When I wear makeup, my goal is to look like a photo editor gently retouched me but in real life.  Like I sat down for a portrait in Vanity fair in a stunning gown, messy hair, and invisible pores, if they shot a non famous 29 year old with a very vivid imagination and an affinity for makeup.


I get it from my Mom.  She liked her lipsticks especially.  When I was a preteen, my mom worked at the Chanel makeup counter during the holidays so from October through January I kept the fanciest of lip glosses rattling in my backpack.


The application of makeup is like all crafts: it begins by learning the basics.  What started as an awkward shaky practice (studying the way my Mom did a liquid liner cat eye on me before a dance recital) became mastery of mascara application on the subway, no mirror.  During college, I ditched the colorful Texas pallet in favor of a more bare NYC flare (thank god).  Instead of metallic eye shimmers, I do a simple dewy eyelid with a lot of eyelashes.  I keep the show to my lips.  I wake up when I swipe NARS Semi Matte shade.  On me, lipstick does more than add a pop of color, it brings the rest of my face into focus and brings out my eyes from there sleepiness.  It anchors my face in matte, gloss, or cream textures.  I keep a spare tube on my desk to reapply after lunch.


When my mom became sick this spring after having suffered a stroke from a hemorrhaging brain tumor, I sat in the hospital room rummaging through her tote bag as per her instructions.  What was I looking for?  Her MAC lipsticks.  On a visit to NYC, she had accidentally taken my favorite autumn shade – a burgundy wine purple.  She returned it apologetically when she realized the accident.   I scolded here when I discovered that she had flattened the alluring “new lipstick angle” to a flat chapstick shape, as was her signature.   But there, in the hospital room I desperately hoped that I’d returned it to her makeup bag.  What I needed to do now was make her feel beautiful.


I learned what I know about makeup first from her.  Her delight in a new Niki Minaj pink or an Iman gold continued to the end of her 50 years.  Those are specific pleasures.  They are a ritual tied to something I learned at seven watching my Mom apply Chanel lipstick beneath the vanity lights of our bathroom mirror.