Laying a Foundation

I'm the first to admit I'm not perfect, but that doesn't mean I don't like the illusion of appearing so. I think I've been on the lookout for the perfect foundation since I started wearing makeup. Still looking, I'm afraid. Things come to my mind immediately when I see an ad that says "Sheer Coverage". First is, "Isn't that an oxymoron?" Second is, "Why the hell would you want that? If it's sheer, then it isn't covering anything. If you don't need to cover anything, why the heck do you need foundation?" And yes, I realize it's all marketing and ad campaigns, and the FDA doesn't require cosmetic claims to be accurate. Don't even get me started on those stretch mark creams! Now, do the more expensive brands do a better job at covering or lasting longer? I don't know - like I said, I'm still on the hunt. For the longest time I used Max Factor's Pan Stick, which does a good job of covering and seems to last okay. I heard rumor that they've discontinued selling it in the US, though. Eek! Also, it smells good, and has one of those memory triggers like Play-Doh. I remember being very young and staying at my grandparents' while on vacation, and every evening when my Aunt Carolyn would come over to visit after a long day's work (hey, it must last long if she wore it all day!) she'd give me a hug and I'd smell that makeup. So, I guess part of liking that particular brand comes from the fond memories it brings back, which makes me feel good. So, theoretically I could look like complete crap in that stuff, but since I feel good putting it on I don't notice. Boy, I hope someone lets me know if that's the case! So, lately, in the last year or so, I've been getting samples from department stores so I can try out higher end stuff without forking over at least $40 for something that doesn't work. Now, I've heard it can be tricky getting some of the ladies (and the occasional man) behind the counter to be generous and give out samples. But, when I've scored some of this stuff, they give enough to use several times before running out. I think I've gotten as much as 5-7 uses out of one sample. Here's how I've found it easiest to pry some of that precious liquid (or cream) away from them. First, flattery gets you everywhere. Go up to the counter, compliment their makeup, ask what they use. Next, you'll need a reason to get more than a makeover, but be prepared to at least have some swatches of the stuff spread on your neck to get an idea of what color best matches your skin tone. I think the best plan of action is to say something like, "I have an event that will be in the morning and will need to see what this makeup looks like in that lighting. May I have a sample to try?" That way, if that part of the day has already passed by, you'll obviously have to reapply the makeup and they almost have no choice but to give you some. Smart, right? Now, the beauty of a mall is that there is usually more than one department store, and each department store usually has more than one makeup counter. Just hit as many as you feel comfortable with. Try this stuff out at home in the lighting that will be as close to your venue as possible, or even go there and see how it looks. Write down which one works best. Applying your own makeup on your wedding day will save quite a bit. Not quite sure you know what you'd like to do? While picking up foundation samples, get a free makeover. Tell them you'd like a special occasion look. If they know you're a bride to be, they'll more than likely be happy to help since you'll probably be a big shopper (what they don't know won't hurt them). If you like what you see when you get home, then take some pictures for reference later. There is the chance you won't like what you see, as several times in my lifetime I've been to have a "professional makeover" and I ended up looking sickly, wondering if the girl behind the counter was bored that day and was just experimenting, or being funny and trying to see if I'd actually like what she'd done. Once, when asked what colors I didn't like, I said, "No peaches or oranges, please" only to have those exact shades applied to my face. But that was when I was younger, and now I know to look for the person whose makeup looks good. Kinda like going to a hairdresser with a scary hair-do and expecting your hair to look fantastic. Right now I'm planning on going to see what the only man behind a makeup counter in my area can do for me - he's got fabulous eyebrows and shaves his legs (I know this because I saw him in shorts once), so I'm thinking he's a drag queen by night, and everyone knows drag queens are masters of illusion!

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