My sweet Mama used to tell me, “Megpie, a little primping really does you a lot of good…” Because of that, I’ve been wearing makeup almost every day of my teenage and adult life. I call it my War Paint, and I seldom leave my teepee without it.
Last week, my friend Rebecca McCarthy asked me about my make-up (not my character, but my cosmetics) and I gladly mentioned a few of the products I use. She, like my beautiful daughter, Mackie, doesn’t share my fondness for facial feature enhancement. But I told her, for me, that’s the only reason I go to the mall – to replenish a short supply of certain things that I use in tandem with my toothbrush. And I always buy this stuff at Bonus Time when, with a designated minimum purchase, you get a whole bag of other products to sample for free.
I’ve let it be known to key people in my life, like my hair stylist friends and siblings, DO NOT CLOSE THE COFFIN unless I’m wearing my mascara and blush-on. If they want to add a touch of lipstick that’s all right, but not much – for some reason, I loathe the stuff. Must go back to the time I was punished as a toddler for using Mama's tube of "Cherries in the Snow" to decorate the wallpaper in the entrance hall.
Now there were times, as a teenager, when Chief Uly would send young Second-Born-Eyes-of-Sky back upstairs from the breakfast table because I looked like a street-walker. But over time, I learned how to get by with modest application, at least until I got to the Girl’s Restroom at school. And I spent one whole week during my freshman year of high school with my face “in the raw” as part of an initiation into a silly sorority. I felt totally invisible for five whole days. The good news? My acne sure did clear up.
My War Paint gives me confidence as I head out to face life’s daily battles. I’m shielded by it. And I use it with relish. Some of the battles I face that might be destined to be recorded in my biography are:
Eyes-of-Sky's Last Stand at Chocolate Mounds
The Massacre of Traffic When UGA Is In Session
The Siege of the Slow Check-Out Line
The Great Fall of Finding a Parking Space in Downtown Athens
Fat-Girl's Attack on Calorie Consumption
My philosophy about painting my face is this: women are given three essential things to work with when it comes to looking their best.
Number One, of course, is luck of the gene pool. But even if you’re not as lucky as some, when this comes into play, SURELY you can employ Number Two – pamper and maintain your complexion. No amount of make-up can hide unhealthy skin. This step has been greatly improved since I began using a Rodan and Fields regimen recommended by my friend Oby Dupree. I cleanse, tone and nourish my face every morning and evening. I live by one of my mantras: “never go to bed with your make-up on.”
And once you do this, well, naturally, you can move on to Number Three. Find War Paint that becomes you. Use it without fail, and deploy yourself into life looking like you at least TRIED to arm yourself properly. I often see women who just don’t give a rip, I guess. I think to myself, why, oh, why, wouldn’t she at least take a few minutes to improve her appearance? Now, as for all of you who prefer au naturale, just stop reading right here, because you can’t change my mind about this. I live by the mascara wand and will die by the mascara wand.
Years ago, I got to interview Dolly Parton when she was in Athens for a concert at UGA. Her celebrity status is enhanced by not only a buxom bustline and big hair, but scads of make-up and a world of talent. Of the many wonderful quotes she provided for my article, the one that cracked me up was, “Hey, I spend a fortune to look this cheap!”
Back in the 80’s, a trend popped up at local photography studios called Glamour Shots – photographic portraits taken after being all dolled up by a professional. Dan McClure of Exquisite Photography, invited my colleague M.A. Barnes and me to come in for a free session. After prep work by Sandra Hancock, we emerged looking like “glamour” girls. The resulting photo accompanies this article. We had a blast, and felt like movie stars for a few hours. My oh my, the things a girl will do for attention.
I love to see the make-overs on The Today Show on Fridays. They pluck these women from a crowded New York street, and give them “the works.” It never ceases to amaze me what can be created from a sow's ear...I'm talking silk purses y'all. It happens.
So what are my products of choice? The things that I wouldn't sacrifice for love or wampum? As I mentioned, I can forego the lipstick and eye shadow. But there are a few items I refuse to live without.
1. Concealer. A product designed to cover major flaws like dark circles under the eyes. These days I’m loving Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind. Cheap. Available at any drug or grocery store. The older I get, the more I need it.
2. Lancome’s Dual Finish Versatile Powder Make-Up. Moderately priced, but lasts for months. Only at the mall. Covers a world of hurt.
3. Nars Powdered Blush. Not cheap, but lasts FOREVER. Still have same compact I bought a decade ago. Oh, by the way, the brush to apply it is sold separately.
4. Lancome’s Le Crayon Kohl. The best eyeliner in the world. I recently purchased a new one in the most divine color, black lapis. These long pencils last a lifetime. I have the stub of one from the early 70's that still does the trick.
5. Estee Lauder’s More Than Mascara. I’ve tested hundreds of mascaras, and this remains my all time favorite. I cake it on shamelessly. My eyes disappear without it.
And there you have it. My face compressed into the compact/drawer of my dressing table. Lighted make-up mirror, 10X, also a must-have.
We hear about people taking trips and the woes of airlines losing luggage. If it ever happened to me, I'd be hailing a taxi to take me to the make-up counter at the nearest store. To heck with the deodorant and clean clothes. I can get over losing jewelry and pocketbooks. But Holy Tomahawks! I need my War Paint.
Now, put that in your canupa and smoke it.