Age, makeup, hair…

So I recently hit 29, which has coincided with my skin starting to show its first signs of aging. I’ve also been shifting towards a more grown-up lifestyle and image over the past few years, yet I’ve started working in increasingly low-key settings with a more casual dress code and funkier limits for hair and makeup. While I don’t much miss the slutty zany clubbing clothes of my skinnier and drunker youth, I do kind of miss some of the crazy makeup, and I admit to taking advantage of the casual setting by rocking bright turquoise shadow/liner from time to time!

I keep hearing (mainly from the Lauren Hutton brand) that women “of a certain age” should avoid shimmer-based makeup. I’m starting to notice that some shimmery makeups do indeed settle in my few fine lines and make me look older, but others still seem to flatter. I definitely decided a few years ago that glittery makeup was a no-go for me anymore, except for really extreme occasions, like New Year’s Eve or maybe my upcoming bachelorette party.

I now work in a very young-looking industry (video games) with loads of women who wear pigtails and black lipstick well into their 50s and are covered with visible tattoos and dye their hair crazy colors. And I feel like this skews my perceptions of age- and work-appropriate makeup and hair stylings in a “normal” setting, partly because I’m in a techie bubble (heavily influenced by Japanese trends too) and partly because those definitions themselves are shifting.

All this has got me wondering what everyone else thinks! (This was modified from an EDS post, but I wanted to blog it too to see if there’s any different feedback from that community.)

When are you too old to wear makeup with glitter in it? Is there a difference between glittery eye makeup, glittery lip stuff, glittery nail polish?

When are you too old to wear zany colored makeup, likecolored eyeliner? How about very bright lip color? Bold blusher?

What about false lashes? Crazy colors of nail polish (like very dark/black, bright blues, etc.)? Do any of those have age restrictions?

At what age do you stop wearing shimmery stuff? (We can talk skin age rather than actual years — like how lined does your face have to be before it’s time to lay off the shimmer? Is there a good litmus test for this?)

What about twee-seeming hair trends, like headbands orbraided styles or what have you? Any restrictions on type, color, material of fascinator, hats, etc. that have just gone over my head? What about hairstyles that are throwbacks to prior decades, like perfectly teased 60s flips, long straight middle-parted 70s Cher hair, or 80s side ponytails à la Flashdance? What’s your limit?

Anyway, I was just curious to solicit the opinions of other beauty nerds out there. Any input from posters of any style, skin type, age range, etc. is most welcome!

Magic marker stylings

I LOVE this Jolinean (ooh, new beauty term!) look, but I’ve long been intimidated by liquid eye liner, because I simply suck at applying it. My hand is shaky, I guess, and many formulations are unforgiving if you have to go over the same area twice, and being extremely fair means that mistakes show up even more on my complexion. So it’s no wonder this particular makeup type has historically freaked me out!

While I did have more success with gel liners, I’ve recently been more willing to give the liquid stuff a try — thanks entirely to a newer genre of liquid liner applicators. Back in middle school I first discovered some cheap but great stylo-type liquid liners from L’Oréal and Cover Girl, but they got discontinued — so I had to just wait it out until makeup companies put these awesome flexy soft-tip markers for the eye back on the market. But my cat-eye prayers have been heard, and answered!

Smashbox, MAC, NARS and Hourglass all have pen-like liquid liners out now. The only one I’ve tried so far is Smashbox, because it seemed like the most water-resistant formulation when I tried them all out (sans MAC) at a Sephora.

Gift With Purchase Extravaganza

As I recently whined on my Twitter Feed, Nordstrom Beauty announced a Smashbox gift with $50 purchase ONE DAY after I had made a $49 Smashbox purchase. (In case you’re wondering, I got the Complexion Perfection Kit to try out as wedding makeup — it’s out of stock in my shade at every other vendor.)

But I cried to their Customer Service people online, and they happily shipped me the gift, separately, for free, no questions asked! (Okay, a few questions like “what was your order number” and “what is your shipping address” — so no annoying questions asked.)

And THEN I saw on Smashbox’s site that they have crazy good Let’s Do Lunch deals twice a week, in which you get a free gift for buying ANYTHING during a certain time period, no minimum purchase required, and free shipping. WTF?! Why aren’t all vendors that awesome? So I stocked up on brush cleaner (which I’ve been needing anyway) and… got a free duo lip gloss, IN ADDITION to a sample of the tinted moisturizer that I ALSO wanted to try out as wedding makeup.

AND THEEEEENN I got one of them automated Sephora emails telling me a product was back in stock — and it was the new TheBalm Lip Stain I’ve been wanting to try out (also as wedding makeup. Sensing a theme here?), which had been out in the color I wanted. And I discovered that ZOMG I now qualify for my first-ever 500 point bonus gift there (currently a Tarte giftapalooza with gloss, 2 mascaras, eyeliner, primer, etc. etc.). Kinda terrifying that I’ve spent enough cumulatively to qualify, but whatevs. And they ALSO have a bunch of samples that I’m totally into right now. SO I think I’m gonna order my wedding lip stuff and stock up on the big freebie there too.

I think, so far this month, I may actually receive more in free product than actual monetary purchases. Guess the entire cosmetics industry figured out it was almost my birthday or something! ^_^

It’s not just the canvas

I recently became interested in cream and gel eyeliner formulas, after reading some EDS raves about how long-lasting and smudge-proof MAC Fluidline is. And I wound up doing a couple of MUA swaps in which I inherited a MAC Fluidline pot and a Smashbox Cream Eyeliner, so suddenly I had a cheap and easy way to test these babies out. But I was TERRIBLE at applying them! I just couldn’t figure out how to make them go on nicely, even though I consider myself a relatively savvy makeup user.

So I did a little research. The Smashbox description of my newly-received swap item recommended using their #21 Arced Liner Brush, so I checked out that product on their site.

I’d actually never seen a bent brush like this — probably because I’ve never used cream/gel eyeliner before. I picked up a slightly cheaper (but still very high-quality and super-soft) Sephora version, their Professional Platinum Angled Eyeliner Brush #23. It also looks like you can get Bare Escentuals or Benefit versions for cheaper, but I don’t trust those brushes as much as I trust Sephora’s Professional line. (I strongly prefer dense, synthetic brushes that never shed a hair, and Too Faced and Sephora are my go-to brush companies.)

This cracks me up, because I should’ve known the right brush would make all the difference. I could never master those artfully deep-set slightly-smoky triangles you can do on your eyelid, until I got my Too Faced Angled Eye Shadow Brush. And applying mineral powder concealer to blemishes became infinitely easier with my Sephora Professional Concealer Brush #46 and my Everyday Minerals Oval Concealer brush (I alternate them so they have time to dry between applications). I may be a makeup savant, but I’m only beginning to call myself a tool savant. Once I can fully master an eyelash curler without getting that horrible crimp line, I’ll be ready for my certificate.

I’m just loving how my new eyeliners look. They create great definition, without disappearing like a normal eyeliner pencil, and without creating as sharp a line as a liquid liner. (They’re much more forgiving during the application process than liquid liners, too.) I find it a bit more awkward to do my left eye than my right, but I manage okay — the bent shaft of the brush really makes it a lot easier. Now, if only they could make ALL beauty tools so ergonomic — I might never burn myself with my straightening iron again!