Clever beauty tricks, should-own products + spectacularly useful how-to-do-its
Author: Zoe Foster
(Buy it now) < stupid link didn’t work – it now works 🙂
I learned how to apply makeup from a girl in the toilets.
She was an exquisite, popular, sophisticated* (*It’s all relative) year nine girl (I was a year eight weed and the girls in the year above were deities for reasons I can only put down to ‘having pashed boys already’), and it was bewitching watching her do her face in the school toilets.
Sadly, my facsimile did not eventuate in the flawless masterpiece I’d hoped, although with several layers of Mum’s salmon Helena Rubenstein powder, blush loaded onto cheekbones that didn’t yet exist and more eyeliner than is legal at 13, I was able to generously offer several solid hours of amusement for my family.
But what the heck was a girl to do? My options were my older sister, who was at that time stomping noisily through her punk stage and terribly unhelpful in the beauty department, my mum, who wore only powder and lipstick, or my friends, who to my irritation were hypnotised by Lip Smackers and unwilling to progress. The Girl in the Toilet was my best chance.
Surprisingly, learning how to do makeup – that most crucial form of visual enhancement and self-expression – from a Girl in the Toilets (who invariably learned it from someone equally unqualified) is not as valuable as one might think. As condom-covered veils at Hens’ Nights kindly demonstrate, tradition does not always mean it’s right.
But I persisted, experimenting with beauty in all its forms through the tragic comedy of high school with the application technique of a drunken bat. Eye shadow? Whatever shade’s on sale at the chemist! Hair colour? Whatever Emma and Lee are doing! Skin care? Whatever Mum buys me! Screw technique, doll; just get it on there! Oh, and whatever you do, PLUCK YOUR EYEBROWS. Pluck them a lot. Have no idea why or how, just do it because everyone else is. See? See how pretty they look all thin and wonky and uneven like that? Great job!
This spectacular incompetence continued until I was 23, when I became beauty editor at Cosmopolitan. It’s terrifying that I was given such a role – I distinctly remember my only eye shadow palette at that time being a frosty pastel CoverGirl one I wore with evangelical passion, skipping merrily from lilac to mint to aqua according to mood and outfit, and you can bet your blush brush I wore it to the job interview.
Two days in and I was interviewing the gentleman responsible for doing JENNIFER ANISTON’s hair, and so my on-job learning commenced. And it never stops.
People occasionally assume beauty editors are makeup artists or beauticians turned writers, but we are not. Those guys are incredibly knowledgeable in one area, whereas we know lots of little things about many areas. We are writers whose job it is to inhale all available information on beauty, from every available source, and elegantly spit it out in an accessible fashion for our readers.
And inhale I do. Every time I chat to an artist, whether they’re an international King of the Biz like BRUC GRAYSON or FRÉDÉRIC FEKKAI, a National Megastar like RAE MORRIS or JAYNE WILD, or a terrifically talented makeup or hair genius on a shoot, I am learning fantastic new tricks that alter the way I do my hair or face. Ditto with the dermatologists and scientists behind those skin care prodz you buy. These people know their shit. They are the finest in their field; beauty is their passion and their profession.
For me to translate all of their priceless insider information to readers, I need to understand it first. (‘Explain it to me like I’m five.’) Which means I learn a whole lot of stuff along the way, both from these experts, and from subsequent experimenting. (Seven years’ worth which have cumulated in this book.) (The stuff I can remember anyway.) (I was drunk for a lot of it.) (Kidding!) (Kind of.)
Pros aside, my fellow beauty editors are tremendously inspiring. You cannot imagine such a glorious constellation of stylish, mischievous, talented dames! They are extremely proficient with any makeup/hairbrush or product in their orbit and magnificent at sassing a trend before it even knows it’s a trend. This is no accident: as a beauty editor, you might attend 10 product launches a week, and are expected to look polished and glamorous at each. And so you’d expect as much from the women forecasting for, educating and gently dictating to a nation on perfect skin, hair and makeup. Obviously, this lends itself to some exceptional creativity: a shimmering peacock green liner and a frisky new fringe there, outrageous melon lips and duck-egg blue toenails over there . . . it is a circus of invention and playfulness and I hurl myself into it with zest and jubilance.
To be inspired and excited by the fun and frivolity of beauty. To learn (or re-learn) the basics and master some new trickery. To take what works for you and chuck what doesn’t. To challenge what you’ve always done or thought. To experiment and play. To thieve these tips and announce them as your own, rather like I did in putting this book together. Although let it be known I would never suggest I created these tips: they either came to me via dreams (false) or were taught to me by the best in the biz over the years (true).
For the love of lettuce, cut the cackle, Fosters!
Okay, okay, now it’s time for you, sweet reader, to run squealing into a book that will make you feel competent, be confident and look magnificent, and a world that isn’t intimidating or confusing, but in fact frightfully enjoyable, easy and exciting. It is! It really is. And this book was created lovingly to demonstrate as much.
Enjoy it, you gorgeous rascals. (Buy it now)
The following tips and tricks work for me, but may not work for everybody. I tried my best to choose the most universal, and hope you get some use from them. Also, all unintentional errors are intentional, unless unintentional.
Mia Freedman reviews Amazing Face and interviews Zoe here
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection.