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At the not very grand old age of 44 …

This time I wanted to do something different with my blog entry, and turn over the keyboard to a lovely client who offered to share her experiences of a make-up lesson she had with me some time ago. This is art one of two giving her thoughts in the build-up to the lesson and period just after (I will post part 2 in a moment which she posted after a follow-up session).

So with no further ado, her are her thoughts….

I was not at all cool about reaching forty. In fact, I fretted about it for quite a long time before hand and then for quite a bit after. Some things I was happy to accept that I was never going to do in life: bungee jump; go potholing; ski jump… that sort of thing.

Until a few weeks ago I would have added ‘wear make-up’ to that list. I’d never been taught how to use it, never had the sort of girl-friends to learn from and so it had all just passed me by. As an idea it was about as terrifying to me as potholing.

I’d walked through countless beauty halls but never dared stop to look at what was in those bright, shiny container, let alone considering using them. It seemed it would never be something I’d engage with or be interested in.

The lightbulb moment

As someone who lives a fairly outdoors life and who works for herself I can spend a lot of time by myself. Over time that has come to mean being less and less interested in my appearance. Some of the looks have not been great. It was time for a bit of a kick up the bottom, take a bit more time and care and get a new skill.

I googled London make-up lessons and skipped passed anything that sounded like it was going to brand led, unsympathetic to the not-so-super-youthful novice or that involved being in a large group.

I needed someone who was going to hand-hold me in a kindly way. Lina’s website leapt out at me primarily because she sounded so passionate about her subject. I might know nothing about make-up but it read like she knew her stuff and that she cared about doing a good job.

The contact form completed and sent, I had a follow up call from Lina shortly after. She sounded exactly as her website suggested she would be: warm; very human; interested and keen to please.

It was especially reassuring to hear that I wasn’t the only woman on the planet earth to have reached her fourth decade without a make-up bag and that arriving at my lesson without one wouldn’t be a problem.

The Big Day

I was ridiculously nervous when lesson day came around. I need not have been as Lina was all beams and smiles and as open and friendly as I could have hoped. She’s also infectiously passionate about her craft and it’s impossible not to be inspired by her.

Right from the start Lina had made it clear that practice during and after the lesson were super important and she made it easy for me to do just that. I’d been asked to bring iPad and iPhone for photography and video recording purposes and so whilst she was working on one side of my face – demonstrating every product and piece of kit and sharing plenty of essential beginner tips for a rookie like me – it was all being recorded and photographed to refer to later. I admit I was a touch dubious but it’s turned out to be hugely helpful.

Watching was fun but I was surprisingly keen to have a crack at it all myself and so with half a face to inspire me and with plenty of encouragement and advice from Lina I got to work on the ‘blank half’.

I have never looked at my face so hard and it was quite a revelation to see it being “woken up”, in Lina’s words. I was quite bowled over with how the light use of just one or two products had magically removed the bags from under my eyes and just made me look altogether brighter.

Equally amazing was the attention given to my ‘bushy’ eyebrows that were admired, embraced and ultimately transformed with just the teeniest bit of trimming and application of some ‘brow shaper’. Revolutionary stuff!

Eyelash curlers look like instruments of torture but, blimey, they make quite an astonishing difference. Using them is to the novice make-up person what parallel parking is to a first-time driver – a nightmare. However, the effect is such that I am determined to keep trying.

What was really great was that when I looked at what had been used to get to that point wasn’t a ridiculously long list of stuff. In fact, it all seemed completely achievable.

From the very baby basics we moved on to colour with eye powder, eye liners and lip sticks all coming on to the table. Again Lina did a demo on one side and I was set free to work on the other. There was plenty of coaxing, cajoling and encouragement from Lina and surprisingly (and I have the video evidence to prove it!) I found myself laughing a lot and really enjoying myself.

The final look was beyond anything I would have imagined. It felt bold but at the same time a very natural extension of myself. It was revitalising and self-affirming in a way I could not have imagined.

I did get off to a nervous start but it very quickly became a really joyful morning.

And after?

Lina would be proud. I have been practising and I have become a regular make-up wearer.

I have made mistakes… too much moisturiser made for a rather odd look on one day and some careless use of the brow shaper made it look as though I’d been out with the pritt stick glue. I am also at war with the eyelash curler… It is proving to be tricky thing to master. That said, the positives have far

outweighed the occasional slip ups and there have been plenty of positive comments from friends.

Truth be told, I have caught the bug. I am headed back for another lesson to consolidate my skills and perhaps learn a few new ones. I’m expecting to get a gentle telling off for the few bad habits I’ll have undoubtedly picked up along the way but that’s just fine because I know it comes from a heartfelt wish to help me look and feel my best.

Some might think it’s a little sad to have waited so long but I’m glad. If I hadn’t come to make-up a little later than most I probably wouldn’t have met and learnt from Lina and I think that would have been a very real shame.

If you’re even vaguely tempted, go for it! I doubt you’ll regret it.


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