I come by my love of beauty products naturally; my Grandmother still to this day loves her YSL potions and her Armani mascara. When I was 13 she decided she was going to treat me to some makeup of my very own (instead of hand me down shadow and cheap clear mascara from the drugstore) and we planned a whole girl’s night together. We had dinner out, we had a sleep over complete with scary movies. In between though? We shopped.
As we wandered into a department store in downtown Vancouver, we came across a cosmetic counter like no other: the music was blasting, everyone was dressed in all black and the men working there had as much makeup on as the women. It was the fall of 1996 and that counter was MAC. I was enamoured with the black screw top pots everything came in, and the now tell tale scent when you walked in. It was love at first sight.
The collection they were promoting at the time was the Colour Abstraction Collection, and one particular shadow stood out to my young teenaged self more than the rest: Fade, a frosty pale blue. (Cringe, I know.) My grandmother had said I could pick out one shadow and one lipstick, so I was on the hunt for a classic mid 90s lipstick shade – something in the brown family naturally. At the time the MAC lipsticks didn’t come in the current bullet shaped tubes but rather had a straight edge with a domed top, and they came in shades you wouldn’t find at any other cosmetic counter. I chose Lucid, a deep chocolate brown. You know, the shade all 13 year olds were wearing…not.
Funny enough, neither of these two products exist in the current MAC line, both long since discontinued.
That experience really was the catalyst in my for my love of makeup. My Grandmother gave me the chance to express myself, even at that young age and carefully thought out Birthday and Christmas wishlists contained MAC products for years to come. Now naturally, my makeup love spread to other brands over time, but MAC was the first cosmetic company I can remember thinking “gee, eyeshadow doesn’t have to be brown, and lipstick doesn’t have to be pink or red”. It was an eye opener and a boundary pusher in the cosmetic world at the time and has continued to set trends ever since!
So what brought up my little story about the beginnings of my makeup story? The other day my Grandmother and I went shopping. Just like old times. We discussed formulas and brands and techniques and at one point I had lipstick swatched up to my elbow finding her the perfect shade.
I adored every minute of it.
And when I came home to the Mr. that night, I had tears in my eyes telling him about my day and how special it was, how lucky I felt to have such an empowering woman as my Grandmother. Someone who supported me trying new things instead of suppressing them. Someone who never said I needed or didn’t need to wear makeup, but hell if I was gonna wear it, wear it well!
You see I don’t think the makeup defines a person, but rather polishes off who they want to put out into the world. One day I might not wear any, one day I might wear it all. One day it might be natural, and another day I might have every one of those ten purple shadows on my lids.
And that is all ok.
So if you’re reading, because I know sometimes you do – thanks for giving that very shy 13 year old a chance to shine a bit. Me and my 1253273264986410 eyeshadows can never repay you.
Where did your love of makeup begin? Share your story in the comments below!
If you are a blogger, I tag you to post your makeup story on your blog!