Just a bit of lippy
Blogger Profile: Meika Aysal
Blogger Profile: Meika Aysal
Mum to Lola born in September 2017;
I’ve never been a person who wants to cake on foundation and cover up my freckles or make my skin one big beige ball or apply huge fake eyelashes as part of my everyday makeup.
The only time I’ve worn a lot of makeup on was on my wedding day when I entrusted a professional makeup artist to spray my face with foundation (eek) to achieve a smooth base and to make me look as good as possible in those all-important, last a lifetime wedding photos. I was very happy with the result, but I wouldn’t want to do it every day!
I’ve done a few friends’ makeup on their wedding days and I guess my mum has always been a big influence on me in this area. I know she feels her best when she has a bit of mascara and lipstick on, and I’ve certainly picked that up from her.
This is the third blog in a series about how my beauty routine has evolved since becoming a mum. My interest in makeup has evolved into buying what I consider actually works and is worth the money rather than buying products I’ll only use twice a year.
Surprisingly, I’ve not seen many young girls or women wearing inch thick makeup in NYC like you see in London/UK. To the most extent, the average ‘look’ here is ‘American casual’ – jeans or some form of denim, t-shirts and sneakers with natural faces. It’s refreshing to see young girls without heaps of makeup on covering their faces.
Now that I’m a mum, I wonder what it will be like when my daughter becomes a regular makeup wearing teenager. Granted, I’ve got a bit of time to worry about this, she’s only one bless her.
Will there continue to be huge societal pressure on women to project an artificial version of themselves? Will there be influences from celebrities like Kim Kardashian and gang who a lot of people try to model themselves on?
I’m not too proud to admit that I like watching KK and family on TV and following them on social media, but to me it’s pure entertainment. I can distinguish between reality and simulation. Maybe young girls have that ability too or maybe they don’t and that’s why according to Allure! But I digress.
What’s important to me now more than ever, is that I look like myself and not an imitation of myself, which is what I think women are constantly subjected to via the media.
Have you ever looked at the women presenting breakfast TV? I mean really looked. In the US, they are caked in makeup and pretty much dressed up as if they’re attending a wedding or a special occasion. What was once known as ‘evening wear’ is definitely ‘all-day wear’ now. I’m not sure it’s a good thing either. To me, it sends the message that we should constantly be enhancing our natural appearances, because we should look better...?!
I want people to see me – ok, yes, a good version of me – but not in the order of my makeup first and then my face. I don’t want their first thought to be “oh look, she’s wearing makeup”.
Take me as you find me
In the first few months after having Lola, I was pretty much confined to my house and a half mile radius from the front door. Apart from my husband and the guy who worked in the corner shop at the end of our street, I would only occasionally see my NCT (parenting group) friends, who were in the same boat as me.
I subscribed to the fact that people would forgive me for looking like a total wreck immediately after having a baby. That they’d grant me a pass for looking ‘au naturel’ (more like wild and unkempt) and put aside any unkind thoughts about my appearance. I didn’t particularly want to rub makeup all over my baby when kissing and cuddling her either.
Not so long ago, there was no way on earth I’d leave home without at least putting on my bare essentials – a little bit of foundation, blush, mascara, eyebrow pencil and lipstick. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the house without makeup on. I would feel naked without it. I always enjoyed putting it on, but isn’t that sad?
However, recently and very unexpectedly, I feel like I’ve been liberated from the need to improve on myself before I step outside my home. As I’ve already said, I’ve learnt to be somewhat selfless, not necessarily by choice I might add, but simply because caring for a baby is hard work and something has got to give.
So, which products have a permanent place in my makeup bag?
– I have rather large pores on my nose that I like to cover, so I either use this on its own, over sun protection cream or over a light CC cream. Quick and easy and very effective. It has a very matt appearance, which doesn’t sit in my pores or end up enhancing what I’m trying to cover up like countless other primers and pore minimisers products do. A winner in my book.
– IT Cosmetics is currently my favourite makeup brand. I find co-founder and CEO very inspiring (short story goes she started the business in her home, then started selling on QVC and eventually for $1.2 billion in 2016! Before her success materialised, she was told by an investor that she was . I hope she got an apology). The brand hinges itself on being developed with plastic surgeons, using anti-ageing technologies and skin-loving ingredients. This is one of the best, if not the best foundation. I use a Mac brush to sweep it across my face to give me an even coverage and protect it from the sun. It covers my face beautifully, but enables my freckles to shine through.
– Another purchase in the good ole U.S. of A., but a few years ago. There are foundation brushes and then there are foundation brushes. This makes light work of getting an even coverage across my face whether I’m applying a CC cream, a heavy-duty or light foundation. I would not be without it.
– This brow pencil is just the right texture to create a soft frame or a full-on thick power brow àla Cara Delevingne. Apparently, it suits all skin tones and eyebrow hair colours. No sharpener required, just twist and go.
– Mascara is such a personal choice. We all hunt for the best mascaras as if we’re searching for the Holy Grail. I find that the weight of mascara can sit on my eyelashes and pull them down, hence why I curl them twice as mentioned below. Also, the brush or wand makes a big difference as to how the formula coats each lash – I prefer the big, plump wands to give me a wide-open eye. Also, I believe that lashes are very unique. Not only from person to person, but from eye to eye. My eyelashes behave differently on each eye! I kid you not – one side is straighter and has more of a fanned appearance than the other. I really love this Tarte mascara, which Sephora gave to me in a mini version as a gift. According to Tarte, it has been ‘a cult classic for over a decade.’ It’s light and very buildable over my lashes. The fat wand enables me to get some volume and height into each hair too. The 4-in-1 refers to lengthening, curling, volumising and conditioning. It’s a vegan product too, so extra points all round. What I truly love about it is that it doesn’t smudge, even in 100F NYC heat.
– If I don’t use an eyelash curler, I look half asleep. My lashes are straight and pretty short. So, I always give them a squeeze with my curler to open up my face, even if I’m not wearing mascara. I find it makes a huge difference. In addition to curling my lashes before putting on mascara, I will admit to giving them a squeeze after mascara is applied, which is a massive no-no in most beauty rule books. For me, it’s like giving my lashes their own blast of hair spray to keep them in place. Warning: some lashes may fall out if you squeeze too hard!
– Blush is probably the most underrated makeup. It has the ability to give you colour and tone where there is none and make your face come alive, if applied correctly. It is the original sculpting makeup that has been passed over for the new kids on the block, the contouring kits and highlighters. In my opinion, blush is still a game changer and completely transforms my face when I use it. A cream blush can also be dabbed on lips saving you space in your purse on a night out!
– I’m very conscious of transferring makeup on to my daughter's skin, especially lipstick. A natural lip is my go-to look these days and I carry this one in my baby bag. Besides being very hydrating, it works with your natural lip colour so will always be unique to you.
A final word on hair
My mum always said I’d grow into my long thick hair. I wasn’t called for nothing.
There are some professional school photos where I look like I’ve been let loose in a wind tunnel. Not one teacher had the forethought to put a comb through my hair or even lick their fingers and try to tame the wild strands!
I’ve also had hair disasters with perms and one particular haircut that will go down in my family history that made me look like I had a pair of wings at the front of my head rather than a nice fringe.
My mum was right, I did grow into it. But, boy oh boy is it having its own moment right now.
Since becoming a mum, I’ve been shedding more hair that our beloved cat. Between her and me, we could start our own wig business with the amount I vacuum every day.
I used to blow dry my hair after every wash, but now I it’s a case of wash and go. I don’t have time to dry my hair with Lola crawling around.
I ‘invested’ in a cheap hairdryer when I arrived in the States. It looks at me forlornly from its place in the bathroom cupboard as if to say ‘when will I see you again?’.
When the hairdryer does come out to play, the difference it makes compared to wash and go hair is considerable (as evidenced by a blow-dried hair photo of me in this blog!).
I was also considering going grey after I stumbled across on Instagram. Most of the women posting their amazing transformations look trendy and fabulous. Mine just makes me look old! I haven’t coloured my hair for about five months, but I don’t think I’m quite there yet with regards to giving over the dark side….or should that be the ‘light side’? I already feel like I’m ageing at light speed since having a baby, so I may be covering up the white strands on my head soon. I wish I could be more confident like in this BBC article.
What do you think I should do? Answers in the comment box below please!