Face Paint: The Story of Makeup

Lisa Eldrige's book on makeup works on many levels - it's nerdy about a field that so easily to write off - that shallow quest for skin deep beauty. I think a lot about this field - and the difference between skincare and makeup and how it is easy to embrace one and feel conflicted about the other. Makeup is hard to embrace because of an idea called cognitive dissonance - we as human beings do not like having inconsistent thoughts and feelings - the very application of makeup is pretense vs the self-acceptance of skincare and that is why it is easier to embrace skincare for what it really is - self-care. Still the instant rush of looking your best - highlighting your best features has delivers the same satisfaction as putting your best foot forward at work or wearing your game face. These are not choices anymore - the instancy of makeup and slow goodness of great skincare are thankfully united now and it is the evolution of this balancing act that Lisa Eldridge - the creamy toned, creamy skinned British artist so skillfully delivers. There is a measure of self-acceptance in everything Lisa does that restores makeup to being fun and easy in her YouTube tutorials - a cosy femininity that strips it of its dissonance and restores it as a happy abstraction rather than the loaded pistol of women keeping up appearances. 

It's ever so soothing to know that your concerns re blemishes and fashion are so eternally human - anthropologists assuaging readers regarding "prehistoric cosmetics" should allay any criticism the need for the cool new cream blush is real - that desire is in bred into your very bones. I particularly love the palette she talks us through - red, white and black - the colors of blush, powder and kohl - this is not some oppressive meme inflicted on us by ever more demanding society - this desire for health, youth and vibrance is the stuff of life. Now a lot of this book could be reduced to fun facts if it weren't for the creamy writing of Lisa Eldrige - she is as calming in this book's fluid prose as she is demonstrating self-massage on YouTube. If you are a woman it is refreshing in our politically correct moment to embrace the slow feminine pleasure of beautification without the social media frenzy but curing up with this book with afternoon tea and biscuits to know how a blissy glow is effortfully achieved. It is a book by a woman for women - there is no effort to intellectualize past being interesting and in some cases useful - the instructions re Marilyn Monroe's makeup application are shockingly relevant even today.