Faking It

by MaeganFidelino

I can’t remember the last time I left my home without at least a trace of makeup on my face. It’s a morning ritual that’s evolved some, but for the most part it’s a collection of habits I’ve repeated for almost a decade. But within that time frame I never learned how to actually do my makeup. Like, “properly.” I’ve been faking some kind of know-how and hoping I don’t walk outside looking like a clown everyday.

Here’s some of the things I put on my face…but don’t really understand:


I’m all for the whole idea of having a fresh, clean face. Thanks to my friendly neighbourhood Sephora sales associate, I’ve even developed something of a skincare routine. Face wash! Moisturizer! Toner! Wait, what?

Toner is a product I don’t quite comprehend. I’ve heard that it does something to the pH balance of my skin, whatever that means. I also know that applying it directly to my face is a no-no. But what does toner actually do, and why should I apply it morning and night? I’m supposed to use it on my face and get all the oils and guck from throughout the day off. Cool. I get that. But why do I need to repeat the process in the morning? Is my pillow really that gross?

What confuses me the most about toner is if it’s meant to “minimize the appearance of breakouts” (according to the packaging anyway), why do I look all red and splotchy after using it? Is this supposed to happen? I feel like I may have been tricked here, but I can’t say for sure…


BB Cream
I’ve been using some form of foundation/mineral powder/tinted moisturizer since I started using makeup. In the past couple years, I’ve discovered the magic that is BB Cream. I kind of swear by it. It makes my skin look better, protects it from the sun, and is super easy to use.

According to my BB cream’s packaging, it makes my skin CAMERA READY, which I’ll definitely take. Yes, please. But what is this Beauty Balm thing, apart from my face’s salvation? If tinted moisturizer also moisturizes my face and evens out the colour, what’s the difference? And CC cream; sorry what?! Regardless of the name of the product, sometimes I feel like I’m just slathering tan-coloured goop onto my skin in hopes of a good outcome. That’s wrong…right?


Bronzer is pretty much a mystery to me. Every time I try to contour my face, I can’t even tell if I’m making a difference. I mean, I think I’m applying it correctly. I know I have, like, face bones to emphasize. I just can’t seem to grasp whether I’m actually making my face look better, or if it just looks like I have dark powdery bits near my cheeks.

Post-bronzer application, my face obviously doesn’t look the same as it does after leaving a MAC counter. But, they’re pros — the miracle workers of cosmetics with forever-perfect brows. Dear makeup gods: Are you born with your gifts? Please send help. Currently: searching for my cheekbones.

Maegan Fidelino is an artist and designer living and working in Toronto. She has a lot of makeup-related questions.