Makeup To Seduce In

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Heavy-duty contouring, a smokey eye, and stained lips aimed to seduce may work just fine for the Daters. But as a Long-Termer, who gets ready for bed at 8:30pm with my boyfriend of like, six years, I often feel like my passing-out-and-smearing-lipstick-on-pillows phase is squarely behind me. When we head off the bed, instead of quickly touching up in the bathroom, I've already washed my face and brushed my teeth and put on my Laura Ashley floral nightgown—it screams sex.

Now, that's not to say I don't try to retain a little element of mystery and surprise as a girlfriend, but let's be real: say it's a regular Wednesday night, and he comes home at 10:30pm from a conference, networking cocktail, and fluorescent train ride; meanwhile I've spent the day sending emails off into the ether and standing groggily in front of the mirror, wondering how well I could give myself bangs, maybe just a little accidentally high from nail polish remover. Neither one of us expects or even wants a full-bore, dressed-up, lingerie and bold lip seduction fest. That, of course, has its place—like after that one time I won $100 by filling out one of those Rite Aid surveys. Or birthdays. But really, most of the fun of living with someone you love is being the same person you would be otherwise, but together, and happier for each other's company. And the person I am is basically an antebellum grandma living on the prairie.

Every so often, I like to bring out my own French New Wave heroine side, and wake up a little smoldery. So sometimes, after I wash my face, I'll put just a little charcoal eyeliner in the outer corners of my eye—it makes me feel sexy, and when I wake up it's a little smeary and lusty. Even if my boyfriend hardly notices, it makes me feel like a Dater again—without the hangover and forgotten names.

The liners I've been using for my own Sexy Nights are Laura Mercier's Kohl and Crème Eye Pencils in Storm Grey and Slate, respectively. Right upon application they’re deliciously creamy and smearable (if you smear), and, once the pigments set, you can count on them staying put. You won't wake up with charcoal down your face, looking like a Dickensian orphan. I like to think I'm channeling the French boudoir spirit, all sleepy liner and bon mots. And if you still like a little lip, a dab of tinted Burt's Bees (mine’s Rose) is perfectly fine to sleep in. And if you kiss it off—well, even better.

—Trace Barnhill

Photos courtesy of the author.