Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Trial

Last week, I underwent the ritual pre-wedding hair & makeup trial.
There was an extra layer of tension involved because it was also my
first haircut in 4 1/2 months. Last time, my hairdresser suggested we
try something and my hair rejected the new style like a donated organ.

But, as I predicted, my hair had grown out enough for me to get my old
hair style back. Hair was cut. Bridal headband was placed. Hair was
quickly styled as it will be for the wedding. Bride was pleased.

And then it was time for the makeup portion of the evening.

Now, when I first called to make the appointment, I was told that J is
the only one who can do wedding makeup. There was another makeup
artist who's only good for touch-ups. J is booked for a large chunk of
time on my wedding day (presumably another wedding party), but we
scheduled around it. It would mean having my makeup done before my
hair, but it was a risk I could live with.

When I called back for something, I was told that actually, M would be
doing my makeup. I was told that M was a 3rd person entirely who isn't
always there, but will be there after all and J said it was okay if M
did my makeup.

My bullshit alarm went off, but okay.

When I was having my hair done, M came over, thinking that I was
scheduled for a manicure. I was concerned about this, but maybe she
was misinformed. Whatever. I didn't want to get myself in a state of
mind to pitch a fit, so I reserved judgment, even after seeing the odd
look on her face when I told I was there was a makeup trial for my

But okay, maybe she was just concerned about how long it would take
and wanted to go home.

And then, with my hair all pretty, headband still in place, I was
handed over to M.

First, she had me lie down on a treatment table (like for when you're
getting your legs or eyebrows waxed). I expressed concern for my
hair, but she said it would be fine. There was a big pillow that would
go under my neck and keep my hair from touching the bed. And if my
hair got messed up, it was only a trial.

Then, she was confused about why I was there. First, she thought I was
attenting someone else's wedding that evening. I tried to clarify and
she thought I was getting married that night. Then she thought that
since I wasn't getting married that night, that she should do my
makeup lighter than for the wedding.

I still kept my temper. "Do my makeup exactly like you're going to do
it for the wedding," I said, slowly and clearly.

I said that I had brought my makeup bag with me so she could see what
colors I usually use. I gave it to her and she used my own makeup for
the entire thing. This striked me as odd and unprofessional since I couldn't possibly own better makeup than what a makeup artist has in their case, but maybe it was an endorsement of my usual color palette.

She applied foundation on most of my face and neck with a sponge. I
was concerned, but did not find this cause for panic.

She brushed something on my cheeks. Initially, I thought it was my
face powder, but when she failed to brush this something on any other
part of my face, I began to suspect that it had been blush, even
though it was covering a much larger area than one usually covers with

She applied my eyeliner to my top lid. Not where I usually wear it,
but could be attractive. She seemed to be putting on quite a lot of
it, but it is for a wedding.

Then came the eyeshadow. It didn't feel like anything to worry about
was going on there, so okay.

She then took a lipstick brush and applied some of my lipstick OUTSIDE
of my lip line. On both lips. My lips are full enough, thank you, but
it's a small thing that we can discuss when we're done.

She then applied lipstick to the rest of my lips directly from the
tube, even though my lipstick is a little broken and you have to be
careful with it, or the whole thing will just break off.

Then she hands me a mirror and asks me what I think.

Now, less than 10 minutes have passed, so the Enough Is Enough alarm
is starting to go off.

I took at look at myself while still lying down. The shock was, shall
we say, substantial, increased by how much rounder and fuller and
fatter one's face can look when one is lying on their back.

So I sat up.

My face looked thinner, but that was about all the improvement I was
going to get.

My cheeks were covered in a swath of color. You know how you put blush
on the apple of the cheek, or the hollow of the cheek, depending on
the effect you're going for? Well, there was blush on the apples, the
hollows and beyond of my cheeks. You know how a 6 year old gets into
her mommy's makeup bag and takes a brush and rubs it all over her
cheeks? Like that.

My lips were not entirely covered in lipstick. Some parts had too
much, some parts had none. I have never seen my own lipstick looking
that bad on me. I can't even come up with the words to describe it.
The lipliner wasn't even consistent--sometimes outside of my lip line
and sometimes not. My lips did not look like they were shaped like

My eyes, well, the eyeshadow didn't really register with me because
all I could see was the glob of eyeliner. As in, a three dimensional,
glob of eyeliner that had broken off from the eyeliner pencil, adhered
to my eyelid, which she had left there.

And since she had skipped the concealer, I was rocking the undereye
circles like nobody's business.

Even then, I attempted to work within the situation. I told her that
this was not okay. She looked at me in blank surprise. I removed the
glob of eyeliner. She asked what was wrong. I decided to begin with
the lack of concealer. I started to apply it myself to demonstrate and
she took over. In the process, she managed to get concealer on my
eyelashes. My thick, dark eyelashes that have never needed mascara,
disappeared under the ministrations of M.

Then I brought up the subject of the blush and how one usually doesn't
cover quite so much acreage with it. More blank surprise from M.
Exasperated, I got up, grabbed a role of toilet paper and started
wiping off some of the blush to show her the desired coverage area.

At this point, she started telling me how for weddings you want to
wear more makeup than usual. I realized then that this was not a
person who would be able to do my make up in a way that was not
freakish, let alone attractive. My patience went outside to take a
cigarette break and I asked to see the manager.

I showed the manager the cheek that I hadn't wiped anything off of,
and she repeated the line about wearing more makeup then usual for a
wedding. I explained, not hysterically, but not calmly either, that
for a wedding, the bride wears more WELL APPLIED makeup than usual. I
went on to explain that I looked like a kewpie doll who was trying to
look like a prostitute.

The manager continued telling me that the makeup just wasn't to my
taste and M could do something more natural. I countered that no one
in their right mind would even venture outdoors looking like that.

I don't even have the energy for the blow by blow anymore. Blatant
insults to my intelligence wear me out. I put my foot down and refused
to pay for that evening's makeup session, cancelled the makeup
appointment for my wedding day and asked for something to wipe the
hideousness from my face. They gave me a damp terrycloth towel. No
soap. No cold cream. I had to rub my face raw to make myself

My hairdresser intervened with the manager and they may be getting in
someone else entirely to do my makeup. I'm waiting to hear back from
them, but I'm also thinking about backups.

Now I know why everyone told me I needed to take off the entire week
before the wedding. It's so I can wander around Midtown East, going
from salon to salon auditioning makeup artists.

I was too traumatized to think to take a picture to share, which is just as well. It took me a couple of days to recover from the shock of that sight. I wouldn't want to put anyone else through that.


  1. You poor thing! I probably would have sucked an entire pack of cigarettes, burst into tears, and quite possibly stabbed the "makeup girl" with the eyeliner.

  2. You were really MUCH more patient than many people would have been. Sorry for the bad experience, but thank goodness it was only a practice session. Things will get better, and work out. Sending good vibes from the west coast (and thanks for your kind comment)!

  3. I've no doubt this was a less-than-pleasant experience for you, but I have to admit to laughing my head off while reading about it--what a great story, so vividly recounted!

    Everyone says that something always goes wrong during the wedding planning or wedding--let's hope this is yours. :)

    Good luck with the rest of the planning! (I'm sure you'll end up with much better makeup than you did during this trial run.) You're in the home stretch now!

  4. Maybe you should do your makeup yourself? It doesn't seem to be worth it to try to trust someone else at this point... I suppose it depends how formal your wedding is going to be.

  5. Good for you putting your foot down with the salon manager. I am usually too much of a wimp to complain.

    It's constantly amazing to me how people have the chutzpah to call themselves professionals when what they do is no better, and frequently worse, than what you could do yourself.


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