Ignore this post if you're a boy. Unless you're a boy who wears makeup on the reg, in which case, skip directly to the Willam Belli tutorials below.
Makeup is an important tool in the nurse's super-nurse toolbelt. No kidding. Depending on the day you think you'll have, makeup can make the difference between going in fully-armored and going in like a freshly-hatched chick at a red-tailed hawk convention.
I live in Texas. Even though I work in the Only Liberal Enclave in Texas, I wear a full face of slap every. Damn. Day That I Work. It's armor, it's been weaponized, it's indispensable. It changes me from Jo, the civilian, to Jo, the Nurse.
First, put on some music. I recommend either the last scene of "Pitch Perfect," when the girls are kicking ass and taking names; or a medley of tunes from "West Side Story;" or maybe a whole bunch of Ingrid Michaelson, because she's the girlfriend who, while she might not wear false lashes herself, will never make you feel bad about wearing them. Skip Suzanne Vega and Brandi Carlile.
Second, get a good light. It's best if you put on makeup in a light that will make you look like a bitch-cutting drag queen in *that* light, but a perfectly-turned-out professional in the light at work. Somehow I have stumbled across this by accident, and I will never change.
Third, decide what message you want to get across. This can be broken down into categories. Observe:
a) Professional, polished, subtle.
b) One facial feature emphasized
c) Full-on cut-a-bitch, Texan high-hair, take-no-prisoners, advanced Jedi makeup
The trouble is here--and don't say I didn't give it to you straight--that the more subtle your makeup is, the more you have to make sure it's fucking perfect every time. If all you wear is a little concealer, some eyeshadow, and a coat of mascara, then you have to make sure that the concealer is matched to your skin tone, the eyeshadow isn't too matte or too shiny, and the mascara doesn't make you look all spiky without a comb-out. If you're going for the natural, no-makeup-makeup look, be prepared to spend some time on it. I don't do natural makeup primarily because it takes me three times as long as an aging-drag-queen look.
If you're going for what I wear, which is Raggedy Whore Who Needs A Drink, things are much easier. As Willam Belli (my guardian angel and inspiration) says, "Nobody gives a fuck if your eyeliner isn't even."
Now to apply makeup. I vacillate between b and c above; my usual look is natural skin, a nude lip, and eye makeup that can be seen from the ISS. We'll concentrate on eye makeup, because that is my jam. My lady jam. (That song really builds.)
1. Apply primer. The gold standard is Urban Decay's original formula. It's a lot like gessoing your eyelids, but trust me. This shizznit will keep your colors pure and your makeup from running. Put some under your lower lash line with a cotton swab.
2. Apply a base powder. You can use a neutral, skin-toned powder for this, or a very lightly-tinted eyeshadow. Smear that bastard all over your eyelid. Be generous; it'll help you blend stuff later.
3. Slap on your shadow. The usual rule is darkest in the crease and on the outside third of the eyelid, medium on the middle third of the eyelid and up above it a bit, and a pop of lightest eyeshadow on the inner third. You can disobey that usual rule however you like. Whatever you do, blend it like Beckham.
3a. If you're feeling really badass, put some tape at a 45-degree angle from the outer corner of your eye to the outside tip of your eyebrow. I use paper medical tape, but you can get away with Scotch tape if you take some of the sticky off. This will give you a mathematically precise wing with incredibly crisp edges.
4. Eyeliner. If you're feeling merciful, use a pencil, smudge it, and then run over the smudge with the same color eyeshadow. If you're not inclined to take shit, use a liquid, but don't extend it past the outer corner of the eye. If you're me, and you have to deal with exhausting morons on the daily, do Battle Wings.
4a. Battle Wings: Using your favorite powdered eyeshadow that's been liquefied with water or a setting spray, or your favorite liquid, sketch a line along your top lid, making sure it's so close to your lashes that you can't tell where they start and the line ends.
Then, following the angle of your lower lid as it goes up toward the outer corner of your eye, sketch a short line.
Meet that line from about 2/3rds of your upper lid on out. Do not be afraid if this looks like too much. It might look like too much in the mirror, but in real life, it will warn residents and family members that you will cut a bitch, because your eyeliner is the sort of eyeliner that only fallen women wear.
ProTip: If you're right-handed, do your left eye first, and vice-versa. It's easier to match your "good" eye to your "bad" eye.
5. If the morons are going to be especially moronic, use a bright color like purple or peacock green or gold for your eyeliner and keep the rest of the eye neutral.
6. Brush off (DO NOT WIPE OFF) the fallout from your eyeliner. Spray with some sort of setting spray, then apply the mascara most likely to do your coworkers mortal damage.
7. Sashay out the door.
For the uninitiated: Willam Belli. And Willam Belli, doing makeup and profanity in equal measure.