#MakeupMonday: Updates From Karen

Some of you may have noticed a slowing down of posting on the blog and social media at The Professor Is In over the past couple of months. That is because Kellee and I are dealing with a family medical emergency that has taken us out of the office for extended periods of time. It even led to our cancelling our planned March speaking tour of the UK, Ireland, and Switzerland, which was so painful.

We are still in the midst of it, so I can’t offer any insights or resolution at this point. But I did want to share, that through it all, my skin care and makeup routines have continued to have a steadying and calming effect.  It’s strange, but it’s almost a meditative state that I enter while I do these routines.

And, in a season of sadness and worry, I can gaze upon my newly lush eyelashes and brows, courtesy of the obscenely expensive but good-lord-is-it-worth-it Rodan and Fields Enhancement Lash Boost, with delight and a true sense of accomplishment! 🙂

Seriously, look at these lashes!  And I’ve stopped using brow pencil entirely!




Anyway, many of you have taken the time to comment, in writing or in person, how much these #MakeupMonday posts have meant to you, and I’m so grateful.  I felt strange starting to post about makeup on this blog, but it also felt important. Your comments have confirmed to me that it is.  Here is one comment I have received:

I absolutely love this. I suffer from PTSD and have been in and out of the hospital for different surgeries and etc for the past three years. Skin care has saved my life, as silly as this sounds. I look forward to getting up every morning and going to bed every evening. I used to struggle with insomnia and crippling anxiety about getting out of bed in the morning due to agoraphobia. Because of skin care I find myself able to wind down at night, and do something for me every single morning. It has helped me time and time again– and even now as I’m typing this while waiting for my facial mask to dry. lol! I must say you look absolutely stunning! Glad to hear I am not the only one who has found skin care to be an amazing and life changing coping skill.

But most positive commentary comes not in writing but in person, from women (so far) whom I meet on my visits to campuses.  I get the impression that the series has a LOT of fans, but fans who are not necessarily willing to comment in writing, which to my mind likely speaks to the continuing shame around makeup, skin care, and issues of appearance in the academy.

But I never visit a campus now without someone mentioning their love of #MakeupMonday.

So I just want to urge you all to continue embracing whatever helps you cope. If that’s makeup or skin care, enjoy it, and share it with others!

And now, today, in that spirit, I want to share some product updates. In an early post, I mentioned that I finally committed to a blush, after a couple years of drifting around using my daughter’s cast-offs.

This is it: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush, which I got in a free sample from Sephora–YAY! (Note, the “Paaarty” color is only available at Sephora, I believe).

This Tarte blush is natural, blendable, not too shimmery, and long-lasting for long days on campus.

In my search I tried all sorts of high-end blushes, including a Becca and the cult-favorite Nars Orgasm, but I didn’t like them. Both Becca and Nars were just too shimmery for a middle-aged face.

As I’ve mentioned, there are trends in makeup that middle-aged people cannot just adopt but must adapt, and the shimmer trend is one of them.  It’s not that I can’t do any; I just have to be highly selective about what kind of shimmer, and how much I use.  The It Cosmetics Hello Light Anti-Aging Luminizing Creme Stick I mentioned in an earlier post is wonderful for this–adjusted for aging skin, it is subtle and highly blendable and non-creasing.

In a similar vein, I did finally spring for the Yves Saint Lauren Touche Eclat Radiance Perfecting pen, after the benefit of a color consult at the Saks Fifth Avenue in San Francisco during a visit there with my daughter and her roommate a few months ago (as you may recall, I had to return my first Touche Eclat, because I bought the wrong color).

This product is a cult item among women my age, because it provides an extremely subtle glow that truly, genuinely looks like your actual skin rather than a product applied to your skin. While the “I’m obviously wearing a ton of highlighter” look is part of the current Full Beat face, it’s a nightmare on older skin. But Touche Eclat–well, that’s another thing entirely.  I’m actually going to share the YSL marketing verbiage because, it really accurately describes just what this wonderful product does, no lie! (bolding added)

What it is:
A highlighting pen that brightens, smooths, and perfects your complexion with a natural-looking, radiant finish.

What it does:
Highlight your best features without any shimmer or glitter. The original magic wand and the makeup artists’ go-to secret weapon, this pen is a multi-use radiance booster that instantly brightens, smooths, and perfects while letting your own skin come through for a beautiful, natural glow. It brightens the complexion to fight dullness, fatigue, and bring light to the face.

The light-infused pigments in Touche Eclat smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles, giving your features a lifted look without risk of caking or creasing. It perfects your makeup, gives your lips a natural-looking plump, and erases any traces of mascara flakes, eyeshadow fallout, or smudged lipstick.

What else you need to know:
The award-winning Touche Eclat Pen is sold every ten seconds. It contains good for you ingredients that boost the luminosity of your skin. It’s infused with hyaluronic acid to increase hydration and plump skin and vitamin E delivers antioxidant care to help fight the visible signs of fatigue, while ultra-fine micro-pearls boost radiance. Touche Eclat Pen features the ultimate on-the-go, built-in, tapered brush for maximum control and precision.

I do recommend it!

In the meantime, thought, I’ve actually de-shimmered one part of my routine.  I’ve switched primers!  While I used and adored the Dr. Brandt Pores No More Luminizer Primer for quite a while and highly recommend it, I have actually switched to Peter Thomas Roth Skin to Die For No-Filter Mattifying Primer.

I don’t need a mattifying primer, actually, as I don’t have a problem with oily skin. But I got this in a sample from Sephora, and what I loved about it was that, like it says, it does basically disappear your pores. And, it makes a smooth, blendable surface for foundation that is unparalleled.  And, in addition, it doesn’t get shimmer build-up awkwardly on the brow area, which was an ongoing annoyance with the Dr. Brandt Luminizer.

So, as you can see, my experimentations continue.  And in a hard season of life, they give me pleasure and something to look forward to each morning and evening.

And readers: keep sharing your makeup and skin care thoughts and reflections (and successes and failures) in the comments! I love reading them!


*My regular intro:

Welcome to #MakeupMonday, my weekly series on makeup; academic and postacademic job market and productivity posts will continue on Tuesday and Friday as usual.

Here is my weekly reminder:  I will not engage with makeup-shaming here or on any Facebook or Twitter comment threads. I support your right to not wear makeup, and anyone who dislikes makeup, disapproves of makeup, or wants to argue that no academic woman should be judged on the basis of makeup (which nobody is claiming anyway), I suggest you come back for my other posts on other topics.

For previous posts, see the following:



About Karen

I am a former tenured professor at two institutions--University of Oregon and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I have trained numerous Ph.D. students, now gainfully employed in academia, and handled a number of successful tenure cases as Department Head. I've created this business, The Professor Is In, to guide graduate students and junior faculty through grad school, the job search, and tenure. I am the advisor they should already have, but probably don't.

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