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Ulta-mit makeover

By Melinda Mawdsley

Who: Rachel and Melinda with help from Ulta's Cecilia Stuckenschneider

What: Learn tips and get suggestions on skin care and makeup application

When: Monday, Aug. 6

Where: Ulta, 632 Market St.

Why: We're "in our 30s" with no clue about makeup. It was time.

(Melinda before)

(Rachel before)


Rachel: The problem, as usual, is the photographic evidence. I’m not about to present it here, but trust me: junior year of high school was unkind, if my school portrait is any indication.

I won’t bother trying to justify the hair, but instead will bemoan the make-up. What there was of it – eyeliner, mostly – was heavy-handed and uneven and unintentionally goth, before that was even a thing. I’m not sure what I was thinking that morning, other than to contrast my love of crayons with my dislike of high school.

Melinda: Well, I had no unintentional goth period in my life, so you win. I was just into sports and more interested in Michael Jordan than myself. I wore full makeup for prom and senior photos, sure, but it was done professionally because I hated masara.

My mom would be proud now. Her little girl is all grown up.

Rachel: It was time. You're so right. But I'd been to Ulta once before and it was overwhelming, so I was nervous when you called to arrange a consultation. The line between "pretty" and "Kabuki performer" is a tricky one to tread, and I'm not sure I could stay on the righteous side of it.

But yes: the make-up milestone. I was ready-ish.

Melinda: Milestone or not, makeup is fun. For me, it's that simple. I wanted to wear makeup in a tasteful way that was easy and looked pretty natural. I needed professional help because I've always found the jargon and product choices intimidating. I mean, there are SO many choices. What's the right shade of pink lip gloss when there are 12 pink lip glosses?

Let's be honest. I'm in my 30s. It was time to stop washing my face with Clean & Clear and wearing off-colored, expired Revlon liquid foundation.

Rachel: I feel you on the intimidation. Seriously: illuminizer? What is that? What does that even DO? Plus a million other products that mystify and confuse me. So, walking into Ulta was one of those “2001: A Space Odyssey” moments: One step across the threshold and it was “daaa-daaa-DA-DA bom-BOM-bom-BOM-bom-BOM.”

You know what helped? Cecilia, our Prestige product consultant.

“Our make-up should make us feel like we are in our own skin,” she told us. “It should be fun and be a celebration of who we are inside.”

THAT I can understand!

Melinda: So let's talk about what we learned.

We'll start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. (If you throw out "Space Odyssey" I'm coming back with "Sound of Music." I feel like this was your fault.)

First, the skin. I have dry, sensitive skin, so Cecilia walked me to cleanser and lotion not laced with perservatives. We live in such dry air here. It was my priority to find quality skin care like the Murad cleanser and Boscia lotion I bought.

Both are more expensive than what I was using, but I knew it would be. I don't have acne-prone, teenage skin anymore, so I need to use product appropriate to my skin. I'll adjust my budget. The bonus is the product I got will last MUCH longer than what I used before.

Before we get to makeup, did you find anything great for your skin?

Rachel: And may I just say that your skin is glowing this very minute? Cecilia is right: "Skincare is your biggest foundation and your biggest pay-off."

So, since our consultation I'm more aware of the ingredient lists of what I put on my face and of doing my research (though I'm combating oiliness rather than dryness).

I hesitated when she used the Too Faced Natural Face kit ($39), fearing I'd look like a Ringling Brothers escapee, but when she held up the mirror, I looked like... me (but with more even skin tone).

And so easy to do! Not the ordeal I'd previously envisioned.

Melinda: Yeah. The whole thing was easy. Love my new powder foundation, which I'd never used before. After pay day, I went back to Ulta and bought the mascara, eyeshadow and lip gloss Cecilia put on during our consultation.

It probably takes me five minutes to put my makeup on in the morning, but I can live with that.

Rachel: And I can live with sparkly eyeliner. I'm definitely going back to Ulta to buy that.

Melinda: Great. I WILL post a photo of that when I see it it.


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