I don’t know if it is like this in the rest of the world, but here in the South and particularly in the family I grew up in, there were some unwritten, but well known rules about when a young lady could start doing certain things. For example, training bras were to start around ten years old. It didn’t matter if you could or could not fill that little piece of cotton/poly blend contraption out, you were putting it on. I mean what if a bud decided to appear in the middle of 5th grade math time? If that was your moment, Mama was going to make sure you were covered, literally. Shaving, that was an event that was to begin around eleven or twelve. Now, as I have discussed in the past, I’m from Irish blood so I could have used a pass on starting this a little earlier! I got tired of my girlfriend down the street calling the hair on my legs “The Red Forest”. Of all these rules, the one I wanted to break the most was wearing makeup. Oh, Makeup! The original Sexy Mama and I went round and round about when I could start wearing makeup. The “need” for makeup started when I hit ten years old. All it took was for one girl in my class to show up wearing a pancake face full and I knew that I had to have that look, but the Original Sexy Mama laid down the law. “Makeup will not be worn until you hit twelve years old young lady and that is final, don’t ask me again.” I of course asked everyday, a dozen times a day, for the next two years. I was a dream child, I swear I was, just ask my Mama!
My 12th birthday arrived with big fanfare. That was the day I could load up on all the makeup products that I had no idea how to use and reveal my beauty to the world. Before I was allowed to do all that, The Original Sexy Mama in her ultimate wisdom decided to take me to the one place where I could learn from the professionals about makeup application. She took me straight to….wait for it….wait for it…. Merle Norman!!! Thats right! The fantastical world of Merle Norman in the 1980s was unsurpassed for it’s Falcon Crest style and beauty! Those women were magnificent with their mile high hot rolled hair and shoulder pads so thick you’d bounce right off into the stratosphere if you happened to bump into them. There was no where else on earth a makeup artist could apply 14 different, graduating shades of eye-shadow on to one eyelid with such precision! It was all so very impressive. Not only did they show me how to do it, but the instructions came complete with a manual and some handouts. It was exactly like paint by numbers and the canvas was your face!
After all the instructions and makeup application I walked out of there looking like Willy Wonka! I was so proud and felt like such a grownup. I went straight to my Nannie’s (that’s what I called my Grandmother) house to show her the woman I had become. What she said to me that day has stuck with me through all these years. “Oh My God! What is on your lovely face? You’ve covered up all your angel kisses from God (that was code word for freckles)! Get in there and take all that Maybelline off your face Angela!” She never called me Angel, I was given a proper name and Angela is what I was to be called!
Let me explain her words to you. My Nannie was an absolute beauty in her day! Tiny and petite with naturally wavy auburn hair and big brown eyes. Her hay day was the WWII era. In her time a woman only needed a few small things to make her glorious. A little Maybelline went a long way. For her, all makeup was called Maybelline. I could walk in with the most expensive makeup product on the market, to my Nannie it was still called Maybelline. It’s just like soft drinks here in the South. No matter what the label of the soft drink you have in your hand says it is, if it fizzes, here in the South, it’s a Coke.
My Nannie was appalled at the amount of Maybelline I had on my face. I smeared most of it off and she applied some Maybelline mascara, a little rouge and a touch of gloss. Oh, and powder was allowed to cut down on the shine. To this day I still get my sexy lashes from Maybelline mascara, but I’ve yet to really figure out what rouge is. I apply a little blush instead.
Through the years I’ve found that a little does go a long way. It’s taken years of experimentation and much thrown out Maybelline to figure out what looks good on me. The Original Sexy Mama has pictures on her wall to show off those years of makeup growing pains. The older I get I realize that more makeup equates to trying too hard to look younger. Those little lines around my eyes seem to grab that makeup and scream, “Hey look at me trying to fill in these lines!” I have found a happy medium between the days of Merle Norman pancake application and a quick pinch on the cheeks for color. The products I can’t live without; Maybelline Mascara (what can I say, my Nannie had great influence on me), a little Estee Lauder brown/black eyeliner, Emlin’s under eye coverup, Mary Kay mineral face powder, and I sexy it all up with Laura Mercier’s red Italian Summer lipstick! My Nannie wouldn’t be happy about the red lips, but a little rebellion never hurt anyone!
So if you ever catch me at the mall and I’m oogling at the makeup counter like a kid in a candy shop, just walk up to me and say, MAYBELLINE, I’ll snap right out of my trance!
Stay tuned for the upcoming episode of Real Women/Real Sexy with Angel Maynard where we visit Energy Hair Studio. Owners Brandy and Lauri take us through some great makeup tips for women of all ages!