Tuesday, January 26, 2010

MAC and Me

So as I mentioned I decided to sit at the MAC store and get a full makeover.

I was curious.

Now I knew what I looked like with makeup. I had discovered a local stylist who works with trans or CD clients.

She has been great, I always asked her questions. Never had her do the same thing twice and learned so much on how to bring a face together. If it wasn't for her help I don't think I would have ever gotten out of the house.

However the makeup she uses, while great, was proprietary. Which made getting a hold of it kinda difficult. Since I had to usually order it through her.

Never mind they discontinued some of the products I was using. :(

So I wasn't impressed with many of the drugstore brands. Their are a few odds and ends I do like but the quality seemed to be lacking and forget foundations.

Well I had heard a lot of great things about MAC. Not only the products but the wonderful MUAs that work there. Plus, well, there are MAC stores everywhere so picking up things would so not be an issue.

So I finally had some time coming up in early December to sit down with one.

I had went ahead of time to ask some questions and find out if I need to schedule something. Since the best location for me was a local upscale mall.

Which I did, I met a wonderful MUA who I will call A. She totally recommended scheduling something as they are a very busy store and walkups for a full makeover are tough to get. She was wonderful cause she understood where I was coming from, my nervousness and totally said she was ok with everything.

So I grabbed a day she would be there during my last week of vacation in early December.

Now I will mention that I was a little nervous about how to appear for this so I did go in boy mode. Fortunately it didn't bother me too much and she did put me in a little nook they had in the back just to make me feel comfortable.

A did ask me if I would ever consider sitting out in the main area. I said if I had different attire on today I would have. She looked at me, smiled, and said "Next time do so, really you won't have an issue and you look great."

We did discuss my trans issues during the session but for the most part it was just about the makeup.

She opened with a few questions about what I usually did for a look. Did I go natural or like color. I told her that it depends on what I am wearing or how I feel that day. She chuckled and said "Typical girl."

So after thinking for a minute while she did a final clean and prep of my face, and considering I was looking to build a new foundation of makeup she looked at me and said "I am going to give you a natural look, one it will give you some great colors to start with, plus if you come back I will give you different looks that will use some of these colors in the overall look." Meaning I wouldn't have to buy a pile of stuff if I liked it.

Basically we are building a collection that would work well from the start and cost less as I added things to change it up.

I told her that sounded great and lets go for it.

Then away she went. It honestly felt longer then what it was, as she did spend time explaining everything to me and stopping to point things out in the mirror to make sure I was understanding what she was doing and why. (I have to thank my original stylist had I not had such a good foundation to work with I would have been too much to absorb all at once.) It really took her only 40 minutes from start to finish. She was kind, sweet, funny, patient, and just down right awesome.

She rocked!

When she was done I was floored, so simply yet so elegant and other then her magical trick on my eyebrows, really easy and simple. When I go back next time I plan on getting her to focus more on how she did that. I get the idea but I feel I am missing something. Not a big deal since there was so much ground covered.

The absolute best part was the face sheet. She actually took the makeup and painted it in artist paper with a face pre-sketched on it. Not to mention patiently wrote down what colors and products were used were. Along with the ideal brush for that location. (She went above and beyond and even listed a good alternate brush that could be used in case I didn't have them all.) But there I had what was done as a point of reference, which helped enormously later rather then trying to recall it all from memory. If I like a look and plan on using myself I will always ask for one of these.

Then came the purchase. From the get go she had told me the session as free, but since I know they work on commission I think they expect you to purchase something. Well its not like I wasn't planning on it, but everything she used was going to be pricey.

Well I didn't need all of it, and some things I could wait on. Didn't need the Foundation, or powder. I skipped the skin cleanser, the mascara and some of the extra brushes. However I was desperate for good brushes and MAC has always been well known for theirs, but not cheap. Lucky for me MAC sells their brushes in kits of 5 around the holidays. When we started adding them up she stopped me and said "If you get two of the kits I can give you 10 brushes for $50 less." This included the 6 I was looking to purchase and included at least 2 more I did want to get but sacrificed for cost. This worked for me, she even told me not to get the costly brush cleaner, buy a travel size bottle of Pantene Pro-V and use that. I'll agree it works great.

I did get the four shadows, contour powder, blush, the lip liner, stick and gloss. I also got the gel eye liner, which I might add I love. Far easier for me then liquid but work so much better then standard crayon liners.

I will switch to their foundation when my current supply runs out. Which will be soon, but I did like it even better then the stuff I have been using. It felt light and comfortable I almost didn't feel like I was wearing any. Plus as I mentioned she could change my entire look using just two difference shadows, liner and gloss. So the fact that she is keeping in mind that the first purchase could hurt a bit. Subsequent ones won't. Plus she did know I really wanted to experience the product and there was a chance I wouldn't like it.

I will admit I did drop a chunk of change but the brushes were over a third of what I spent. Which were sorely needed. Good brushes can make a huge difference.

All in all the experience was tremendous I got a lot of new information and learned some tricks that improved upon what I already knew. I can't wait to go back and learn something more fun, cause she promised she would when I left. The product is great I totally recommend checking them out if you can.

Plus having the face sheet for reference was a huge help. It really helped to remind me what she did and how. After the first few times I totally have it down and it takes little time. I've taken this look out to therapy, the club, shopping and everyone thinks someone else did it for me.

You've seen the results.

And yes I am now officially a MAC girl for life.


Melissa said...

I love makeup! I'm so happy to hear to you had such a good experience at the MAC store. Getting a professional makeover is a very validating experience, especially when the consultant is so accepting. I loved your comment about how you like different looks, depending on how you were dressed and the mood you were in, and especially the makeup artist's response, that you were a "Typical Girl". It's so true! I'm the same way. I've never been to a MAC store, but I have had makeovers at Merle Norman Studios before, and always enjoyed them. A lot of the trans women I know seem to eschew makeup. I don't know if they are intimidated by makeup, or if they just prefer the scrubbed look, but frankly, unless you are in your early twenties, most of us need at least a light foundation and powder to even out our skin tone. At my age, you can barely tell that I have any eyelashes anymore, and my eyes look very tired, but some eyeliner and mascara will really make them pop. Add the right application of shadow, and my eyes become my best asset.

You're a very pretty girl, Kelli, Flaunt it and have fun with it! I would love to hear your story, when you finally go back dressed, and get her to apply some color to your face.

Melissa XX

Jerica said...

Awesome girl! sounds like you had a great time. =) I have had really good experiences at MAC for the most part.

Kelli Bennett said...

Melissa, I think a lot of trans women eschew makeup for fear of looking to drag or what not.

I myself just like to look cute or pretty. There I times I like to glam it up, but for the most part I like simple yet cute.

I've also always had a love of fashion and makeup. (really I used to steal my neighbors copies of Vogue and Elle and read them when I was younger. Though she actually gave them to me as I would claim I was looking for inspirations for art class) I did hate how much I used to need to cover him up, so I simply LOVE the fact that I don't need to do that anymore.

It is scary because for so long I railed against the image I saw in the mirror. Now that I see myself coming through more and more it is well...I can't think of simply one emotion to describe it. But I love it!