Miryam Van Horn
SELF-CARE (it's okay, we all need it)
Throughout my career I have had the pleasure of meeting so many women by helping them with their beauty questions and challenges. Through all those consultations, it is their stories that have stuck with me through out the years. When I look back at my career, I don’t remember the sales and spreadsheets, instead I remember the numerous women that trusted me with their skin concerns AND the personal challenges they may had been facing on the inside.
Before I became a makeup artist, I loved attending makeover events. I wanted to learn and see how another person viewed my facial features and enhanced them with colors I didn’t think to choose for myself. But often times, I was disappointed. If not, horrified. I remember attending such an event in 2000. I waited for a makeup artist to be appointed to me and was relieved when a woman with nice and beautiful makeup asked me to sit at her seat. Everything was great, until it wasn’t. I eagerly looked in the mirror and was horrified at the lightening-bolt brows she drew and filled black. I ran to the bathroom and washed it all off. So, when I began my career in makeup, I vowed that I wouldn’t let anyone leave my seat unhappy and ..unnatural.
In the first months of my career, I assisted a woman with her skin care and makeup routine, and I noticed she was soft spoken and listened to all I said with a quiet demeanor. We spent a good two hours together and when she decided to purchase everything, I was incredibly surprised. A few months had passed, she came back to the counter and approached me. She looked so different from when I had last saw her. There was a vibrant energy about her, and honestly, I did not recognize her. She reached for me and said, “Do you remember me? You helped me a couple months back. I wanted to thank you for helping me. I was going through cancer treatment and you were so kind and patient to help me. It made me feel so much better.” I was floored. My jaw dropped as tears swelled up in my eyes. Wow. I just couldn’t believe it.
I’ve had many experiences like this. My job as a consultant, is never to SELL the client. My job is to listen and advise as best I can. There are instances where I can feel that there is something else brewing underneath that the person is trying to address. As they say, you never know what is going on in the other person’s life – no matter what they may look like on the outside. There is one such moment that comes to mind. I was helping a young woman find new makeup. She had many questions and was open and wanting to explore and learn. We had an instant connection. During our time together she confided in me and shared that she had a miscarriage. It was her second. My heart went out to her instantly. A couple months went by when her husband called to arrange a special day for her birthday. He
had arranged a day full of surprises for her. After all, she had had a tough year. I was elated and honored to be part of such a special day. When the time came for her appointment, I arranged for a mariachi band, who were in store for San Antonio Fiesta Celebrations, to serenade her. It was one of the most amazing moments ever. We both cried and laughed together. It was the best.
Okay. I’m about to get a little weird on you – ya ready? Sometimes, I wonder if I am more sensitive to a person’s energy than most. I know. Hear me out. I am not saying I’m psychic, but when I listen to a client’s needs and wants, I am also gathering information that she may not be verbalizing. It is almost as if I am connecting with her on another level and can feel what she is truly searching for. I believe it is this connection that leads me to choose a look that enhances and compliments her personality – not just her features. I intuitively work to shine light on her as a person, as a woman instead of “decorating” her with
what I can do with makeup. Many artists see a customer as a blank slate for their artistic expression and while many are incredibly talented, the overall look does not reflect who she is on the inside. There have been many, many moments when I finish with a customer, stand back, and her reaction is, “you did exactly what I wanted.” That’s the best compliment I could ever receive from a client.
Women of all ages turn to makeup to lift themselves up and out of situations or life event that they may be facing. During the 9/11 aftermath, it was rumored that lipstick sales doubled in the U.S. leading to the now-labeled “lipstick effect”- a phrase used by retailers to describe a dramatic sales shift after a national event*. That is not to say that we need a national crisis to head into stores, rather, we tend to turn to makeup to put a little pep in our step when we are faced with a bump in the road.
Once, while working at a popular beauty store, I noticed a woman who was browsing throughout the store. I asked her if she needed help, but sensed she was having some quiet time to herself. I gave her space and left her alone. Nearly an hour later, I noticed she was still circling the store. This time, I asked if she needed advice or help choosing the right item. She had a seat and proceeded to tell me she was supposed to be shopping for a birthday present for a party her daughter was attending later that day. She felt guilty because she was not staying focused on the task at hand. I made it a point to listen and pamper her and make this small moment she had to herself worthwhile. Little by little her posture changed and she looked more relaxed and stood taller than before. She walked out with a smile on her face, a confident stride and mouthed the words, “thank you” as she walked out. That was almost ten years ago and I still remember that moment.
It is because of these memorable moments that I am so passionate about what I do. I genuinely believe in the power of self-care. For myself, I instantly feel more productive when I am put together. When I have taken some time to organize or give my skin some attention, I feel good about myself. My creativity can flourish. Putting yourself on the “to-do” list will change the way you view your day and yourself. It can push you to accomplish more and have a more satisfying day . Especially, in these COVID times when we are working from home, home-schooling, and staying in, it is important to allow some time for yourself. As you prioritize your day, include some “me-time” on that list. And when you have some questions and challenges, call me (your Beauty-BFF) to get you on the right track.