Mall Makeovers: Las Vegas

In Depth

I’m not a very good spy. I was as stealthy as Maxwell Smart on this assignment, prying information from Las Vegas’s makeup counter saleswomen on “what’s on trend” and “what most women ask for.” Many looked at me with pity. More than once, a woman with blue lipstick or purple eyebrows said to me “Giiirl, you need to experiment more.”

“So what do you want to do?”

“I don’t know, what do women normally ask for?”

Glitter. Smoky eyes. The best concealer.

Missy at the Impulse counter at Macy’s said she had just given a woman blue glitter eyebrows. I decided then to add “makeup artist” to my side-hustle because I wanted those blue glitter eyebrows and to share them with the world. I wanted to experiment! But that would cost me at least $60 to for the privilege.

Instead, I signed up for an Urban Decay tutorial and got wrangled into a chair for a brow mapping at Benefit.

My usual beauty routine is not having one. I’m too lazy to have a routine. I work in social media so I sit on my ass in front of a computer screen all day, which leads to eye-scratching and face-rubbing.

On days when I see clients, I wear “no-makeup makeup” that I hate (see aforementioned blue glitter eyebrows). Also, I look like a bug with makeup and glasses on:

But at night, the freaks come out:

I could do more, but I’m saving the looks in Kevin Aucoin’s Making Faces for my one-woman show. My dream is to be Bette Midler and Madonna.

I was, however, interested to see what others would put on my face.

First stop was Urban Decay. I use their primer and Naked Palette. That day, I asked them to demo their latest palette, Naked3. It has pretty pink and purplish brown hues with matte and shimmer finishes. When I first saw it, I said, “That’s darling.”

Tina, my makeup artist, had an apathetic attitude toward trends in Vegas. In one breath she rolled her eyes at glitter (“Strippers!”) and expressed her desire to see celebrity sex tapes at the Erotic Heritage Museum.

As moms and friends of moms have worriedly asked me over the years, Tina asked if I wanted to concentrate on my “complexion.” I told her just eyes and lips, but like moms and friends of moms before her, she focused on my complexion anyway.

I have ice-pick scars that I don’t like and dark circles under my eyes that I do like. Both of which she covered up with a lightweight concealer. She said concealer can be used in place of foundation if I didn’t want to do a full-face.

For my eyes, she used a “nude” primer because I have darker eyelids than the rest of my skin. My eyelids are so dark that many people think that I’m wearing makeup anyway. The pigmented primer ensures that the colors of the palette, which are very light, show up on my eyelids.

For lips, she whipped out my holy grail of lipsticks: a color that looks like my lip color, but better. It’s called Liar and it’s perfect.

Final look:

My mom’s reaction was, “You do a better job on yourself.”

It’s true, I do. But I still liked the demo of the palette enough that I bought it. I’ve been googling “Naked3 palette” looks ever since.

Next stop: Benefit Brow Mapping.

It wasn’t really a stop so much as being game for whatever any makeup saleswoman wanted to do to my face. This time it was at Benefit where a clueless and earnest woman told me how much she loves Filipino people. Thankfully, another woman did my brow mapping so I didn’t have to endure any more rhapsodies about how my people are all nurses.

I didn’t know what brow mapping was. Were they cartographers on top of selling makeup? What would the azimuth of my face be?

I learned that the beginning of my brow should align with the beginning of my nostril, the arch with the middle of my nostril at an angle (I didn’t ask how many degrees) and the end of my brow should line up with the middle of my nostril as it aligns with the edge of my eye.

The verdict is that I have perfectly shaped eyebrows. I don’t know what that means but I felt validated nonetheless.

They aren’t blue glitter eyebrows, though.

Aisha Kasmir is a singer & songwriter, writer & humorist living in Las Vegas.

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