Monday, August 03, 2015

How To Put On Makeup For Work

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.


bobbie said...

OK ~ I just wasted 2 hours watching WB videos... I love him!! thanks for the tip!

I've always noticed that OR nurses go in for his kind of eyes... it must have to do the the otherwise anonymous scrubs and gowns.

Enid Mueller said...


Anonymous said...

THIS. as an OR nurse I went and HELLA eyelash extensions to further drive home the Texan from Texas Hear Me Roar-ness (hooded eyes = can't do a winged eyeliner, drag queen lash level extensions are my backup plan of choice) when all you got is eyeballs, you give em as much as you can ;) that said, I've also been known to go to work with hot rollers under my OR hat if going out is happening after the shift. See above re: Texan from Texas

Unknown said...

OMG I so wish this had been available when I was a young thing going out on the town. I whether I liked it or not I was frequently mistaken for a drag queen (I liked it)
Thanks for the fabulousness

Jennifer Thorson said...

As a birth doula, I observe a lot of labor and delivery nurses and newborn nurses. The L&D nurses tend not to wear a lot of make-up, but the newborn nurses are always done up like they're going out on a date after work and won't have time to shower. (Except the small subset of newborn nurses who are nice old ladies who don't wear any make-up.)

gela said...

So the nurse I was getting report from last night complemented me on how I looked. My first patient was a rule out TB so had to wear a mask and my other patient was C Diff Isolation. By 9pm, after finishing my assessment and my first bath, I was dripping in sweat and make up mostly gone. Sure glad I took the time to put it on. grrrr.

Laura said...

I know you like to maintain your anonymity online, but is there any way you could post a picture of what your eye makeup looks like (like a closeup or something not really identifying)? I'm having trouble visualizing such awesomeness.

Jamey said...

Girl, you make me laugh. Weaponized! Yes. Armor, ladies.
I wear, like nothing, but it's mainly b/c I'm a) lazy, and b) rub my eyes like a toddler fighting a nap, so I wind up looking like a raccoon on three-day bender if I'm not careful.

Anodyne said...

You, and others like you, are what inspire me to try and finally get the hang of Doing Makeup. The most I can manage, currently, is very basic "natural" street makeup. (Of course, without it, I tend to look blotchy and red-faced.) The struggle is, I need a good mirror for eye-makeup - it's hard enough to put it on without my glasses, and having to fuss with the bathroom mirror or a little hand-held one doesn't make it easier.

dana g said...

I am so sad because I just found your blog while studying for my ump-teenth time taking tncc. I am veering off from "experienced" to "fuck me, I can't believe this shit is still going on." And.
And now I am laughing (not really, but it's the middle of the fucking night and class is in 6 hours, so I am doing the laughing that you do when it's like that.)
And now I am crying. (Because I read some of your stuff that is true life sad and it reminds me of all the true life sad I've been with)
And now I cannot get off this fucking hilarious blog that is reminding me of all I truly believe about makeup wearing in the job.
Thank you.
Normally I'm more lucid when I write, but...see above re: study, certifications and time of day.

bobbie said...

Gela ~ isolation REALLY kills one's gorgeousness! ;)))