Despite Robin Black's self-professed love/hate relationship with beauty, the photographer-cum-makeup artist behind Beauty is Boring is bent on capturing the faces of everyone from top models to friends to perfect strangers with her vintage Big Shot Polaroid camera, complete with Magicubes & film — after she does their makeup, of course. Get your bookmarks tab ready, ladies.
My first memories of beauty are of my Japanese mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. When I was a child, my great grandmother came to the United States to live with my great uncle, S.I. Hayakawa. She was in her nineties but still very much the proper Japanese lady. Obaasan did not speak English and I could only count from one to 10 in Japanese. However, we found a common bond in her morning beauty routine.
Obaasan set aside over an hour each morning to prepare herself properly for the day. Her first step was to delicately blot her face with a damp muslim cloth, carefully folded into a perfect square. A small amount of mysterious cream scooped out of a tiny black jar was then applied with gentle massaging motions to her face, neck and decollate. Then, using a thick jade comb, she would brush her almost-waist-length white hair for 100 strokes — never more or less, exactly 100 strokes.
With a single fluid motion, she swept her hair up into a formal looking twist and secured it with several deftly applied pins. Depending on the season or occasion, she would choose a small ornament or perhaps a simple comb and add it to her hair. With her hair done, she moved on to a small puff that rested in a shallow bowl of rice powder. Just a tiny touch to the forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. This was generally the time in which she moved on to dressing but one morning when an important guest was coming to lunch, I remember her pulling out a gold tube of lipstick from a small lacquered box. She applied it cautiously and after a long moment of reflection, blotted off most of the color.