I have always been a plain Jane. Even when I was in my teens and early twenties when all girls want to look their best and experiment a lot with makeup, I never applied make-up. I went to college in Chennai a couple of decades ago. Flowers on the hair, talcum powder and kajal was considered make-up then. And I didn’t even apply kajal back then. No powder compact, no lipstick, no kajal. Nothing at all on the face. When I had to attend the marriage of someone in the family was when I first applied make-up. I got it done by some random person and not a professional and was so disappointed! My face looked cakey and painted and didn’t suit me at all! And that was the end of my make-up journey. For a while at least.
Then when I started working first in NYC and then in Bombay, most of the women would wear makeup every day. May not be much but at least a lipstick and some foundation and some even an eyeliner. I was the odd one out and considered trying my hand at wearing makeup. But then I thought why should I? How I look is not what defines me. Who I am is what defines me. And like someone said – beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. But then my colleague told me, there is no harm if you can enhance the beauty. It’s not going to change me as a person. Wearing “the right makeup” definitely makes you look better and when you look better you feel more confident. When you are going for a meeting or are in a social gathering, or a job interview, being confident is half the battle won. When I am confident there is a spring in my step, a definite positive change in my body language and I come across more assertive and in control. Also, people like someone who is well groomed and it gives a positive feel and vibe.
Thus began my journey into the world of makeup though a tad slow journey. Initially I just used a powder compact and a lipstick. But I like many other women am not able to figure out which color suits my skin tone and lip color. So I ended up choosing the wrong colors and was not very happy. When I liked the colors and makeup some of my friends wore, I bought the same colors and products, not realizing what suits them may not suit me. Then I went to a mall where the salesgirls who apply makeup and then sell the products. So I got one of them to recommend me the right shade of lipstick and ended up paying a whopping amount! The color really suited me, but then after a year or so, they stopped selling that shade and I was back to square A! I looked for a similar shade in other brands but didn’t quite find the right one.
Then I moved to Bombay and Bombay (or Mumbai) to me is India’s version of NYC. Fashion rules in Bombay! And I found that “everyone” was better dressed and made up than me! And I really wanted someone professional to teach me how to wear make-up. I didn’t want any professional makeup for myself, just everyday office and sometimes party wear. But learning it from just anyone did not make the cut. In fact, as I mentioned about my bad experience, it made me look worse than no makeup at all. So wearing the right makeup is important. But most of the courses available at that time were courses for someone to become a professional makeup artist. There were no courses for someone to learn to apply makeup for oneself. And even if there were, I could not take time off from my busy work schedule to take up a full time course.
After a few months in Bombay, I made friends with one of the girls in the beauty parlor I used to go to. She said I had beautiful eyes and recommended that if I applied kajal, it would greatly enhance the hazelnut color of my eyes. So for the first time in my life, I tried kajal and lo and behold, it made my face brighten up and truly enhanced the color of my eyes! I started getting so many compliments from friends and colleagues, that I apply kajal regularly. Every single day. Even when I am trekking in the Himalayas, I don’t miss applying kajal in my eyes. Just one small change and it made so much of a difference to how I looked. That’s the kind of difference a professional makeup person can make to your looks and to your confidence. The same girl then said if I added eye liner, the right shade of lipstick and a foundation, it would do wonders to my face. I went to her before a party and she did my makeup. Not the overbearing in-your-face kind of loud makeup. But a very subtle natural looking one, just the way I like it. She killed it! I totally loved the look and loved myself. A lot! Just a few dabs of foundation hid my acne scars and dark circles, the kajal and liner made my eyes look bigger and beautiful, face cream brought out the glow and the right shade of lipstick added the final touch to make me look gorgeous!
I loved the thought that spending just a few minutes everyday could change me from a plain Jane to a well-groomed confident woman who could take on the world. I wanted to look like that every day in the office and for every party I went. I tried the same things the friend did, but unfortunately I did not know the right technique and it didn’t work at all. Before I could go learn from her, I had to move out of Bombay. I still do not have time to go to an in person make up course. But luckily these days there are some good online courses that I can take from the comfort of my home. Where the teacher can see me apply makeup and correct my mistakes. I did some research and zeroed in on Vah Vah as they have a course for personal makeup, they have qualified professional teachers, have online courses and are reasonably priced. I did a demo session with them and loved it! And am now doing the course with them. So looking forward to feeling awesomeness the way I felt at the party in Bombay!
Guest Post - Poorvi Daxini, Executive Director, JP Morgan