On a recent London Underground journey i sat opposite a pretty girl who kept me entertained with a full application of make up, achieved in the reflection of a tiny handbag mirror. It began with a spongy applicator of blobs of foundation, blended with enormous attention to detail.
Blusher and highlighter followed applied with huge fat brushes, then the eyebrows, brushed and powdered-in with a chiselled brush. But the real expertise was saved for her eyelashes. They took about six stops on the tube. Unaffected by the lurch and rattle of the carriage there was a liberal application of mascara all over – two layers, then minute attention to detail on each individual lash, top and bottom. She finished off with a lip line and a flourish of lipstick, applied with a brush. I was transfixed.
Yes, she looked lovely, but she was beautiful without any of it.
I reflected on my own preparation that morning which was a lick of foundation administered by my fingers, eyebrows 1-2, eyeliner dab-dab, blusher stick stroke-stroke, a slick of lipstick and some styling goo in my hair. That I’m afraid dear reader, was that. I suppose it shows.
Later that day I read the story of Sylvia Jones-David, who wrote that her husband has never seen her without her make up on…i share it with you. Perhaps you’ll read it with the same open mouthed amazement as me, or maybe you’ll secretly identify with her?
Sylvia is 72 and she and her husband have only been married for seven years. What does this say about Sylvia, what does it say about me?
I like make up. I can remember the first time ever wearing any, aged about 12 to go to a party. I was amazed and felt so grown up. It was my mothers, and I’m sure a powder compact will have been involved and some ‘rouge’. The make up revolution came with Mary Quant and it was – a revolution. Packaging no longer looked like your Mum’s things, they made you feel ‘with it’ and ‘groovy’.
There were crayons.
and Twiggy and individual false eye lashes
And then along came BIBA, and our socks were truly blown off.
Those eye shadows were mulberry, purple, ochre, brown and sooty, The lipsticks were cranberry, conker and plum. Velvet and brocade, paisley and art deco. We loved it. It was great to be young.
Now as I slap on the, well … slap, there isn’t that same sense of fun, just necessity. And I don’t care how steady a hand you have, you wouldn’t be able to paint individual Mary Quant daisies on your upper eye like we did, sitting on the Piccadilly Line.
Thank you Mary – for the hell of it xx