Confession: I’m afraid of makeup. I know, I know. I have two degrees in theatre and went through a major goth phase in high school; how can I be afraid of makeup? Perhaps it’s more accurate to say I’m afraid of regular makeup. If it’s not caked-on to counteract stage lights or provide an outward expression of the darkness of my (teenage) soul, then I’m utterly lost.
As a result, my adult, everyday makeup routine consists of a tiny bit of eyeliner and some mascara. Sure, I’ve spent hours scrolling through Instagram, fascinated by the magic of contouring and intricacies of eyeshadow application, but I never believed I could do this myself.
Then, I got engaged.
I knew from my performing days I needed to wear makeup so that my features would be clear on camera, but my wedding was tiny - 14 people total - and in another state. Finding a makeup artist and using them without a trial seemed stressful, and, frankly, unnecessary. Still, I clearly needed some sort of help, so I turned to the place that I knew always had my back: Labarre Studios.
I knew that Mercedes, the esthetician at Labarre, did great work. She had given me a lash lift before and the results were beyond my expectations. The next time I saw her, I asked about makeup lessons and booked an appointment. Then I went to Ulta and bought every single product the salespeople recommended (#EasilyInfluenced).
When the day of my appointment came, I was almost vibrating from nerves. What if I couldn’t figure out a technique? What if Mercedes thought I was hopeless? These fears were unfounded. Mercedes took me through applying a full face of makeup step by step; as she made up the right side of my face, she explained everything she was doing and mentioned some extra tips and alternate techniques that I could use. She was patient, encouraging, and reassuring. With each step, once Mercedes completed her demonstration, I tried to copy her work on the left side of my face. When the lesson was done, I was blown away by how good I looked. My fiancé couldn’t even tell which side of my face was my work and which was Mercedes’!
The first test of my new skills came about a month later, at my bridal shower/bachelorette. I thought this could be a good test of how well I remembered the steps and the techniques. My best friend sat in my bathroom as I did my makeup. “I think this is why the kids call it ‘beating your face,’” she joked as I used a sponge to blend my foundation. I took a quick selfie and sent it to Mercedes, who immediately texted back that I had done a great job.
My makeup not only lasted a full day of celebration, but also – to my surprise – was the subject of many compliments. My friends and family, well aware of my general makeup avoidance, were shocked. “Where did you learn to do this?!” they asked.
On the day of my wedding, I was calm. Thanks to Mercedes’ lesson and ongoing support, I knew that my makeup would look great. After I put on my dress, I took a moment alone to look at myself. Reflected in the mirror, I saw exactly what I had dreamed of for my wedding day: me, but polished. I felt beautiful. I felt confident. I felt like Mercedes, along with the entire Labarre community, was there in spirit, celebrating this moment with me. Labarre is not just where I work out; it’s where I am at home. It is this potential to touch every part of our lives that makes Labarre so special.