For Feeling Myself Part Two, I talked to Connie Kim, a friend from my high school who’s currently studying to become an occupational therapist. She is notorious for her wonderful sense of humor, enviable Twitter feed, and her generally pleasant way of being. Lucky for her, I also unearthed some unused cosmetics in her drawer and told her that she isn’t allowed to buy any more bronzing palettes until she hits pan on all of them. (For those of you trying to shop your stash, r/makeuprehab is a great resource.)
ROUTINE: Challenges and Opportunities
As established in Feeling Myself Part One, I’m Korean-American, have football-shaped eyes, and monolids. Warrants repeating, as makeup is often focused on eyes, and we all have our specific needs. A staple for me are lashes because they open my eyes up and I don’t really have eyelashes, so I use fake ones. I contour my face to make it look smaller and emphasize my cheekbones. And I like to give myself a little color, so that when I contour myself it makes my face look chiseled, less round, and hopefully a little more mature. I like to look older when I wear makeup because I look like a fetus in real life
Highlighter is crucial because after putting on foundation, it adds dimension. I like to lightly dust highlighter on my cheekbones, on the nose bridge, under my eyebrows, and on my cupid’s bow.
I use the Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray to set my face after I do my makeup. I’m scared that powders look too cakey, so I use spray to make my face look dewy and while still having the makeup stick to my face. I like to play up my freckles, so trying not to cover them up is a bit challenging.
My primer is the Smashbox primer; its rating on Sephora was pretty good, and before I get any face makeup, I always make sure to check the Sephora reviews first. Lately I haven’t been using concealer because my face has been pretty good so I just use my foundation as a base. Blotting sheets are essential because I get oily over the course of the day.
My prescribed acne medication Epiduo cleared up my skin in literally a day and I use the cream that comes with it for the dry spots, but not everywhere because I have an oily t-zone.
Witch hazel is the toner I use after I wash my face, and then I use this Japanese brand moisturizer because Epiduo is pretty drying. I got Jergen’s Natural Glow for the face and body because I want to get an even tan.
This mascara is my favorite; it is a Japanese brand mascara that I ordered online, but you can also get it at Mitsuwa. It’s for people with those short stubby Asian lashes that stick out straight and it holds the curl really nicely compared to American brand mascaras. I’ve been into using mascara on my lower lashes for that spidery look because it opens up my eyes.
I use nude eyeliner on my waterline to make my eyes look bigger and wider and to brighten them up. Black eyeliner on my top waterline makes everything pop.
I have this theory that people who regularly have aux know how to make executive decisions and possess great leadership skills
— Connie Kim (@connieekimm) May 30, 2017
I don’t do eyeshadow or anything because I have shallow eyelids, which makes it hard to make stuff work. But I do use Anastasia Brow Wiz on my eyebrows. Brows are such a huge trend these days.
Michelle Phan: I love her; she’s the OG beauty guru.
Jenn Im: We have a similar eye shape, so it’s easier to follow her tutorials
Daisy Marquez: She has a round chubby face like me, so the way she does her makeup and contours her face to make it smaller, I take tips from that.
Barbie Ferreira: She’s naturally beautiful, so makeup isn’t her focus. Her body type is just beautiful: very womanly, curvy. She has a nice hourglass figure and she makes being a little chubby really work. She definitely has her own developed sense of style which is cool because she’s from Maywood, just 20 minutes away from us. She’s a Bergen County girl, too. I love her aesthetic. I can’t exactly describe it, but she just has a cool essence about her.
Joan Harris: I just finished watching Mad Men, and Joan’s body type totally inspired me. She’s beautiful. Wow. I loved her character, a very powerful woman who owned her shit.
I do enjoy makeup, but I don’t experiment that much. I was trying to find a custom routine, something that fit my own face. Once I found a routine that works for me, I just stuck with it because I knew that was what would make me look good. Makeup isn’t a creative outlet for me as much as it is a personalized regime that I have going on.
When I first started using makeup I was in middle school, I had no idea what I was doing, so I’d just slap on blush and an unnecessary amount of lip gloss. Even freshman and sophomore year I didn’t know what I was doing. Before I found fake lashes I would just clump on so much mascara and it looked so horrible and I was curling my lashes like crazy, basically destroying my eyelashes.
Eventually I really came to know my face; mastering makeup is growing accustomed and learning your own face, your own palette. I became confident in this over the past year, but when my friend asked me if I could do her makeup, I was totally lost and I had no idea what to do for her. Kudos to professional makeup artists because they can just know how to make something work for everyone. Makeup is a lot like outfits in that way in that not every piece of clothing can work for all body types.
Doing my makeup is kind of like a mini project on its own.
I devote about 30 minutes to it, and it’s all or nothing. As an Asian, eye makeup was a whole different project because everything just looks different on your face when you copy a white person’s tutorial.
My eyelids don’t really work with eyeliner and I still don’t know how to use liquid or gel eyeliner; physically, my hand just doesn’t know what it’s supposed to do so it’s not part of my routine. Anything on my eyelids is a challenge. Honestly, everything I use is just to open up my eyes. Nothing is out of fun or because it’s colorful. I just want to achieve that bright-eyed, awake, natural, cute-doll look.
Mastering makeup is growing accustomed and learning your own face, your own palette.
I never do a smoky-anything; it kind of looks like someone punched me in the face. The only eyeshadow I ever use is an inner corner highlight. Even during prom, I had my makeup done and when I’d open my eyes, my eyeliner would just disappear. Like, excuse me?
I find ways around it like using my waterline because that never disappears. I used to try to make my eyes look bigger by using thick eyeliner, but when you close your eyes it basically just looks like eyeshadow.
I’ve had to learn how to dress according to my body type, but the whole body positivity movement has helped me out because a lot more people are embracing their body type now. I do feel insecure at times. For instance, the Kylie Jenner body type is super in—being curvy but also having a very thin waist—which is hard to achieve for a lot of people.
I grew to love my face; I used to be so frustrated and insecure about it. But I had to learn it to love it.
Because my school is only 2% Asian I was really scared of feeling isolated and different, but that was not the case. If anything it made me want to celebrate and play up my looks even more. I liked being confident about looking different from everyone else. I wouldn’t want to use the word “exotic,” but I learned to embrace how I looked.
Appreciating your own culture and your appearance has been emphasized a lot within the past two years, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from that.