The Makeup Practical

My 600-hour adventure in esthetics school.

Learn more about the project, or catch up with weeks 1, 2 and 3.

Sometimes, practicing makeup feels like a middle school sleepover. But when we take our Makeup Practical (that’s Beauty U speak for a test that involves a physical demonstration of what you’ve learned) there’s no talking allowed. We’re suddenly aware of how warm it is in our windowless classroom, and how six people adds up to twelve eyeballs staring at you.

There’s a lot to remember. The order of the daytime makeup application: Concealer, foundation, powder, blush, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, lip liner and lipstick — yes, that’s all for daytime. You forgot it already. The sanitation procedures (you have to spray your pencil sharpener with alcohol before and after you use it to sharpen your eyeliner or lip liner, and you have to sharpen them every single time). How to keep the foundation from caking and the eyeliner from running jaggedly across your client’s lids. I have yet to master these last steps.

Miss Jenny perches on a revolving stool next to you, clipboard in hand, taking notes, poker-faced. It’s enough to make Stephanie drenched in sweat by the time she’s finished. Meg’s hand shakes as she starts to stipple on the concealer. I apply eye shadow then try to think in a blind panic whether it’s liner or mascara that comes next. We use an entire roll of paper towels wiping alcohol off the sharpener.

We’re getting braver about touching each other. Miss Jenny has demonstrated how it’s okay to stand in between your client’s knees in order to reach their eyes. You balance one hand on your hip when you’re applying lip liner — don’t ask me why, but this works.

When it’s over, we are exhausted. Miss Jenny comes around to give everyone their grades and there’s a lot more debate than when we take our written exams. It’s hard to dispute a wrong multiple choice question, after all, but it’s a little more subjective to say whether Sue blended the eye shadow enough or Blanche chose the right shade of concealer.

“Look, it’s very hard to get 100 on the makeup practical, girls,” says Miss Jenny. “That would mean you were flawless. Nobody is perfect, okay?”

Of course not. That’s what all the makeup is for.



Filed under In Class, Makeup, week 4

8 responses to “The Makeup Practical

  1. Do tell- what was your grade?! And does this mean you can do my makeup the next time we are going out together? I hope so (well, I guess that depends on what your grade was…)

  2. Meghan

    Glad you asked, Amy P. That was my question, too. Not that grades matter, because I’m sure you did great (who am I kidding – I’m a schoolaholic – grades matter).

  3. Okay, okay, so I got a 95. Everyone got an 85 or higher (that’s the GPA you need to maintain to avoid academic probation), but nobody got 100. And there was the general expectation that the practical would be easier than our written tests — and that was so not the case!* Stress. Full.

    But yes, I will be generally available for makeup applications — though you’ll definitely want me to practice my eyeliner technique more first! That’s what cost me the five points.

    *Full disclosure: I actually guessed I would find the practical harder than the written because I have less practice with putting makeup on other people than most of my classmates and more practice than some with memorizing for tests. (Not everyone in the class went to college.) And I was correct.

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  7. Zoe

    That last line killed me. I’m loving this series so far.

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