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.
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.
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!
I have a cousin who is an event planner in Colombia, Juliana, who arrived to the US in February of this year to start an intensive English program through UCLA extension. She was told in Colombia by her aunts to be careful because STD’s are rampant in Los Angeles, although none of them have traveled here. After making several American friends, one night at a party, the subject of STD’s came up and people started to tell stories. She said an American guy with dark hair was saying he had a former roommate when he was a freshman in college, who would sleep around without precautions. One night after “bagging a chick” he woke up to find he was alone, secretly he was grateful to avoid any awkwardness of kicking out a stranger. When he went to the bathroom, he saw lipstick on his mirror. Juliana initially did not understand what was written on the mirror and ask the guy to type it down on her phone so she could translate it later. It was a poem that read “Roses are red, Violets are blue, I have AIDS and now so do you” when she finally translated it, she said she was so shocked and it freaked her out a lot. One of her teachers seeing her so upset asked her what was wrong and she relayed the story, she said that her teacher started laughing really hard, this only made Juliana confused and embarrassed until her teacher explain that what she was told was an urban legend by the guy at the party and therefore not true.
Analysis: Juliana asked me three times to reassure her that the story was an in fact, an urban legend. She also asked why would anybody repeat such a horrible lie. I said that I am sure that Colombia had their share of urban legend as well but she denied that claim and said that any stories told were just to scare children into compliance. I think she was more susceptible to the legend because she was primed by her aunts. Her lack of confidence with English also made her likelier to believe someone who was a confident English speaker and storyteller. These kind of legends because of the believability factor seemed to get under people’s skin more and last longer, my cousin Patty said the same story was told to her with slight variation when she was in her 30’s when Aids was more of a death sentence than now and she stills remember the circumstances around the telling of the story.
Me: “Do people look for their specific lip marks when they come back?”
Informant: “Oh god no, it would be impossible to find them.”
In the informant’s ballet company, when a member was doing their last performance of a show (as in, your last ever Nutcracker performance), it was tradition to put on bright red lipstick and kiss a specific wall, leaving a mark. The mark not only signified you were a part of the show, but was symbolic of a part of you always being tied to the company. People would come back years after graduating to visit the wall they had kissed previously.
The informant was involved in ballet through most of her life and knows a lot about the secrets and traditions carried with being a part of a ballet company. She takes them all very seriously and indicates that most all of the other dancers did as well. According to the informant, everyone kissed the wall at some point as long as they were in the company for a full run of a show. The informant wasn’t clear about exactly when you kissed the wall — it was after the show, but not necessarily directly after completion. Additionally, the go-to action didn’t used to be kissing the wall. The tradition used to be signing it, but it got too messy, so the lip marks were the evolved method.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this piece of folklore is that the tradition changed from signing the wall to kissing it, for reason of “the signing got too messy,” according to the informant. It’s perhaps telling of how significant or deeply rooted a tradition is when the reason for completely changing it is one of rather minor inconvenience.