Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ask The Non-Blonde: Personally Speaking (Makeup)

You asked, I promised to answer (then procrastinated for a while), but here are answers to some recurring personal makeup questions.

Do you ever leave the house without makeup? 
No. I can do a minimal look, a two minute face (if I'm having an exceptional skin day), skip mascara if I'm in a hurry, but after a certain age it's just not cute to go out in public without some enhancement, even if it's just red lipstick and big black sunglasses.

Do you have a signature makeup look?
I'm always testing something new and experimenting with colors and textures, but I do have a default look that never fails me: navy eyeliner applied somewhat heavily and smoked and blended with taupe eye shadow, a little rosy blush and a natural looking dark rose lipstick.

Who are your beauty icons?
My mother, Diane Von Furstenberg and Sophia Loren.

Is there a beauty product you never use?
Self tanners. Too much margin for error.

What was your first lipstick?
I think I used clear balms and whatever found itself into my hands from various GWP my mom got, but the first lipstick I remember actually buying for myself was called Frosted Raisin (or was it Raisin Frost?) from Revlon.

What was the worst makeup mistake you've ever made?
I'm pretty sure the foundation I wore in the late 80s was not only too thick but was also the wrong shade. It was a Helena Rubinstein something or other and I bet that it was pink-based.

What's your biggest makeup pet peeve?
I wouldn't call it a peeve since it's none of my business, but over-plucked and/or over-drawn eyebrows are very distracting. I guess it bothers me because this is one thing that is relatively easy to fix yet you see it all the time.

Do you have a makeup product you keep repurchasing?
Yes, several actually: LMdB liquid eyeliner, Peau Vierge and eye shadows, Lancome Artliner, Chanel foundation, Laura Mercier concealer, Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner, Guerlain Meteorites powder, Giorgio Armani eye pencils, lipsticks and mascara, YSL mascara.

How many makeup brushes do you have? How do you store them? How do you decide which brush to use?
I have more brushes than necessary and not enough to make the absolute comparisons and observations. Obviously, I'm not a normal makeup user because I try to test products by using several brushes before I give a verdict, so I need to have options for shape, density and hair type.
I keep my eye brushes in various vintage cups and pottery items arranged by type and function (blending, pencil, etc.) while others are in my drawers next to the products I use them for.

Which makeup item makes the most difference for your look?
Eyeliner. It's the one thing that I can't do without because it has the most impact on how alive I look. I can do without mascara, especially if I tightline between my lashes, but an eyeliner adds definition and enhances the shape and color of my eyes.

Image: detail from  1960s Revlon ad via myvintagevogue.com.


  1. Thank you, Gaia, for such an interesting article, it was a pleasure to read it!!

    I'm with you on two points:

    1. I don't leave home without make up, with my natural high contrast hair, eyes/skin if i don't re-balance it with lipstick i look ill, and it has nothing to do with age, this was the case when i was 18.

    2.Eyeliner-makes a dramatic, I's say even ALL the difference.

    1. I'll second that! I think so many of us were introduced to makeup by Revlon, the first thing you see as a teen in a drug store. :)

  2. What an enjoyable post Gaia, a pleasure to read! I'm a fan of a simple polished look, I never go out without mascara, lips or LMdB peau vierge. I need to learn the art of the 2 minute look!
    I can no longer keep my brushes on the dresser-my cats are enamoured with them.

  3. This is why I love your posts! Your answer to the pet peeve question was wonderful, I think one of my first lipsticks (after balm) was a raisin of some sort as well, and most importantly: I am SO THANKFUL for all the research you do! Great stuff!

  4. Lovely post, a true delight.
    My first memorable lipstick was a frosted, very light bluish pink Dior that came in a blue hexagonal tube. I was like 12, was sent abroad and was so happy to buy it at the free shop! It looked horrible on my face (way too light!), but the texture, the smell, it all made me want more! But I'm usually too lazy to wear makeup, though I know I should. The only thing I never leave the house without is perfume. Love wearing slippers with a bare face and Amouage Gold, it feels like a little secret.

  5. I loved this post! You have access to such great products-I really appreciate your hard work and accurate swatches of colours.

    I searched your blog for Erno Laszlo reviews-it's a line that does not receive a lot of attention on the net. Do you like their products? They are on sale here, and i would like to try them, but I would be doing research on the net and buying them blind.
    Thank you,


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