Aren’t girls these days told “less is more”?

I’m talking about make-up, not clothes – though I think that’s what they believe. We’re talking young girls, from teens to twenty-somethings, who honestly believe that trowelling thick orange gunk onto their faces and sticking tarantula legs onto their eyelids is alluring. But what boy in his right mind would want to risk creating a crater in the carefully plastered cheek of his girlfriend?

I’m in my forties now. I’ve been playing with make-up for the best part of thirty years, starting with my own “Beauty Salon” set of makeup. Yes, it was blue eyeshadow and frosted pink lipstick. Yes, this was the 1980’s But I learned, through teenage comics like Jackie, how to apply makeup. I didn’t bother so much with the wild punk looks of Toyah, and I gave up trying to shade and contour my face as I always ended up like I’d been in a fight with Big Daddy (look him up, kids). I kept it fresh, as was befitting a young girl.

Rimmel was the makeup choice of the day, along with Cover Girl (whatever happened to them?). Heather Shimmer was my favourite lipstick, although I am to this day lazy about lipstick. I will put it on for a night out, carefully lining, applying, blotting, applying again and blotting, then put it in my handbag for the touch-ups which I inevitably can’t be arsed with after a couple of glasses of wine. The last time I tried a long-lasting lipstick, it dried my lips out so that it flaked off the middle of my lips and I looked like a clown. There was, admittedly, a lip balm part to the lipstick to counter this; but as it was the need to reapply this that I had issue with, I didn’t bother.

I do wear makeup most days; foundation (to cover my hormonal zitty skin – acne isn’t just for the teenagers), powder (to counteract the shine), eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara (usually one coat; two on a night out) and blusher. It takes me precisely five minutes to put on. It may sound like a lot of makeup, but I don’t want to scare the kids.  My foundation is the colour of my skin, not several shades darker. It’s there to even out my skin tone. I don’t bother with concealer, as the end result looks more obvious than ever. My eye makeup is to enhance my eyes; not hide them beneath lines that look like they have been drawn by my four year old son with a permanent thick black marker.

But the young girls these days scare me! If you are one of them, I’m sorry, but who taught you that the Essex Girl look looks good? A few years ago I ran makeup parties, doing demonstrations on the hostess and encouraging their guests to spend lots of money. I didn’t make any money out of it – I spent my earnings on my kit! For the most part, these ladies would be pleased with what I did to their faces, with a couple of notable exceptions. One evening, after I had “made over” the hostess, her extremely drunk friend decided that she looked much too pale, and so covered her in half a tub of bronzer. And her eyes were “too piggy” – so she rimmed them with layers and layers of heavy black eyeliner. She looked like Alice Cooper. On a good day.

Another party ended up being for four teenage girls, in the smelly back room of a pub. These girls were giggly, and totally incompetent when it came to putting makeup on each other. I always cleansed my hostesses’ faces before starting any makeover; it took me ten minutes and half a bottle of waterproof eye makeup remover to get rid of this kid’s mascara.

If you ask a man what he prefers, he will almost always say the “natural look”. Which isn’t necessarily bare-faced; most of us need a little help covering up those imperfections. I can guarantee that most guys would prefer Angelina Jolie to Katie Price (no offence to Katie). Hiding behind a face-full of slap is not attractive. What happens when you wake up next to him in the morning? Do you leap out of bed and frantically repair your face before he can see you?  What, heaven forbid, if you marry him? Are you going to insist that he never, ever sees the real you? Do you think you can really pull it off?

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe guys do like their women covered in gunk. I bet it doesn’t taste very nice though?

What’s your opinion? What were your first attempts with makeup like? Do you insist on facing the world with a full face of slap or are you blessed with natural beauty? Or on somedays, like me, you just cannot be arsed?




  1. Love this post 🙂
    I look back on photos of my makeup as a teenager and I look shocking haha! I think most girls go through that experimental stage which is prone to going wrong. I have totally toned down my makeup now i’m 26.. I have been blessed with clear skin and I was silly to cover it up in cheap full coverage foundation when I was younger!
    Again, great post! xx


  2. OMG my first attempts with make-up? Well, let’s see. I had bright pink eye shadow, electric blue mascara, and blue and brown eyeliner to play with. Oh yes, and let’s not forget the white-pink lipstick. As you said… it was the eighties! I still wear make-up everyday even though I’m in my forties, but not as much as I used to. Most days, I wear eyeliner and mascara and that’s it. On special occasions, I pull out a few more stops. I do think less is more a lot of the time… but it all depends. Lovely post, thank you!


    • Oh yes! The electric blue mascara!! I remember it well. Ooh ooh ooh – did anyone else have the “mascara” for hair? The easy way to look like a “rebel” without actually being a rebel. I think I got my pink one in my Christmas stocking. Along with the green glitter hair spray… perhaps tarantula falsies aren’t quite so bad after all…


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