USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘makeup’
Gestation, birth, and infancy
Gestures
Protection
Signs

Blessing a Baby After Sneezing

Background Info/Context:

Religion plays a large part in Jordanian culture, and Jordanians express it in many different ways. My boss told me about a practice that Jordanians do to their babies to maximize their blessings. She grew up giving babies the sign of the cross on them when they sneezed.

 

Piece:

Rehab – “If a baby yawns, you’re supposed to do the, um, cross symbol on them to bless them when they sneeze or when they yawn. I think it’s more when they’re sneezing rather than yawning if I remember correctly.”

 

Sophia – “Do you think this a Jordanian thing? Because I’ve never heard that.”

 

R – “It’s probably a Jordanian religious thing, I don’t know. A lot of things have to do with God or what they think is religious.”

 

Thoughts:

My boss later shared that giving someone the sign of the cross when they sneeze is not something that continues into adulthood. This is mostly a practice that is done on an infant, to ensure that they are blessed by God. I think adults do this for babies, because babies aren’t able to pray to God themselves, so doing the sign of the cross on them connects them to God even before they’re able to speak.

Folk Beliefs
general
Stereotypes/Blason Populaire

Foundation Lips: A Lipstick Trick

Background information:

I worked at Sephora for around seven months. During my time at this job, I absorbed a great deal of information, learning tips and tricks to flawlessly applying makeup, recommending products to clients, and expanding on my skincare products and fragrance knowledge. What truly stuck out to me during my experience aside from the fantastic coworkers was the vast amount of knowledge that my coworkers had surrounding specific tips to apply makeup in a better way. One of my coworkers, Erika, told me about countless tricks, as she is a phenomenal makeup artist. The trick of applying foundation before applying lipstick was one that had a huge impact on me and was widespread and heavily used amongst my coworkers at the store.

Main Piece:

There are many different “hacks” that people use to help or simplify different actions in their lives. At Sephora, I learned about an integral step to easily apply lipstick and make the most out of a certain lipstick shade. Erika, my coworker, introduced me to this makeup hack, and learned this hack from the other coworkers at the Sephora location in which I worked at. To properly make a bright color pop, she said, one needs to first moisturize the lips, then let that dry. Once the lips have dried, she said that it was crucial to use a relatively pale foundation shade relative to one’s skin color, and apply a decently thick coat onto the lips. Upon applying this coat of foundation onto the lips and letting this amply dry, she said that any lipstick could be applied and the color would pop and be more vibrant than if the shade of lipstick had been applied to one’s lips without the layer of foundation underneath. She swears by this trick, as do many of my past coworkers, each of them claiming that it has completely revolutionized the way in which they apply lip shades to not only themselves, but also to their clients.

 

Personal thoughts:

When I first heard of this makeup trick upon my first month working at Sephora, I thought that it sounded bizarre. I wondered why foundation would be applied to the lips as I felt that this would simply dry them out and would not have a big effect on the outcome of the lip color. Upon hesitantly trying this trick before applying a bright scarlet red lipstick, however, I realized why this was such a popular trick at my store: it made the color appear much more intense and did not dry out my lips in the slightest. Therefore, whenever I apply bright lipstick shades to myself or others, I now do this foundation trick and teach others about this fantastic trick!

Folk Beliefs
Stereotypes/Blason Populaire

Q-tip to clean off mascara

Background information:

I worked at Sephora for around seven months. During my time at this job, I absorbed a great deal of information, learning tips and tricks to flawlessly applying makeup, recommending products to clients, and expanding on my skincare products and fragrance knowledge. What truly stuck out to me during my experience aside from the fantastic coworkers was the vast amount of knowledge that my coworkers had surrounding specific tips to apply makeup in a better way. One of my coworkers, Erica, told me about countless tricks, as she is a phenomenal makeup artist. Erica has shaped an entire culture of makeup application tips in the Sephora store that I worked at and has taught the entire team numerous tips to applying various products.

 

Main Piece:

Once complaining about constantly getting mascara residue on my eyelids after completing an eye look, Erica, my coworker at Sephora, told me an incredibly useful trick to removing the mascara without messing up the eyeshadow under the mascara stains. She told me that sometime when she would apply eyeshadow on herself or other and think that she had completed the look, she would sometimes move forward to apply mascara, which would more often than not ruin the look because of mascara residue. The thing about mascara, she stated, is that it is very easy to transfer onto the eyelids when you move in zig-zag motion upwards through the eyelashes. Therefore, since the eyelashes are so susceptible to transferring mascara onto the eyelids, she tried everything she could to remove the mascara from the eyelids without messing up the artistic masterpiece that she had created with eyeshadow and eyeliner on the eyelids. She said that through years of trial and error of trying different techniques to remove these burdensome and often inevitable mascara stains, she finally arrived at a solution a few years ago, and this was to gently use a q-tip, or cotton swab, to pick up the excess mascara on the eyelids and remove the mascara stains, which ultimately proved to be the most efficient way to remove mascara stains. When she found out this trick, she immediately notified all of my coworkers, who were also struggling with this problem, and this became a revolutionary new trick that was shared with all of the employees at Sephora. Because Sephora is also known for its vast array of teaching opportunities and makeup applications in store, this new trick quickly spread to our client-base and is a very popular method in removing small makeup mishaps.

 

Personal thoughts:

When my coworker, Erica, introduced me to this trick, I was so relieved to know that there was a solution to a problem that I so regularly faced throughout makeup applications on both myself, as well as others. It is extremely frustrating when you spend more than an hour on a specific eye makeup look, blending eyeshadows together to perfection, and seamlessly weave all of the colors together, only to have it ruined by harsh-looking mascara stains. Although this is definitely a very trivial problem and does not have a large impact on my life, my coworker at Sephora helped me overcome an application mishap that has transformed the way in which I can create makeup looks.

Customs
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Weddings in Sudan

Informant Bio: Informant is a friend and fellow business major.  He is a junior at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.  His family is from Sudan and they are Muslim.  Both he and his twin brother were educated in international schools.  He speaks Arabic and English.

 

Context: I was talking with the informant about traditions and rituals his family has.

 

Item: “Before the actual wedding, there’s this thing where everyone goes to the mosque and watch the Imam (who is kind of like a Muslim priest) bless the couple so the marriage is Islamically legitimate.  Everybody watches that happen so, you’re kind of obligated to go to that.  Then there’s the actual wedding celebration, and the thing is by the wedding celebration you’re already married.  So the wedding celebration is just a big party, and Sudanese weddings are really odd.  They take place in these large tents with lots of fans.  Like, they’re huge; I’ve never been to a Sudanese wedding that had less than 400 people.  The point of it is that you don’t just invite your close friends and family, that’s not gonna fly with Sudanese people.  You gotta invite your friends and family and then their friends and family.  I’ve gone to these weddings where it’s like a third degree connection to the couple.  Which is hella weird, you’ll get people who invite you and say just bring whoever you want.  My mom goes to a lot of these.  You know, females always engage in this kind of stuff so yeah she goes to a lot; my dad really doesn’t give a crap.

 

I usually don’t like to go, cuz they’re so loud.  There’s just really loud music playing the whole time and there’s really not a whole lot of interaction either.  You sit at a table with like six other people and there’s like 50 tables and you get a plate like halfway through the wedding so you’re already starving, and it’s just like a sandwich with some meat in it, like a beef sandwich, falafel or two and dry chips with Pepsi.  It’s never good food, honestly I feel like there’s one company in Sudan who caters all these weddings because it’s way too similar every time.  Um, so the food I’ve never really been a fan of, personally.  And you can’t really talk to people cuz the music is really loud.  The bride and groom sit in the middle of the whole party, most of the time just sitting down while people go  up to them throughout the night to give their congratulations.  These are three-four hour events that usually start at 10 and go until 2AM.  So they’re really late.  At some point during the wedding, the bride and groom are expected to dance and that’s always a fun time.

 

Now there’s this thing, and I’m not sure how many cultures do this, but the makeup that the bride has, like, it makes her a lot more lighter than she actually is.  Her face will be so much whiter than normal.

 

Analysis: My analysis of the makeup aspect is that there’s some kind of inferiority complex or self-hate related to having darker skin; whiter skin is seen as more beautiful.  This is why brides will be a lot more whiter skinned during weddings.  I doubt that anyone would ever acknowledge this if you asked them the reason, but this sort of thing has been seen across cultures and throughout history.  It is especially prevalent in many South Asian weddings.

 

It is interesting that the weddings are so open and that it is open to pretty much the whole town.  I imagine this means that weddings largely dominate the social scene as you could probably be invited to at least one or two per week.  I think the informant’s experience, being a children at most of these, probably tainted his viewpoint and led to his dismissal of weddings in general.  More than likely he was placed at the table with other children or random people and he therefore does not appreciate many of the more rewarding aspects of this type of ceremony.

 

Like many cultures, religion is a dominant and even defining aspect of life for the Sudanese people.  Nothing happens without first making sure that Islamic conditions are met.  Government statistics say that 100% of Sudan is Muslim, which, although it may not be completely true, does highlight the homogeneous nature of the country.  This homogeneity may also contribute to the relative openness of the weddings, as many people have congruent viewpoints, values and expectations as opposed to the massive diversity we find here in the U.S.

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