Southern women have never been much on au naturel—in any form or fashion. You wouldn’t present your Thanksgiving turkey without gravy, so why on earth would you present yourself without lipstick? That’s basic logic at work. And it’s not just Mama. Spend any time in Texas, and you’ll meet girls who wouldn’t dare let Daddy see them without makeup for fear it might give him heart palpitations.
Not only can Southern mamas single-handedly affect the stock price of Estee Lauder and Elizabeth Arden (especially if they have daughters begging for those seasonal gift sets), but they have different levels of “getting done up,” depending on where they’re going.
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The Grocery Store: Moisturizer, a touch of powder, a quick swipe of mascara, and maybe a little lip balm. Nothing fancy. You don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard in Produce. On the other hand, you never know when you might bump into the president of the Junior League or the preacher’s wife.
An SEC Game: Moisturizer and sunscreen, plus full makeup but with a light touch—also waterproof mascara, just in case your team tanks and you break into sobs right there in your stadium seat (which should reflect the school colors and match your outfit).
Church: Probably the finest line Mama’n’em must walk. Here, Southern women want to look pretty, but in a reverent, it’s-not-about-me sort of way. Plus they don’t want anybody calling them Jezebel behind their backs. Moderation, moderation, moderation.
A Wedding: Full on. Face done, hair done, manicure, pedicure—all preceded by some serious exfoliating and moisturizing and firming and plumping and tightening and so forth.
Given the above, you can imagine how Mama has responded to all those “how to get the natural look” tips floating about:
Tip: Say goodbye and good riddance to heavy foundations and opt, instead, for tinted moisturizer.
Mama: You don’t understand. It’s foundation, blush, mascara, eyeliner, lip liner, lipstick, an eyebrow pencil, and lash curler that GIVE me the natural look. If I only needed moisturizer to get there, I’d make room in the tiara cabinet and go after the Miss Alabama title.
Tip: If you’re blessed with great bone structure, why not skip makeup altogether?
Mama: Tell that to Ava Gardner. Thank goodness that girl was raised in North Carolina, where they know a thing or two about blush, tweezers, smoky eyes, and a pouty lip.
Tip: Apply subtle nude shades to lips and finish with a dab of clear gloss.
Mama: But I just had my teeth bleached. I don’t want my mouth to disappear. Red, coral, fuchsia—bring it.
Tip: Be your own fragrance or, at most, spritz on just a touch of body spray with grassy notes.
Mama: And a woman should smell like grass because . . . ??? Two words: Oscar and Coco.
Tip: Nothing’s more appealing than natural hair—no damaging heat or chemicals, no sprays, dyes, or artificial curls—just wash it and go.
Mama: Over. My. Cold. Dead. Body.