I had an interesting Twitter conversation last night with Deidre Knight. We started talking about makeup and I commented that I’ve forgotten how to wear makeup. We discovered that we both love Bobbi Brown cosmetics and that my first stop before I am allowed to take leave is taking my credit card and my face to visit theBobbi Brown in Saks in Austin.


But over here in Iraq, makeup has been redefined as minimalist. I’ve blogged about how when females over here where makeup, they are sending a specific message but for clarification, I mean females who wear the whole she-bag: foundation, blush, eyeliner, eye shadow, concealer. The whole palette. When you wear that much over here, you stand out and not in a way that most soldiers want.


But when I get home, oh yeah, the makeup bag is coming out. I’m wearing foundation, well, tinted moisturize to work. And eye shadow. Probably a little blush. I want to look and feel like a woman when I get home and to be honest, I’ve forgotten how.


Oh I remember how to apply a little blush, but I can’t look in the mirror and feel like it’s too much. When I have worn a little eyeliner over here, I look in the mirror and think it’s too thick. So I need a professional intervention to teach me how to wear makeup again. How to dress like a woman, how not to talk like an infantryman in everyday conversation.


I’m not just coming home, I’m readjusting to being in another country. I’ve never been around a lot of civilians, so when I go to RWA, I’m going to need to adjust to being around that many fabulous women again.


But as far as beauty in Iraq, there have been certain things I could not live without. I don’t have the ability to try things out. I purchase what I know works. So here’s the list of stuff I wouldn’t have made it through Iraq without, and yes, this list is 100% superficial and girly and unimportant in the grand scheme of fighting the war.


10. Clinique Long Wear mascara. Doesn’t come off, even in sweat and 115 degree heat.

9. MAC Longwearing eyeliner pencil. That stuff goes on easy, doesn’t melt of and doesn’t smear. It’s there for the day.

8. TNS Recovery Complex. The only serum I’ve found that really, really works. The lines around my eyes are much less pronounced than they were when we got here.

7. Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Moisturize. This stuff is a godsend. My skin feels plump and dewey and it’s so rich and luxurious, a hard thing to maintain in this arid desert.

6. Clinique SPF 15 Lipgloss in First Blush. A nude color that provides SPF (a must) and just a hint of gloss. No color, just moisture.

5.  Clinique Daily Defense SPF 25. I’ve stood on a flight line for 6 hours and not gotten a sunburn.

4.  Skin Medica Vitalize Peel. I know you’re supposed to have a doctor do this but this chemical peel is easy to do yourself (I’m not recommending you try this at home, so don’t blame me if you burn your skin). But this peel is fantastic and you can get it on ebay dirt cheap compared to having a doc do it. My skin feels incredible after the peel and it’s evened out my sun damage.

3.  Laura Mercier Cleansing Oil and Tonic Water. I love this set. The oil cleans without drying and the tonic feels like it could be its own moisturizer. Love this stuff.

2.  L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand cream. Need I say more? This stuff is fantastic, smells clean and keeps my hands silky smooth all day long.

1.  Bumble and Bumble Gentle Shampoo and Super Rich Conditioner. I was using stuff that cost twice as much but my hair still felt like coarse straw. Now, I rinse with cold water and use this product every day and my hair feels amazing, even after not having a hair cut for over 6 months. This stuff is worth the price and has my loyalty forever!


Beauty in Iraq is much more pared down than in the states. I don’t wish to stand out but I still like to feel like a girl. These products were the best I found to get through the year and even though I’m going home, I feel like these products are going to remain in the rotation.