Makeup Is My Thing

Playing with makeup was so much more fun in the old days because with makeup came hope

You know how everybody has their thing? How some people get their joy from travel? Or how other people find their happiness in their children? Or what about the folks who can't get enough pleasure out of music?

Well, I'm not any of them. For me, it's always been makeup! God, I love makeup. For as long as I remember, I've been fascinated by it. Buying it, reading about it, trying it. My grandmother, the least-fussy woman in the world, had a whole vanity full of cosmetics, mostly left over from her sisters and her daughters and so on. My grandmother's thing was her family. Everyone hung out at Gramma's.

What I did when I hung out there was play with all that dang makeup. Bronze lip glosses in pots. Ovals of pale green shadow. Cake mascara. In retrospect, some of that stuff was probably more than a decade old, even back then, but here I still am alive and sans pinkeye, so calm down, Miss Alarm-y Overreactor Pants.

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Now, I have a drawer full of fancy makeup that I love, peppered with some impulse drug store items purchased when I've had a bad day. But every so often I get a hankering for the makeup I played with back then, in front of my grandmother's vanity. The makeup of the '70s. Do you remember some of these?

–Coty Nature's Blush: This was a white stick, like a glue stick, for those glamorous nights when you want to glue your cheeks. Really, though, it was colorless until you put it on, and then allegedly it turned into the blush that suited you. I remember sliding this on my 12-year-old cheeks and looking precisely like Pocahontas, if Pocahontas had been a white Michigan girl with spotted fever. Still, if you handed me that glue stick right now, I'd slap that mother on faster than you can say, "70s bush."

–Bonne Bell Gel Blush: Blush was a huge deal in the 1970s. You could go around with pale, eyelashless rabbit eyes like Shelley Duvall as long as your cheeks resembled the bottom of a thermostat. For some reason, Bonne Bell, makers of THE BEST LIP GLOSS IN THE WHOLE WORLD , also made this tube of gel that didn't so much give you a natural glow as it stained your finger and the one spot you got on your cheek before it stubbornly stopped spreading any further. Maybe she's born with it. Maybe she's a Kewpie doll.

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–Kissing Potion Roll-On Lipgloss: You were waiting for me to get to Kissing Potion, right? Because while we all agree that Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers were the PINNACLE OF LIP GLOSS, you still weren't worth your salt in junior high if you didn't have several of the Kissing Potion flavors. I'd like to take this moment to apologize to any boys who had to kiss me circa 1979, as I am certain I had 14 pounds of spearmint Kissing Potion glopped on my lips. It was like kissing lamp chop jelly. Sure, they make lip gloss today, but does it come in a glass bottle that'll put out someone's artery should it break in your purse? Oh, '70s, with your asbestos nightgowns and your Jarts and your breakable lip gloss. How we miss you.

–Aziza eye shadow trios: Their ads are what really made you lust. They were super-detailed, showing you how to apply it. Like, the '70s mom's-pantsuit-color taupe went on your lid, the '70s your-parents'-bedspread brown went in the crease, and the '70s Aunt-Dawn's-prom-dress pale yellow went on your browbone. Because nothing says "hottie" like a yellow brow.

You felt like if you could just get to JC Penney and pick up that trio of browns, your whole life would change. Tammy Chelenko would be usurped from her position of most popular girl of South Junior High. "Say, who's the 8th-grader with the macramé-brown shadow trio so expertly applied to her lids? She's our new 'it' girl!" everyone would say.

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–Avon Small World Lipkins: My best friend's mom sold Avon, but really, you couldn't swing your Jiffy Pop without hitting something from Avon in the 1970s. For awhile, Avon was pretty obsessed with the fact that it's a small world. Not only did I have a Small World pin of this Asian character whose head you could pop open and smear solid perfume on yourself, but I also had this Dutch girl Lipkins, and I can still taste the Dutch chocolate. It was a Dutch girl and it was Dutch chocolate lipstick. Are you catching on to the theme, there, Tulip? It's a world of laughter, a world of delicious chocolate lipstick.

Playing with makeup was so much more fun back then because with makeup came hope. We were naïve enough to actually think the right blush would usurp Tammy Chelenko's place on the popularity spectrum.

Oh, '70s. How I miss you!

Tags: beauty