Greetings from the INCREDIBLE NOISE of a cleanroom, fellow rogues!
As well as a rogue, I am also a scientist. Or, at least, I play one in grad school ;-) Over the last few days I’ve been spending a large amount of time in a cleanroom, which brings with it a few unusual challenges when it comes to makeup. As I sit here waiting for a particularly recalcitrant alchemical instrument to do its job, it occurred to me that it would be neat to have a chat about laboratory beauty, and ask you guys if you have any unusual challenges that crop up in your life/workplace that necessitate tailoring your beauty routine! I’ve already had my little moan about the fragile relationship between makeup and grad school, so this is more about getting adventurous, and finding ways to make sure you still get your beauty fix in!
The many faces (well, eyes) of the academic rogue…some more wishful than others.
Just like dungeons, laboratories come in many shapes, sizes and varieties. There are also unique challenges and dangers inherent to each one, and they pretty much all force you to jiggle your beauty routine around to fit with them. The following are a few little things I’ve noticed. I should mention that this is partly joking, partly serious – I’m keen to hear if you have any similar situations or tips, so make sure you let me know in the comments! :-D
The Laser Laboratory
The main thing about laser labs is that they tend to be dark. Sure, there are lights, but you hardly ever turn them on and the places are usually in windowless basements to begin with. Just like a dungeon! ^_^ On the one hand, this is nice because you don’t have to worry if something gets smudged, or if you’re not wearing any makeup at all and it’s 3 am and the oscillator isn’t working and you look like sh*t… wait, I may have gotten sidetracked…anyway, it has its plusses. On the minus side, you’re going to want to avoid anything that could possibly have fallout. I’m talking eyeshadow, powder, mascara that you’re trying to use up even though it kind of flakes a bit… all of that has to go. Optics need to be dust-free, and when you’ve gone through the delicate process of getting everything aligned and set up, the last thing you want is to unblock the beam and smell burning as your no-longer gaussian beam bakes mascara chips onto the sapphire crystal you were trying to generate supercontinuum in. If this does happen, make sure the mascara was waterproof, so you can at least have a little cry about it.
Additionally, if your laser lab is anything like mine, the relative humidity is going to be kept at around 45%. This is, of course, for the benefit of the crystal lasing media, which tend to be hygroscopic, but it is *really* hard on the skin and lips. Make sure to hydrate well with water and use moisturiser, and keep a lip balm handy. On the plus side, it gives you an additional excuse to wear a neverending parade of fabulous hydrating lipsticks! ;-)
Pros: It’s pitch black in here. No-one will see if you’re having a bad skin day, and the laser doesn’t judge. Clearer skin and an excuse to wear fabulous lipsticks!
Cons: No glitter :-( It’s also drier than the Gobi desert in here…
Hydrating Dior Lip Glow with its pretty cap. Also, a freshly-captured wild mango (no eating in the lab! ;-)
Despite being surrounded, Sigryn knows she’s among hydrating friends. Left to right: Revlon Lip Butters in Sweet Tart, Peach Parfait and Wild Watermelon.
The Organic Chemistry Laboratory
The big one here is that you can’t wear nail polish, and expect it to survive unscathed! Aside from the fact that you wash everything in pure acetone, there are a whole host of other organic solvents that are even more effective at removing polish – although you should be avoiding getting any of these going through your gloves, kids (not like some of them give you a choice). Aside from that, you might also have to be a bit careful about the jaw/neck transition of your foundation. Labcoats tend to be white (so you can see when there’s something spilled on them), and the collars can be high, so makeup stains may occur! A non-transferring foundation or keeping a bit of distance between the two should help ;-) On the same foundation note, remember that you’ll be wearing safety goggles all the time which may mess with the makeup on the bridge of your nose and cheeks, and touching your eyes will be difficult (high fives to anyone who’s ever done the classic but awkward ‘use-my-shoulder-to-rub-my-eye’ maneouvre). The plus on this is that you won’t accidentally smear your eyeliner, and you can use the time to give your nails a bit of a rest from polish if they’re getting yellow – the gloves will cover it up!
If you’re sensitive to humidity with your makeup, take note in summer if your lab has a lot of waterbaths (for rotary evaporators and the like) – they can make things pretty sticky and gross, especially when you’re stuck in a labcoat and gloves, quietly baking like a potato while the ether squeeze bottle is squirting violently of its own accord. On second thought,maybe we should all just go home… :-D
Pros: Chance for nails to recover, pristine eye makeup
Cons: Carcinogens, sweaty summers, tricky labcoat collars.
This manicure sparkles and glitters something fierce in the sunlight – to be enjoyed away from the lab!
Some nice base products – light coverage, great staying power, no transfer or obnoxious sticky feeling under those safety goggles!
This place is what started it all off, because I’d been posting lip looks recently on Instagram (where you should totally follow me for daily rogueish goodness #shamelessplug) and using the handy-dandy radial blur tool to only have my lips in focus because I wasn’t wearing any base (HELLO PORES!). The reason for me not wearing any makeup was because I was about to spend several hours fully suited up from head to toe to go and do cleanroom things. Like the laser lab, the cleanroom is a no-go for glitter or powder or fallouty stuff. I mean, you can’t even take paper in there in case tiny particles get loose. Like the other labs, you’ll also be wearing safety goggles all the time, as well as a full hood or hair covering, so you have to do battle with lines in your foundation. On the plus side, you don’t have to worry about styling your hair, and can totally get away with it being, perhaps, a day overdue for a wash (depending on your personal regime). Like the laser lab, the humidity is low, so you have to moisturise. Unlike the laser lab (generally) the noise of the extraction vents can get really grim, which means nice fluoro orange earplugs. These are never sexy, but you could opt to exploit the lipstick angle. Perhaps a nice vibrant colour to match the earplugs? It’ll keep your lips hydrated too. :-D Sometimes (depending on the class of your cleanroom/what you’re doing in there)you will have to wear a full face covering. In this instance, you might choose to play up your eyes with a nice waterproof, non-flaking mascara and some matte, reliably waterproof eyeliner. In this instance, you don’t even have to worry if your skin is playing up, because you’re basically a pair of eyes and nothing else at this point ^_^.
Pros: Ultra-clean air great for allergy/asthma sufferers, don’t have to style hair, fabulous lipstick.
Cons: Earplugs are never sexy, desert-like humidity. Amusing but unattractive bunny-suit and hair net/facemask. No glitter.
Glitter’s out – it’s time to get funky with lipstick instead!
Syl’s Stages of Lash Preparation: curl, then mascara. As you can see, the difference (for me) between curled lashes and curled +mascara’d lashes is small, but the mascara has gone on very cleanly, and has done noticeable things to the length.
So! What did we learn from all this? What are my Rogue’s Tips for Laboratory Beauty?
- Focus on the one feature that’s still visible – probably eyes or lips or brows – a good non-flaking mascara, a hydrating lipstick, some defined brows and an eyelash curler will help fill your lab beauty kitbag!
- Avoid glitter, dust, powder or anything that might fall out or smudge off (or be high maintenance).
- Waterproof and long-wearing are your friends – hello stains for blushes and lips, thin layers of long-wearing, non-transferring foundation and matte eyeliner!
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Then hydrate some more. NO! Not *in* the lab, jeez. Take your cup of tea outside and drink it ;-)
- If makeup is a total no-go, take comfort in and enjoy the fact that you’re probably so covered up that you don’t even need to care about what your skin is doing or what your hair looks like! Bask in the liberty! :-D Or just wear whatever you want underneath all the suiting and enjoy it in private ^_^.
I hope that’s been an amusing little roguish diversion for you ;-) What are your experiences? Do you have any tips for Biology/Medical research lab makeup (eh, Jaa? Eh, Aditi?) What about YOUR workplace or hobby – does it affect how you wear your makeup at all? Let me know! :-D
Until next time, fellow adventurers, don’t forget to check for traps!
I am an adventuring rogue, not a mercenary for hire, and as such, all opinions expressed here are my own, based on a genuine fondness for/interest in this product. If you have any queries or suggestions, please do not hesitate to pin your parchment to the board (contact me) at thepaintedrogue [at] gmail [dot] com., or use the contact form provided! All images and text on this blog are the property of The Painted Rogue unless otherwise stated. For example, the cover/featured image of two of my fellow, spiffy scientists is the property of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and can be found here. If you nick off with any of it, watch out for the pixies that come in the night and snap your eyelids against your eyeballs while droning nursery rhymes at you.