Back To Work

Well that was a rough patch the last few weeks.  Things have returned to their normal level of chaos so I’m back blogging.  I’m sorry that it was interrupted but I’d used my back stock of posts to cover my week in Norfolk.  So there you go the best laid plans…

Any way I’m back just as I recently returned to the world of the employed.  I quick working when Aaron was in the 2nd grade to be a stay at home mom.  It worked out well for us and I developed a small writing career on the side.  Now it’s been 12 years out of the job market.  Aaron is out of the house.  The publishing industry is in a big turnover with the onset of e-books.  I’ve not had the energy to be aggressive enough to get what few contracts are out there (partly health issues the past year). So I was ready to get a part-time job.  Get out of the house and do something.

It so happened during my post-surgery recovery I was shopping at a store I enjoyed when I saw that they were looking for permanent part-time workers.  So I applied and got the job.  I now work at store I always made a point to stop & shop when I was over that way.  So I enjoy my work.  I work about 20 hours a week which is perfect for what I was wanting.  Life is good!

However my life had become casual.  My wardrobe was casual.  I’d even given up wearing make-up for the most part.  When you work alone at a keyboard most of the day, old jeans, sweatshirts, and no make-up are office attire.  Now where I work allows ‘nice’ jeans so that’s good I had some good jeans but had to freshen up my slacks and tops.

The next step was the face in the mirror – it had aged, looking back was a woman closer to 50 than 30.  Never mind the fashion styles had changed in the past decade my make-up canvas had changed too!  So it was time to do a bit of recent research on what women over 40 were doing for work faces.

I learned lots.  First off frosts are out – those fine lines we’re developing are highlighted by frost eye shadow or lipstick.  Now I’d given up frosted lipstick years ago but my aged collection of eye shadows had LOTS of frosts.  Chunked them.  Next – I’ve started wearing glasses since I last wore make-up, so that added a twist to my research.  Seems I can play up my eyes more with glasses.  Which is good because they have always been my best feature.  If I left off eyeliner back in the day people thought I was becoming ill – ‘your eyes aren’t as bright are you feel well?’  So after watching several you-tube make over 40 videos I learned how to line my eyes with a dark matte eye shadow. It is not as harsh as the liners I once used but still gives it that widening and brightness.  Heck even the shape of the lining is subtly different, very thin at the edges and slightly thicker in the center.  I had to fine this wonderfully thin, stiff, angled brush to do it but once I masted it I LOVED the effect.  I looked better not so outdated and worn out.   I was pleased with the various matte palettes I’d selected.  They were Nice matte muted colors to give some flair but not scream HERE I AM!  Eyes looking so much better and fresher I  considered it a check off the list. New techniques mastered and appearance improved!  However I did have a moment of silence for my former eyelashes – now it takes two layers of mascara because they’ve aged and faded too.

Base and cream blush

Base and cream blush

Next was foundation, see eyes were always my favorite so I started there.  I’ve always had very extremely oily skin.  To this day I still have oil fields on my face that could be declared national energy deposits.  However I’ve also got arid dry spots that are awful and turn an angry red when aggravated by the cold winter wind.  I’d found that Oil of Olay Pro-X Clear for adult skin helped with keeping things in balance. Also some Vitamin E cream on the really dry spots when they appeared was good. However I’d always used a water based foundation with powder overlay. Except now the powder made the fine lines look like crevasses in my face. So research was needed and I’ve found a great foundation for me that matches my tone and doesn’t need powder as well as doesn’t clog the pores of my oil reserves! I’m very fair, so getting a shade that doesn’t look fake or vampiric white is very hard. CoverGirl TruBlend is great for matching without trying to orange or pink me up or pale me down to talc.  Now I could check off foundation.

Something I’d always struggled to get right in make-up – BLUSH.  I’d gotten the notion that generally speaking powders were out.  My dry areas are my cheeks so I’d noticed that powder made them look like cracked parched mud. I’d forgone blush for years since they were naturally red from wind irritation during dog walks.  I was scared of cream blush aka rouge in my grandmother’s time. It brought back images of old blue haired women at church with red/pink streaks or circles on their cheeks. So it took lots of watching and reading and peering at images of this cream blush the experts were advocating for over 40 faces.  First off it wasn’t red or pink but followed what were now becoming common guidelines – muted neutral tones.  Sure some leaned toward pink or coral but still fell in the neutral palette. Most were muted by containing more skin tones in the mix.  These creams were swiped on the cheeks when smiling like I was taught.  One great video illustrated why – gravity has done a number on our cheeks ladies.  Smile – draw a dot on the apple then unsmile and watch that dot drop below your cheekbone then curse gravity.  I learned that now the goal wasn’t to rosy up the apple but to contour the face.  The cream was to play down areas like in the neck to hide that V that’s developing, on the sides of the head to make it the grey highlighted temples recede a bit, and under the cheek to make the apple come out more.  Thus the very muted tones were to contour.  This took lots of practice and face washing.  I had to master a contour sponge and shading.  However in the end I was very pleased with the result.

Lip liners and neutral lip colors

Lip liners and neutral lip colors

I moved on to lips.   I’ve not had issues with feathering yet.  I can see that it will be coming in the future years.  I’m not a fan of bright colors.  Which I learned is very good because neutrals are the go to colors for over 40.  Especially if you are going to play up your eyes.  Don’t have bright eyes and bright lips on a mature woman it’s garish.  Also I’ve always found that bright lips on an old woman are bad it highlights a feature that has sunk and aged or one that is unnaturally plump and frozen from injections.  So I accepted the neutral palate willingly.  The hard thing is lip liner.  I’ve struggled with adopting that.  However the experts were right outlining the lips and coloring in the corner to leave the center of them a slightly lighter color does. Lip liner is dryer and keeps the lipstick from fading or bleeding which is great.  Glosses are out,  I bowed my head in another moment of silence and bid them farewell.  It was true I looked better for the liner and dropping the gloss.  We gain new tools and say good-bye to old friends as we age.

What is the result?  A better me instead of a painted woman.  To me the best make-up is one that isn’t noticed but makes the wearer look like a better version of themselves.  Their eyes are bright, their skin tone is even, their cheeks are perky, their lips are full.  I want people to notice the face not the make-up.  I think I’ve achieved that with my new work face.  Yes I’ll have Mike take a picture as I go to work one day and make it my new photo but generally he’s gone or in bed when I leave (he does get to sleep in on the weekends and I go to work after him on weekdays).

Now I’m ready to go to work.  I’m all up to date and comfortable in my over 40 (soon to be over 50 in a few years) skin.  Honestly, I feel I’m starting out on the best part of my life.  I’ve got achievements under my belt.  I know who I am  and am comfortable with that.  I’m secure in a relationship and finances.  I’ve got a great adult son – life is good!

Until next time!

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