Tag Archives: beke beau

Maybe she’s born with it?

Most women don’t know how to apply make-up very well.    While this cosmetic incompetence is divine for my job security, it has also inspires me to ponder the existence of a Make-up Gene.

Indeed, there seems to be an assumption on the part of many grown-ups that girl babies emerge from the womb knowing how to apply make-up.   The beauty industry runs with this notion, giving its consumers a ton of choice, but very little to go on in terms of how to use the stuff, leading to lots of unwise purchases and even more frustration.

“My mother never taught me,” is the excuse I hear most often from women about why they’re god-awful with make-up.  The accused, who probably had no time to bathe let alone to apply lipstick, takes the blame yet again for an alleged deficit in her child.  This is why I have cats.

I also have four brothers and no sisters, and my mother never once attempted to teach me anything about make-up.  She was the sort who would go into a department store and proceed to stick her finger into every unchaperoned eye shadow tester, then smoosh it onto her lid (an unsanitary practice that to this day provokes me to breathe into a paper bag).   It’s not your mother’s fault – get over it.

My mother was a writer, but she also produced beautiful watercolors on a whim, designed and made a lot of her own clothing, and decorated her house enchantingly with flea market/curbside treasures.  My father is an architect who could have as easily been a painter or sculptor.   Perhaps I picked up an Art Gene from them, but don’t think I can do much else besides paint faces.  I’ve had occasional success with line drawings intended to make fun of people, but that’s about it.

In conclusion, I do not support the idea of a Make-up Gene and I don’t want to hear another word about it.  Nor do I want you to feel bad because you’re not awesome at applying make-up.   I’m sure you’re awesome at many way more important things, like running a company, inspiring others and driving safely.   Besides, I can help you improve your make-up application situation.  Call me.

Going, going, blonde …

I was born blonde.  Not a towhead, but a sort of all-American kind of blonde whose hair was full of highlights during the way too short Vermont summers.

I'MNINE Aside from one bleaching mishap in my rock singer days, I kept to my natural color until I was 27 – that’s when I started to have The Red Vision.  I think it began after watching the movie Private Benjamin, in which, toward the end of the film, Goldie Hawn goes strawberry.  While not inspired to enlist, I was ready to join the Red Brigade.


Red worked – really well – for years.   I have very pale skin with neutral undertones and my eyes are blue.  Everybody thought I was a natural redhead (although there was that L’Oreal Feria incident in grad school – suffice it to say that it’s a good thing I had my Arabic class in the morning, because I had to go to class with a scarf on my head).

A few years ago, pushing 25 years of red headedness, I began to have The Platinum Vision.  I was  first inspired by the singer Emmylou Harris and from seeing anyone who had the good fortune and peachy complexion to look smashing with prematurely white hair.  Then, I saw The Devil Wears Prada starring Meryl Streep as the icy Miranda – wow.  I tried on wigs to get a feel for how I’d look, and even bought a platinum bob (for sale – message me).

When I proposed changing my hair color, most of the friends I told were against it.  Some were downright hostile and forbade me to do such a thing.  This, of course, stirred the teenager in me to do it without hesitation.  The adult in me was resolute in any case and I made the appointment.


People told me that they admired my bold move and that I looked years younger (not why I did it, but thanks).   Most surprising was that the unworn clothes in my closet suddenly made sense – it seemed I had been shopping for the platinum me all along.

Changing my hair has changed everything.  Now, when I tell people that I’m a former rock singer, they actually believe me.   Whatever hair I wake up with works – I have my Gwen Stefani days, my Brienne of Tarth days and my Andy Warhol days.  It is so much easier to get dressed now, and the over-used term “edgy” kind of applies to me.  My lipstick options increased to include a range of pinks that weren’t flattering to me as a redhead.

I’m telling you this story, not for the fun of it, but so that you’ll consider embracing a dreamed of, perhaps drastic change in your look.  It could cause an electrifying jolt to your otherwise primitive way of seeing yourself.  Good luck and send pictures.

Author in the news, 4/2015

Not just shameless self promotion here, although I’m not above that: I delight in relieving women of useless, inappropriate  make-up.  They usually enjoy it, unless there’s a hoarding problem, in which case I have to pry open fingers, and sit on the recycling container until they leave the building….

Happy Spring!!

Philadelphia Magazine, April 2015
Philadelphia Magazine, April 2015

Why a blog?

Beke BeauA few years ago I started writing a book about make-up for grown women.  Titled … what should I call it?  Make-up for Mature Women ™, like my workshop?  No – too literal, and not inviting to 30-somethings who could benefit from the content.   Fabulously Glamorous Ageless Beauty at any Age?  You’re wiser than that.

It occurred to me that I should do a blog instead, a way more modern approach that would allow me to share spontaneously and keep current with my audience.   Plus I wouldn’t have to find a publisher, leaving me time for maintaining my self-respect.

I present to you the Beauty Sageist blog.  I’m writing for wise women who want to use make-up as a tool, not a toy, and who are tired of being confused, and, quite frankly, nagged by the beauty industry to “fight” aging.

I’ll blog on using make-up strategically, and about products that are either blog-worthy or that you need to be warned about (like a blush with a racy name that supposedly works for everybody and might be sold by a brand name that rhymes with “CARS”).

I’ll also share my favorite resources for researching products and product claims. Occasionally, I’ll post unretouched makeovers of real women.   I will never use the word “flawless” unless I’m being sarcastic.

I would love to hear your suggestions, questions and requests for post topics.

Less hope, more wisdom.

Welcome to Beauty Sageist

target-beauty-sectionIf you are a baby boomist like me, or even from Planet Gen X, you may have noticed the astonishing increase in cosmetic choices since the days when you first started to use make-up.  Back then, in the beauty Stone Age, we chose from a few drugstore brands like Cover Girl, Maybelline and Max Factor and even fewer (what were then considered) high end brands like Estee Lauder and Clinique.

Now there are thousands of cosmetic lines, sold in stores ranging from Target to Bergdorf Goodman; cosmetic specialty stores such as Ulta and Sephora, and brand specific stores like MAC.  These outlets sell like gangbusters online as well, and let’s not even get started on the hypnotizing shoppertunities offered 24/7 on QVC and HSN.


Speaking of excess, one website lists over 650 active beauty blogs remarkably narrow in content and written by mostly 20 and 30-somethings.   In a mind-numbing attempt to be thorough in my research, I am visiting each and every one.   Scary statistic: there were 530 blogs listed when I first conceived of writing on this topic six months ago.

On these sites, you’ll find hundreds of thousands of product reviews, accounts of bloggers’ latest make-up “hauls,” and photos of things like a giant made-up eye, or a hand striped with various eye shadow swatches (what one’s hand has to do with anyone’s eye is still a mystery to me).   Most of these blogs are produced by everyday people who like to write and who are in love with – actually, are besotted by – beauty products and all things that Make You More Beautiful.

On MakeupAlley.com, a website with a membership of over one million, you can find 2.5 million reviews of about 150,000 products and filter those reviews according to your age, skin color and skin type.  If you’re retired, or spend enough time at work goofing off online to be a good candidate for more free time, you can join the thousands of members who post on the various boards upwards of 45,000 times per day.

Then there’s YouTube:  at last search, I found 3.7 million make-up tutorials and 2.4 million make-up reviews.

You might say that we’re a little obsessed.   And in spite of having facilitated all of this vital cosmetic product development and world healing online social activity, we are no less confused, no more confident that we can use beauty products to our advantage, to be more attractive, to be more loved, to stop time.

Remember that Virginia Slims slogan, “you’ve come a long way, baby?”  We haven’t.

Don’t get depressed; come back to visit and we’ll sort this out together, as adults.

Less hope, more wisdom.