How I Don’t Look Sick

Well, at least I think I don’t look sick, or like I have scleroderma.  

I read my dear friend Chris Dean’s  blog this morning and I was so excited to read she was trying out products. I told her so, and she encouraged me to post about my make-up tips.   In the past fifteen years, I have spent thousands of dollars on products I have thrown away.  I finally got wise to return policies.  That helps, but nothing- I mean NOTHING works as well as samples and trying it out yourself.  Well, except someone who is trying products and posting pictures without make-up.  My friend Chris is doing this.  She looks beautiful with and without make-up.  I thought about posting my before and after, and I won’t.  It’s not that I don’t have the self esteem.  I do.  I just hate seeing myself in pictures without make-up.

Before 1996, I never wore foundation.  Just eye shadow, blush, eyeliner, mascara and lip gloss.  Okay, maybe mascara if it were a special occasion.  Now, I set aside at least thirty minutes every day, to cover the damage from scleroderma.  My lips have become smaller, thanks to my scleroderma face-lift. (That’s the scleroderma free gift with purchase.)  And now that I have decided to pursue writing and stand-up comedy, I have found a way to get big lashes, without wearing fake ones.

I don’t think I was “the hot chick”, but I did once cause an accident while in my bikini walking to the bus stop on PCH in Huntington Beach.  before scleroderma, I didn’t mind posing for pictures, I would even photobomb.  Then, scleroderma struck.  My face began to change.  I began to notice this change in 1996, and that is when I began my search for a long lasting foundation.

My pigment began to be darker in some places, and lighter in others.  I’m Italian and Spanish, so I can tan.  Then I began to tan on parts of my face, and hands.  The way it looked  reminded me of an animal print.  Leopard, to be specific.   At the time, I worked in the shoe department in a large department store in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  I had a friend at the Estee Lauder counter.  My sister, worked at Clinique in South Bend.  So, luckily, I had a lot of help.  This was before Estee Lauder’s Double Wear.  Their foundation worked well for my skin, but it did not stay on as long as I needed.  Then, thanks to my sister, I found Clinique’s Work Out Make-Up foundation.  They have a comparable formula now,   At the time, I had no broken blood vessel damage.  It was simply a pigment issue.

My biggest problem with make-up wasn’t which formula I could use.  It was how I applied it.  At the time, I had ulcers on six finger tips.  I could not use my finger tips. to apply foundation evenly.  I didn’t really master brushes with liquid make-up, until recently, so I used make-up sponges.  They were fabulous!  The only problem was, they were disposable, and they sucked up product.  So not only was I spending even more on foundation, I was creating waste.  There has to be at least one landfill of sponges that were mine.  Just another lane on my highway to hell.

Finally, I figured out that concealer as foundation, in some cases, works best for me.  It gives the coverage I need on darker spots, and I can make my face lighter or darker with power foundation and bronze.  But it still had it’s problems. I hadn’t considered photographs.

In 1998, I was married.  Most of the wedding pictures taken with personal cameras turned out great.  Then we picked up wedding album from the photographer.  No one really thought of it as a flaw I guess, but me.  The kind of make-up I used, picked up the light from flashes.  I had that mask look in many of the pictures.  I guess the photographer thought that was how I looked?  No, the truth was, I did not see me, when I looked at my pictures and cried in the car.    I saw someone with scleroderma and I wanted nothing to do with it.  That’s a whole other post, let’s get back to the make-up, because there is a fix for that.

When I don’t wear make-up, I look very sick.  I have telangectasia damage all over my face, and my pigment is very inconsistent. The only time I don’t wear make-up, is if I am going to the emergency room.  Because I look like I have broken out with something, and it moves things along faster.  I have gone to the doctor for check-ups, routine check-ups with nothing wrong feeling great and if I’m not wearing make-up, I get comments about how sick I look.  I could be in yoga pants, bouncing off the walls with happiness after a hike, but if I’m not in make-up, I get comments like, “Oh you poor thing”, etc…

So, thanks to the help I get at Sephora and their amazing staff, (Hello both Temecula locations and JC Penny Glendale!) I have found a few things that have worked for me.  I need to switch foundations when my skin is dryer, but I’m going to tell you what I’m using right now.  Again, you can probably find less expensive alternatives if you can use your fingertips for application.  I took these products right out of the drawer in my bathroom.

Nars Bronzer, Kat Von D Lock-it Featherweight Primer, Make Up Forever HD High Definition Foundation, Kat Von D Lock-it Tattoo Powder Foundation, Sephora Brushes 45, 57 & 55

Karen’s Foundation Routine

  1. Kat Von D Lock-it Featherweight Primer.  After moisturizing, I put this on before applying my eye-make up.  It gives the primer time to set up.  Unlike eye make-up primer, foundation primer needs to sit.  It takes me about 15 minutes to do my eyes on a night I have a show.  So a minute or two to set is fine.  If I don’t use primer with any foundation, it doesn’t last as long. I also notice I use less foundation.  I do apply this with the side of my fingers because it doesn’t need to be layered and buffed like foundation.
  2. Make-up Forever.  I just switched to this one week ago.   I was wearing Kat Von D’s concealer, medium 24.  I just preferred the concealer color to Kat Von D’s Foundation (liquid) that matched my tone.  I switched to Make-up Forever.   The color match was better for me.  Both formulas are easy to work with.  Kat Von D is famous for tattoo cover up.  That stuff works.  Yes, I don’t change primers when I switch foundations.  You don’ t have to buy a whole new bottle. I’m sticking with Kat Von D.  I always keep Smashbox’s green primer if I run out of primer.  Not because I love Smashbox.  It’s because I bought it, I wasn’t crazy about it and I bought it from Ulta and I lost the receipt.  It’s great to use if I run out of primer as my back-up.   What matters most, is what helps you, not me.  I’m probably belaboring this point.  I’m fiercely loyal when I find products and if I like working with the people who sell them.  For  full disclosure, I drive 87 miles, one way to get my hair done.  It’s absolutely worth it to me.  Shop where you feel is best for you, and worth your time.
    Okay, back to my routine:
    I apply my foundation with Sephora’s #45 brush.  It used to be called “Mineral Powder” and something in French.  Someone figured out that it can apply heavy and buff out well for even coverage.  (I figured it out first.) Because the red is so dark, it takes layers of foundation, with this brush, I can do it in one layer.
  3. Kat Von D’s Medium 52 Foundation Powder.    I love this stuff.  If I didn’t need to layer so much, I would just wear this. I do a light dusting over my foundation.  I use Sephora’s #55 brush.  I would love to have one of Kat Von D’s Brushes, but I already had these and buying another brush was not in the budget.
  4. Nars Bronzer.  I just love Nars colors and quality.  I use it as a blush and bronzer.  I also apply this to my neck and up my chin line to even get rid of that pesky chin line.  My bronzer is ver close to my natural all-over skin tone.  Not everyone needs it.  If you don;t use bronzer, be sure to smooth out that chin line with a powder.
  5. Kat Von D’s Lock N Load Makeup Setting Mist.  This stuff is the shiznit.  I set my layers with this, then let it dry.  I keep it in my purse in to prevent my skin from drying out during the day.   My skin is dry, and if I’m at event where there will be photographs, I wear a little heavier concealer.  A little spray once during the day, keeps everything set.
It doesn’t matter where you get your make-up.  What matters is what works for you.  Start with the inexpensive stuff.  Just make sure you check their return policy.  I have returned opened make-up to Target, Walmart & Sephora.  Macy’s and large department stores have good policies as well.  Don’t use it like a library, be reasonable.  They can refuse your return if you abuse it.  But  these stores have a large enough variety of products and inventory, they are able to do that because they know they will keep your business from other departments.  I know Target now has a make up artist in their cosmetics department.  I have worked with two, and they were helpful and recommended great products and tips.  Now that I know what I need, I use Sephora.  I love their staff.  And I get a birthday gift every year.  The points are great too.  I have to replace mascara every two months and if I don’t have a show coming up, the free gifts with my points are a great way to stock up on travel size items and try some of their higher end skin care skin.  And if you can, go in the store with your dad.  We dropped into Sephora so he could pick up some cologne.  He told me to pick anything out I wanted and he’d treat.  I think he saw me as the 13 year-old Karen.  The 43 year-old Karen, picked out the Murad Advanced Radiance Serum.  He was not expecting it to cost $150.00.  Looking back, I probably should have bought two.

I hope that was helpful.  Questions? Post them in the comments.