Does anyone else remember Baz Luhrmann's epic graduation song/speech to the class of '99? I've always thought the name of it was Wear Sunscreen, but upon looking it up, it appears that the actual name is Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen. Anyway. That song was my JAM back in '99. I realize that some of you were still dwelling in your mothers' wombs in '99, but I was in high school and this song spoke to me. Actually, it still does. The gist of it is that Baz does this really long speech full of all his best advice to the class of '99. The advice is random and not really all that connected, but it's all pretty good and/or funny. But he starts and finishes with his MOST ESSENTIAL bit of advice, the one thing he wants you to take away from his five-minute speech: wear sunscreen. The benefits are indisputable. The rest of his advice may or may not work for you, but wearing sunscreen...you can't go wrong with that one.
I feel like I'm a lot like Baz Luhrmann's song sometime. I spew out a lot of random tidbits and advice that may or may not be worth anything, based mostly on my life experience. But if I had to boil it down and give you ONE REALLY GOOD piece of advice to walk away with...what would it be? What's the Erika equivalent of Baz's 'wear sunscreen' (because I'd be a hypocrite to say that MY best advice is to wear sunscreen...ummm...I try to remember to do that. Sometimes.)?
I think I've figured it out. For one topic only-- not like...my best piece of universal, all-inclusive life advice, but my one best piece of beauty advice. Because I get more questions about beauty products than actual life advice, and also because makeup advice is less life-altering than actual LIFE advice. So we'll go with my one essential makeup tip for today (and life). You ready?
Wear eyeshadow primer.
To echo (and slightly alter) Baz's words...if I could offer you only one tip for the future, [eyeshadow primer] would be it.
These might be hard words to hear. I understand that. When I first decided to step foot into Sephora a number of years ago and I sought my sister's makeup expertise as to what my inaugural purchase should be, I wasn't happy to hear her suggest eyeshadow primer. It's boring! It's colorless! I'm gonna spend $20, put on my makeup, and look exactly the same as I did before I spent $20?!?! Where's the fun in that? Eyeshadow primer is BORING.
That may be true. But it is also amazing.
Let's have a personal testimony, shall we? Because I'm the only one here writing today, I'll go first.
I love eye makeup. But I don't love the way it disappears and/or creases up and gets oily by lunchtime. If I'm going to spend a lot of money on shadow and then 10 minutes of my precious time in the morning applying and blending, I don't want all of my hard work to be gone by noon. I don't want to have to reapply everything if I'm going somewhere at night. I WANT TO DO IT ONCE AND BE DONE WITH IT FOR THE DAY.
Enter eyeshadow primer.
In summary...all of my wishes and dreams came true. With a swift application of primer before I put on my shadows, liners, and mascara...it's there all day. For better or for worse, til death (or makeup remover) do us part. IT STAYS.
And I want you to know what it can stay through. Not just a pansy day sitting in my air conditioned office. It can last through ANYTHING.
Exhibit A: Me after a really hard workout.
Yeah, I look really gross. Bangs are NOT your friend when you work out and get super sweaty. See how they're completely soaking wet? The sweat then drips down off of my bangs and runs in rivers down my face. I mop it off with a towel every few minutes. Now, obviously this is a sucky picture in bad lighting that was not taken with the intention of showcasing my eye makeup. But this is more or less what I look like after I work out. Would you expect my makeup to look good after that?
I wouldn't. I would expect my makeup to have fully melted off and/or been wiped off with the sweaty towel. And that's what used to happen, in my pre-primer days. But not now.
Now, I kid you not (and Matt, my friends at the gym, and anyone else who happens to run in to me after a hard workout can confirm this, because I force them to notice the situation)...my makeup looks just as good as it did when I applied it. After that. After sweating buckets, having wet bangs cover my lids, and frequently wiping with a towel- MY EYE MAKEUP IS STILL IMPECCABLE. Every night I marvel over this. Not lying. I stare in the mirror when I get home, in awe of whatever voodoo science makes it possible. There's no creasing, no fading color. Every shade is still accounted for, the blending still blendy. The smoky eye still smoky. AFTER THAT.
Friends, if eye shadow primer isn't a miracle, I don't know what is.
Here are the primers currently taking up real estate in my makeup collection. I'll be honest-- I really only use the UD potion all the way to the left. The purple UD potion is old and dried out, but I save it because they've discontinued that packaging and in a fit of nostalgia, I couldn't bear myself to part with my old tube. The Smashbox and Lorac primers are fine, but I prefer Urban Decay primers by far.
If you aren't currently using a primer (but you do wear eye makeup), it's time to make the plunge. Your shadow will go on more smoothly and with greater color saturation. (If you don't believe me, swatch it on your arm both with and without a primer underneath!) It will last forever. And so even if you're using a cheap, poorly formulated shadow- IT WILL BE BETTER WITH PRIMER. Primer will make all the stuff you already own BETTER. So in that sense, it's the best $20 you can spend. Because it'd cost a lot more to replace all of your existing shadows with high-end versions...and even THOSE will still be better with primer underneath! Oh, and a $20 tube of primer will last a LONG time. I know the thing on the back indicates that you should only use it for 6 months, but...yeah. The new UD packaging is a squeeze tube, which is way more hygienic and less susceptible to contamination than the old doe-tipped applicator (and it also dries out much more slowly in this packaging)...sooo...it's entirely likely that I use mine til it's gone, which takes a lot longer than 6 months. And this is with me using it every day, from lashline to browbone, and sometimes on my lower lashline, too. It lasts forever.
So there you have it. The One Makeup Thing You Should Be Doing. Baz says wear sunscreen. I say wear primer. I bet if you did both, you'd live forever. Or at least look great for a long time.