Over the course of the past year or so, I have become something I thought I’d never be: a woman who won’t leave the house without makeup on. I’ll go out to walk the dog with my hair piled on top of my head and an outfit that suggests I got dressed in the dark, but you can bet that I will have applied a little lippy on my way out the door. It was a gradual progression, and one that reached what I suppose was its inevitable conclusion (I am, of course, from Texas) the moment I discovered the incredible transformative power of eyeshadow. Eyeshadow, as it turns out, is magic. Not as magic as bronzer, but close. Feeling tired? Washed out? Just pile some on, and you’re good to go. I’d imagine a lot of you were already on to this, but it was a revelation to me.
My sister in law Shanna, who is both from the south and also once aspired be an actress—and is therefore in a position to know from a dramatic eye—has been my primary eyeshadow educator, and it is from her that I learned about the importance of a good primer. Primer helps makeup go on all nice and even—something that’s particularly important for anyone who, like me, has a less-than-steady hand—and keeps it from creasing and fading. This one from Laura Mercier is so creamy and easy to apply. I put it on my eyelids, but also under my eyes, so my concealer will stick on better too.
I like a dark purple-type color best: the blacker and more eggplanty the better. And I am not a fan of the sparkle. If I’m feeling particularly in need of a lift, I’ll go for this Laura Mercier shade, Black Plum. I’m also quite fond of Mac’s Shadowy Lady, which goes on maybe a bit less dramatically but leaves pretty much the same dark, plummy kind of effect. A girl likes at least the illusion of variety. And for weekend days or other times when something less drastic appears to be in order, I’ve been relying on Magic Night from Chanel, which has a lot more of a brown thing going on.
I’ve tried to make inroads with other, lighter, colors, but so far nothing’s clicked. A while back, I talked myself into a really rich, deep blue, but it was a disaster. If you grew up in the 70s—and do not really know your way around a makeup brush—blue eyeshadow can only ever read tacky. On the other hand, I have nothing but fearless enthusiasm for hues that go darker and darker still, and on Saturday, I bought myself a tube of this Ellis Faas cream eyeshadow in Deep Black at Space NK. It is, as advertised, inky-dark. And after applying it, my hands looked like I’d just been fingerprinted by a particularly inept law enforcement officer. But boy, did my eyes pop.