"Let me tell you something—my father was blond and he had a brother and a sister who were almost albino. Very light blond hair, everything blond. So, my brother and I were born blondies. Not like our dad, but I always felt maybe that’s why I have absolutely no natural color in my face. I remember before I really knew about makeup, one summer I met up with a friend and she said to me, ‘You have no eyebrows!’ I can’t remember exactly the age when I started wearing makeup, but I do remember a problem with these blond eyebrows.
Without makeup, there’s no expression. So I put a little brown eye shadow on my brows. Maybelline came out with a brown shadow with a little brush, but it’s for your eyebrows. It was so easy for me to put on. I don’t want it to look like a line; I want it to look natural. I don’t let anyone tweeze my eyebrows or let my hairdresser dye them—she’s offered. But then it looks too artificial. I prefer a natural look.
If I’m not going anywhere, I don’t bother with makeup. But when I go out to the movies or something, I wear brow shadow, mascara, a little blue eye shadow, and the blusher. After I had cataract surgery, and I didn’t wear mascara right away, I figured I must have looked half dead! I use Maybelline Great Lash on just the top lashes, only because it’s easier to clean off at night. Once or twice I’ve tried different mascaras, but I was never happy with them. I first saw blue eyeshadow on an actress in a movie ages ago. I thought she looked beautiful. Who knows what movie it was—this goes way back. I don’t even know if I had children at the time. The only time blue eye shadow doesn’t work is if you’re wearing green. The other trick I learned was from your mother's childhood friend Lesley [Ann Warren]. After she became an actress, she started putting brown shadow over her blue eye shadow, just in the crease, to make it deep and add dimension. That’s why I use it, but I don’t know if it still works now. [Laughs] That’s why actresses have eye surgery—when you get older, the lids droop.
For blusher, I use Elizabeth Arden or Lancôme. Everything else I get at CVS. I stopped wearing foundation when I was 40 or 50 because it makes the wrinkles more prominent. I like to use a light powder base by Maybelline instead, every once in a while, when I go out. But where do I go? On a Saturday, maybe I’ll go to the movies.
I wear lipstick, too. I used to wear a dark Revlon color, Bronze Lamé, but it looks funny on me now. But maybe the style is light lipstick now anyway. Generally, I do a beige-y pink. But today I have orange on to match my scarf. I do match my makeup to my outfit—if I wear pink, I put on pink lipstick. When I wear orange, I put on orange lipstick.
At night, I take my makeup off with cold cream. I use a liquid by Neutrogena that takes off everything, better than Pond's. And then before I go to bed, I put on moisturizer—Neutrogena Light Night Cream. I started doing that when I turned 50. On my birthday, I said, ‘I think it’s time to use moisturizer at night.’ I was getting older, so I figured I’d better do something. But I don't wear anything during the day and I don’t wear eye cream—what does eye cream do? Nothing.
I still dye my hair ash blond, and I have it touched up once a month. But I get my hair washed and blow dried once a week. I’ve been going every week for thirty-five years. My hair is like Brillo, and I can’t handle it. I go to the beauty parlor, because my hair has to be tamed. I used to sit with rollers under a hairdryer for forty-five minutes every week, but now they use a blow-drier and then iron it. When she’s finished, it feels so soft. This is not how it looks naturally—it’s very kinky and wavy.
I do my nails myself. First, I have a colorless base, and then I put on polish. Right now I’m wearing Brilliant Blush by Sally Hansen. When I lived in New York City, I wore red nail polish and I had long nails. Here [in Brookline, Massachusetts], I don’t like it anymore. Nobody wears it. It’s very different. All of the men dress down here; nobody gets dressed up. When I lived in New York, it was more formal. When I went to the beauty parlor or made a dinner reservation, everyone always called me 'Mrs. Mayers.' Now, here, everything is my first name. I’m Evelyn everywhere.
You see, when I see the sun in the morning, I make a point of going out. I have to push myself, you know what I mean? Take a bath, get dressed, and push. Otherwise you wind up sitting in a chair. At my age , you have to push."
—as told to her grandson, Nick Axelrod