(Buckle up, it’s gonna be a long one today.)
Trends are inescapable
Every time we turn on the TV, scroll through Pinterest, or even just enter a store, we’re bombarded by the “new,” the “fresh,” and the “now.” Remember ten years ago, when everyone was plucking their eyebrows into oblivion? Now those same people are getting those same brow hairs semi-permanently tattooed back onto their faces. Dudes, remember 2004 when you could wear cargo shorts in peace? So does my husband. He misses the pocket storage. But I digress…
We all know that things come and go, and that’s okay. Trends should be fun. They’re a chance to try something new for a while, something that we may not have thought to try on our own. However, it seems like after that short while, we move on to the next thing, discarding the previous trend and laughing about how silly we were to try it. Hammer pants, butterfly clips, and the Atkins diet are all examples of this phenomenon.
None of this is news.
I don’t exactly fit in the fashion world. I don’t mean physically (although my dreams of runway modelling came to a screeching halt at age 13 when it became apparent that I would never grow taller than 5’2”), but rather that color and body line analysis in general runs sort of countercurrent to what fashion promotes – trends. The very phrase “out of fashion” means that something has run its course and is no longer in style.
My expertise lies in finding the things that are unique about your particular coloring and shape. Those things will not change. We can dye our hair, gain or lose weight, or spend hours in the tanning booth (do not recommend that last one), but your body’s concentration of melanin, keratin, and hemoglobin do not change drastically over the course of your life. You are the color you are, you have the bone structure you have. AND THAT IS PERFECT.
I’m not in the business of making you look taller, skinnier, curvier, more muscular, or any less “you.” I’m in the business of figuring out your baseline and determining what is going to best complement that. Where fashion is about making you look like what is currently desirable, PCA and BLA is about making you look like, well, YOU.
Please make no mistake; I love following the fashion world and seeing the transformative power of makeup. I’m a Libra and an enneagram 4. Aesthetics are kind of my thing. These things are forms of wearable art, which is what makes them so fascinating to me. I’m simply saying that for myself and most of the people I’ve had the great pleasure to work with, we want to know what is going to work best for us on a daily basis.
Let’s look at some pictures, shall we?
Here is my face today. We’ll call this baseline. No makeup, no colored clothing, just me and my face. I’m in my studio, under full-spectrum lighting, in front of a gray background. For all intents and purposes, this is the best representation I can give of my face over the Internet.
Here is my face two years ago. Softly blended, nude-colored, “I’m not wearing any makeup” makeup was and still is extremely popular. I distinctly remember this day – my husband and I were going on a much-needed date night, so I took forever to get ready and ended up feeling pretty hot.
The thing about this photo is, it took so much WORK to look like this. Take a look at my cheekbones. I spent probably fifteen minutes highlighting and contouring to make them look that sharp. I have on a full face of foundation, carefully blended in an effort to make myself look less pale. I am wearing nude lipstick, because once I put on all that foundation, concealer, and bronzer, I felt like my lips looked too light against the backdrop of my face. My hair, when long, always seems to look scraggly thanks to its frustrating combination of being abundant, curly, and extremely fine. I don’t really even look like the same person as my baseline face.
I still think I look good in this picture. I felt good that day, and I think it shows. The biggest problem I have with this look is remembering how much time and energy I felt like I needed to put in to make myself look “natural.”
This is my face a few months ago, from a professional photo shoot. I’m wearing translucent powder, blush, brow pencil, minimal eye makeup (light shadow, liner, and mascara), and obviously I have lipstick on. This face took me ten minutes, and I wore it for photographs that I’ll be using for quite some time. My skin looks just as clear, but since it’s my actual skin tone, it was much easier to choose a lipstick to complement it and make my eyes pop. No contouring, because my facial bones are already defined by the colors I’m wearing and my more flattering haircut. My eyes are brighter, since there’s no overly warm bronzer to visually dull them. I look much closer to my baseline face, just a bit more “done.”
I feel like this photo is a better representation of how my face looks with makeup on. I look more like my baseline, and thus more like myself. We’re trained to think that bright lipstick = a lot of makeup, but truly, I spent less than a third of the amount of time than I did on the older look.
So what’s the takeaway here? It’s not that I look bad in the nude colors, so why should I care?
I know that if I want to wear a trendy nude lip, I will need to use foundation and other products to keep my skin from looking ashen. I know that a wine red lip will work on its own, since the colors complement my natural skin tone. Neither is right or wrong, but it’s much easier for me to put my finger on why something isn’t working.
I still partake in trends. PCA and BLA is not about giving them up, but rather about finding what works for you. All I supply is information, and it is up to you to decide what to do with it.
All photos are my own unless otherwise noted