Buttigieg’s Stubble and Klobuchar’s Bang-Shake

Sarah Graalman
8 min readFeb 26, 2020


a closer look and the debate lewks

The over-produced debates on high def TV’s are indelicate when it comes to faces. Onscreen, the candidates resemble a coked-up friend at 2am who is shouting, shimmying, and sweating at you. It’s all so fast and loud— especially at last night’s South Carolina debate, with everyone waving their hands like they’re out raving in 1997. Never in my life have I seen so much face-skin! The exact texture, so visible we can feel it. Every make-up decision is obvious, making every mistake glaring. Not a single eye-brow hair escapes the blinding truth of the cameras.

Do you feel guilty and petty for questioning appearances on TV? Do you yearn to speak to someone about it? It’s ok! The made-up faces of public figures tell us a lot. They’re not a characters on a television show- they’re self-chosen public figures who want to run our country, so everything they do broadcasts ‘This is meeeee!’

Someone has handed them a mirror — they looked, nodded, and said “Yes that’s me that’s great.” Their makeup artist definitely checked them 5 or more times, neurotically knowing the dangers of stage lighting and HDTV’s. I know this, because I am a makeup artist. I get nervous for other makeup artists. I want them to do well. I yearn for blended, un-orange skin. I have opinions on faces.

First — Televisions.

What television making-monster said “Let’s see every pore and make everyone look like cheap porn-stars with no filter, documentary style.” Also, if your TV isn’t the right kind it will look like you’re watching a home video from 1986. Neat.

Remember when images on tv’s were a smidge faded and the background was fuzzy-looking? There was mystery. There was atmosphere. Let’s gather everyone in small cozy studio, have them wear what’s comfortable, light with lamps or practicals to tamper down the bright drama of it all, and make these debates cozy and atmospheric like a mid-70’s talky drama. Have them pass a joint and just commune, man.

No? Welp! No one has a chance. Let’s dig in.


Everyone is concerned about his intense 5-o’clock shadow. Why’d this kiddo not shave today? Did he go on a bender and wake up late for the debate? Incorrect. He is simply very hirsute! Some dudes grow facial hair very fast — if he were an actor on set, I’d have to carry around an electric razor to shave him halfway through day. Even freshly shaved, you can easily see his dark hair follicles. Occasionally I see this covered in interviews with a very thick layer of foundation, or color-corrected using a slightly orange shade of concealer before the foundation goes on. I don’t like it. Too much foundation for a young man. Let’s just learn to be ok with being aware of his facial hair.

Mr. Mayor could grow a beard in a week, which I’d love. Can you fathom the power of a mid-season beard? When asked about it he’d scoff “I find it patently absurd you’re worrying about my facial-hair instead of the maniac we have in the White House who definitely uses a tanning bed.” No more a token of post-election ‘finding ofoneself’ ala Gore in 2000.

The press would lose their minds. Let’s bring facial hair back for politicians — He’d score extra votes due to the hotness-of-beard factor. Admit it. You want to see him in a beard. Now it’s all I can think about.

Today, I release you from wondering why he looks like a late-night cop searching endlessly for an elusive suspect. <Buttigieg slams fist on table, pulls out a cigarette and lights it, staring off into middle distance.>


Amy Klobuchar’s skull vibrates. This is not a slam or even a hair/makeup makeup note — but I have paused and rewound and played slowly on my incredibly bright TV and she is not shaking visibly, or actually moving her head or her skull. It’s involuntary. She has a talented hair stylist who beautifully shellacs her hair into a politician lady-crown but, and still — it vibrates. That little piece in the front just wants to be free, or seen — even as it’s glued in place. Bang will vibrate. Perhaps that front bang yearns to express her pure rage — even when Klobuchar’s face expresses none. It’s a mystery we may never solve. I fantasize her hair is the pure symbolic fury of millions, nay billions of women who’ve been held back by — yes: THE PATRIARCHY!

Shake away, angry bangs! I, too radiate with fury! Scratch everything. My favorite candidate is Amy Klobuchar’s rage-bangs. They’re consistent, honest, and unafraid.

As for makeup — it lately looks great but wasn’t always consistent. Love the dark 90’s lip on occasion. Last night her artist did. it. right. I loved the color palette. Hey, plums! They used a slightly deeper and more olive-based foundation, holding back on the ruddy blush. She can flush, and they tampered it down perfectly. Shadows were blended so well you could barely see the work- the mark of a good artist! of the time. Loved the he lip color — but most importantly thank you, bangs — for your rage and your passion. *extra marks for the feathering along the side last night.


*I’ll be speaking directly at Joe because he likes to talk directly to us all. Further, I will be speaking as Joe to Joe.

Look babycakes, I believe in everyone’s right to do whatever the hell they want with their faces, which means “If you wanna get work done get that kinda stuff done, do whatever makes ya feel like you.” but good god heavens, Joe — it’s pulled just a wee bit too taut for ya! You’re good ole ‘Joe!’

Also, I’m relieved you’ve taken a deep breath between the Botox-en of the ole forehead. Come on, man — ya didn’t need all that — we wanna see your feelings. <pumps fist at feeling>The Botox yells to us ‘oh I’m running for president I guess I gotta do some facial shimshammery now.” But, Joe! — You take the train! You’re a man of the people! Also, now listen here pal — your artist is rarely consistent with your foundation color scheme.

It’s a bit too light under your eyes. Aw, Joe — I just wanna get on in there and blend blend blend away. While I’m here, maybe just a smidgen less yelling ‘about bout how you’re the only one who did anything in Washington.’ We know this because you’ve been a politician forever, and you got there partly because you’re a white dude who was allowed that path. Let’s just have some more calm moments with word-stories. Also, add a tiny bit more moisturizer before your foundation which I deeply wish had less pinky/orangey hues. Something hydrating. Less is more, Joe!


I don’t need him in makeup. It’s not his brand. He doesn’t care, why should we?! I mean that as a compliment. Au natural! Sometimes he’s flushed red, and sometimes is oddly beautifully tan! It changes, minute by minute, and that’s just who some people are. His passionate flushing makes matching a foundation difficult. All that said his skin looked pretty, pretty good last night. I like seeing the facial flushes! It’s oh so very ‘him’. If he must, he can go with a gentle foundation to even out the skin-tone like Face and Body my MAC (it is a lovely natural foundation I use on men and I have used forever). But again: I don’t need his skin even. I don’t need his hair brushed. I almost wish he’d have some of that Buttiegieg stubble — I’m into it. I also don’t need any makeup on Warren, so don’t worry that I’m gendering my politicians via makeup. If you’re gonna play a politician, play the part you cast yourself in.


He has the skin of a rich man. Well-hydrated. A bit tan from wherever he was tropical most recently. A chef likely prepares his meals. He does strength training with someone on weekends he tells off-color jokes to. I feel both bored and angry every time he speaks because his assumption that he can buy in is lame and I reject him. When he was mayor of New York he sold the city to the highest bidders and my favorite restaurants had to close for new banks and paper-mache high-rises. His skin is fine. There’s a wellness to wealth. I reject him.

Tom Steyer


I feel zero anxiety about her TV glam routine- she’s pure professor-chic, pulling off a coif and semi-popped collar with panache. Yes, she could go makeup free and she’d still be herself. Elizabeth Warren isn’t a makeup person, and she often isn’t wearing much makeup, which is more than fine. Her cheeks are flushed with both hope and rage. Whoever does Warren’s makeup subtle look does a great job. Part of me wonders if Warren has a little makeup bag she carries with her next to her carrot sticks and walking shoes.

Her no-makeup makeup is done perfectly *which is a basic full-face of foundation and a bit of rouge and a tiny ‘eye-story’. I love it when she wears a slightly berry stained lip. Have you had distracting thoughts about her makeup often when watching her speak? No, you haven’t. She’s there, she’s got a plan, and you’re thinking about her millions of ideas. She’s feminine and loving and she MURDERED Bloomberg’s bid to be the front-runner two debates ago. A calm and passionate assassin who has a reusable water-bottle and probably washes her face with water and Dove soap.

I bet she wears the free gift lipstick that comes with purchase, and she totally pulls it off. She pulls off a dusty-rose! Not everyone can do that! This is why I believe she’s a woman of the people — she looks fabulous in ‘gift with purchase’ colors. That and her platform is well thought out and makes sense. I never said this looks-report was unbiased.

There we are. I am scared of my HDTV. I am exhausted by this process and would still like everyone to add a few drops of non-orange to their artist’s palettes and blend more. Godspeed, American Democracy. Your makeup artists and hair stylists are here for you. Let’s make this a well blended and properly matched Derma-cracy.

  • that last word may take a minute, but you’ll get there.