Emily Teaches Me How To Wear Makeup

Me and Emily at our performance at the Bennington Museum last summer.  You can see my make-up skills are lacking.

I didn’t practice balancing a sword on my head in Bellydancing class last week.  But I did something just as exotic to me.  I learned how to put on make-up for our Bellydancing performances.

“I’m bringing you some makeup today! Maybe if we’re both there early I can give you some tips” Emily texted me before class.

The week before our teacher Julz said we’d be practicing putting on makeup for our upcoming performances.  (June 25th at the Pride Parade in Bennington VT and July 5th at the North Bennington Library at 7:30)

I had the feeling she was talking directly to me since I’m the only one who doesn’t know how to do it.  I was happy to hear it.  When I danced in the past I always had the feeling I looked more like a clown than a dancer.

Emily and I met in the parking lot and walked up the two flights of stairs in the old factory.  It’s an imposing Victorian brick building that has been divided up into large rooms with high ceilings and huge windows.  We dance in a fitness room with a wall of mirrors and a large reception area and separate rooms for the Massage therapists who also work in the space.

Emily held out a pink, orange, and white makeup bag.  “This is for you”, she said, “it’s make-up I haven’t used that I think will suit your skin color.”

Then we began.

Emily being an artist and knowing I am ignorant when it comes to make-up explained the process in words that would make sense to me.

She handed me a tube of makeup and told me to spread it on my face as if it were sunscreen.  “We’re trying to make your face a blank canvas,” she said.  As I spread the makeup all over my face I pictured myself brushing gesso on a raw canvas.  Creating a smooth surface without any inconsistencies.

Next the concealer, then a little powder, (just a dusting poured into the cap and applied lightly with a little powder puff).   The eye makeup came after that.  Emily talked me through it as she dabbed the makeup on my eyelid with her fingertip.

First the light eye shadow.  Then a darker one from the crease in the eyelid down, on the outer part of the lid, leaving the area around the tear duct bare.

Instead of using eyeliner, she used a little brush to apply some of the darker eye shadow under my eyelid starting in the middle of the eye to the outer corner.  Again none towards the tear duct.

“Wait, let me write this down,” I said and got the little sketch pad from my bag.

Next, she swooped some dark blush on my cheekbones, making them pop.  “Now the coral blush,” she said, ‘like apples on your cheeks.” And a touch on the tip of my nose.

“Color both lips with the lipliner,” Emily told me as she filled in my lips.  Then she handed me a darker lipstick and I put it on my lower lip, as instructed, pressing my lips together.  It worked!  There wasn’t a smudge of lipstick out of place.

Last comes the shimmer, which gives light and sparkle in the space between the eyes…and….someplace else?

Now I can’t remember, maybe on the side of the eyes too?  And more powder at the very end?

Good questions to bring to class tonight.

Julz said I looked great in makeup, she never saw my cheekbones before.   She suggested I add a touch of water to the eyeshadow to keep it from running when I sweat.  Kathleen reminded me to step back from the mirror when I looked at myself.  “That’s how the audience will see you, from a distance.”

Emily gave me all the makeup I need except an eyebrow pencil. ” Julz can help you with that,” she said, just get a color that matches your eyebrows.”

I couldn’t thank Emily enough.  She said she thought it would be helpful for me to learn the basics.  Even just buying makeup when I didn’t have an idea of how it was supposed to be used and what it was supposed to look like was difficult.  I guess it’s the kind of thing you have to learn by doing,   and I didn’t have to do it enough to learn.

Emily was great at choosing the right colors for me too.  Another thing I couldn’t have navigated without a lot of trial and error. And she gave me a mess of free makeup in that sweet makeup bag.

When I got home from class I texted Emily and thanked her again inviting her to lunch, on me.

She was paying it forward she told me.  “I’m still grateful to my dance friend for helping me.”

Which of course made me wonder if someday I too might be able to help a fellow dancer with their makeup.

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