One of the reasons I have got back into blogging is that, since being off work for several weeks, I’ve got back into reading blogs in a big way. In particular, I’ve been really enjoying a whole plethora of beauty and lifestyle blogs-not vlogs, however, I am still too old to think much of them. (Not that there’s anything wrong with them, I just like to be listening to music or watching telly whilst reading and video just seems counterintuitive). I’d like to update my blog roll, but I’m afraid there might be too many to list! I’m still undecided how I’m going to tidy up my links and it may be that I use Bloglovin as my main curation system, but I’m still learning that. Indeed, this idea that I’m still learning is the focus of this occasional series that I’m calling Adventures in Beauty.
Although I’m 35 years old and have been wearing make up for 20-25 of those years, it’s not until the last couple of years that I’ve really started to think about it or research it in any detail. Until then, I was simply happy to just pick up a few bits and pieces from Boots or Superdrug and use as I saw fit. My main experiences of make-up tutorials came from Mizz and Just Seventeen magazines in the mid-90s, so I have not exactly been well educated in the art. That’s not to say I’m a complete novice-from time to time I’ve looked at things online to get ideas, inspiration, read reviews, watch tutorials and so on. In addition, I’m a keen member of a local amateur dramatics group and we’ve had make-up tutorials, albeit mainly pertaining to stage make-up. However, my experience has been somewhat basic and lacking. My family were never really that into make up, and I didn’t learn anything from them, other than my sister-in-law introducing me to the Naked palette. At school, I picked up bits and pieces along with many of my friends, but you know what teenage girls are like-or at least what we were like in the 1990s-our foundation, such as it was, tended via between pasty white powder or something orange. I was in the former camp! Our beginnings were roller-ball lip glosses in an array of fruity flavours from Constance Carroll that we bought off the top town market, nail polishes from the Barry M shop, Dewberry and white musk from the Body Shop, Charlie Red and Rimmel lipsticks in Coffee and Heather shimmers. Being from Grimsby, we weren’t exactly a group of fashion forward, beauty conscious people with money to burn and make up was something we wore, but not something we thought about in any great detail – and certainly not something we spent a fortune on.
As an adult, I’ve worked in environments that don’t particularly place an emphasis on image. Obviously, that’s been really helpful and freeing, not only for myself and colleagues, but also for our ‘service users’/students/etc. likewise, my friends aren’t particularly into make-up and beauty, only wearing it on special occasions for the most part. So I’ve never really been surrounded by people who know much or care much about cosmetics.
I’m not somebody who wears make-up everyday-I like my skin too much and to be honest, sometimes putting make-up on is a right faff. I am very, very rarely without nail polish, however, and it’s become a bit of a signature item. A couple of years ago, I got into reading make-up blogs because I wanted to know which products were worth spending some cash on. I say spending cash, but we’re not talking about those high-end counters, rather which of the budget brands were worthwhile and which were as cheap as the price suggests. I’m from Grimsby, I am a total cheapskate! Oh yeah, and then there’s Instagram. I figured I had to start following a lot of celebrities on there for the module I teach at work. And then I figured to use Instagram properly, there had to be something to hook me into it, rather than just being a chore for my job. And at the same time, I was getting more experimental with my nails, so sharing them on Instagram was the next step-then following nail bloggers and nail artists, picking up new tips, learning about new products. I was soon striping, stamping and making gradients like a good’un.
And from nails, of course, it’s a very small step to the rest of the make-up repertoire-and from there, to other aspects such as skincare and so on. Until a year ago, I’d never even heard of primer and I didn’t start using it until the last few months. Micellar water, the darling of the beauty scene for at least the past two years, has only entered my household in the last month or so. I finally succumbed to buying a proper cleanser, and not one that comes in a cheap bottle or a wipe. I have now started highlighting on a regular basis, rather than hearing of it but not having a clue what it was. I’ve even had the odd go at contouring, although far too subtly for it to be noticed. No danger of me going the full Kardashian yet!
Until the last few months, I had never heard of Hourglass, Charlotte Tilbury or Tarte, and now I lust after their products. I’m even thinking about succumbing to the Naked Smoky, despite what is, to me, a fairly eye-watering pricetag. I’m going to London next week and am getting excited about seeing what’s in the Kiko and Inglot stores and maybe splurging a little of the unexpected rebate HMRC gifted me with this week. Despite this, I remain a cheapskate at heart. I’ve bought a lot of make-up lately, but much of it has come from hauls at Makeup Revolution or Freedom, from the shelves of TK Maxx (damn whichever beauty blog it was that introduced me to them!) and from the 3 for 2s on Collection, Maybelline, Bourjois, Rimmel and co. I’m quite happy to try out a few cheap lipsticks to see which colour suits and am all about the quantity over the quality, so any huge splurges I make are gonna have to be things I really fall in love with and can’t get a decent budget equivalent for.
Anyway, this series of posts is going to be about my adventures in learning different techniques, trying out different colours, experimenting with new products and discovering the things that for the beauty obsessed, have been seemingly obvious for years, but for the rest of us, living in oblivion, are like something out of a travel guide-exotic, unexplored and possibly unnecessary! I’m not claiming to be one of those bloggers who knows it all, has a lot of experience or can compare a range of products. There are hundreds of people out there doing those things and doing them incredibly well. But I’m learning new things about make-up and beauty, about skin care and hair care and I thought it might be fun to share my experiences of going from clueless to a little more clued-up, as well as making sure I get use out of all these products I’ve been buying lately!