mascara. I was wearing a hoodie and jeans. The woman checking out my order looks me over and says “you’re really reminding me of Lena Dunham.” I didn’t know whether it was a compliment or an insult.

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@gyip Non-sticky lip gloss: L’Oreal Caresse wet shine gloss. It’s amazing! Shiny but not-sticky, and the stain lasts for a good while. I am not a lip gloss person typically (like you, I don’t like the stickiness) but I have bought 3 tubes of that stuff in the past 2 months.

fabel (#5,415)

@gyip oh whaat, I don’t know what you guys are all talking about. You gotta go in not made up! Then you can test ALL THE PRODUCTS on your face. And I’ve never had a problem there with pushy salespeople (but maybe they sense that they don’t need to convince me to buy everything? because I totally will? sorry, clearly I am in the <3 Sephora camp…)

@fabel I’m firmly in the I <3 Sephora’s generous samples policy camp! Going on vacation? Need a little bit of foundation/moisturizer/perfume? Go to Sephora and pretend you want to try it out! They always give you like a week’s worth of product in a nice little jar that’s perfect for traveling.

gyip (#4,192)

@LookUponMyWorks Thank you!! I will definitely check that out.

chic noir (#713)

@fabel another Sephora lover here. I love love love the place. NARS makes the best lip products.

Megan try NARS “Easy Lover” lipgloss or Bobbi Brown’s “Hot Pink” lipgloss. Natural looking and easy to wear.

OhMarie (#299)

The drug store is great, Sephora is tricking you!!! I have only ever bought, like, 2 things at Sephora that didn’t make me regret buying them.

sventurata (#27)

@OhMarie I dunno. I have the worst luck with drugstore makeup not matching my skin tones. Being able to try on stuff at Sephora has actually saved me money in that I only buy one lipstick and use it regularly instead of three that I kind of hate.

Nibbler (#5,331)

I am also an adult woman, but I am not good at Sephora either. In our defense, New York Sephoras are packed full of people who already know how to wear makeup and have an abysmal employee-to-customer ratio.

I usually just decide to “go home and Google exactly what shade of lipstick the Mormon moms wear,” although then of course I wind up buying no lipstick ever. I dunno, I think maybe Sephora is not the ideal environment to figure out what the hell you are supposed to wear on your face and in your hair, and the women who love it just already know these things.

But, I did impulse buy some nice mascara from one of those checkout-adjacent bins once. It seemed reasonably priced, and there was no other mascara nearby to compare it to. Maybe that’s what we really need, a store that is just the stuff in those bins. Like 18 items, total. That I could handle.

BananaPeel (#1,555)

I really like Sephora but yeah it’s not for everyone. And that’s ok! Free to be you and me, etc. And I think there is a difference between wearing lipstick and Being the Kind of Woman Who Wears Lipstick.

gyip (#4,192)

Also, make-up definitely suffers from the Vitamix problem (thanks, Billfold!). I buy some, planning to totally use them to their full value and change my life, but buying stuff doesn’t necessarily build a habit. Lots of it ends up in a box forever. I just don’t try enough.

For example, I just gave away a bunch of my nail polishes, borderline new (which, admittedly, suffer from another problem in that they’re so pretty in a bunch together, but less amazing on my nails).

Beaks (#3,488)

@gyip This, 100%, is why I only buy drugstore makeup. I’ll only use it at most a dozen times in six months, and then I will pitch the eye stuff because I am way more afraid of eye infections than I am of spending another $4 on eyeshadow.

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

I think Betteridge’s Rule doesn’t apply here, because of the patriarchy.

Meaghano (#529)

@Caitlin with a C Oh, ha. I did not know about this, but I appreciate the pass!

bgprincipessa (#699)

I don’t know how to not feel self-conscious and not bite off all my lipstick in 5 minutes either. Also no clue what shade is supposed to look good on me. And Sephora is terrifying. The end.

@bgprincipessa I believe it was a hairpin article that taught me that: lipstick needs to be reapplied. Constantly. It is one of the reasons I am not the kind of Woman Who Wears Lipstick.

francesfrances (#1,522)

I did the exact same thing last night, only when I was in the checkout line, my boyfriend showed up. He saw right through my attempt to convince him to wait outside and just stared at me while I spent $50 on blush and eyebrow powder. On the way out, “I said, aren’t you glad you don’t have to pay $50 to have visible eyebrows and skin that looks alive.” He posed the fair question, “Why do you buy into this? Don’t do it if you don’t like it.” Alas, I think I look much more cheerful and capable at work with a rosy flush.

The lighting at Sephora is horrible. But, I do think that for many products, quality is worth it, and it’s great to be able to return stuff. This is why I try to buy things at CVS, not Target. You can try something (shampoo, lotion, lipstick, whatever) and return it if you don’t like it.

BEING A WOMAN IS EXPENSIVE AND HARD.

Meaghano (#529)

@amyfrances YES. The winter struggle for skin that looks alive is upon us.

ceereelyo (#3,552)

I love buying lip products and nail polish and for whatever reason the former, I NEED to buy at Sephora – no Target or CVS or Rite Aid or whatever, it must come Sephora. Luckily, I have curbed this habit by discovering the best color ever (it’s the lippie crayons by Clinique called super strawberry), but now they have a limited edition box that looks like crayons and I MUST GET IT.

I use an app though that gives me points when I go into certain stores and I’ve accumulated a lot because I go to Target for my pharma and grocery items and I’m saving them for Sephora GC’s. At least my spending will be curbed by this free money. Also I am hoarding my Sephora beauty points until there is a better 500 point reward. And the plus side of Sephora – you can return what doesn’t work/makes you break out all over your body – and I’ve done it and it’s so easy and I didn’t feel bad at all about it.

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@ceereelyo please tell us more about this app.

ceereelyo (#3,552)

@LookUponMyWorks – it’s called shopkick! Basically when you walk into a store, you open the app and it gives you points. You can pick what you want your points to go towards. You can also view lookbooks and gain points that way and scan items at the store for more points. If you live in the land of suburban strip malls/shopping plazas/ and malls it’s perfect cos you can hit up a couple of stores and gain points – the stores are like Target, Home Depot, Best Buy, Old Navy, American Eagle, etc – and you literally walk into the store, the app will chime and tell you how many points you get and you can walk out! No need to buy anything, but you can get extra points being that weirdo scanning the barcodes of toothpaste and tampons.

themmases (#1,959)

I’ve never gone, but I don’t think I could handle it. I really identified with Jia’s comment in the original article about not wanting to develop new needs, and also my 6-month run this year of putting on eyeliner, mascara, and some form of lip color *most* work days was actually spectacularly long for me and hard some mornings.

Even more than being an adolescent (because I had to accept at some point that my allowance or part-time job wouldn’t cover Transformation, and also I was following my personal taste which changed a lot), I feel like becoming an adult woman was a big invitation to others to make me feel bad about my clothes and makeup and whatever. For me (and maybe for lots of ladies?) whether I look like an adult professional *to others* is very closely tied to wondering whether my work is perceived as good *to others*. Even at well-meaning sites that I like I see comments that drug store makeup is “laughable”, they would NEVER buy fake leather, and the work clothes worn by people my age are just ineffably sluttier and cheaper and worse. If there is a difference, I’d rather not go there and use my own face to learn it.

@themmases I don’t remember Jia’s comment, but I completely agree! I have a pretty solid makeup routine that’s going on a couple years strong now, and I just recently gave up trying to make it “better,” in whatever ridiculous way I meant that. But it means I can go into Sephora and pick out higher quality versions of the drugstore stuff I’m already using regularly, and if I do want to try something for fun I can either get a free sample (how I tried out tinted moisturizer) or get help from an assistant. I never went to Sephora before because I’d just get too overwhelmed about why I don’t do makeup “properly” with foundation and this and that and whatever. Now I can go, play around with some fun stuff, get what I know I’ll use, and then get pizza, and it’s only a little painful.

That got longer than I meant! Constantly comparing your appearance and make up routines to others gets tiring and, frankly, is more stress than its worth.

andnowlights (#2,902)

Sephora is COMPLETELY overwhelming to me. I’ve seen a couple of woman-centric blogs drugstore-makeup-shame and that is ridiculous. I have good skin (mostly), I look younger than I am (I work with undergrads and they think I’m a student worker the first time I meet them), and I do not want to spend $35 on lipstick! Or $25 on an eye shadow. And when I do want to spend a little more than $7 on concealer, I go to the Mac or Chanel counter, because I’m also 60 and like someone to help me deal with makeup nonsense.

chic noir (#713)

@andnowlights A sixty year old who looks like an undergraduate…God bless your genes or your plastic surgeon.

wrappedupinbooks (#1,426)

I unabashedly love Sephora. I have to walk by one to get to my subway everyday after work and it is always a struggle not to go in. However, when I do decide that I need/deserve something I always try to find an employee with similar coloring to me and/or nicely applied makeup and ask for help. I’ve never been led astray. <3u NYC sephora workers.

PS Ima let you finish but Stila stay all day liquid lipstick is the best lipstick.

Exoskin (#5,418)

@wrappedupinbooks Same! I sometimes feel like I actually CAN’T walk by the store without going in. Canadian Sephora workers are also absurdly helpful. Once I had one employee putting BB cream on my face while another one tested multiple nail polishes on my fingers. Sigh…I wish I was there right now

I don’t know what the Mormon mom bloggers (Mormoms?) are wearing these days but the NARS matte lip pencil in Red Square literally changed my life. Something about lip color in a pencil form has made it so much more accessible and it never comes off unless like, you are eating a really messy sandwich.

Also I’m guilty of being a Bumble and Bumble snob AND the kind of person that carries fancy hand cream in her bag BUT only because Sephora hooked me with free samples and not because I have deluded myself into thinking that I am somehow “put together.”

@TheLifestyleCreep Oh hell yeah! Red Square is AMAZING.

I might have a slight NARS velvet matte lip pencil (and velvet matte lipstick) problem. I’ve been having fun layering Red Square with Terre de Feu (!), Dragon Girl (!!!), and Damned (!!!!) recently. That whole lipstick corollary thing really works: every lipstick looks awesome mixed. I actually went on a search for Mysterious Red recently that led me to a place a rarely dare to go: the Barney’s cosmetics floor.

I recently bought a NARS 5-pencil holiday gift set– the Promiscuous Lips or whatever. I didn’t already have Cruella; now I do. Anyone who is on the fence about NARS lip pencils should order it: it’s a nice mix of neutrals plus a magenta, and a red, and the little bag is surprisingly cute. And the NARS pencils are amazingly pigmented and easy to apply: I’ve tried buying drugstore brands and the like, but I keep coming back to NARS. Yes, I have a problem.

I don’t really care much about makeup otherwise. The thing is, if you wear bitching lipstick, people think you’re pulled together, even if you didn’t shower.

Also, I had my first pedicure ever two days ago. I chipped the big toe within an hour, because I didn’t plan ahead with the shoes, was too impatient to sit any longer under the dryer, and put my shoes back on. Oops. I’m not good at being a girl sometimes.

Meaghano (#529)

@angry little raincloud looking up these lip pencils / pinning all my hopes on them.

TheDilettantista (#1,255)

@angry little raincloud Thanks for the tips, the MAC Lip Pencil I’ve had for years is about to die and I need another…

My mom gifted me with gorgeous Armani and Guerlain lipsticks recently and they actually stay decently when layered on top of a pencil. Thanks for the Cruella tip.

Also what’s with the ladies not getting professional mani-pedis!!! They are wonderful and relaxing but you need to bring a book so you don’t get antsy at the dryer.

I know we are talking lipsticks but I need to say that Urban Decay pencil eyeliners have changed my life and I have like, no lie, 25 of them. Also Urban Decay eyeshadows, in particular any of the Naked palettes (who wants Naked3 for Chanukah? I WANT NAKED3 FOR CHANUKAH).

honey cowl (#1,510)

@TheLifestyleCreep Thank you for this valuable insight, I will now purchase a Nars lip pencil today, not kidding. #adultwoman

ellabella (#1,480)

@angry little raincloud another vote for Cruella here! i have warm-tan skin and it’s the perfect red for me, not to orange-y or pinky against my darker (for a white girl) skin.

ratatosk (#3,495)

Sephora continues to be a mystery to me. Armed with a gift card from someone who doesn’t know me well, I’ve spent the last year walking in thinking that hopefully something would strike me as useful, take a full tour of the store, and walk out in under 15 minutes. I do like how their nail polishes dry fast and are of good quality, and that their lipsticks have “fresher” looking colors than those at a department store (also seem to stay on better than the ones from the pharmacy), but not enough to spend $4 a tiny tiny bottle or $36 a tube.

Allison (#4,509)

I love Sephora, because as someone who averages a good 20 years younger than all of my coworkers, I was feeling like a zitty teenager (especially compared to my few coworkers my age who put on liquid eyeliner every day). I basically walked in one afternoon when it was quiet and made the BZUH???? face at a nice lady who directed me towards tinted moisturizer/BB cream when I was obviously someone who thought of foundation as the AP Makeup class.

Generally I find that if you just say “Hi! I have no idea what I’m doing!” they get excited and want to help. And then you can wander around putting the $36 mascara back after they’re done.

The best/worst time of my life was when the Sephora by OPI nailpolish was all $4.50 because they were discontinuing it.

Beaks (#3,488)

@Allison BB cream is totally the maximum difficulty level for makeup that I could handle on a routine basis. I don’t actually bother with it about 99% of the time because “things I would rather do than put on makeup in the morning” encompasses nearly everything.

Allison (#4,509)

@Beaks I blearily smear it on while my eyeshadow primer dries, slap on eyeshadow and mascara and then stumble out to find clothes to wear. (and lately crawl back into bed to warm up said clothes).

Confession: sometimes I pretend to not speak English if an upsell-y sales associate comes around and I do not have it in me to give a firm, “I’m just browsing, thank you.”

I am very fortunate that I do not like to experiment with makeup and have my Day Look and my Night Look when the need arises. I have been buying the same makeup over and over for years (although Diorshow appears to have changed their mascara formula and I need to find a new Night Mascara).

This makes the semiannual trip to Sephora or, more often, sephora.com (much more relaxing, and you get to pick your own samples, and there’s always some kind of excellent bonus, and you can return your shit to regular Sephora if you are like me and hate the act of return shipping) a quick and easy process.

astauff (#4,376)

“…told myself that rather than take any $40 chances I would go home and Google exactly what shade of lipstick the Mormon moms wear…”

I know this was a throwaway aside but it really is the key, I think. I used to get overwhelmed in Sephora or even Walgreens until I was prepping for my wedding and trying to figure out what makeup I should get. I started reading makeup blogs and watching youtube videos. They really do give you a better idea of what’s out there, what kind of colors and textures to gravitate towards depending on your needs, so you go into Sephora with a mission rather than blindly swatching whatever you walk past.

EM (#1,012)

@astauff Agreed. I like to try on my friends’ products, read reviews online, order stuff online whenever possible and go in with a mission, eg, “Get this red lipstick that looks great on my friend who has the same skintone as me.”

I don’t get too overwhelmed and stressed out at Sephora– I’d like to continue believing in the possibility of a Magical Life Changing Skin Product– but I also try to never speak to anyone and to get in and out as fast as possible.

TheDilettantista (#1,255)

@EM That’s key too–don’t speak to anyone. If someone asks if you need help just smile, say no, and keep walking.

jennonthego (#5,366)

A few years ago, I told my friend I wanted to get serious about wearing make up to feel more like an adult (I was 28 or 29), so she took me to Sephora since we have completely different skin types and her make up would have looked horrible on me. One of the consultants gave me a make over with about $80 products and I really couldn’t see a huge difference. I bought everything, but I think I took everything back eventually.

I don’t know how people wear eyeliner as I can’t draw a straight line on my eye (I can’t close just one eye, which I think is part of my problem) and have no idea what I would with foundation. I never learned how to wear make up and at 33, I’ve sorta given up. If it’s a day I’m going to see my work crush, I try to remember to put on some lipstick, which is really liipstain, so it stays forever, but otherwise, I’m just out. My skin looks pretty good, I guess and I don’t much care about the rest. I just don’t know how to do it.

TheDilettantista (#1,255)

@jenninthecity Practice makes perfect! I didn’t know how to wear makeup when I first wore it either, and I also can’t draw a straight line on my eye, but over time I’ve perfected a look that works for me. If you are wearing pencil liner it doesn’t have to be straight, you can smudge it and it looks fine, and also just hold one eye closed with your finger (I can’t manually close one eye either it is fine).

CateM (#5,161)

@jenninthecity You will think I’m crazy, but…I put my eyeliner on with both my eyes open. If I close one eye, it flickers like mad and there’s no way I can do a straight line. I use one of the felt tip pen style ones, which also helps – I find pencils difficult.

TheDilettantista (#1,255)

Okay, I understand that Sephora can be incredibly intimidating to people who don’t wear makeup (which I don’t understand, as someone who loves and wears makeup on a nearly daily basis and doesn’t feel put together or professional without it, but like someone above said, free to be, and to each their own etc. etc.). The only way handle Sephora is to go in knowing EXACTLY what you want. You can’t really go just to browse. That method is the path to death and destruction.

That said, the one thing in this article that blew my mind is the not using hand cream. How can you go through life without moisturizing your hands?!?! You live up north! I live in the South man, and when it gets 50 degrees here my hands crack and bleed. I use hand cream ALL THE TIME. It is the only way I can get through the winter without my hands falling off. And yes, when it gets cold, I wear gloves, but they don’t help, only hand cream helps! And yes, Target-style hand cream works just fine, no need for the fancy stuff.

Also, get a manicure, they are great, and they are super cheap in NYC. I don’t get regular manicures because I am hard on my hands and also $$, but I do get them for special occasions and fancy events. I am actually more astonished by a grown woman never having a professional manicure than a grown woman not wearing makeup. No mother-daughter bonding manicure trips as a kid?

Meaghano (#529)

@TheDilettantista Well I have tiny hands and tinier fingernails that are just like little stubs, they look like the hands of a five year old kid, and my nails never grow out right, so it’s just not part of my life, which I am okay with, though I greatly admire people whose nails look nice. My mom and I have gone to get pedicures before, though!

Yeah, I do wear makeup (feel blind without eyeliner and dead without blush), I have just always worn kind of crappy drugstore makeup and am ready to buy fancier stuff if it is a worthwhile investment. The problem is I don’t know what I want! I have graduated to Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, and benetint blush.

Also LOL i dunno, my hands just don’t crack?

TheDilettantista (#1,255)

@Meaghano I, too, have tiny five year old hands; I don’t get manicures very often though, like I said above, just for fancypants times. Pedicures are awesome.

You are on the right track with fancy makeup friend–Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer is the best and I wear it on a daily basis, as is Benetint blush.

You are selling yourself short in the article above, you clearly have a makeup head on your shoulders–my advice for good and easy fancy eyeliner is Urban Decay EVERYTHING (Like for serious their eye makeup is incredible and their pencils come in amazing colors and all go on so easily, each one is $18 so it is super easy to buy them all and oh, I have), and I am a huge fan of Buxon Mascara which is, I think, $18 and is waterproof and makes your lashes look huge and it also separates nicely. I have also heard good things about DiorShow but I think it is more expensive, and Benefit Yes They’re Real Mascara is also a good choice. Back to UD…The Urban Decay pencils come in a ton of colors but Perversion is an excellent pitch black, Zero is a slightly lighter black, and they have some excellent browns (I don’t wear a lot of browns so i don’t know the names), their silver eye pencil is my new wintery favorite and it makes me feel like a character from a Star Trek show, and basically any of their funky eye pencil colors are super fun to play with–I have purples, greens, blues, teals, neons, golds, you name it–it is my favorite way to play with my look on a daily basis. Also their Naked palettes are great basic eye shadow kits. $52 and worth every penny. They just released Naked3 yesterday and I covet it. UD eye makeup is one of the few cosmetic items that I will just drop money on, no question, there are so few duds in their line.

All this stuff is at Sephora and Sephora.com and is really really fun.

You are lucky your hands do not crack every winter it is super sad for me.

clo (#4,196)

eyeshadow primer has changed everything. agree with above commentors on going to sephora with a plan, and definitely shop on sephora.com and read the reviews, also. :)

thejacqueline (#799)

You CAN have wavy tousled hair! But there is no magic solution and you do have to work for it.

I have the exact same kind of hair as you. The rules are:

1) Your hair can’t be that long. Longer than 2 inches past your shoulders is going to weigh down the strands and pull out any attempt at a curl or wave.
2) Use a straightening iron to clamp down on your hair, pull it, and flip it around. This creates a nice loose wave. Obviously that description was terrible, but there are many helpful YouTube videos out there!
3) There is no product that is going to do this for you without effort. Anything designed to “pull out natural waves” is not going to do that. Because you (and I) don’t have natural waves. It will probably just make your hair seem crunchy/sad/weird.

Also I feel kind of weird defending Sephora, but the prices are marked on everything in the 18th street store.

Meaghano (#529)

@thejacqueline Okay I am sad there is no product that will wave my hair for me, but I guess it’s important for me to move forward and get used to using my curling rod thing. Also, ha, no you’re right, there are prices for most things posted on the displays themselves, just no price tags on the items, but weirdly the few things I was looking at, I couldn’t find the price anywhere! I am completely willing to blame this on myself, though, vs. Sephora.

scn231 (#1,705)

I recently, after a whole lifetime of being indifferent to makeup, got sucked into Sephora in sort of a big, embarrassing way, like to the point where I get a lot of crazy discounts because I shop there too much and now my friends use me to shop for them (sigh. I need to block sephora.com on my browser). But listen, all you need is Nars tinted moisturizer. I used to use laura mercier, but they are owned by some uber conservative anti-gay-marriage family so I switched, and I tell you the Nars stuff feels amazing, it doesn’t look weird or give you zits if you sleep in it, and it moisturizes and spf’s (responsible!) and makes you look all polished and clean but not in a way where you will rub at your face later in the day because you feel so weird that you have makeup on. So yeah, do that and maybe some decent mascara (too faced lash gasm is good if you have a tendency toward allergies and not washing your face before bed, it doesn’t smear in an unattractive way) and some burts bees tinted lip balm (what, $3?), and you’re a polished, beautiful yet low maintenance adult woman. Hurrah!

Looking back at this I sound like a slob, but this is a safe space to admit we don’t all wash our faces every night, right? And we need our makeup choices to reflect that?

Meaghano (#529)

@scn231 Oh I totally don’t wash my face before bed either (*hides*). Good to know about Laura Mercier, oh god!!!

@scn231 ugh I did not know that about Laura Mercier and it makes me so sad because I love her baked eye shadows!

However, I always assumed her tinted moisturizer is the best because all the magazines told me that, but I switched to Dr. Jart BB and my skin looks so much better! THANKS MAGAZINES

CmdrBanana (#1,872)

@scn231 Dr. Jart’s!! <3 I mix mine with Kat von D's LockIt, because I have super pale but yellowy skin. I love that it has SPF 45.

scn231 (#1,705)

Oh and for eyeliner, use a small slanted brush and a dark eyeshadow to line your eyes. It’s called tightlining and it looks super elegant and is way easier than a pencil or (shudder) liquid eyeliner.

scn231 (#1,705)

Oooh I’ll add Dr. Jart’s to my “love” list on sephora.com! For like three years from now when I’m allowed my next order :D

beanie (#55)

psst…the Mormon mom bloggers wear NARS Schiap.

lamb (#5,424)

The best way to ease into Sephora is to find a JC Penney’s with a Sephora inside. They won’t have as many products, but it will have better lighting and less judgement. And you can still stock up on samples like crazy.

That was how I got sucked in, when I was 22 and working in a rather “grown up” establishment where people kept questioning my ability to do my job because I looked like I was 12. When I finally went into a full-on Sephora, I was horrified.

novembertea (#2,203)

The BEST way to learn about makeup is to watch Youtube tutorials. This way you can see the products in action and decide for yourself if that is what you what. Just walking into Sephora or any makeup store is a bad way to experiment, because it is those people’s job to upsell (believe me, I worked at a Macy’s cosmetic counter). Youtube tutorials are free and you can watch them at your own leisure and discreetly. I recommend Michelle Phan’s tutorials highly. I also love itsjudytime and GlamlifeGuru. Pixiwoo is usually good. Lisa Eldridge is my all-time fave – lovely British accent you can listen to for hours, and she’s a top pro in the industry.

I have one meaningful thing to say about drugstore vs. high end makeup, which is that without a doubt eye shadows are not worth your money at the drug store. It is REALLY worth it to get a palette of higher-end shadows. The Urban Decay naked palette is beautiful and full of awesome, neutral shades.

Good luck ladies…

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