Friday, May 1, 2009

The Birth of A Makeup Junkie

I thought I'd share how it all began.
How I've become the makeup junkie that I am.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I've loved cosmetics, skin & hair care and fragrance my entire life. I've been obsessing over anything to do with beauty for as long as I can remember. And as I've aged, anything to do with natural beauty care has quickly taken a firm hold in that obsession.

While the progression was as normal for me as any woman - really quick and relatively painless (okay, so not so painless - hot waxes come to mind) - I believe all makeup junkies have one single memory we can pinpoint that initiated - and possible sums up - our entire passion for beauty.

I recalled mine when I first embarked on this journey with Bellissima several years ago. I really need to know why I was so resolutely and unwaveringly set on this particular mission. I let the memories flow and found that reason way, way back in by youth - long before I was even old enough to wear makeup.

My Mom rarely ever used cosmetics. She had been born during the depression and grew up in a very strict, Irish-Catholic home. Wearing makeup was considered prideful and demonstrated vanity. She had told me stories of owning one tube of lipstick when she was a 'rebellious teenager' and waiting until she left the house for school in the morning to put it on, and then carefully removing it before she headed home in the afternoon so she wouldn't get caught.

Even as an adult, she found little use for makeup. Except, as I remember, every Saturday when she and my dad would go out to dinner - without their four kids - and have 'date night'. She would put on lipstick (one of the 3 or 4 tubes of a small variety of red shades she now owned), and a spritz of L'heure Bleue - her signature scent - and head out with my Dad.
I distinctly remember, as a small child, looking forward to Saturday nights like crazy. I didn't care much for babysitters (especially once my sister was old enough to perform the task), wasn't too impressed that it was 'hotdog' night for us kids and it wasn't like we got to stay up late or anything, either.

I looked forward to my Mother's magical transformation.

I would hug her a really long time, taking in the heady French perfume, and say 'Mommy, you're so beautiful!' I would stare at her, noticing a new flush to her cheeks and a twinkle in her eyes. It was as if a little bit of lipstick & perfume had turned her into a Fairy Princess. And for me, it did.

And it didn't just change the way she looked, it changed her. She was happier. Her face would just light up, and she'd be smiling and laughing and even flirting with my Dad! I loved to see her like that - it made me happy.

Of course in my young mind, the thought never occurred to me that she was happier - heck, she was getting away from four rambuctious, hellraising kids for 4 hours!

To me, it was all about the makeup.
And it still is. I love how that 'transformation' makes me feel better about myself - and I love 'transforming' others even more. I revel in seeing a woman's eyes light up when she sees herself in the mirror after a makeover, treasure that boost in self-esteem she experiences and adore the lifted spirits of someone who's outer beauty has been enhanced with cosmetics.

Because that's what makeup does: it allows a woman's inner beauty to shine through.

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