So I decided to call in an expert, and I set an appointment with Stacy Doolan, professional makeup artist and owner of About Face Artistry. In "What Not to Wear" fashion, I brought ALL of the contents of my makeup drawer (and bag, well, bagssss) for Stacy to review. Here's what happened.
1. Step One, I brought my items in a fancy, high couture, ziplock bag. These only come in one color of course.
2. Stacy had me dump all my items out onto a tray, so we could spread things out and look at them better. Her first question was, "Is there anything in here that's more than 2 years old?" If so, she had a brand new ziplock bag ready to hold those items. I glanced and thought, "Nope, none that I can see. I mean I can't remember WHEN I bought half of these things, but they can't be THAT old." With a knowing smile, Stacy said "Ok" and we moved on.
3. I can't remember the exact order, but I think we started with lips first. I lined up my glosses (because I don't own any matte lip stuff, should I? Is that bad? I like the little gloss wand), and Stacy asked me to remove any items that were older than 6 months. I couldn't possibly have anything that old, right? So I picked them up one by one and thought long and hard. "Oh yes, this I bought for my engagement party in 2007." 2007?!!! What? OK, I blushed. And did what Stacy asked.
3. Next we moved on to eyes. We chatted through my eyebrow pencil (never used), my eyebrow powder (I really didn't know what to do with it, except I knew enough not to use the little brush that came with the powder. Right?!) Then onto my shadows. Stacy picked up this bad boy, and asked what I bought it for.
"I don't remember why, or when I bought it, but maybe..... I think..... the Sephora girl convinced me to get it like 6 years ago or so when I went in for brushes." Damn that Sephora girl. Out went the shadow. And we talked through the rest of my shadow choices. For example I had a number of little sets of 3, but only used one color in each. The reason was that I didn't know how to blend, how to use all the colors. So I picked my favorite and just swished it across my lid.
And then I confessed, sheepishly, that these little sets had great illustrations on the back that's supposed to TEACH you how to use the colors. So its like a little cheat sheet. How can you go wrong? Stacy just looked at me. I think she was trying to assess if I was serious or bluffing. When she figured out no, I really was serious, I think she realized my situation was more serious than we originally thought.
4. OK, on to mascara. Did you know you really shouldn't keep mascara for longer than 6 weeks?! Wow. That made me pick up and throw out all of my mascara tubes. I had them all for months! Stacy explained that every time you use the wand it picks up bacteria from our eyes and lashes, and then we insert it into the tube, where the bacteria contaminates the rest of the mascara. Keeping it for longer than 6 weeks or so is like keeping a petri dish.
5. There was a pretty little gold case I was really hoping she wouldn't notice. But that Stacy, you know, nothing gets by her. I'll show you what was inside it first.
"WHAT is that? What WAS that?" Well now, clearly it's my bronzer. No? Not clearly? Well, it was, I mean, a long time ago, like in 2008, my bronzer. But boy did I get compliments on it. And there's still some in there. Stacy mentioned its not the right color for me, but I assured her at one time it was. Yarg. Was I really saying that? OK, so this little case made it's way into the garbage ziplock.
6. Onto primer, concealer, and powder. Now apparently powder can last a long time, like up to two years. As long as you don't keep the applicator pressed up against the powder, mixing all the oils and bacteria into yet another petri dish of happiness. Oh, you mean like this? (Notice said applicator to the right)
Now I don't even know what primer is, so I didn't have any of that for Stacy to toss. Yay! I did have concealer. Or foundation. Or whatever it's called. A little tube of it actually for under eye black -I just worked three weddings in 42 hours- removal. But you know, maybe I had it for a while, and maybe it wasn't the right color for me. Buh bye Mr. Concealer Tube. Into the ziplock you go. (I asked Stacy if I got some points because at least my concealer had SPF in it. But alas, no. She said for photos, it's actually better not to have SPF in my foundation because it would change the way my skin appears. Huh, who knew? Stacy knew. And that's why she's all kinds of awesome. Well that, and the fact that she hadn't laughed out loud at me yet. Though I'm sure she was laughing inside.
7. "So how do you apply your makeup?" I looked down at what had to be 15 brushes. I remember using two, maybe three of them. We talked through my application process, and again I realized that I wasn't taking care of my brushes. I wasn't cleaning them correctly, or often enough, and I sure wasn't storing them appropriately. So we narrowed my brush collection down, and Stacy gave me a quick lesson on the difference between the brushes and how and why they create different kinds of looks.
"Ideally," she says, "you want to place your liquid foundation on something, then dip your brush into it to apply. "Uh huh," I responded. "Put my foundation on something? Like a friggin Bob Ross palette?" "Sure, if you have one." But then Stacy gave me a whole bunch of much better ideas of what to use, for which I am grateful.
So did you know you're supposed to store your brushes in a separate bag, not mixing them with your makeup? I tell you, I was learning all kinds of things. Stacy packed up all my remaining items that I was allowed to take with me (and honestly, she wasn't nearly as brutal as Stacy London would have been), and then with a small ceremony, we said goodbye to the stuff that I've held on to for way too long.
8. So, next steps. Stacy's going to make a list for me of product recommendations. "Big girl makeup and tools" as I'm calling it. We'll talk through the list together, then I'll purchase new items to replace the ancient stuff. And then - best part ever- Stacy will give me a lesson on how to actually use my new brushes. How to actually apply that snazzy foundation. What a primer actually does. How to blend my eyeshadow WITHOUT a cheat sheet. Am I ready? Absolutely! Am I psyched? Hells yeah.
And for anyone anywhere thinking of doing this, NOW is the time to call Stacy. I feel like I have a tabula rasa, and I'm ready to work with my new fresh slate. As Stacy (and our girl Katniss) says, "I'm not beautiful. I'm as radiant as the sun."