<![CDATA[Griot Girls - Telling It Like It Is: Cuisine & Couture]]> http://griotgirls.com/groups/profile/91/cuisine-couture http://griotgirls.com/blog/view/149/au-naturelle-do-we-really-need-all-that-makeup Wed, 03 Oct 2012 12:08:33 -0400 http://griotgirls.com/blog/view/149/au-naturelle-do-we-really-need-all-that-makeup <![CDATA[Au Naturelle: Do We Really Need All That Makeup?]]> Among my favorite past times as a young girl was watching wedding parties photographed at Mr. Alexander’s studio on McPherson Street with my brother David, and friends Heather and Tommy. We would follow the parties in as they streamed down the dark corridor and onto the set at the back of the studio where they gathered and posed for their shots. I still recall the excitement as the flash bulbs popped one after another as the subjects sweltered under the beaming floodlights. Etched into my memory are the streams of perspiration meandering down the ladies’ faces, leaving in their wake deep crevices carved into their heavily spackled on makeup. Perhaps this shaped my inclination to err on the side of just a little less makeup on my face.

In high school the girls who got the attention of all the boys were for the most part the busty chicks who wore makeup, perfume, and were just always put together. Then there were the rest of us. I read articles and saw references on TV about the time it takes to do hair and makeup...I just really never got it. Mommy generally "Put on her face" in the car on the way to work, etc., and somehow that has always worked for me... (Of course, not while driving). This, for all practical purposes limits what you do to get all gussied up for an event. Something I realized early on was that if I got a healthy dose of fresh air and sunshine, it limited what I had to do to get the right look....sometimes a little eye liner for that deep, sultry look, and some lipstick & maybe a brush of blush. Mascara was always a must if you really wanted to get noticed by your big brother's friends...the only problem was having to clean it all off before church on Sunday morning...it was a mess, and for the most part, not really worth it.

Toward the end of my freshman college year I walked into the bathroom on my floor and was jolted when I saw the bare face of one of the campus beauties. This girl was always so immaculately manicured from head to toe every day, no matter the occasion. To see her standing in the mirror pasty faced was quite the shock. It took me a few seconds to recognize her. Her lips seemed devoid of color and the general hue of her face was grayish. I thought to myself “She needs some sun”.

I remember getting prepped for a friend’s wedding, and was so excited because we had a well renowned make-up guy in place to give us all just the right look. He made it clear to me that he was not a hair or face technician, but an artist. My turn finally arrived and I sat in the chair to get “all done up”. I closed my eyes and let him work his magic. When he was done I slowly opened my eyes and…OMG! Well trained not to offend, I thanked him kindly, got up, and very discreetly made my way to the bathroom where I washed my face and applied my own make up…little though it was. No one seemed to notice that I didn’t fit into the bridal party, and photos of the event revealed no clues to the unmasking.

My wedding was a simple one, family and a few friends, and no makeup artist. My sister Yvette helped me with my makeup, and I felt at that moment, that I was as beautiful as a bride could be. As I stepped outside to head for the church, our friend, Donald asked “Aren’t you going to wear any lipstick?” Confidently I replied “Nope” and off we went. Maybe it would have made a difference, but natural was what I wanted and light gloss was what did it for me.

Some years and three children later I opted to take advantage of a promotional make-over…thought I’d shake my “plain Jane” look and go all out. I was getting older and so many girls around me were always so well put together, their faces flawlessly painted. Again, eyes closed, I sat back and enjoyed the experience, really excited as the very amiable technician worked her magic and oohed & ahhed about the beautiful Bambi eyes she’d created. Me?? Bambi?? I dared to envision my very own eyes, sleepy and inviting like my friend D’Anne’s, with eyelashes that had no end. Not so! I guess it’s all a matter of perception, and she worked with what she had, so again, I thanked her and headed home to wash my face. As I arrived home, my son, maybe four years old at the time burst into laughter. That said it all.

Fast forward a few decades and where am I on all this make-up stuff? Well, just so there’s no misperception that I’m flawless and in no need of concealing this or that, a young gal at the Wellington mall just the other day gave me a good dose of reality as she tried to peddle her wares from her kiosk. Her winning line was “do you understand why you have all those spots on your face and have gaping pores?” That really endeared me to her as I figuratively clutched my purse, determined not to spend a farthing on her miracle products. Maybe I'm just a simple girl, but I look at these gals all done up with multiple layers of foundation, etc., and I often wonder how much better they might look if they went a little lighter on the makeup. Admittedly, I do cover up on occasion, with good reason. Did you know that in addition to foundation, or base, they now have facial primers? Where was I when all this was going on? The long and short of it is that I’m pretty much in the same place I was back then, peeking into Mr. Alexander’s studio at the bridal parties and thinking that less is definitely better-for me. Here’s some food for thought:




Helen Bartlett-Hanna