Thursday, February 27, 2014

Girlfriends and Glamour: Tips For Your At-Home Beauty Prep

Ever been in a bind for a fancy occasion and found yourself squirming over the thought of having to master your own hair and makeup? Or reached for the curling iron with no idea of the power you wield, or (shudder) the damage you could do? If you've ever poured helplessly over your eyeshadows with not a clue as to what you're going for, you'll agree that everyone needs a friend who's a beauty expert.

Luckily, my lady, Lydia Hopmann, who happens to also be one of the featured designers in this year's Alternative Fashion Week, was able to rescue me from my novice ways last Saturday as I prepped for a formal fund-raising event. In a little over an hour, this genius woman took me from drab to fab, all in the comfort of her own home, as we gabbed like a pair of high-schoolers getting ready for our first dance.

I've always relished the process of getting ready – be that constructing a head-to-toe outfit and readying myself from one day to the next, or letting stylists take the lead at fashion shows and photoshoots. As a model, taking on new looks is one of the most amazing parts of each new project, and it's rare that I'm left with anything less than wonder whenever I take a seat to have my hair or makeup done.

My girlfriend time with Lydia proved no different. Though we used my evening event as an excuse to catch up about everything and nothing, we were serious about the task at hand. I'd come to her with my wardrobe complete for the function, but had not the faintest idea about how handle the rest of my look. How could I dress up my pixie cut while still looking natural? Did I want a bold lip, or would that be too much?

The transformation I underwent was just the right dose of special yet subtle. Using one of her favorite eyeshadow palettes, Naked 2 by Urban Decay, Lydia blended the perfect smoky eye, combining touches of gold to mirror the gilded belt that encircled my flowy, mint green frock. Highlighting my face with swipes of blush, I appeared rosy yet refined (a far cry from anything I would have been able to accomplish on my own).

But the brilliance didn't stop there. Large barrel rollers, a couple twists of a straightener and a few sprays of hair spritz gave my cropped 'do more feminine shape. My stick straight locks, sometimes a nuisance, were suddenly red carpet ready. 

As Lydia worked her magic on my face and follicles, I tackled my nails. Choosing nail polish from a such a well-rounded collection was quite the feat, but I finally settled on a beautiful taupe color by Sonia Kashuk. This was complimented by a cool clear lacquer with holographic foil flakes by Formula X. Lydia finished off my nails with dainty dots of gold on the last two fingernails, a tiny yet irresistible detail that I haven't been able to keep my eyes off since.

And with that, I was off to enjoy the night ahead, feeling radiant from both the cosmetics and the conversation. Later, as glasses chinked and hors d'oeuvres were devoured, I took in the looks around me and could only imagine that I'd had one of the more pleasant prepping experiences. I've pretty much mastered my daily routine; I'm no longer leary of mascara, and can even apply a nice coat of lipstain, but nothing compares to having your makeup and hair done by someone who truly knows the ropes.

Ladies (and gents!), if you don't have a good pal who knows their way around a Sephora and can work a beauty miracle for you at the last minute, let me tell you, you're missing out. The only thing better than letting a friend take the beauty reigns is the bonding that inevitably happens. Having been saved from my ineptitude at the vanity was just a portion of why I left for the ball with such gusto in my high-heeled step. As anyone with loyalties to a favorite hair, makeup, or nail maven can attest, it's more than just the finished product that keeps you coming back. It's the friendship.

In an ode to how much we enjoy our dress-up time, behold:
Lydia (right) and I a few weeks back at an '80s themed roller skate party!

- Michaela Neu
Model and Alt Fashion Blogger

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