New season, new look, new makeup for alopecia! Why not! Whether you're breaking into smiles of anticipation or frowns of frustration, we’re here to add fun to the adventure and help you to Live Well with Alopecia®.
A common scenario is to visit a retail cosmetics venue. It’s where a person with alopecia might go first when the condition robs her of eyebrows and lashes. We’re going right to an expert for some guidance. But before we do, here’s a quick Bald Girls reminder:
Makeup artists have seen it all, heard it all and then some! So right off the bat, we want to get in a word about getting over self-consciousness. No matter how weird you think your half-brow looks or how nervous you feel that someone knows you’re wearing a wig, it’s time to put all that aside. Just put it out of your mind. Other people, especially make up artists, enjoy helping you and are not there to judge you.
To get some expert tips, we talked to Marianne Horvath. Marianne is not only a freelance professional make up artist currently working in live TV and Film in the NYC metro-area, she is also a woman with alopecia universalis. Perfect! Not only that, but in her 25 years in the business, Marianne has prior work experience in the retail environment.
Thea: Typically, when women head out to get some make-up, what brings them to the cosmetics department?
Marianne: You want to look good. Maybe you got a new outfit. You’ve got people to see and parties to go to.
Especially with alopecia, and having it myself, I understand that feeling of wanting to look normal and feel comfortable. While for me the new transition was in wearing wigs, I decided way in the beginning of this journey that if I’m going to have to do it, damn it, I’ll make it an adventure and have fun with it! Makeup can be approached the same way.
Thea: To be honest, retail cosmetic departments can be a bit intimidating and feel like a 3-ring circus. How can we deal with that and feel more in control?
- Be observant and look at the people behind the counters. Do you like how they look? If so, who would you feel most comfortable with in your personal space and very close to your face?
- Be honest with the person you choose to help you. You don’t need to tell your whole medical issue, but try this:
“I don’t have brows. Can you help me so they look natural?" It’s also ok to say this, too:
“Are you good at doing brows or is there someone else who is better?
Thea: There are so many artists and so many products. Where to start?
Marianne: Walk around and look at the different artists and see who looks the way you would want to look. Can you relate to them? Is their make-up too much? too little? a bit crazy or with colors you hate? Trust your instincts because you need to feel comfortable first and foremost. Stop and talk to them. See if you feel at ease with how they react or treat you.
Thea: You’re saying to scout out an artist and start with a conversation. I’ve taken the approach: ”I’m here talking to different artists today” as a way to keep circulating and gathering information.
Marianne. Yes. That’s a way to look at it. Keep in mind, though, that you will need to purchase something from them if they do a makeup session. It is expected. Plan to go when you’re in the market for a new lipstick or new liner. The artist knows you can’t buy everything, but he or she can make a list of which products were used and you can add them later on, one item at a time.
Thea: I’m catching on that you’re talking more about the artists than the products.
Marianne: Build rapport because it will build confidence. That is a way to start. Keep in mind that makeup is a process with you and the artist to enhance or create change.
Thea: Is there a season that’s best for this? What about around holidays?
Marianne: When you want to learn more about how to apply makeup, holidays are a busy time and you might not get as much time and attention then. Plan ahead during less busy times of the year. Stop by and chat about the product lines.
Thea: What else can we do to ensure a positive experience?
Marianne: It’s very important to look at the products on the counter and the counter itself.
- Is it neat and clean or dirty and messy?
- Are the testers gouged out or just gross. If so, I would not go there.
- Ask if they are able to clean items before use such as sharpening a liner or using disposable brushes and mascara wands.
- All of this is so important. And for the health of everyone, please don’t go if you could be contagious.
Thea: Tell us specifically about eyebrows.
Marianne: They are an important feature and they can be made to look so many different ways. It depends on how you like them to look and what’s in style. I firmly believe that eyebrows, if done well, are like a mini face lift. Seriously, I do. They can open up or lift the eye area and it does not take tons of products to make it work. You do need to find which products work best for you to achieve it. It might take a few tries at first, but be patient.
Thea: Thank you, Marianne. Any final words of advice?
Marianne: No question is stupid. Ask for make-up tips and tricks for specific situations. For example, tell the artist you would like to know how to do a natural eyebrow for everyday and a more dramatic one for night.
Don’t like it? Just wash it off. It is that easy and should be that easy for every woman with alopecia.
Be observant. Be patient and enjoy the process!
We'd love to hear abut your make-up buying! Tell us in the comments below.