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Oct 26, 2012

Peter's Makeup Tips or "I Enjoy Being a (Harem) Girl"



Friends, if there is one thing I am not it is a makeup expert.

I subscribe to two basic tenets, which I'll present as acronyms:  ALT: A Light Touch, and LIMIT - Less Is More (I Think).  Can you sense a theme here?  Makeup is not going to make you look younger, but it will enhance what you have.  It can transform, sure, if you want to make yourself into Frankenstein's monster (or a contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race) but for most of us, a little goes a long way.

There has been a veritable explosion of makeup these last few decades, along with makeup books, ads, and online tutorials.  It bothers me that so many of the words used to describe women who wear too much makeup are related to prostitution and/or class.  Think about it: cheap, whorish, low-class, vulgar, etc.  I think prostitutes provide a great social service and should be rewarded accordingly.  Makeup is part of their armor as well as the equivalent of hanging a shingle.

Having said all that, most of our female paragons of refinement -- Katherine Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn— wore very little makeup or at least looked like they did.  The opposite extreme was a Jayne Mansfield or Jane Russell.  Remember, ALT.

If you're my age, too much makeup can be especially harsh.  Unless you're selling MAC cosmetics at Bloomingdales, LIMIT!

The makeup I use is all from the drugstore.  I'm not into makeup.  I hate to shave, so there's that too.

My list of products is short: 1) concealer, 2) foundation, 3) eyebrow pencil, 4) lashes, 5) minimal eyeshadow, 6) loose powder.  I don't shade my face, and my droopy eyelids and crinkly eyes can't handle much eye makeup.  I am fortunate to have an expressive face.  If you've ever attended a wake you know that even the best makeup job can't bring a person to life, the life has to be there to start with.







So here we go:  Here's my morning punim today, post-pool, in natural sunlight and no retouching.  At fifty, I'm pretty much intact from the hairline down, fortunately.



First the shave:



After moisturizing with a little almond oil, I apply concealer.  Rather than try to completely cover anything, I aim to lighten dark circles and blotches.  Remember: ALT.  I bought a special Ben Nye concealer specifically for beards called Five O'Sharp.  It doesn't work well for me, or maybe I just need a thicker foundation.



I use Physician's Formula Le Velvet Film Makeup in ivory.  Coverage is decent; I don't use much.   For today I skipped my neck but normally include it, especially if I have razor burn.



I suck at lashes but I do like how they look — nothing too caterpillar-y though.  I don't use mascara, which I have never mastered.  I line my lower eye (smudging a bit to soften the line) and I'll fill in around the upper lash line if necessary.  I apply a bit of shimmery shadow just below my brow line and that's all.

I have never plucked my eyebrows but my natural brows are easily shaped with a bit of pencil.



Hair makes a big difference; if I could find this wig one shade lighter I'd be thrilled, but I can't so I make the best of it.



Next, I apply highlighter to the top of my cheekbone, nose, and chin.



I line my lips and fill them in with a bit of lipstick; I generally blot and reapply.   I am fortunate to have good lips.



A little loose powder to set it all and voila!  I don't know why God made me so gorgeous — she just did.  The resemblance to my (younger) cousin Cathy is uncanny.



Now to experiment with some Halloween harem girl headgear!



Maybe I don't look exactly like Maria Montez, but I think I could pass as her mother.  Just like actresses Claudette Colbert and Jean Arthur, I have my good side and my bad side and I avoid being photographed on my bad side (Doris Day is quoted as saying "God wasted half a face on Claudette!").

This is my good side (my left side):



And this is my bad side (my right side): neeeeigh!  Take a good look: you may never see it again.



And there you have it: the prettiest harem girl on West 24th Street!

Readers, I know most of you are stunned speechless, but if you have the clarity of mind and desire to make makeup/beauty routine recommendations, I'm all ears.  Like I said: I'm no expert and rely mainly on charisma and my remaining bloom to pull this look off.

You can see more pics of my transformation here.

Thanks, everybody!

47 comments:

  1. I love your comments about less being more. As a woman, I don't wear much makeup and I feel like I'm in the minority with that. A lot of sunscreen, a little concealer, some tinted lip balm and that's it, for the most part. I do love fantasy makeup that goes with a costume, though. I have a woodland faerie costume that I sometimes wear for Renaissance Faires and I have some fabulously long eyelashes that are black with green tips for that.

    Without the headdress, you're reminding me of someone and I can't figure out who it could be - if it's a character actress or someone who was one of my grandma's friends (it's the earrings that make me think of the latter). Anyway, I think you have great lips.

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  2. As we say here in England "Bluddy GawJus!" (bloody gorgeous!) ;)
    I can definitely see the Claudette Colbert in that look!
    Managed to get some make up tips from a proper movie make up artist the other day and she said less is more too!

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  3. aww I used to be so good with make up inyoungerdays. now dont bother except lipstick andmoisterizer. too gorgeous. my smilecompletesthe look i have spacebar issues today exscuse me

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  4. so cute your dress up. i love it! xoxoxo

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  5. I'm in the minority here, but I think ALT applies to the look of the makeup, not the actual amount of product(s). That being said, I think you look great. I might suggest that foundation goes on before concealer. I myself use a primer (which I swore I never would: god, what's next? Pre-primer?!), foundation and concealer, as well as blush (again, a revelation: who knew that coral would look so good on me?) and a translucent mineral powder. This is all before eye makeup and lashes, yet I hardly look made up at all. Anyhoo . . . to reiterate: you look great!

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  6. I'm not stunned beyond words - I think you're fabulous! But have you tried blush? A little on the apples of your cheeks (the bits that stick out when you smile) can really brighten your face :)

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  7. How funny, you look just like a slightly younger version of my mum! Unfortunately the wig is an exact recreation of my hairstyle too. I really should reschedule the hairdressing appointment I cancelled.
    You do look amazing, the make-up regime works beautifully. (I have to say love the first just got up photo too.)

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  8. Dear friends,
    It's HALLOWEEN...not a job interview!
    Less is not more!
    Rather than fussing with concealer, use a foundation that is more opaque and covers. I recommend Revlon Colorstay from the drugstore.
    (We use a lot of that at the opera when we're doing TV broadcasts, otherwise we use panstick and powder.)
    If you're a crossdresser and want to be a believable female, the subtle makeup is fine, but for Halloween have fun!

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    Replies
    1. I agree Bill. Cathy looks great but we don't want to look like Cathy at Halloween, we want to look like an exotic (erotic?) Persian concubine. Go bold and bright. Super thick eyeliner, shadow, blusher and red Lippy. Fab!

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  9. OMG. You are Cathy! How have I not realized that before???

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  10. Didja know that the reason most of us hate our photographs is because the face you see in a photo is NOT the face one sees in the mirror!This is because in the mirror you are looking at a REVERSED image of your face; in a photo, you are "seeing yourself as others see you". It always bugs me to see that my HAIR PART is "on the wrong side" in photos; I know perfectly well why this is so, and I even tried parting it so that it would fall on the "right" side, but after wearing it on the one side for 25 years, it's HARD to make the switch! Plus, I don't allow my pic to be taken these days, anyway; I have crappy skin even at my age, and as cameras "play up' red tones, I look even WORSE in photos than I do in real life!

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  11. Peter I think you just revealed Cathy's make up secrets! Don't tell her!
    I am so glad you are on the internets..
    Re make up for day less is more but if I go all out for a (blog) photo shoot I go quite heavy with the foundation and eye shadow and eye brow pencil. I am talking Bozo the Clown here..but it works.

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  12. SeamsterEast@aol.comOctober 26, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    Prostitutes (now called "sex workers" because it is less pejorative, and is gender neutral) use excessive makeup (and clothing) *specifically* to call attention to their trade. It weeds out the non-buyers (non-renters is a better term). Even the very high end "paid companions-male" for rich society ladies "of a certain age", who dress in expensive quality clothing will make their shoes slightly the wrong color or their haircut "not quite right" or their cashmere sweaters a bit off, all it seems to separate themselves from the men "born to the manor" who are less likely to put up with demanding personalities of aging rich women who perhaps have an unpleasant edge.

    22 year old street walkers-females dress to be seriously noticed but different from 22 year old women on their way to a club to find a new man in their lives, even if only for a few hours or days.

    Off-screen, two of the most sexually vibrant actresses in Hollywood were Grace Kelly and Inger Stevens. Yet neither wore the slathered on makeup style of May West.

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    Replies
    1. Interesting comparison, thanks for posting this.

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  13. You look mah-ve-lous, dah-ling! I wouldn't change a thing.

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  14. I agree with the more make up crowd. You looked like a boyish man after the foundation but before the lipstick. You looked like a movie stah. That could be useful anytime. Seriously there are any number of videos to follow. Just don't do such dark brows when you wear the dark wig.( Use a taupe pencil. Wet n Wild .99 at the drugstore.) Dark hair and dark brows cause a harsh look that is aging.That is my tip.

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  15. I think you look fabulous. Though, if you're not using mascara, I suggest going one step thicker on the fake lashes (not longer, just slightly more full), or try your hand at some liquid liner above the eye. If you can manage a wing'd line, I would be jealous. I can't seem to do it, m'self. That would make your eyes pop a little without stepping into "painted" land.

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    1. Hi Peter! Love your posts! I agree with Crystal, since you will be playing with veils, you should emphasize your eyes with fierce eyelashes and a little more eyeliner just above the eye - the difference will be dramatic! and those eyelashes are very cheap in Chinatown ;)
      Xoxo fm Brazil, Carina

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  16. U make me smile. Looking really good.and the.harem.girl.costume.is looking great.dont mind my punctuation.typing on phone is sucky.but wanted to give a shoutout to u today :)

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  17. you are fabulous; i agree about the blush and the slightly lighter eyebrows but who am i? i only wear makeup when i'm likely to see former coworkers (ret'd 15 yrs ago) or don't want to embarrass my children...btw i'm making ghost costumes for my husb and me, and probably the dogs, too...cornstarch artfully dusted will do the trick makeup wise, i think...

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  18. I find it hard to believe that you can't master eyeliner. You have a steady hand when it comes to stitching a straight line....I bet you could get the hang of it with a little practice. Not that you need it.

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  19. I haven't commented on this wonderful Arabian odyssey so I'm piping up to express admiration for the gimp ingenuity and envy for the eyelash application. I've never been able to finesse that. Bravo and can't wait for the celebrity photo of the Sultan and his odalisque. Happy Halloween.

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  20. I love your technique - it suits you quite well! I was reminded of this...a different approach but also suited to the subject.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSisCkkPSL4&list=UUSDucroHXVibunJDDDfs8yg&index=38&feature=plcp

    (I hope that link works - it's Randy Roberts singing "A Little More Mascara")

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  21. You don't look 50.

    I was always told that part of the point of wearing makeup is to look like you're not and to enhance what you've already got. So yeah, I think that fits with your philosophy. And I'm absolutely no help with the stuff. I gave up on it years ago due to hives, even with the hypoallergenic stuff!

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  22. You look great! I used to be a Mary Kay lady. I didn't agree with all taught me, but loved it. Make-up should be fun. For me I like a natutral look, or dramatic, depending on my mood. The make-up must suit the personality. As for tips, many books by models or actressses that do their own make-up. Especially Dayle Haddon, who is terrific, and was a ballet dancer, then a model after 40. Cathie, in Quebec.

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  23. No way are you fifty! We don't get into Halloween much in Australia which is a shame, I am really enjoying the enthusiasm and creativity that you Americans put in to this holiday.Love the outfit, the whole thing is coming together brilliantly.

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  24. Peter there re only three years between us, and so much of what you say in this applies to what I do too. I own a sackload of slap and rarely touch it!
    Whether you consciously did it or now, you are following the all iportant rule - lips OR eyes, but not both! By wearing a good red on your lovely lips and just a neutral eye look, you've made the right call. It suits your assets, and your chosen brunette alter ego (that's Latin for younger cousin!)

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  25. You are an absolute scream.
    Oh and I always thought they (previous post)sang "we represent the lollipop kid", thanks for clearing that up :)

    Jean
    x

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  26. Yay for West 24th!
    I lived at 415 for a number of years, in the cutest little love nest imaginable. I love the whole neighborhood, and miss it's charm - and the folks like you - keep up the great work!

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  27. I don't wear makeup regularly, but think you look quite dignified, too much so for a harem girl. Although you do have beautiful lips - I'd love to have their shape, I would play up your eyes more. Have you tried falsies? Eyelashes, that is!

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  28. I so love your posts, it's my 'must read' blog. I think you look GREAT---Love the makeup tips. Also learned that there is a line of makeup for men who do drag from your post, never knew this, but why am I surprised, there is a whole shoe factory in England that re-invented itself making shoes for the 'drag' industry (for lack of a better term). Love that. Anyway, I agree, less is more where makeup is concerned especially as we get older. At this stage (and I am close in age to you Peter) I think makeup should help us to look healthy, not younger so radiant skin, rosy cheeks and lips, and eyeliner to camouflage the decrease in eyelash density. I'm a fan of the post pool, pre-shave picture too--you don't look 50.

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    Replies
    1. About that shoe factory, they made a movie out of that story. It's called Kinky Boots.

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  29. you definitely need more makeup with that cosutme. eyeline, more lashes, redder mouth, and blush!

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  30. I read a tip online about eyelashes is the trick is to apply them looking down into the mirror, so you see the lash line better, but you are pretty good at applying makeup.

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  31. I agree -- Cathy needs to ramp it up for Halloween. This is a night to wing that liquid eyeliner at the outer corner and add some dark, shimmery countour shadow just above the outer eyelid crease. And I think it's cute that you put your whole makeup transformation up on your blog. I will NOT be following suit any time soon... ;-) My husband is still mortified that I posted all the pictures of my dental work.

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  32. Totally OT, but as a former Long Islander with family still on the east end, I hope that you, Michael, Cathy and the pups are safe and well stocked for what might be a "Bumpy Night".

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  33. You do look lovely, and I disagree about your "bad side." They're both good-looking (especially as a man).

    Anyhoo, I agree with the previous commenters who noted that (1) concealer goes on AFTER foundation, (2) less-is-more refers to the finished look, not the amount of product used -- it takes a lot of make-up to make most of us look "naturally beautiful," and (3) a little bit of blush on the apples of your cheeks goes a long way to brightening your whole face, including the eyes.

    To choose a blush, find something that describes itself as "neutral" or "cool" in a mid-range tone. Nothing too orange or plum. A rosey color flatters all. At the drug store, Cheekers by Cover Girl in the tiny size, or anything by Wet 'n Wild or N.Y.C. are all super-cheap and perfectly good. Powder blushes are easier to use than creams and look more natural.

    While smiling big, apply the blush with a medium-size brush (not the teensy one it came with, which is useful for tickling backs, but not for applying make-up). The blush goes on over the foundation, under the powder, using light, upward strokes. If you blend up and around your eyes (over your temples), it blends beautifully.

    Avoid most "mineral powder" makeup after age 40. Falls into creases and looks horrible.

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  34. All make up actually is, is a way to control the light hitting the face, so many products are on the market it can be overwhelming, but they all basically either absorb light by being dark and matte in texture, or reflect it by being light and shinny in texture.
    Put the light /shinny stuff where you need things to stand out and then add a shadow underneath or near by with a dark/matte to create a sculptural effect.

    A white pencil is everyones friend, in the inside corner of the upper eyelid it opens up the eye dramatically, and a dash right in the center of the upper eyelid next to the lash line looks fantastic
    Also use a white pencil to outline just the cupids bow (philtrum) before lipstick/stain and you will have a sheryl crow upper lip to die for.
    I can highly recommend the wonderful work of the late Kevyn Aucoin in his book "Making Faces",
    he was so talented, and I swear there was nothing he did not know about the art of make up.

    I'm not sure if its been mentioned before but try shaving with hair conditioner instead of what you usually use, its very good for sensitive skin and helps prevent razor rash.
    As ever Mr Lapin, your outfit looks amazing, and you are most certainly not a day over 39.







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    1. Thank you. I actually own that Aucoin book — maybe I should actually read it. ;)

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  35. "I am fortunate to have good lips." That line made me chuckle as I'm sure I don't know any men that have an inkling of what "good" lips might be.

    The eyeliner is a must for this get-up. It is a "costume" after all.

    Yes, I love reading your posts. Always the first one to read of the blogs I subscribe to. Thanks Peter.

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  36. Alex in CaliforniaOctober 29, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    You learned to sew well in a relatively short period of time. Anything anyone wants to do well starts with a desire to do so. Researching what is available in the cosmetic world is daunting. Learning what is best for your face is subjective. Like sewing, makeup takes dedication and practice...lots of it.

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  37. Oh my goodness, you made me laugh out loud, once again! It has been a long while since I heard the "good side, bad side" phrase.

    Hope all is well and you and yours are safe and sound!

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  38. I think a lot of makeup, like a fancy bouffant dress, can add lot of glamour (i.e. Dolores Gray, but then she is one of my favorites). If it is done right! But that's the challenge, how to have a lot of makeup like actresses of the 1950s (they ALL had lots, some did it better than others). Many times when applying a lot, then look like contestant on Ru Paul's show. Similar is when someone thinks they have a lot of material to get that 1950's bouffant look but it ends up making them look like a mobile fabric store.

    Other than that, nice tutorial here plus I like comments on various suggestions of makeup. Surprising your drug store makeup worked as good as it does. Cheap brands don't seem to apply as well or easily smears onto clothing. Estee Lauder has makeup kits that are good starters, but a professional makeover sure saves time as compared to time consuming experimentation by DIY. Though Neutrogena has this 8-hour foundation that holds up pretty good, and is at your local drugstore.

    Makeup or no makeup? Amazing when you see starlets without makeup, completely unrecognizable. Some actually go out in public with no makeup for times when they want to roam around without being "seen" i.e. Dita Von Teese what she does during Halloween.

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    Replies
    1. I think I need to lay on the foundation a little thicker for sure: don't want to see that shadow!

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  39. Hi Peter. I am a new reader of this blog and I LOVE it! I'm still catching up on old posts.

    I can't believe you are 50! I thought you were closer to my age. (I'm 41) What's your secret?

    I hope you complete your costume even if you can't go to the ball. There's always next year. Besides, we want to see pictures! And a little glitter wouldn't hurt. : )

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