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I’m not a Make-Up Girl or the Revenge of the Eyelash


“I’m not a make-up girl. It’s just not my personality.”

Those words would have described me for most of my life. I was not the type of teenager who experimented with make-up and I didn’t wear foundation until my senior year in college. Even then, it was an on-again-off-again reluctant effort.  “Why bother?” was what I often thought about it.

There might be several reasons for this. I was a tomboyish, no-nonsense girl from way back.  Yet there is one experience when I was about 11 going on 12 years old that I’ll never forget.

I was in the 6th grade, which in my youth was the last year of elementary before we went to junior high. This was that time when girls were hitting puberty and thinking more about boys. It was also the emergence of that painfully self-conscious period when most girls wanted to wear make-up for the first time. At least that was the way my sisters had been at that age.

My mother, who grows wiser in my memory with every year that I age, was thinking about how I might feel entering this stage of life having only that year emerged from wearing a patch over my eye on a daily basis.  The doctors had finally created an eye socket that would hold a prosthetic eye securely. I still wore glasses for my near-sightedness, but my right eye was free to the world with no more covering! Yay!!!  I was thrilled just for that.

Mom, on the other hand, knew that my sisters started wearing make-up at this age and wanted to help me learn how to wear appropriate make-up for my eye and face that still had new scars on the forehead and under the right eye.  Smart thinking, right??

For Christmas that year I was given a make-over/style session at a fancy studio on Park Avenue in Winter Park.  It was the Douglas Marvaldi Studio, now an institution still there on Park Avenue.  Douglas Marvaldi himself gave me my first make-up lesson and applied his branded make-up for my first makeover. I recall that we had an entourage there of my mother, grandmother, and likely a sister or two. It seemed like quite a production and everyone else was very excited about it.

I was a little puzzled. I had not been yearning to wear make-up, in fact, I didn’t understand why I would want to. I complied though and walked out with a bag full of makeup that I was expected to apply on myself when I went to school after the break.  I remember how fancy it all seemed with the cursive Marvaldi logo on the bottles and jars.

We only focused on foundation and concealer for the scars and left the blush and eye shadows for another time I suppose.  I was still quite young for that.  However, there was one item that I was introduced to that thrilled me at the time.  Eyelashes!!  I was introduced to false eyelashes and taught how to glue them on my upper right eyelid. This more than anything else got me excited because it came close to balancing my two eyes. I could not wait to go to school with eyelashes on both eyes!!

I did just that. For the first week after we returned to school, I wore my make-up every day. I carefully glued that tiny line of lashes to my eyelid and looked at myself in the mirror with new pride. Then the reality of Florida humidity and rambunctious little girl life hit me.

The eyelash never lasted more than a few hours. Before the end of the school day I was hunting for an eyelash that had dropped off somewhere. Sometimes the eyelash would hang there by a corner over my unseeing prosthetic eye waiting for a classmate to laugh and point. Other times, I felt it lying on my cheek or saw it drop onto my desk top.  Each discovery left me feeling more and more disheartened.

It’s not worth it. I won’t have eyelashes. It’s just not meant to be. Makeup, especially any effort on my eyes was not in my future.

I was closing in on 40 years of life before I gave make up for my eyes another chance. I had a Bobbi Brown makeover at a Saks Fifth Avenue just before attending the wedding of my old friend and nephew-in-law Ted to his now wife of 20 years, Debbie. I wanted to look sharp so I purchased the whole lot of make-up and learned how to do something with eye shadow. I still stayed clear of eyeliner and mascara. Just the thought of it, and besides, I didn’t have eyelashes on the right side so why emphasize that, right?

After the Bobbi Brown phase I wore Jane Iredale powdered makeup and loved the foundation, but again stayed clear of the eye makeup. I didn’t even try the shadows.  However, I did finally appreciate the results that a professional could get if I let them add eyeliner, mascara and shadow.  I learned to always have my make-up professionally done before a photo session.

Every day make-up for me?  When the recession hit and Iredale makeup was hard to budget for, I stuck to a drug-store brand tinted moisturizer and that was it for many years.

Now, I’m closing in on the big 6-0 (well, give me 2 years) and I’m going to try my hand at eye shadow, eye liner, and mascara!! I decided that I would take advantage of all the Mary Kay training and the great products to see if I could create that balanced eye look for myself every day.

So far so good. I am getting better with the eyeliner, although that is very hard to apply blind. I have to close my left eyelid and line the eye by feel.  My eye is hyper-reactive and won’t hold still for me, although it is getting easier to do.

I like the way my left eye looks with liner and mascara, but it still leaves the right eye behind with just eyeliner, no eyelashes, and thus, no mascara.

What do you think? Is it time for me to try the glue-on eyelashes again?

I’m thinking about it and will report back when I get the gumption to do it.

Until the next time, YOU are beautiful no matter what!!