In an Emergency: Rouge and Hydrate

I sometimes spend time online looking how people I don’t know apply makeup. I rarely use any of their tips myself, but just watching them go on and on about their no-makeup look can be highly soothing. I am especially fond of the “no makeup -look” that involves the application of dozens of products in a highly complex manner, which we shall call “contouring”. 

I rarely leave the building without some makeup on. I don’t think I’ve ever been to work without some makeup on. I am OK doing the morning coffee round or getting flowers at the market without doing a “do” first, but appearing in front of cameras has always meant the application of makeup. I think I first read about Alicia Keys going completely off makeup a couple of years ago. I have seen some of her performances and PR pictures since, and she looks stunning (of course). And also very fresh. 

While I was in Helsinki I had the TV on and I caught a (Finnish) talk show, hosted by a female anchor who also went makeup-free a year or two ago. After being conditioned to seeing women spackled by studio makeup for over 40 years, having a woman sans makeup on a TV-screen feels new, almost unsettling at first. And I know how perverted this is. 

I rarely even notice if someone is not wearing makeup when I see them face to face. However, as soon I enter the internet, TV or movies, magazines and adverts I only see made-up and filtered exaggerations of reality that never correspond to the non-digital world. If someone famous posts a picture on Instagram without makeup, it makes headlines. That’s where we’ve come to. Or where we still are.

I like putting on makeup, and am constantly kind of trying to grow into my look of a bold red lip (the fashion-speak of singularising things that usually come in pairs, such as “smokey eye”, “evening shoe”, “glossy cheek” and “red lip” is kind of crazy but I’m perfectly fine with riding that wave), with varying success. It is very, very high maintenance, and my commitment is fleeting at best.

It’s skincare that really gets me going, though. My face is currently on its fuckwittery-mode it does whenever the season changes. Also it is possible that travel, irregular eating habits, sudden emergence of sun and with that the rosé-season have contributed considerably. I am pictured without any makeup except for an application of Chantecaille’s Cheek Gelée in Happy. I must remind you that I am actually tanned in the picture (lots of outdoors last week), that’s the level of pale we are talking about. Therefore a wee smidgen of apricot blush is justified, otherwise people would stop and ask whether I’m very ill or possibly dead.


My first reaction looking at the picture was “I look tired“. I read that this is also the feedback those women who don’t do makeup for TV appearances frequently get. It is interesting, but not surprising. A tired-looking woman is not a look one wants to achieve – we are encouraged to look exactly the opposite, which also is understandable in many ways. 

I noticed my skin peeling around my mouth, which very likely is a sign of some kind of a vitamin deficiency, but rushed to get a first aid hydrating spray as I was travelling and did not have my usual kit with me. BYBI is a highly Insta-worthy UK-based all-organic beauty brand. I had heard of their much publicised Babe Balm and then came across the ​Mega Mist in Helsinki. It’s a hyaluronic acid facial spray that smells very nice, comes in a travel-friendly small brushed glass bottle and does what it says: hydrates. All their products look very millennial and interesting and are reasonably priced, but so far I’ve only tried the mist. It’s not quite Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator, but a very good spray nevertheless.

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