The Last Slice: Make-up 101 - lessons from a pro

There are two things in life (that I can think of off the top of my head) that should require licensure or testing, but don't. I've participated in both and have been qualified for neither. The first is parenthood. The second is make-up application.

There are two things in life (that I can think of off the top of my head)

that should require licensure or testing, but don't. I've participated in both and have been qualified for neither. The first is parenthood. The second is make-up application.

Oh, I've muddled my way through both over the years, doing equal jobs of messing up with eye shadow and lip color as well as tooth fairy duties and homework help. Then, I recently met the answer to one of my prayers: a 62-year-old gentleman named Jerry.

Jerry may be a walking encyclopedia when it comes to parenting. I don't know. We didn't talk about kids. Instead, he offered to show me the ropes when it comes to applying cosmetics. Since I've never had a make-up lesson, I was more than happy to oblige.

It might seem counter-intuitive for me -- a woman -- to seek help from Jerry -- a man -- but who's to say that the make-up gene can't be located on the Y chromosome? In Jerry's case, I think it's firmly rooted there. When it comes to cosmetics, he's a professional. He's been transforming faces for


decades. You don't do something for that long without becoming either very bored or very good at it. Jerry is most definitely not bored.

He sat me down in a tall chair and promised a very natural look. Then he pulled out a box that must have contained every type of cosmetic brush ever made. There were big ones, small ones, fat ones, sleek ones - literally hundreds of brushes.

The console in front of us had drawers that were filled with cosmetic powders of every color in the rainbow. Jerry's palette.

He approached my face like a canvas. He pulled out a brush. Discarded it for another. Consulted his drawers of colors, lifting one, then two, before choosing a third. His technique for saturating the brush in color

involved stamping, pressing, twisting, tapping and flinging - all in one swift motion, if you can picture that. I'm not sure I can, and I was there.

Jerry's overall method incorporated infinitesimal coatings of color to produce a finished piece. Layer after layer, he made my face come to life. Thing is, the layers were so slight, that they felt like nothing. I wasn't a window wearing heavy drapes, but an open expanse, shielded by airy, light sheers.

Jerry worked his magic, and I discovered how much I've got to learn. To think that for years I've been doing my make-up all wrong. Who'd have known?

Jerry applied a base of foundation in powdery layers. The different tones produced shadow and an indication of bone structure just where Jerry wanted to create it. When I apply powder to my face, I do so gently and


lightly. This, Jerry explained patiently, only serves to maximize fine lines and wrinkles.

To get a smooth finish, the layers must we worked in (gently, but thoroughly) and the skin pulled taunt so any aging imperfections are put to bed, not brought to life.

My eyes are small. To make them bigger, I've always thought the solution was liner, eye shadow, mascara -- and lots of it. Jerry knew better. He knows artist tricks like how to make the trees in the background of a

painting smaller so they appear distant. And he knows about eyes.

Nothing -- I repeat, nothing -- is to go under the eyes when they are small like mine. Liner or mascara underneath has just one effect: it makes the eye look even smaller. I want my eyes in the foreground, not background so I listened and nodded as Jerry shared his wisdom.

Every girl worth her apples knows where and how to apply blush. Every girl except me. I always moved my brush from the middle of my cheek upward toward the hairline. Little did I know I was navigating the wrongway

on a one-way cosmetic street. Jerry showed me how to move the brush from the hairline toward the high-end of the cheek to better accentuate

the cheekbone and give a rosy glow to the face.


Throughout the process, Jerry had descriptors for his specialized methods of application. The one I remember best is the "flick." It is used to describe a brush motion that provides a dose of powder to a specific

area. It incorporates a lightening-quick wrist motion and highly specialized brush technique that is too complex to explain here. I

watched, and appreciated, but let's just say I won't be attempting the flick anytime soon.

Jerry finished me off with a light coating of a neutral powder that he called a veil. I felt like a bride. Then he was done. We looked together into the mirror. The biggest surprise was my eyes. I always thought they were small. Jerry even said so.

Then he told me that those same small eyes are my best feature. "Look at the beautiful color," he said with truth in his voice.

I couldn't disagree. The nearly imperceptible layer of eye shadow he'd put on my upper lids had brought the blue in my eyes to the foreground. I knew it then for certain; Jerry is an artist.

I learned a lot that day about foundation, brushes, color and application. I learned that my eyes are my best feature. I like knowing that I have a best feature. Most of all, I learned that when it comes to a gal and her

make-up, one thing's for sure: Jerry's the man.


Jill Pertler is an award-winning writer and

author of the syndicated column, Slices of Life.

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