|Antiques Digest||Browse Auctions||Appraisal||Antiques And Arts News||Home|
( Originally Published 1963 )
OF GLASSES AND PASSES
Exercises or no exercises, unfortunately many of us-either through inheritance or childhood sins-do have to wear eyeglasses. I am very very nearsighted. As a child I read in bad light; then I had a severe bout of scarlet fever, which didn't help. When my family first realized how bad my eyes were, we thought of eye exercises but the doctor told us that my eye muscles were already too distorted to be restored to normal by exercise. No matter how vital diet is for the body, a bushel of carrots a day still cannot greatly improve eyesight that's already deteriorated-though it can keep your eyes from getting worse. I had to face facts.
Despite my horror in being sentenced to a lifetime of eyeglasses I quickly discovered that the statement "Men never make passes at girls who wear glasses" is nonsense. It is this fear that causes more children to grow up half-blind, and, by not wearing the glasses they need, they develop all sorts of other physical problems. The years I spent trying not to wear my glasses caused me a terrible squint and an almost permanent line between my eyes. From nineteen on I wore my glasses steadily, though I must say that with them off everyone has a perfect complexion, the world is a rosy glow, and life can be beautiful.
HOW TO GET FRAMED
If you are an eyeglass wearer you should know that the right kind of eyeglasses can add to your looks, not take away from them. My friends are so used to seeing me in glasses that if I don't have them on they ask me what's wrong. I've finally found the kind of glasses that are right for me. I feel very happy in my oversized rims. They satisfy some sort of intellectual longings. Besides I think my facial bone structure can carry this kind of frame.
The three major considerations when choosing your glasses (after the minor one of seeing that the lenses are the right prescription for your eyes) are the size, shape, and color of the frame. A huge frame on a small face can be funny, possibly cute, but seldom flattering. In the same way, a tiny frame on a girl with a large face may look ridiculous. The size of your frame should more or less correspond to the size of your face. Frames come in an infinite variety of styles today but almost all fall into one of three shapes: round, square, or, what is called harlequin, elliptical and slanting upwards. I say it is almost impossible to predict how any given frame will look on any given face. The most unlikely combinations sometimes work out wonderfully. You must try on a number of frames before you will know which is your frame. But it is more true than not that a square-faced girl ought not to wear a square-shaped frame, a round-faced girl ought to shun round frames, and girls with long slim faces should stay away from slanty frames. I have seen happy exceptions to this rule, but very rarely.
The color of your frame depends of course on your coloring, on whether they are your only pair or one of several, on what colors form the basis of your current wardrobe. Personally, I dislike eyeglasses with sequins, jewels, bows and stuff. I think they're much too fancy for daytime wear and do not succeed, when worn with cocktail or evening clothes, in disguising the fact that you are wearing glasses. Besides why put jewels in the middle of your face? Pale-colored frames do much less to disturb the harmony of your face than dark-colored frames do. Dark frames though can emphasize your eyes very dramatically. Your lashes and the make-up you use are one sort of frame for your eyes. Eyeglass frames can be the outer frames and just as complimentary.
A SUBTLE AND CRUCIAL SKILL
It's positively amazing to me how many women in these United States do not know how to make up their eyes. Wherever I go I see women with beautiful eyes that go unnoticed because their lashes and brows are light and they haven't done anything about it, or women who have simply botched up the whole make-up job on their eyes for lack of proper information or technique. I know that eye make-up is the hardest part of making up and that it takes a skill some women claim they cannot develop.
Most women who say this are just plain lazy. They don't really care or they think that other people won't notice if their eyeliner starts a quarter of an inch above the lashline or sweeps half up to their temples. Another tragedy I see often are lashes stuck together because of too much badly applied mascara. And eyebrows, which can be a big part of eye beauty, are all too often either completely ignored, over-darkened, tweezed too thin, left too thick, unshaped, or given a shape that has no relationship at all to the eye.
DON'T BROWBEAT YOUR BROWS
Just what should an eyebrow look like? To begin with, try to calculate how long your eyebrows should be. There's a test that professional make-up men use to determine the exact length your eyebrow should be in relation to your eye. It's easy to do. The eyebrow should begin at a point that is directly in line with your tear duct, and most eyebrows do. It's the outer end of your eyebrow that you have to think about . Take an ordinary pencil and rest one end of it (the eraser part is best) against your nostril; then extend the pencil on a diagonal to the corner of your eye forming more or less a 45' angle . The point of the pencil will be indicating exactly where your eyebrow should finish. Now divide your eye (only mentally, please) into quarters, beginning at the corner close to your nose, and try and have an eyebrow whose highest point corresponds to the 3/4 mark (generally just above the outer side of your iris) of your eye.
How much of your eyebrow to tweeze or whether you will need to tweeze it at all will depend on your taste in brows. I tweeze my eyebrows very little because I like a natural look and because as far as I'm concerned the day of shaving off half your brows and then drawing them back on with a pencil went out with the thirties, and good riddance. Besides, the slightly bushy eyebrow is a la mode today. Still, you may prefer a thinner brow than the one you have. Or, you may have eyebrow hairs that grow out and onto the rim of your nose, far out to the sides or below your natural brow. Make for the tweezers. But never never tweeze above your eyebrow. Always try to leave the base of your own eyebrow where it was. And never overtweeze. You don't want to leave your eye naked, without its over-branch of brow. You can always tweeze more-you can't so easily replace them.
Tweezing is very much easier you'll discover, and less likely to leave red irritated marks if you apply a small amount of cold cream or any other kind of skin cream beforehand. Then remove one hair at a time by pulling quickly and cleanly in the same direction as the hair grows. Be sure you take out only the hairs you want to. After you've drawn your final brow you can clean up whatever additional unwanted hairs you please.
No woman, as far as I'm concerned, should ever use black pencil on her eyebrows. I don't care if her eyebrows are coalblack to begin with. My eyebrows are naturally very dark and I searched for a natural color eyebrow pencil for years. To me black looked terrible. The best thing I found was an ordinary lead drafting pencil. I use an Eagle drafting pencil for gray tones and a Venus Ebony pencil will give a slightly darker sort of gray. Try them and see. A heavy black eyebrow is very harsh looking on any woman. Avoid it. If you prefer to use a regular make-up pencil, other than black, fine. But the darker the pencil the more careful you must be in coloring your eyebrows.
No matter what kind of pencil you use for your brows, or what kind of eyeliner, be sure they are kept very sharp. You can do this by using a single-edged razor blade and shaving down the wood by pushing the blade away from you, always being careful when the blade gets into the wax area not to take so much off that the point of the pencil will break before you've whittled it into a long beautiful end. You can retain the sharpness of this point if, after each use, you will slide the point over the flat surface of an emery board several times.
Draw your brow in very lightly until you are sure you are making the shape you want. Observe the effect carefully. Then, still with a very delicate touch fill in the rest of the brow with small light lines realizing that each hair in your eyebrow is a certain length and that each stroke you use should be just that long if your aim is a natural, beautiful brow. To encourage and keep your eyebrow the shape you like, brush the eyebrow hairs at least once a day into that shape. I find a baby's toothbrush is ideal for this, though an extra mascara brush will certainly do.
EYELINERThe lines behind your lashes can be the most important bit of make-up you put on your face. Few women do it well and many women don't do it at all. If your lid skin is very dry it will be difficult to draw a smooth even line on it, and seeing a jagged black line on the eyelid horrifies many women into the decision not to bother with the whole thing. To draw a straight smooth line so close to the lashline as to be almost indistinguishable from it, which is the aim, is not easy, but can be learned.
Begin by closing the eye you're going to draw on, leaving the other one open of course. Have a good clean mirror in your left hand, while your right one holds the eyeline pencil with its soft sharp point. Leaning your right elbow on the table or on any flat surface while you work is good support for your pencil hand. Now begin your upper eyeline from where the tear duct begins and slowly draw your line back to the outer corner and slightly beyond that to lengthen the eye and indicate the sweep of your far upper lashes. If the line seems too light go over it again. This time it will be easier.
Black eyeliner well put on is fine for dark-haired women. But women with light brown, blonde, or red hair should, I think, stick to a dark brown pencil, at least for daytime wear. Evenings out may call for dramatic effects and you may even choose to try some of the blue, green, gold, or silver eyeliners that are so popular for the moment, and which are used with matching eyeshadows. They're not for me.There are some women whose eyes are not made for eyeliner, or at least demand exceptionally careful use of it. Some eyes, for instance, have a lidfold which carries the stain of the eyeliner to the top of the lid. In a deepset eye, you should never put eyeliner all the way up into the inside corner next to your nose-it will deepen the hollow. In this case, extend the line from the middle of the eye outwards only, and this will appear to cut the depth of the eye-hollow almost in half.
Virtually no one should wear a line under the eye. For deepseteyed women this sinks the eye in even further and for most women the effect of an underline is hard and very artificial. Very young women can carry the very made-up eye with liner under and over the eye if they wear almost no other make-up. A few years back this look was very popular and was called-doe-eyesremember?
Eye shadow is also a peril for the woman with deepset eyes. She must be specially sure that she puts her shadow heaviest close to the lash line and then extends it outwards, never bringing it all the way in towards the nose. Again the principal is the same as with the liner-you don't want to call attention to this deepest shadowiest area of your eye-hollow.
Certainly if you are going to wear eyeliner or any other eye make-up you should, unless your own lashes are very thick and dark naturally (and few women's are), complete the effect with mascara. (You can stimulate your lashes to grow and thicken, by the way, by putting vaseline on them when you go to bed or when you're at home. Of course a protein-rich diet helps them, too.) Mascara and eyeliner are really go-togethers. For one thing, a line behind pale lashes is evident while a line behind dark ones often can't be seen at all. And mascara without the emphasis the eyeline gives it is only half effective.
Mascara should take longer to put on than any other part of a woman's make-up. Most women give it least time of all. It's usually part of a frantic last minute rush, and, when it is, that's what it looks like. I've made up a poem-I didn't know it was a poem till I wrote it-to help you. Lashes stuck together with black goo Are not attractive at close view.
Leave a good ten minutes for the mascara operation, at least until you've mastered it, and don't let your husband make you nervous or rush you. I still prefer the old-fashioned cake mascara to the mascara that comes in tubes or bottles. Here's the way I've found mascara can do the most for your eyes.
Wet your brush, then take off the excess water with a little tissue till your brush is almost dry-then rub the brush over the cake mascara, remove any excess mascara again with the tissue so that you are beginning with an almost dry brush. If you have too much mascara on the brush your eyelashes will invariably stick together. Now, with the almost-dry brush flick your lashes upwards carefully to avoid your eye. Then, while that eye is drying go to the other eye and do the same thing. This process should take many applications before you get the effect you want. And even after you've finished, and your lashes are all dry, and you've put as much mascara on as you want, you will notice that there is still a certain amount of sticking together of the lashes. At this point, take a second mascara brush which you will have cut jagged with a small scissors so that there are long bristles and short ones, and use it dry to separate the lashes. Now, look! Aren't your eyes beautiful?
Artificial lashes? For a big party, a theater opening, New Year's Eve? Why not? For everyday-Jehosophat, why? Some women, however, become increasingly dependent on the attention they draw when they wear these special effects and then they begin to feel unattractive or ignored if they go without them. This sort of thing can become an addiction and there you are running for your artificial lashes every time the doorbell rings. I can't even wear artificial lashes for television or movies. They make me look too made-up. If you'd like to try them just for fun they're easy to buy and they're inexpensive. Ask the cosmetician to show you how to put them on. It's very simple.
THE ITALIAN EYE LOOK
If you find yourself getting skillful at eye make-up techniques, you may want to go Italian every so often and concentrate on your eyes, leaving the rest of your face seemingly bare. Many of Italy's movie stars and great beauties put all the emphasis on their eyes. They wear no lipstick, or at most a very light shade, and their skins for the most part are naturally so lovely that they rarely bother with any base, powder, or rouge. This eye look, if it's for you, has the double advantage of being dramatic yet giving the appearance of great simplicity, not to mention the fact that it reduces the complications of doing a big make-up.
MAKE A PRETTY MOUTH
There are some women whose mouths are so interesting or well-shaped they deserve to be the center of the stage. Lipstick will, of course, bring the spotlight to that part of your face. But please remember-not only bulls are receptive to red. It's the most electric color there is, few women can carry it in clothing, and countless women douse their own coloring completely by over-reddening their mouths.
Your mouth, almost as much as your eyes, gives your face its expression. It is almost too revealing of unhappiness or distress. But it is actually possible to up-turn a naturally downturned mouth and in so doing change your over-all look from tension or sadness to one of positive peacefulness if not downright joy. And after seeing your changed face in the mirror you'll feel better too.
Here's how. Become proficient with your lipstick brush. Be sure you have a good one. Sable brushes with strong wooden bases are excellent. Sit yourself down in good light (daylight is ideal), in front of a three-way mirror. If you don't have a threeway mirror you must have one clear hand mirror and one stationary mirror. Now, carefully examine your unmade-up mouth (be sure it's free of all previous lipstick) to see exactly how and where your mouth's expression is formed. If your mouth turns down, try turning it up this way: apply a small amount of lipstick in the center of your lower lip. Now press your lips together so the bottom imprint is on the top lip as well. With the lipstick that is on your mouth take the lipstick brush and begin working very lightly to sketch the shape of your own mouth, almost. Do not draw your upper lips out to their full corners, which is where the downturn is formed. Leave the last quarter or eighteenth of an inch of your mouth bare. On the other hand, bring the bottom lip out not only to its own full limits but draw them out and upwards slightly beyond that and you will see your mouth seem to turn up in a natural manner.
You may not succeed in doing this exactly right the first time you try. You'll have to develop a very delicate brush hand. One way to do this is to be sure you give the hand that holds the lipstick brush enough support. This can be done by leaning your elbows on your make-up table letting one hand support the chin, while the hand holding the brush does the work. Just as important is that you become observant to tiny lines and shapes and forms and the effects they have on your whole face. In that way, bit by bit, you will see how small alterations can make the most amazing changes in your expression, in your beauty, without seeming in any way artificial or obvious.
Here are some other changes you can bring about once you become adept with the lipstick brush. If you think your mouth is too thin, extend your upper lip very slightly above its own true lipline, and outline the lower lip in the same way. Using a slightly darker-toned lipstick for the outline is the best way to get a uniformly colored mouth. Is your mouth too wide? (Or do you think it is?-which is just as important.) Keep a bit in side your natural lipline and apply your lipstick somewhat more heavily in the center. Curving the upper lip slightly at the corners of the mouth will cut your lips' width as well. Yes, you can extend a mouth that's too narrow, and again, I suggest you use a slightly darker-toned lipstick to give the illusion that the outer section is all part of your lip. And thick lips (considered highly beautiful in many parts of the world) can be made to seem thinner if you a ) apply your lipstick slightly within your natural lipline, and b ) counteract the middle thickness by extending the corners of your mouth a bit.
I guess it's pretty apparent by now that I believe in the lipstick brush. In fact, I don't think you can make a really neat lip line without one. A lipstick brush allows you to control the amount of lipstick you apply. A thin coat of foundation and powder placed under your lipstick will keep it dry and long lasting. After you're through putting your lipstick on, apply another thin coat of powder and then blot your mouth with tissue. Smile at yourself in the mirror to be sure you have no lipstick marks on your teeth and that the lipstick is really even all over.
Does it all sound like a lot of unnecessary work? Remember, beauty should seem simple and accidental, but rarely is. It has to be worked at, as any artist can tell you. And I think a woman must learn to think like an artist if she wants to make herself beautiful. Because the woman who uses skill and imagination in her own appearance, who thinks like an individual about her face and fashions and hair and make-up is way ahead of the latest fad, whatever it may be. She's the woman who sets her own vogue-the one lesser women copy.