I Peer Into: Maureen
Welcome to a new segment on Conflicted Beauty, I Peer Into, in which I open up women's makeup bags or beauty cupboards and discuss what these items mean to them: why they like them, what their routine looks like, how makeup makes them feel... Seeing what the "every day" woman uses always fascinates me, and these sort of posts are always some of my favorite to read. On a deeper level, I also want to explore other women's relationship to makeup: How it quite literally makes-up their lives, how comfortable they are, or not, with or without makeup, and how it shapes their everyday routine. With so many of us owning bags full of ink, powders, and colored creams that will dress our face, how do we come to choose a specific beauty arsenal? What do the contents reveal, and can they?
It felt right, then, to start with Maureen: she exudes grace and elegance, and always looks so effortlessly put-together (though she'd be quick to disagree). She also has the insight of an old soul, and her advice and outlook on the world is always perfectly polished. Maureen and I met our freshman year of college (we were roommates) and she's now become one of my closest friends. By some beautiful serendipity, she also happens to live one block away from where I live in Brooklyn, so it was no surprise that I came knocking at her door with my camera and a few questions ready. As she served me tea, I nosily emptied the contents of her makeup bag, sifted through each items, and swatched various products on the back of my hand. Observing from her balcony, smoking her cigarette, Maureen answered my questions.
Coline: What do you wear the most often?
Maureen: Eyeliner...cause it's easy, and it makes me look put together immediately. Everything else I can be lazy about. But when I put on eyeliner I have to do my brows also otherwise my eyes look too dark and my brows look too light. So those two together.
C: Why do you think it's important to look put-together?
M: It's the routine of it. When I wake up and I don't put on makeup I feel lazier, but once I go through the routine of all the different steps of putting on makeup that's when I feel ready to take on the world.
C: What did you put-on today?
The Physician's Formula eyeliner. Apparently there' s a formula in it that makes your eyelashes grow. I don't know if I've noticed a difference yet but it's a really good easy eyeliner to use, my only thing about it is that it's a little bit light, which is why I like the Artliner from Lancome, I've actually used since Junior High. It goes on really inky and never comes off.
I put on the brow pencil, the Lancome one [Le Crayon Poudre]. It’s super nice because it’s like the perfect powdery and thick kind of pencil - but not super thick. I don’t know how to describe it but it’s a really good eyebrow pencil. I also have the L'Oreal Voluminous Extra Volume mascara which is amazing, and a little brown eyeshadow on my lids from Bare Minerals. Oh, and a little bit of bronzer. I use the Chanel one but they’ve changed their formula about two years ago and I actually like their old formula better, it had more of a gold tone to it.
I'm not super specific with my brushes so I use the Bare minerals Eye Buki for eyeshadow - it sort of does everything - and the Nars one for bronzer.
C: When did you start wearing makeup?
M: Probably junior high. Like 5th or 6th grade. I remember I used to think it was so glamorous – cause my mom used to have this makeup table and she used to sit there and do her makeup, and had this super advanced mirror that opened up and had lights on the sides – and it looked so cool and glamorous, and that's why I started using it.
C: So do you think you started wearing makeup to emulate your mother's glamor?
M: Maybe subconsciously but don't tell her that. I mean I guess also it was a trendy thing, too.
C: Do you remember the first time you wore makeup?
M: I don’t remember the first time but I remember the first makeup item I bought which was a drugstore brand black kohl eyeliner. And I never used to wear anything else. I didn’t even particularly like the way it made me look I just did it because everybody else was and I was like huh, I’m so cool I’m wearing it. I remember also being intimidated by mascara. I just didn’t know how to use it.
C: What’s your going out routine?
M: The only difference between my going out makeup and my day-to-day look is that I add a little bit of dark brown eyeshadow. And bronzer. But I’m a pretty routine-makeup person, I never switch it up or do any colors.
C: What’s your favorite makeup item that you own?
M: Does a perfume count? This Tom Ford perfume – it’s actually a men’s cologne – and I looove it. Whenever I need to feel good and sultry, that’s what I use. But it’s also super expensive so I try not to use it on a daily basis. I think women’s perfumes are too flowery a lot of times, and I like the idea of sinking into a rich leather couch, which is what this perfume reminds me of. Like of a place that definitely has a bear rug. And it lasts a while – like if I put it on it will still smell on my clothes the day afterward.
C: Who do you look to for beauty inspiration?
M: This blog called Conflicted Beauty (laughs) but honestly, my friends. Anytime I need a recommendation I ask them directly.
C: What's your favorite lipstick?
M: I'm not a huge lipstick person but I like to have a color for each occasion. My favorite is the Bite one in Mulberry [second from left]. I really like the consistency: it's creamy and pigmented and I love that color.
C: What’s your outlook on makeup? How do you define your relationship to it?
M: I think personally for me I like the ritual of doing it, but I also like days of going without makeup and I never feel like I’m naked without it – I’ve never had that feeling – but yeah the ritual of it, that’s why my habit has never ever changed, it’s always the same, which is why introducing something new into my beauty routine is a big ordeal. I just like standing in front of my mirror and doing all the steps I need to do and get out the door. But I do feel like if I don’t wear makeup I need to make sure I’m not wearing like sweatpants otherwise I look sloppy, and I would never go to an interview or meet somebody without makeup on so I guess it gives me a confidence boost too. But I do enjoy the days when I don’t have makeup on. That’s also another reason why I like hiking or camping – you don’t have to think about it. When you don’t have makeup on you’re free to relax a little more.