Take a look at the woman who is wrecking havoc on my bathroom shelf space, not to mention my American Express Card. With her milky complexion and raven hair, she looks exactly like Snow White, but holding a rosy red lipstick bullet up to her lips instead of a poisoned rosy red apple.
And yes, she's part of my imaginary BFF (Best Fashionable Friend) posse, along with Daphne Guinness (DG) and Carine Roitfeld. For those of you not as obsessed with poring over fashion and beauty blogs, Lisa Eldridge is a world-renowned celebrity makeup artist, living in London with her husband Robin Derrick (former Creative Director at British Vogue, recently tapped by Glenda Bailey to revitalize American Harper's Bazaar - goody! Hopefully he'll reignite some of the style and glamour of the Fabien Baron Golden Age...), two sons and at least one gorgeous glamourpuss named Betty.
Betty, wearing Bobbi Brown Black eyeliner on her waterline.
I discovered Lisa on the Chanel website, where she lends her expertise to their Chanel Confidential section. I'd watch her meticulous application of Pro Lumiere or Rose Petale blush, try my hand at it, then puzzle why my eye makeup looked murky whilst ("whilst?" I must try to write as if in Lisa's sleek London milieu) Lisa's looked fresh yet sultry. Perhaps her sky-high arched brows, dense fringe of lashes or chiseled cheekbones had something to do with it?
But with some patience and a lot of makeup remover, I soon got more adept at following her techniques. A quick Google search led me to her website. And yes, whilst ("again with the 'whilst?'") I have included a direct link—ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK.
You see, very quickly, you - like me - will become a fevered disciple of the Cult of Eldridge. DO NOT ENTER THIS WEBSITE IF:
- You have bills to pay
- You have a job to attend to
- You have school-aged children you hope to be able to afford to send to university some day
- You have a dog that demands at least three 20-minute walks a day
- You have to share your bathroom/bedroom with another being who owns more than a toothbrush and a small bar of deodorant soap
Why, you ask?
Because once you enter in, there is simply NO TURNING BACK.
You see, there are dozens, almost a hundred, fabulous videos with the lovely Lisa instructing you in her soothing plummy tones that yes, you can put on false eyelashes without looking like Dame Edna and no, a deep burgendy lipstick won't make you look like Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, but like a Jane Austen heroine who's spent the day picnicking with Hugh Grant on the grounds of the country pile. (Sorry, just gone full-on Anglophile. Blame it on Lisa and my recent trip to the motherland. And the Royal Wedding.)
You won't watch these videos just once. Noooooo. You'll watch and rewatch them dozens, no, hundreds of times. "How did she do that kitten flick again?" "Is it a cream blusher or a powder one?" "Was that a MAC 217 or 107 that I use in my socket line?" You find yourself referring to colors as "minky" without really knowing what that means...
Then you'll find she's quite active on Twitter. Welcoming you along as she carefully gilds one starlet after another for a red carpet event or a magazine cover. You notice that she is quite lovely inside and out, answering questions from adoring disciples on how to properly use an eyelash curler or what brand of High Street lipgloss is a fair match for the upscale brand. She's just so...so...nice! And then she replies to your tweet and you get a bit of the butterflies, just like when you were in 9th grade and the head cheerleader asked you where you got your cool corduroy mini-skirt in the lunchroom.
Okay, so other than the time you're spending online, memorizing Lisa's tutorials, where's the real harm in all this?
You start needing the products. Not any foundation will do, you must track down the brand not sold in the United States that Lisa swears by. On a recent trip to London and Paris, I must admit that Westminister Abbey, the Louvre and the Tate Modern were not on my "to-do" list. Instead, Boots, Superdrug and pretty much any Parisian pharmacy with a lit green cross got lengthy visits. And like a good cult member, I even lured my British friend into the fold. Now many of our emails concern Bourjois and NARS and what one of us can send across the pond to the other! I even had to check a second bag due to the number of products I was bringing back to New York!
Admitedly, I was never a "swipe of Chapstick and some Vaseline on my lashes" kind of girl, but now my bathroom is starting to resemble this...
only condensed to a 5" x 5" space, with sink, toilet and tub.
That said, I've never looked better. I used to head out to walk the dog with yesterday's wrinkled clothes tossed on and oversized sunglasses covering my makeup-less face. Now the poor pup is practically crossing his legs in frustration as I ponder whether to try Lisa's "Matchy-Matchy Makeup," "No-Makeup Makeup" or "Emma Watson's ELLE Cover Look" today. At a bare minimum, it's 20 minutes of mirror time each morning. Plus five minutes more to clean off the makeup I've spread and blended and warmed on the back of my hand.
Then in the evening, my cleansing routine now takes up 20 minutes and the better part of two shelves in the bathroom cabinet. First there's the French makeup remover, applied with cotton pads. Then the gentle cleanser with the Clarisonic, wiped clean with a muslin cloth. Toner. Night time serum. Lisa's favorite eye cream ($75 for a tube about as long as my pinkie. Thanks, Lisa!) and then wrinkle-reducing night time cream. Lash Renewal, lip renewal. I'm now shiny and slick, ready to slip literally into bed—wide awake and an hour past my bedtime.
So that I can repeat the process with the daytime regime in the morning.
Shelves and baskets filled with makeup. Coffee cup ("Inner beauty won't get you laid.") tightly packed with an awesome assortment of brushes — Michelangelo didn't use half as many on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Echoes of Lisa's soothing tones repeating over and over in my head, urging me to "create a soft haze of color around my eyes" or "lightly buff the cream into my socket line."
And I won't even mention that Lisa and I (and my British recruit) share a passion for unusual shades of nail varnish (errr, polish).
I ask you, is this the perfectly made-up face of a cult leader?
I may sound like I'm whinging (there I go again!), but frankly, I can't remember when I've had so much fun! And I have received a nice smattering of compliments on my appearance, especially when I show up at the dog run in "Soft Coral Hues" or "First Date Makeup."
Thanks so much, Lisa Eldridge. And next time you're in New York, call me!!!