There’s a misconception about being a beauty junkie. Say that you love cosmetics and people immediately conjure images of YouTubers or models with flawless highlights and hundreds, if not thousands, of lipsticks, blushes and bronzers at their disposal. But some of us like to keep our routines simple (hello, precious extra minutes of sleep) and sometimes just don’t possess the skills for smoky eyes and beachy waves. Are we to be left out of the beauty junkie club?
For me, the beauty journey was not an easy one. Acquiring the tools and products (and worse, knowing how to use them) seemed intimidating and out of reach. For years, I barely understood makeup and my hair was a poofy mess. Sure, my teenage years had their share of purple sparkly eye shadow, shiny lip gloss and Great Lash mascara, but there was a naiveté about it leaving me feeling more imposter than beauty guru. (And don’t even get me started on the hopelessness of my skin care through the years, oi).
I often wondered if I was cut out for the beauty world. As much as I loved the look of bouncing curls and bold lips, I clearly did not have the patience to learn, let alone master them. Many a dollar was spent chasing some ideal that I had no idea how to actually achieve, hoping purely on chance that this shiny new bottle would give me the model-like results that I desired. I would buy, try and inevitably not look like Keira Knightly and leave 98% of the product left in the tube, bottle or palette where it languished until it got swept into the trash in an annual cupboard clear out. I asked (okay, begged) more adept friends to show me the way, but they would just recommend more products without explaining how to use them, so nothing ever clicked. Alas, I accepted my fate and made my way through high school and college feeling completely excluded from the beauty world.
"How could I belong here if I can barely wield a lip liner?"
Then, three years ago, I started working at LUX, which from what I described above, seems like the last place you’d think I’d be. I walked into the store and was surrounded by what I could only describe as beauty goddesses. Flawless, charming and everything right on point. They all seemed to possess a skillful patience to create beautiful looks, dynamic hair-styles, with glowing, beautiful skin to boot. While everyone was very kind and we connected as friends and colleagues, there was always that glaring elephant in the room: How could I belong here if I can barely wield a lip liner?
One day, I finally worked up the courage to consult one of the LUX ladies about skincare. Her first question (as it is always a good question to ask) is what I was currently using. When I let her know that I had long given up on any sort of routine and was relying only on my trusty moisturizer, her face paled and her jaw nearly hit the floor. Soon, I was stocked up with a whole new regime and, most importantly, a detailed explanation of how and when to use each product. For the first time in my life, I felt like I had control of my skin and a healthy slate from which to apply additional cosmetics.
"It also surprised me that I could upgrade my staple basic eyeliner and mascara and found hair styling products that actually made my hair look its best."
Emboldened by my early success with skin care, I dove in excitedly and kept on learning. I immediately found things I loved that worked. Determined not to repeat foibles of the past, I relied on sampling things first and finishing each bottle to the last drop before trying something new. (More impressively, I’ve actually finished things. That has never happened before, ever!) At my peak, I had six products in my skincare routine alone. This was completely unheard of for me. It also surprised me that I could upgrade my staple basic eyeliner and mascara and found hair styling products that actually made my hair look its best.
With most things, the craze calmed down and I whittled down my new discoveries into a core selection of things that not only worked for me and my lifestyle, but made me feel my best in using them. Along the way I learned that you don’t need to be totally obsessed with makeup and have thousands of products to feel beautiful.
"If my younger self could see me today, she would be scandalized and impressed."
At LUX, as well as a woman at large, I finally felt like a professional who could be taken seriously. Sure, having a team of amazing, knowledgeable and passionate women behind you to guide you along the journey is an asset, but the biggest takeaways? More often than not, higher quality will mean it is easier to use. (Blending eyeshadow is no longer a foreign concept if you are using products that blend, or you are using a tool like Sigma E35 that does the magic for you). It’s all about building up that trust and taking baby steps. Try one new item or technique at a time, then build on that. That said, don’t be afraid to try something outside of your comfort zone and have a little fun sometimes. (I have purple lipstick and can wear it without fear of smudging it all over my face. If my younger self could see me today, she would be scandalized and impressed.)
The strangest and most wonderful thing of all in this wild little journey was that recently, I have come to the store and heard someone remark, “Wow, your makeup looks great!” Each time, I give a bewildered look in response and kind of check behind me to ensure they aren’t talking to anyone else. But, no, the goddesses are talking to the girl with her small stash of products and five minutes to spare, and letting her know she looks awesome that day. And that is worth more than all the lipsticks in the world.