|I had a book about the 1950s as a kid, and Brigitte Bardot was my ultimate glamour role model.|
Would I one day grow up to have fancy makeup and tousled hair like Mlle Bardot? I hoped so!
So, I used to think that awesome hair and makeup looks were just things I wasn't lucky enough to know how to do. It seemed like when I grew up, suddenly I would have perfect hair and knowledge of how to apply perfect red lipstick. (It also really bothered me that all of the fancy ladies had dark eyelashes, while mine were invisible/blondish. Using mascara CHANGED MY LIFE!! But that came later...)
Anyway, I did grow up and learn how to apply flawless red lipstick and have a variety of fancy hairdos, BUT it didn't happen naturally. It took lots of trial and error, lots of book learning, and, oh yes, YouTube tutorials.
Trial and error: the errors
|I tried my best to have Gwyneth-straight hair, but unfortch, I didn't realize straightening irons existed.|
No, I didn't use an actual iron. But I def. considered it.
In the years before I knew that straightening irons could be purchased by normal people (i.e. up until about age 19), I used to try my best to straighten my hair using this overly complicated wrap-hair-around-head-and-use-a-million-bobbypins-but-no-hair-product manner that never really worked.
Even earlier, circa age 9 (during the height of my obsession with Grease), I attempted to use Vaseline to style my hair. This was beyond a disaster and took a lot of shampoo to repair.
|Like every normal 9-year-old, my life idol was Olivia Newton-John (post-slut) in the finale of Grease. Seriously, I wore a pair of black spandex pants practically everyday. I'm just lucky I didn't start smoking, too.|
I bought my first curling iron when I was about 9 (from the Sears catalogue! Getting that beauty primed me for my eventual online shopping addiction). I never understood how to use it, though. I'd heat it up and then wrap hair around it and then unwrap the hair and be like, "Why isn't it curly?"
Luckily, my hair was red and wavy-ish, which can make people think you really know what you're doing when you don't.
|Red hair: distracting people from how I almost never brush my hair for 30 years.|
Seriously, her hair is actually really messy here, but all you see is the red, right?
I've had a love of makeup for my entire life, basically. When I was 4, I begged my mother for makeup - not out of some sort of desire to be a Toddlers & Tiaras type freakshow, but because (I imagine) I'd been watching lots of old movies and soap operas and knew that gorgeous ladies wore makeup. I wanted to be seen applying makeup more than I wanted to be seen wearing it, if you know what I mean.
My mother, bless her, ultimately caved and bought me bright pink nailpolish which I LOVED. I currently have like 5 different kinds of bright pink nailpolish because I think that somehow has imprinted in my mind as the EPITOME OF GLAMOUR.
alt.fashion changes my life
|I was, shall we say, an early adopter of internet technology.|
Finally, the world caught up to me, circa 2005.
I participated in the mid-90s on a now-defunct newsgroup called alt.fashion - where fancy ladies would log in everyday and say what makeup they were wearing that day. One lady would explain what Hermes scarf she was wearing, and in what kind of knot. It was amazing, and I learned most of what I know today about makeup brands from my early 90s internet experience on alt.fashion (What happened to those ladies, I wonder? They were all so fancy)
Flashforward to today. I own a small arsenal of makeup and makeup brushes and hair doodads and I have learned the secret to true glamour: Youtube tutorials. Oh, and also Lauren Conrad's Beauty Department website.
Best of the best
|I envy the girls of today, who have access to LC's tips all the time.|
In my day, it was all dial-up internet and nailpolish that took 30 mins to dry...
Lauren Conrad and her friends have turned The Beauty Department into my #1 fave resource to learn about makeup and hair secrets & tricks. She taught me to do a fishtail braid, perfect cat-eye eyeliner, how to make my bangs look always fantastic, and makeup for people with glasses (among zillions of others - I also recommend her tutorials for 40s-inspired glam hair and 40s-inspired glam makeup, oh and also all of her Kitchen Beautician series for DIY things and, and, and and...)
In terms of YouTube tutorials, I adore the ones by this British makeup afficianado called JuciyLucy. What's great about JuiceLuciy is that she looks like a normal, wholesome English girl - but by the end of the tutorials, she has totally transformed herself just using hair and makeup tips. She taught me how to apply false lashes, and now I'm an unstoppable false lash demon! I esp. recommend her tutorials on Rita Hayworth 40s hair, Joan from Mad Men hair & makeup, and Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer makeup looks.
BlogHer has a great article about how to maximize your hair tutorial search results on YouTube. Because the thing is, until you see somebody applying eyeliner to their waterline or pressing their fingers just so to make finger waves, words on a page don't really work. It's great to see somebody doing it themselves - esp. when that person is charming and a normal person.
(PS while you're on BlogHer, and if you're American, enter their Life Well Lived Sweepstakes too!)