In Praise Of Teenager Makeup

Remember how fun it was when makeup was just shine and glitter?

Remember your first foray into the makeup world? Everything was more fun then. Colors were chosen in a magpie-like fashion. Smelling like cake was a factor of the highest importance. Money squirreled away would be merrily frittered to the shiniest contender. A simpler time.

Now makeup is all formula and pH and flattering undertones. Which is fine, I guess. But it can leave us feeling a bit clinical and cold.

Which makes one all the more prone to nostalgia for the good ol’ days of teenager makeup’s glitters, pastels and pinks. Throwing maturity to the curb is an exercise in anti-aging that I truly stand behind.

For me, teenager makeup must have at least one of four characteristics. It must be, firstly, cheap. Teenagers prefer to spend their money on drugs and parties or something. It is also typically pink in color — think “girly” as a caricature. Glitter and shimmer particles are highly encouraged, and if anything could be described as “understated” it must be thrown out the window immediately. Finally — scents. Nothing subtle or nuanced here. Gourmand is the word, but really anything strong, sweet and unchallenging is your jam.

Products like the Revlon Diamond Lust eye shadow in Starry Pink fit this MO. This is basically a pressed glitter pigment, in a holographic pink color. No makeup-makeup it is not, but liable to cause maximum joy? Guilty as charged.

Similarly, the Wet ‘N’ Wild Ombré Blush in In a Purple Haze is a thing of, if not beauty, definite cuteness. It features a fade between two of the most teenager colors imaginable — a pale, bubblegummy pink and a soft, flowery lilac. Blended together it gives the most perfect cool, baby pink cheek with a hint of retro frost. So youthful.

For lips, there are two ways to go. Either shamelessly (and perhaps what haters would call tackily) neon pink, or a softer, shinier, frostier shade. Both must be teenager accessible. Your first port of call should be the Wet ‘N’ Wild’s Mega Last Lipstick in Dollhouse Pink. Even the name suggests gleeful immaturity. It’s bright and matte and lasts a really long time. We don’t sacrifice on performance in pursuit of teenager-ness. For your nude option, the Essence Glossy Kiss Lipbalm in Coconut Kiss is perfect. It costs around a dollar and delivers glossy baby pink with almost opalescent shimmer.

Scent-wise, there is really only one way for a teenager to go, and that is the iconic Demeter. Want to smell like a gingerbread man? A blade of grass? Cotton candy? No problem! The scent I favor is Laundromat — clean, fresh clothes or baby’s first perfume. It’s such a fun and silly concept that is just pulled back from gimmicky by actually delivering on both pleasantness and longevity.

Finally: is there anything more teenagery than the Maybelline Baby Lips? Even the name suggests youth (albeit with a side of creepiness). They’re colored, shiny, tinted lip calms, sometimes shimmery, always strongly scented, and housed in super retro, chunky, colorful tubes. They’re a full-on sensory nostalgia trip — I absolutely and unabashedly love them. The colors that best fit the teenager bill are the Crystal one in Rose Quartz (glittery, candy scented hot pink), the Pop Art one in Bubblegum Pop (I mean, for that name alone), and the Winter one in Vanilla Cupcake (a shiny, neutral, my-lips-but-pinker shade). 

These great things, and others of their ilk, provide an antidote to the seriousness that sometimes takes over in makeup. It is, after all, paint for your face. So once in a while, treat it as such! You might just enjoy yourself.

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