How to Be Beautiful

It’s hard to be beautiful. There are so many ointments to apply, so many devices to wield, so many techniques to employ…yeesh! It’s surprising that more women don’t have flasks in their brassieres—who wouldn’t need a morning drink after all of that?

And it’s not really optional. Sure, there are some rad young women out there daring to step in the daylight without makeup on their faces, but for most women, we get shooed back into our bathrooms by societal pressure or self-doubt if we walk down that road. Shooed, I say!

I mean, when Candy Crowley (the moderator for the second 2012 presidential debate) gets pre-emptively bashed for her weight and looks (not her qualifications or skill), I think that underscores the demand for women to—above all—be pretty. Even Martha Stewart had a recent article with instructions on how to—I shit you not—”avoid the pull of gravity” on your neck. (Love you, Martha, but damn…really?!) I mean, putting on a little lip gloss is one thing, but somehow skirting the laws of the universe seems like a little too lofty a goal.

But Hey, If You Can’t Beat ’em, Shellac the Crap Right out of Your Face

The other day I was in a fake pageant for my friend Melissa‘s birthday. It was kind of fabulous and insane, and Stephen and I performed the oddest combination of talents and abilities in the history of talents and abilities. If you and your milieu find yourselves wanting for entertainment, please throw a pretend adult pageant. You won’t regret it! Anyway, as part of the pageant planning process, I looked up how to do super fancy pageant make-up ala Miss America, via the source of all knowledge: YouTube.

I forgot to take pictures of the process, so I decided to recreate it through Photoshop with my hard-earned, under-used Photoshop wizardry. It’s both instructive and entertaining, so sit down and enjoy yourself, okay? Alright. Here we go:

Here’s me starting out. Look at that face. It’s like Cinderella’s been using it to clean the windows. Yikes. Gotta fix that business, and fast!

Step 1: Cover that freaking skin up!

Okay, now this part isn’t actually in the video, but you can tell that she has foundation ALL OVER that business. So, you should do something kinda like this:

Except that’s mildly terrifying, so you need to blend it. Blend it. Like so:

Oops—lost the eyebrows in the process, but that’s no big deal. Just draw those bad boys back in there.

Sweet. Lookin’ good.

Now We Work on Dramatic Eyes! With Drama!

Okay, so you start smudging white stuff under your “brow bone” and on the inner corner of your eyes. Kinda like a zombie! And then blend, of course, then you do some other darker shades on your eye lids, and then draw some even darker triangles on the corner of your eyes. It’s kind of like coloring in preschool, except on your face.

And then you do more white stuff under your eyes. I’m not sure why we couldn’t do that earlier, but whatever. I’m the student, not the teacher.

And blend…

And now black where you just put white…

And now you look like a kitty! Which is the best time to start gluing things on your face. Your eyelids, specifically. Glue some fake eyelashes right about where your real ones are, since your real ones are now engulfed by dramatic, colored powders.

Okay, the eyes are done! Now we need to add “natural glow” back where we covered it with paste at the beginning. And add some highlights to give dimension. (I know we had dimension before we started this whole charade. I get it. But just go with it. I mean…I’m lookin’ pretty dang good, so…you know. Don’t rock the makeup bag.)

So natural! Add a little lipstick…


Now, that’s about all I can do with makeup. BUT, since we’re already working with Photoshop, lets use a few of the tricks that people frequently employ to “enhance” a woman’s face in print and on the web.

Eyes Like a Baby Dolphin! Teeth Made of Ivory!

It’s proven that larger eyes are more attractive, so let’s get that done. And, hey, the whiter the teeth, the better, right? And might as well fix that little chip in my tooth…and make my eyes “pop” a little more…

*tinker tinker tinker* …


What the Hell…Let’s Stick Something Else on Your Head

We all know that curly blonde hair is preferred over dark, witch hair, so we’ll just swap that out and we’ll be done!

…drum roll please…

…drum drum drum…

And…I’m done! Sure, I look like something the devil dreamt about after watching too many episodes of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo while listening to a Dolly Parton station on Pandora, but—whew!—isn’t that so much better than my, you know, skin? And real face and teeth? You go enjoy that, friends. I’m here to help.

What’s your relationship with makeup like? Love it? Hate it? Please do share.

(And don’t forget! You can get a weekly dose of my A-game—like this—by subscribing via WordPress, email or RSS)

How to Be Beautiful

26 thoughts on “How to Be Beautiful

  1. nataliedeyoung says:

    Makeup is fun…sometimes. I don’t like the way it feels on my face though. I stick with blush – to avoid looking like a corpse, eyebrow shadow – so I actually have eyebrows, and mascara – so I actually have eyelashes. If I’m feeling saucy I’ll do more, but I have yet to photoshop my hair in public…


  2. I love this post. Made me laugh out loud. I’m a recent convert to make up. I put on some light powder, a bit of eye gunk and lipgloss when I go to work or out. But I hate the all out caked on look. It terrifies me. It’s like your hiding a whole person under that face


  3. So, so funny! The baby dolphin eyes are really the best. :)

    For me: Hate make-up. I mean, I like it when I get all dress up to go out, but then the problem is that since I never wear it, I don’t know what to do, and so my make-up kit consists of: mascara, eyeliner, lipstick.



  4. I was in a bad mood when I started reading this and held it together, begrudgingly enjoying your classic wit and knowing it would be quite funny if I were in a good mood. I was determined to observe the humor, but not be moved by it. I only made it to the “and now you look like a kitty”… That line broke me. It destroyed my will to resist joy. Unfortunately I think I’m permanently in a good mood for the rest of the night now. Thanks for altering my evening friend!


  5. I think I look better without makeup (after an adolescence and young adult-hood of caking it on…). If I’m going out someplace other than the grocery store (INFREQUENT) I only wear powder foundation, because I do have a problem with acne. I used to wear tons of eye-shadow, but now I don’t recognize myself with all that crap all over my face.

    And you without makeup, it pretty much goes without saying, are perfection. :)



  6. Meltuck says:

    MELANIE!!!! Ahhh, so good. I can vouch, as the host of the ridicu-pageant Mel was in, that her fake-up job was amazing. She followed this video with precision and even had little jewels along her eyelids. Out of control. Was she pretty? Of course! But, that’s because she was freaking hilarious, confident, super-creative, sharing love and laughter with friends, and she’s got a beautiful face that does come through even the thickest make-up. Your beauty, Mel, radiates from a deep place in you.

    My mom actually encouraged me to wear a bit of make-up in high school. I was just pretty anti. I’m still not that into it, tho I’ll throw on some powder, bronzer, and mascara for work. I reserve the big guns (eyeliner and lipstick) for parties or dressing up. It’s just a little addition that makes everything seem more fun or fancy. Still, I struggle with feeling like I’m selling out even with my minimal regime. If guys don’t wear it, why do we? Is make-up a part of playing out my femininity … or a corporate scheme of Maybelline, who’s successfully got me convinced I’m ugly and out of it without their green and pink mascara?

    Thanks for, as always, a post that makes me think and laugh, which is my favorite way to do any thinking or laughing.


  7. This is why a) I need to learn how to use Photoshop and b) I don’t wear makeup, with the exception of one coat of mascara. The two aren’t related, but let’s pretend they are. Awesome post.


  8. soyandsauce says:

    This post made my day! haha~ At the end, with the hair and all, you reminded me of Demi Lovato :D

    I don’t wear much makeup, just brozer :D I love the shiny stuff~


  9. I am making this the last post I read tonight because it is a damn riot and I don’t want to taint that by reading anything else! You are one of those fortunate people with looks AND a sense of humor. Love it. I’ll take Mrs. Crutchfield over Melanie Boo Boo any day. Ha!

    I personally HATE the idea of foundation. Just a little powder and concealer can do wonders and you don’t have to look like a pumpkin! Unless that’s what you are going for.


  10. Monica says:

    That was probably one of the most visually entertaining posts I have ever read. I was laughing the whole way through….not at your face though (just to make that clear). It was profoundly relevant. Loved it! And by the way, I hate wearing make up but totally feel that pressure to look younger and more put together.


  11. I’ve never been able to wear mascara without looking like a raccoon by the end of the day. So, I decided to stop trying to get the most out of every lash long ago. Now in my 40’s the most important thing to me is to not end up looking like a leather saddle bag by the time I’m in my 60’s. I don’t do makeup, most days it’s a la naturale. I do wear a tinted moisturizer, eye liner and a human colored lipstick. (no pink/fuschia/goth lips for me)
    eye shadow? fuggetaboutit. I make no apology to the world…if you don’t like what you see, don’t look. BTW…you have a great complexion.


  12. Before the debate last night, I swore that any one on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere else that made derogatory comments about Candy’s body/appearance, I would defriend and delete forever. I didn’t come across anything, but I know it’s out there. Love this post. As always, you are humorous and relevant.


  13. I never learned the whole make up thing. I tried lipstick for the first time last year and got rather frightened by my popping-bright lips. Thank goodness I’m in a nerdy field where looking schlubby and un-make-uped is totally normal!


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