Makeup Paint By Number

The title alone should scare off all the boys, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Can we talk about makeup? Really. What is the deal? Have I learned nothing since the days of playing “makeup shop” with my cousin Kellie in like the 80s? Apparently not.

I don’t wear much makeup, especially now that I’m self-employed (read: Do I really have to leave the house?), and there’s good reason for it. So when I get that rare urge to pick up something new, I’m rather judicious about it. One, it’s expensive. Two, I don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to makeup, having grown up with a mother who was more of the “Eyebrows? Shave them off, draw them back on” ilk. And three, I usually have Alex in tow, and you can imagine how patient he is when he really has to pee and I’ve been in the eye shadow aisle for forty-five minutes trying to figure out the difference between dusty topaz and dusty copper.

Anyway, I found this new Almay line that does all the work for you. You pick your eye color, and it gives you all the mix-n-match choices to bring out the best in your eyes, whether they’re blue, green, hazel, or brown. Other than the fact that my eyes aren’t really blue or green or hazel, but kind of a murky mix, I figured it shouldn’t be too hard. I opted for blue.

Eyeliner – check. Eye shadow – check. Mascara – Um, it’s sapphire blue. Okay, I was a little thrown off by the mascara. The last time I experimented with colored mascara, it was 1986, and it was electric blue (Wet ‘N Wild), with white white WHITE eye shadow over my entire eye area from like brow to cheek to ear, and BRIGHT fuchsia lipstick leftover from my mother’s 1967 collection, and we were at camp, and one of the counselors pulled us aside and said, “Girls, you need to wash off that makeup. You are distracting the other campers.”


Anyway, this Almay one had a colored diagram and instructions on the back with little numbers and shapes and…

*begin foreshadowing* (pun intended)

…you really can’t go wrong unless your a complete monkey, right?

*end foreshadowing*

Right. So I got home with my new color-coordinated, can’t-go-wrong eye makeup, set up in the bathroom, and got to work, diligently following the simple instructions. Just a few steps to a gorgeous new you!


Step 1: Blend brown shadow over entire eyelid.

*Blend blend blend.*

Wow, that’s actually pretty nice. Natural. Not to shimmery or cakey. Okay, I think I’m getting the hang of this!

Step 2: Apply dark denim shadow to crease.

Like in the crease, or kind of blendy-all-around the crease? I don’t even have a crease. I just have like this big fat part under my eyebrow.

What the–

Damn it! I have fat eyebrows! I hate my big fat eyebrows!

Step 3: Blend light denim into brow bone.

Hmm, it really does bring out the blue in my eyes. But is it, um, supposed to look like a bar-fight shiner?

Step 4: Apply liquid topaz liner as closely to the lashline as possible.

Is this even working? This can’t be right. I can barely see the line. I can’t – oh, what the f–

OW! Burning! Burning! Burning!

I think that means it’s work–

Burning! BURNING!

Wait it out, wait it out.


Step 5: Apply sapphire blue mascara to lashes.

Lashes? What are these “lashes” you speak of? Are those the things that fell out after Step 4? Right. Okay, I’ll just smudge some on where my lashes used to be.

*Smudge smudge smudge.*


Step 6: Voila! The new, gorgeous you!



Step 7: What does your husband think?

Me: “Honey, what do you think of my new–”
Honey: “What the fuck happened to your eyes?”
Me: “What? Oh, no, nothing. I was just… just messing around… mostly… hahahha… I’m gonna go, uh, somewhere else.”
Honey: “You fall off your chair again, Bruiser?”
Me: *Blink*
Honey: “Are you trying to flirt with me? Or is something in your eye?”

I swear I followed the directions on the box. I guess I should stick with the usual: black eyeliner, black mascara, no eye shadow, no one gets hurt.

9 thoughts on “Makeup Paint By Number

  1. This is so funny. Last week I bought a new book called “How Not to Look Old” — Okay, first, shut up. There is some point when one approaches what I’ll just call the middle years when a little help wouldn’t hurt. The make-up advice was simple. It all boiled down to — you’re old, you have crow’s feet and crepey eyelids so under no circumstances should you ever wear anything except for eyeshadow in the light brown family, mascara and pink lipstick. I could live with that. The rest of the book had all kinds of humiliating advice about things you shouldn’t do, each thing broken out by things that are too young for you and things that mark you as an old lady. Oy.

  2. What, no pictures of the finished product? How can we possibly be expected to properly judge without pictures?

    My thought would be to build a set of stencils to use to let you get that “particular look” you are looking for. Obviously the color would be determined by the occasion.
    A couple examples would be:
    1 – Single eyebrow arched, showing interest, like as in “What did you just say?”
    2 – Both eyes squinty, showing anger, like as in “What is he telling everybody in school I let him do?”

    The list could go on..just select the proper stencil and color and spray paint your way to any look you like…

    See ya

  3. It is seriously worth the time to got to a makeup counter in a department store and ask for help. They’ll make you up for free and they’re trained to pick the right colors, not just to match your eyes but also your skin tone and hair color. If you go to MAC (which is way cheaper than other department store brands), they’ll even use the makeup to make a “map” on a line drawing of a face so you remember where everything goes when you get home. You need to commit an hour to this, so leave the man at home or send him to the electronics store while you’re having fun. 🙂

  4. I agree with Katie. Get a pro. I know its expensive, but its totally worth it. Remember, you don’t have to buy the whole package at once. Pick up a few things and then write the rest down. When Alex says, ” I love you so much. I want to get you something just because its Thursday.” You can give him your make-up requests.

  5. OMG – now it’s invovling shopping.
    Hey, I’m impressed with the black liner …. etc, stuff. But then I’m from the same “makeup school” as your Mom. And since I am old I love “the stick with just brown shadow” advise. (or the why do I even have to leave the house part?)
    Hang in there ! Keep practicing, you don’t want to look abused at the book signings, altho Goth might work.

  6. WTF is make-up?????? a little eyebrow stuff for the bleached out brows…and some chapstick and you’re good to go!!!!! blush on the cheeks…only for prom nite!

  7. Ha! I’m with Mom! And P.S. the world is not kind and it is possible to simultaneously battle wrinkles and break out with a third-eye style giant zit. Oh, the humanity!

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