The lessons we’ve learnt about make-up
- December 12, 2019
- William Lewis
We’ve all come a long way from our first forays into blue eyeliner and frosted lipstick. The Pool shares some clever make-up tips and tricks they’ve learnt over the years, with the help of Clinique Crayola Chubby Sticks .
Dawn O’Porter aged 16 and now
“As a teenager, make-up was about disguise – disguising spots, disguising a lack of confidence, disguising that I hadn’t quite worked out who I was yet. I didn’t use it with any skill – I wore it simply because I could. I distinctly remember getting to a point where I was allowed to wear make-up and therefore I just wore it all – lashings of liquid eyeliner; thick lips filled with a heavy colour. I knew nothing about the right way to apply a base and cared more about people seeing the make-up I was allowed to wear, rather than the features it could possibly enhance. It was the push-up bra for my face. It said, “Hello, world, I am a woman.” And it worked – it made me feel like a proper grown-up. The grown-ups thought I looked ridiculous.
The guys I was currently obsessed with yelled across the table, ‘Dawn, why do you wear that bloody lipstick?’
I remember, one day I was out for lunch (that sounds glamorous – we were about 16 and eating chips and pizza). The guy I was currently obsessed with yelled across the table, “Dawn, why do you wear that bloody lipstick?” I froze. I was the kind of kid who had an answer to everything, but I had no answer to that. Why was I caking my lips with the deepest plum, retouching it every 20 minutes, dealing with the trauma of it being on my teeth at all times, the sweat running through it in the summer, the knowledge that it didn’t actually suit me at all? I styled out that luncheon, then almost never wore it again. The guy was an arsehole, but he made me realise if I couldn’t find an answer for explaining the choices I made about my own face, my choices were probably wrong.
The revelation came properly in my mid-twenties, when I became brave enough for my lifelong love of the 60s aesthetic to become my own look, rather than being a clone of everyone else in my peer group. It started with the clothes, then the make-up. When I first ditched the harsh liquid eyeliner for smoky eyeshadow applied with a brush, it was as though my face had been upside down my entire life and suddenly fell into place. I discovered the subtlety and sensuality of glossy, nude lips. I let my eyes grow and grow and be the pivot point of my look. I couldn’t get them big enough. The “either/or” concept (a lot like tits or legs) was my great revelation. Never again would I have dark lipstick and big eyes at the same time. That was a rule I set and have stuck to ever since.
Lipstick never made me feel like me, but I am addicted to moisture. My husband is bored of me constantly applying something to my mouth. The Clinique Crayola Chubby Stick in Fuzzy Wuzzy ticks all my boxes because it keeps my lips moisturised and the colour is beautifully subtle. It’s not gloopy and it glides on, meaning I can apply it at the dinner table and don’t need a mirror to get it right. Juxtapose that with thick shadow and my face tells the world I’m feeling good today. And that is what make-up should do: make you feel good. As long as that is happening, you’re getting it right.” Dawn O’Porter
Frankie Graddon aged 16 and now
“It will come as no surprise that I have always been interested in make-up. I got my first stash from my mum’s friend Linda, when I was no more than 11. She’d kept one of her old make-up bags and filled it with lipstick ends and down-to-the-tin pink blushers. There was a fluffy powder puff. It was dress-up. I loved it.
During my early teens, I’d sneak into the bathroom and play around with my mum’s colours. I remember one time getting a kohl eyeliner from her beauty box and drawing it all over my lips. She also had a banana-yellow eyeshadow that I liked. But this was all behind the scenes. As soon as I was done, I’d wash it off and emerge squeaky clean.
I remember one time getting a kohl eyeliner from my mum’s beauty box and drawing it all over my lips
While my friends experimented with bright eyeshadows and even brighter lip gloss at school, I aways played it safe. I loved looking at the sweetie-like packaging in the aisles of Boots, imagining all the different looks I could do, but when it came to wearing it, I chickened out. I didn’t know the rules. I was too scared I’d get it wrong and look stupid. So, I stuck to just a few dabs of concealer and a lick of mascara (one thing I always knew was a good idea).
There were, of course, a few moments of madness. Magaluf 2006: the summer I discovered shimmer highlighter and decided to wear a Stetson, but no suncream. Burning my face bright red almost immediately, I recall slapping on a lot of the moonbeam-coloured liquid in a bid to tone it down. I’m now firm friends with my factor 50.
There was also a keen false-eyelash stage, when I first went to art college. But they never really worked out.
Through out my twenties, as I head towards my thirties, I can honestly say that I’ve learnt to be more playful with my make-up. My secret bathroom makeovers are no longer a secret, as I have discovered that a bright lipstick makes me feel like Superwoman – I’m very much into Clinique’s Crayola Chubby Stick in Red Violet at the moment. I still wear mascara – plenty of it – but, now and again, I’ll do smudgy eyeliner or sparkly eyeshadow, sometimes both – why not? What I’ve realised is that there are no rules to make-up – it should be fun.” Frankie Graddon
Anita aged 18 and now
“I was 18 when this picture was taken. I’d just gone to uni, after a relatively sheltered upbringing, and was enjoying experimenting with a new-found sense of freedom. The biggest part of that freedom was looking the way I wanted to look and also the kinds of people I began to hang out with. This photo was taken during a party for GRIMsoc, a music society I’d joined for people who liked goth and metal music – I knew these were my people.
At this point, I’d just discovered how to dye my hair at home. Whatever shade I decided to bleach and colour it, I’d always match my make-up to complement it. When it was green, I’d wear a lime-green eyeshadow to suit; when it was purple, I’d don a slick of violet eyeliner. But, when I look back through old photos, the one that suits me the most, I think, was the red hair and matching scarlet lipstick.
I’d just discovered how to dye my hair at home. Whatever shade I decided to colour it, I’d always match my make-up
Back then, I struggled to find a red lipstick I truly liked. This glossy red, I remember, was a combination of about five or six smushed and layered together. A few years later, I moved to London to try and get a job. I knew I had to tone down my crazy hair and make-up, but nudes and neutrals never felt quite right, so I’ve always kept the red lipstick as a homage to my younger, more free-spirited self.
It’s become my ultimate transformer, for when I need to look like me. That’s why I can’t let go of bright make-up, no matter how hard I try, and lipstick, for me, is the easiest way to do it. Clinique’s Crayola Chubby Stick in Brick Red is my new go-to red – it has the ease of a balm, so it’s ideal for the day (or post-gym, used as a hint of blush) and is a step bolder than those nudes I can’t abide. And it allows me to keep my make-up as bold as it ever was.” Anita Bhagwandas
Elle aged 18 and now
“I can pinpoint exactly when I had my first experience of make-up. My head could barely reach the top of the dresser but, balancing on a stool, my tiny hands wandered through my nan’s make-up drawer and came out clasping a purple eyeshadow. Aged four, my parents rightly rationed bright pink blushers and violet eyeshadow (I settled for a clear lip balm) but, from the age of 13, I was always well stocked up. I developed quite the collection of high-street concealers, eyeshadow sticks and thick black eyeliners, though one thing I perhaps lacked was restraint.
Between the ages of 14 and 16, I remember coating my whole face in too-orange concealer from Boots, my white neck poking out the bottom. The coverage was brilliant, the overall effect less so. Next, I discovered kohl liner, which I’d draw on my waterline. Then, liquid liner, which I’d coat across my upper lashes. I missed subtle and dived straight into OTT.
Between the ages of 14 and 16, I remember coating my whole face in too-orange concealer from Boots, my white neck poking out the bottom
That’s how I ended up looking like this on Halloween 2011. You think that this is amped up for the purposes of a night on the town? A little, but, truthfully, not much. Can you see my eyes there, squinting out from underneath a pile of fake lashes? No? Me neither. Of course, I’d heard you can do eyes OR lips – never both – but I thought pffft, live a little. So, I added a stripe of bright red, glossy lipstick for good measure, too.
When I look at that photo now, although I’m faintly mortified I’m also proud. That picture captures a time when I wasn’t afraid to have fun or be a little daring. I confess, you’d be hard-pushed getting me to recreate it today, but it’s a lovely time to remember.
Nowadays, I’m still wedded to liquid liner, but a pared-back simple flick suffices and I’ve kicked ringed under-eyes in favour of a wash of tawny eyeshadow. For lips, my happy place is in the nudes section – non-committal, easy to throw on and less likely to expose chapped dry skin. I’m fond of Clinique’s Crayola Chubby Stick in Mauvelous because it’s not too far from my natural lip colour but makes them look smooth and healthy, while the chunky crayon applicator is easy to scribble on and blot off without going overboard. I like it. It suits the “me” I am now and, while I’ll always have time for being bonkers, generally speaking I’d like my make-up to look classic and simple.” Elle Turner
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