Trials of Beauty is a blog about the idea of beauty as a trial. On one hand, beauty does exist as a trying ritual. It is trying in terms of societal expectations of women and how women are perceived as more respectable (and also more sexual) with makeup on. Beauty can also seem like a terrible trial to get through; like when using foundation and concealer to cover up scarring. In circumstances like this, a lot of people feel like they have no choice but to wear makeup on most days.

On the other hand, that beauty trials in and of themselves are also seen as the ultimate thrill in the makeup world. Women trying on different types of concealer to determine the best one in a YouTube video titled ‘Best undereye concealers for dry skin’, or a recent Refinery29 video about a couple of editors trialling 100 different foundations at the drugstore (to also find the best few). There is no hidden meaning here, no advice on how to use makeup to get a hot date as the beauty trial exist purely for the thrill itself. There are entire magazine economies dedicated to this, as Allure Magazine’s Best of Beauty is a ranking system made by editors who trial vast amounts of products yearly to determine the best of the best. And let’s not forget how YouTubers also make their bread and butter off of beauty trialling and its thrills. Jackie Aina jokingly proclaims to her followers at the end of a video, “and let me know what products I should try next because I’d love to hit zero in my bank account by the end of the week”.

This double meaning of beauty, of how it is both a trial to get through and also something to trial for fun, just because, is something that really interests me in many ways. I feel like I’ve lived both sides of this divide, from dermatologists recommending I get cosmetic surgery to take away the scarring on my face (which I didn’t) to enjoying the ‘me’ time I had before work to experiment with some of the palettes I had gotten from Sephora. This blog is ultimately just that — of what it means to straddle this divide between beauty as a chore and beauty as a petty enthusiasm.

Hope you stick around!

Some quick notes:

  • Shade reference: MAC NC40, though I have a medium beige skin tone that is not super yellow
  • skin type: normal to dry
  • my holy grail foundation for life is the Make Up for Ever foundation stick (shade #Y415), with the Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder, Mac Face and Body and Make Up For Ever Ultra HD serving as runner-ups
  • I do have scarring on the left side of my face (it is covered up by my hair most days). ‘No makeup makeup’ for me is a lot different than others with little to no damage on their faces
  • What works for me may not work for you, and vice verse. Read articles with a grain of salt and with an eye to always seek more information if you’re curious.

Where I shop/shop with me:

  • Sephora – because the inventory of Sephora cannot be reckoned with.
  • Nordstrom – for high-end prestige brands and MAC
  • Hudson’s Bay – for occasional Becca exclusives not found in Sephora
  • Shoppers Drug Mart – Beauty Boutique is imperfect but the Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum rewards program is the best rewards program there is
  • Nail Polish Canada – nail polishes at an affordable price, free shipping after $29
  • Amazon for k-beauty – let me know if there are other better retailers

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