Sunday, July 22, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 20

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on August 9th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 23 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 23

Teen Queens

Rebecca gets schooled by teenage beauty vloggers


If you ever happen to look around the mall and wonder where America’s teenage girls are, don’t worry. I found them. They’re all on YouTube doing makeup tutorials.

I’m not kidding. Judging by what I’ve seen in the past week, I now firmly believe that every American teenage girl (and some guys) between the ages of 14 to 19 are somehow legally required to set up a YouTube channel and do elaborate makeup tutorials demonstrating the best way to contour your face or apply eyeshadow.

Let me back up a bit. I was home sick recently and decided to use my fiancé’s YouTube account to watch some makeup tutorials. (Now all his recommendations for video game walkthroughs have been replaced with videos like “SUMMER OMBRE GLITTER EYES!!!”) And what’s better than watching someone who looks like a supermodel complain about their “bad skin” while you’re puking your guts out?

By week’s end I had probably watched more than a hundred of these soothing-voiced teenagers, mostly young girls, who are achingly positive.

“Yes, you can wear two different colors of glitter on your cheeks! You can totally glue peacock feathers to your eyes! It looks fun.” Ladies and gentlemen, I assure that I do not look “fun” with feathers glued to my eyes. I look like a Victorian mental asylum escapee hiding out in a chicken coup.

I watched a 19-year-old perfectly execute a cat’s eye from turquoise eyeshadow, trimmed neatly with glitter and red shadow, and enthusiastically say that it was “super easy” for me to do the same. When I tried, I looked like I fell face first into an erotic Smurf dance party.

I managed to live to 43 and still not know that the best way to apply eyeshadow is by looking down at a mirror, not straight, because it gives you a wider canvas. A 16-year-old in Iowa explained this to me from her bedroom, walls adorned with posters of Zayn Malik and Adventure Time.

My mother is one of those women from the old country where you don’t use blush or a lot of mascara or eye makeup because “that’s what prostitutes do.” Although, I seriously doubt that somewhere on the job application for prostitute, there’s a section that asks, “Do you have a lot of dusty pink blush, y/n?”

With my mother it was Estée Lauder or a rotting pit in the bowels of hell, and you weren’t allowed to use a lot of it or get too wild. I got a blue Cover Girl eyeshadow palette when I was in the sixth grade and she made me toss it because it was “tacky.” In retrospect, she had a point about how all that shimmery blue eyeshadow made me look like I was possessed by the soul of a rabid dolphin.

Honestly though, it probably wouldn’t have mattered if she’d been any different. I didn’t spend my teenage years trying out eyeshadow palettes and sucking in my cheekbones to find my contour shadow. I spent five years dressed all in black, listening to Peter Murphy and Echo and the Bunnymen tell me how miserable life was. If I ever did makeup it was black lipstick and eyeliner. All of this sent my mother praying to the crucifix in her room to “release me from The Devil or at least send more Scotch to deal with my daughter’s ridiculous outfits.”

Some of these YouTube eyeshadow tutorials involve more intricate and detailed brushwork than the Sistine Chapel. These teenagers have more artistic talent in their ornately manicured pinkies than I have in my entire body. When I was 15 I could still barely draw a straight line and nearly flunked out of art class. For my final project I cut out a picture of Johnny Depp from a TigerBeat magazine and glued it to a piece of construction paper and called it “pop art.” The art teacher sent me to the principal’s office (my art has never been understood).

I watched a 16-year-old get yelled at by her mother for being on the computer after midnight who then went on to silently explain under her covers the importance of applying primer to your eyelid before your shadow. That girl has 800,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel and 350,000 people watched her demo a new eyeliner yesterday. In between admiring how pretty pink looks blended with shiny turquoise, I realized I have done nothing with my life.

These girls (and guys) talk about their makeup and tools the way NASA scientists detail precision repairs to the Mars Rover. “I’m going in with my SgK-1V5 with a crucial burnt umber,” “I’m taking my Morphe L.41z into the crease, carefully constructing a bridge.” In between steps, they might burp and giggle for five minutes or talk about how excited they are to see The Emoji Movie, but to be honest, it’s still the most professional work I’ve ever seen done.

Here are a few of the major life lessons I’ve learned from YouTube makeup tutorials:

1. There is something called a “cut crease” and it is god.

2. The undereye area is the freaking Mojave Desert, judging by how much moisturizer you have to use on it.

3. Glitter is a color.

4. There is no such thing as too many colors on your eyelid.

5. If you’re not properly highlighting your t-zone, you have utterly failed at life.

I could never be this clever. I buy makeup supplies because cute boys who work at Sephora talk me into spending hundreds of dollars on products and I don’t even know what they’re for. I could never do this. My beauty tips would be like, “Instead of eyebrows, draw pentagrams! Contour with nacho cheese! Instead of false eyelashes, try bees!”

Anyway, after watching hundreds of teenagers who can’t drive or vote teach me, a supposedly grown-up lady, how to finally (after 20 years) pick the right foundation for my skin tone, I was equal parts elated and depressed. How did I miss this fun and brightly colored glitter boat to the makeup party as a teenager? I will probably never get anywhere near as good applying my makeup as a 13-year-old with an unlimited allowance to spend at Sephora.

Whatever, kids. I can buy wine.

Rebecca Rose believes proper facial contouring could bring about world peace. Contact her at

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