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Beauty Secrets My Mother, the Showgirl Taught Me: Part II
21 Jul 11 - By Tanii Carr

Beauty Secrets My Mother, the Showgirl Taught Me: Part II

Tanii Carr shares trade secrets learned from her mother, a glamorous Hollywood actress & showgirl. This 2nd part of the series gives tips to make your eyes pop and the how and why of experimenting with makeup colors... And a dash of Hollywood too!

Beauty Secrets from my Mother: Part II

Make-Up—the Other Brown
We women get rather programmed to purchase the makeup that is put before us. Whether for eyebrow pencil or mascara, the choices are usually black and brown. If you go to a beauty supply house (or a fine department store cosmetic counter), you can also find more subtle shades that may be more appropriate for your coloring.

Like my mother I am fair-skinned with light eyes. I can’t do brown or black, but I can use a pencil in taupe and I CAN use a brownish-black mascara.

When I went to the studios with Mom, the makeup artists would often use more than one color of eyebrow pencil (even a regular writing pencil—not advised in light of the lead in them). This would be followed by using an eyebrow brush to lightly brush the brows in an upward motion, and then followed by another possible application of the eyebrow pencil to fill in spots.

When Mother was using mascara, there was no such thing as a mascara “wand”. It was a little tray filled with a cake of color and a small brush. One had to moisten the brush, rub it through the cake and apply it to the lashes (I used spit to moisten my brush—I didn’t share it with anyone!). Whether cake or wand, Mother taught me to put on 1-3 light coats, rather than one coat of mascara, again using the “eyebrow” brush to separate the lashes after each coat.

Mother didn’t use waterproof mascara, but she did have a trick for keeping it on throughout the day. Mother always had a container of a loose powder in a very natural, translucent shade which she would apply with a soft brush (they usually come with the powder). Before she applied her mascara, she lightly brushed her lashes with a bit of this powder (a very small amount). Then, she’d apply the mascara which would more easily adhere to her lashes. This doesn’t mean that if you cry or get your eyes wet that the mascara won’t run, but it really does keep the mascara in place under normal circumstances.

When Mother used an eyelash curler, she always used it before she applied the mascara. Some people prefer to use it once the mascara is on, but that can smush the mascara. As for the lower lashes, she only gave them a light application of mascara because she said that too much on the bottom—especially when coupled with eyeliner drawn out to the end of the lower lid—tended to close in the eye and make it look smaller.

Mom with Bob Hope, my brother Mark and I during
filming of “Son of Paleface”.

A little more on the photo of Mom and Bob Hope: Mom was working on a movie of his, “Son of Paleface”. Jane Russell was also in that movie and I think that’s what lead to Mother attending a church established by Jane’s mother. My brother and I once attended this church with Mother. It was located in Studio City, but all I remember about the place was that the room was sunken and that all the seeking was in a semi circle raised up, more like an amphitheater. I love the fact that Mom took us kids to places like that; as I recall, we were the only youngsters there.


Harem Girl with Hans Conried

I’m going to talk a little more about taupe as a color of eyebrow pencil. Not all taupe pencils are created equal! Different brands have different colors of taupe. It’s important to try different brands to get the one that works best for you, which is a good policy no matter what color you’re choosing.

That brings up another point: Just because some shade of lipstick or any makeup looks good on one person doesn’t mean it’s going to look good on you. Not just because of differences in people’s coloring, but because one person’s body chemistry is not another’s. Until you’ve tried something on your skin, your body, you won’t know for sure how it’s going to look.

I remember that Mother used to experiment with makeup a lot, always at home unless the studio was trying something different on her. When she found something that worked, she’d use that product (or products) long-term, until and unless there was some compelling reason to change.

Through experimenting, I learned what products I liked and looked best on me. I think it would be really fun to go to a fine department store and have some makeup person apply what he or she considers would look good, to get another perspective. I wouldn’t do this only as an experiment, but also because as we age our coloration and looks change so it would be a good idea to try something new!

For those of us who live around the entertainment industry, we have resources that most people don’t have. Here are two industry beauty supply establishments that have lots of goodies and people to talk to:
Cinema Secrets
  4400 W Riverside Dr.
  Burbank, CA 91505 (Toluca Lake)
  (818) 846-0579
Frend’s Beauty Supply (my personal favorite!)
  5270 Laurel Canyon Blvd .
  N Hollywood, CA
  (323) 877-4828
More tips to come!

© 2011. Tanii Carr. All Rights Reserved.

Tanii Carr lives and writes in Southern California where she continues to educate people on holistic horse care based on her nine years as former Owner/Manager of Melody Oaks Ranch..

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