"I make my own sunshine..."--Alyssa Bonagura
After a few minutes to adjust my eyes to the light, followed by a requisite morning prayer, I'm usually able [by the blood of Jesus] to shake the sense of morbidity. However, even after pumping the maximum dose of Feelgood into my brain, I am still pretty much just Grumpy Cat (as in the meme; see photo) and as such, everything takes me triple the time it would take any normal person because I'm totally discombobulated and easily distracted by any- and everything. For instance, my morning pee takes at least five minutes, only 30 seconds of which involves an actual stream of urine. The other four and a half minutes consist of staring out of the window and checking any number of social media outlets. I'm also known to take a couple of GRE vocabulary tests (my version of a guilty pleasure) on the toilet to avoid getting into the swing of the day.
Because it takes me so long to feel like a person who's actually interested in going out into the world, I'm always on the prowl for things that shorten my morning routine so I can get going faster and with less of an attitude. The sad fact on top of my aversion to the early part of day is that I am also a makeup aficionada. I absolutely must 'put on my face' before I leave the house or the bad attitude I woke up with will never go away. I'm a perfectionist by nature, so it naturally follows that I like my face drag-queen-beat when I step out of the door. I don't leave home without, at a minimum, a healthy amount of mascara and eyeliner, and I also want to see as few pores as possible when I turn my rearview towards my mug before backing out of the driveway. Consequently, I've developed, over the years, an unhealthy addiction to Foundation.
I didn't even start wearing the stuff until I was almost out of college. I've always had pretty good skin, if a bit porous. I've struggled with occasional [hormonal and/or stress-related] breakouts since my early 20's, but I've never had any serious acne problems. Yet and still, I know that cunning MAC makeup artist in the mall knew what she was doing when she first swiped that Studio Fix (throwback!) onto my skin back in 2002. When I looked into that glass and saw the flawlessness, I just about kicked the wall in. I. Looked. Spectacular.
In the years since, I've gone through probably 20 different brands of foundation, each more "revolutionary" than the next. I learned to contour, I learned to shade, I found perfect matches (Makeup Forever 170, thank you) and then got a wild hare up my ass and switched brands for the hell of it.
But. As anyone who turns 30 will tell you, some shit just has to go when you get to a certain age. One develops a diminished tolerance for foolishness, coupled with a strong disdain for anything that smacks of insecurity. About a month ago, that exact wind hit me. Standing naked in front of the mirror after brushing my teeth and washing my face, I just couldn't do it. I could not put those two different shades of foundation onto my hand, I could not wet that makeup sponge, and I could not combine those colors and blend that concealer and shade the contour spots...I could not do any of it. I was tired as hell. And so over it.
And so, I splashed with cold water, wiped my face with a toner pad, and whipped out my E.L.F. [read: $3 at Target, bka cheap as cheap can get] Tinted Moisturizer in Sand, which in addition to being the cheapest makeup product I've ever purchased, also happens to be the only one that matches my skin perfectly. I'm "medium" skinned, but unlike many lighter-skinned Black girls I'm very red, not yellow. My complexion has strong pink undertones, so the reason I picked up the E.L.F. moisturizer in Sand to begin with was the description "for light to medium skin with pink undertones" on the front. And lo and behold it was PERFECT. In fact, I'd been wearing it underneath my foundation for over a year. But on this particular pre-Spring 2013 day, the E.L.F. was going Amelia Earhart. (Yeah, I put on a little primer, but I pity the fool who doesn't. Priming is next to Godliness). I stepped out cautiously, wondering if the world could see my pore-y little secret.
I promise it was one of the best days I've had in forever. I felt light, free, and most of all, I felt effing gorge. Every day since then, I've enjoyed my "makeup" routine much more immensely. It makes my whole morning feel lighter and happier to know I don't have to go through the foundation rigmarole.
My five different foundations are currently lost in the sea of crap in my makeup drawer in the bathroom, and I couldn't be happier about it. The next time I wear the stuff, it will likely be applied professionally, and I better be going somewhere really cool and meeting some truly awesome folks I might never see again for it to be worth the effort.
I truly feel free in my new skin, because it is, finally and for realz, my skin. Take that, Sephora.