“Laura, is this too much makeup?”
I’m standing in front of my bathroom mirror, an hour before a first date. The guy is cute, so I’m kind of nervous and frantically scrambling to throw together an appropriate facial look before I run out of the house onto the icy Chicago sidewalks to avoid being late.
She looks at me and shrugs a little. “I think you look great. I also know nothing about this at all, so I’m the wrong person to ask.”
I know she’s telling the truth about the latter part of her comment, as she’d remarked earlier that my makeup application held the same foreign novelty to her as watching her boyfriend shave. I was truly alone in this world, my bathroom, glowering at my makeup and hoping that my fervent wishing that it look perfect would suddenly make it so.
After my skin was left angry and raw, three separate makeup applications and removals later, I finally found a solution to my problem. I also, and more importantly, found the root of the problem itself: I was concerned about presenting the wrong image to my date.
I’d been somewhat unfairly expecting my face to actively project my expectations of the date going in: not so much makeup that it looked like I cared too much, but not so little that it appeared that I didn’t care at all. On my way out of the door, I’d realized how stupid that line of thinking was and stopped worrying about it.
Upon further reflection, however, I realized that designing your makeup this way can be actually somewhat useful, even if it’s for no other reason than to get you out of the house a half an hour--and several makeup removals--earlier.
Planning your makeup to reflect how into a date you are gives you a meditative window to assess how much you actually do care--which is never a bad thing--and also grants the opportunity to play Makeup Magician to see how well you can visually convey those feelings with cosmetics. It’s unlikely that anyone who doesn’t pour themselves over makeup every day will notice these subtleties beyond noting that you’re wearing makeup at all, but it’s not unlike horoscopes in that pretending that they actually make a difference can be kinda fun.
Look 1: The Interview
You’re getting ready for a date, and you’re feeling kind of neutral about it. Perhaps the person is good-looking, and you clicked a bit upon first meeting, but you’re not head-over-heels bowled over by them. If this is your scenario, The Interview look is for you!
It consists of nothing but eyeliner and a sheer lip tint: in this case, Revlon Photoready Kajal, and a tinted lip balm made from a red-violet Crayola crayon, respectively. The aim is to subtly polish your natural look without making it particularly noticeable.
Look 2: The “I’m Interested Enough To Noticeably Put On Makeup For This Date!”
This is the look for the person about whom you’re totally twitterpated. You meshed perfectly in the times you’ve interacted before, you think that they’re a total cutie, and you really want them to think you, also, are a total cutie.
Luckily you already have the total cutie part down pat, without makeup. The makeup just serves to noticeably dress it up, not unlike slipping your incredibly fabulous body into an equally fabulous gown.
To start, I used Urban Decay’s Primer Potion on my eyelids.
From there, I used the Smashbox Limitless 15 Hr Wear Cream Shadow on my entire upper lid.
To add a bit of dimension, I shaded the outer corners and crease of my eyelid with a dark, shimmery blue, and highlighted the inner corners of my eyes with a golden mustard. Both colors can be found in the incredibly fabulous Sephora Collection Color Anthology, which has a myriad of different, boldly pigmented shades.
I plumped my lashes up with Benefit’s They’re Real! Mascara, and used Wet 'n' Wild MegaLast Lip Color in Sugar Plum Fairy to finish the look.
Look 3: The Partition
There are some dates where you’re less interested in the actual date itself, but what happens after the date. The dates where you stare at the person you’re going out with, eyes smoldering, and daydream about the moment when you clamber into a cab on your way back to your place to show them your etchings. The dates where you--politely, of course--ask the driver to close the partition, please.
If the last look is akin to a fabulous gown for your beautiful face, this one is the lingerie.
For this look, you start out with eyeliner. I’ve used the Revlon Photoready Kajal, making sure to line my waterline with it as well.
After this, take a black eyeshadow and apply it to the upper and lower lids, making sure to blend it with the liner. Make a point of adding a bit to the lower lid, as it gives a quiet preview of how beautiful you’ll look the next morning. You do, in fact, wake up like dis.
From there, add a rouge shadow and blend it with the black to form a kind of sexually flustered smoky eye. Choose the red or pink shade that most closely resembles your blush for this step, or just use your blush itself. I prefer the shadow’s gentle shimmer to my matte blush, but both will work beautifully.
Now it’s time for your lips. I used OCC Lip Tar’s NSFW, and shaded my top lip with Black Dahlia to contour. Adding the extra contrast lends a touch of Film Noir drama to your face, which is perfect when your aim is to be some poor schmuck’s femme fatale.
Emphasize your eyebrows with your eyeliner or brow pencil of choice, and this look is done.
It’s worth mentioning that these looks are not in any way a carte blanche for your date to treat you in the way they think you’re advertising, based on the way you’re made up or dressed. If your date decides for themselves that you “look like” you want to make out or go back to their place based on your clothing or makeup, without your verbally expressed consent, they are gross, presumptuous and not worth your time. Makeup is fun for playing with forms of non-verbal communication, but don’t let anyone let you think that it’s a replacement for it.
Is there anything special you do to wow a first date?