Makeup can work wonders once we understand which features of our face should be enhanced and how to do so successfully. The key is to understand our makeup needs and use state of the art cosmetic formulations to our advantage. Here are some tips I’ve gathered while reading about makeup:
Creating The Perfect Base For Makeup To be able to highlight our best features, we first need to take attention away from minor imperfections like fine lines, spots, blemishes or redness. This is where foundation and concealer come to the rescue. Depending on the level of coverage you need and desire, you can choose either a Liquid Foundation (sheer to medium coverage), Stick Foundation (for full coverage) or a Tinted Moisturizer (very light coverage – you can make your own tinted moisturizer by mixing liquid foundation and moisturizer).
Selecting the right foundation It is extremely important that you choose the right shade of foundation – it should match your skin tone as closely as possible. Always try out foundation in natural light. The lights in shops and makeup counters will not give you a good idea of how the foundation will look in natural light. Do not try the foundation on your hand because the skin tone on the hands is different than the face. The best place to try the foundation is the jawline – the right shade will seamlessly blend into the skin without leaving a trace. Your neck and face will look like they belong to the same person. If you are in two minds whether to pick a light or a dark shade of foundation, pick the lighter one (bear in mind that it should be as close as possible to your natural skin tone).
Applying Foundation The Right Way Prep your skin with moisturizer 5 minutes before you apply your foundation. Foundation and concealer blend well on hydrated skin. However, if there is any excess moisturizer, wipe it off with a tissue else the foundation will slip away. Always begin applying foundation in small quantities so that you don’t end up with a cakey look – apply small dots around the face – on the cheeks, middle of the forehead, center of the nose and chin. Then blend well with your fingers or a blending sponge. Wait a couple of minutes for the foundation to settle into the skin. If you still see any under eye circles, spots, blemishes peeping through, then you need a concealer.
Selecting the right Concealer Concealers come in various consistencies – Stick Concealers are thick for heavy coverage, cream concealers are lighter and provide lesser coverage than stick concealers, liquid concealers are lighter than cream concealers and then there are pencil concealers which are drier than stick, cream and liquid but are ideal for covering spots and small blemishes. Your concealer should match your foundation. Be careful – if you are using a concealer it should not be lighter than your skin tone else it will draw attention to the areas you are trying to cover. Cream and liquid concealers are best to cover under eye circles. Stick and pencil concealers are best to cover spots but these can be drying – apply the concealer only to the problem area only and not all around else the spot, pimple or blemish will become more noticeable.
Loose Powder is used to set foundation and concealer so that they look smooth and last longer. Powder also absorbs excess oil from the skin and hides open pores. It is best if you select the shade of powder that matches your skin tone closely however translucent powders also get the job done. A Powder brush is essential to apply loose powder – I find fluffy blushes easiest to use – the brush should have a diameter of atleast 3 cm. Best way to apply loose powder is to dust it on to the skin with a very light hand, using a brush. Then, dust away the excess in downward strokes to prevent the powder from settling on the fine hair or fine lines on the face.
Blushes instantly brighten up the face. For beginners, I recommend powder blushes. There come in a variety of shades to choose from. I’d encourage you to experiment with shades and coordinate them with the rest of your makeup. In general baby pink blushes look best on lighter skin tones, warm skin tones look best with different shades of terracotta or brown blushes (warm browns or rosy browns). You will need a brush to apply a powder blush – these brushes are slightly smaller than the powder brushes. Powder blushes should be applied after loose powder. Feel your cheek bones so that you have a good idea about your facial structure – this will help you understand where exactly to apply the blush. Start with the fullest part of cheeks, right below the center of your eyes and then dust over your cheekbones , towards the temples. Make sure you blend the color till your hairline. It will look unnatural if the blush on your cheeks ends abruptly before the hairline.
Eye Shadows make the eyes stand out and look more beautiful. I’ve always been fascinated by eye shadows but haven’t mastered using them yet, so I’ll talk about basic application only. Select 3 safe basic shades like taupe, beige and Chocolate brown. Apply the lightest shade on the entire lid, socket and brow bone. Now take the medium shade and apply it along the eye socket and outer corner. Blend well. Use the darkest shade and apply along the top lid and bottom lash line, as close to the lash line as possible.
Eyeliners help to define the eyes. I find liquid liners easiest to use. You get the best effect if you apply the liner in one sweep, starting from the inner corner , moving to the outer corner, staying as close to the lash liner as possible. You can stop at the end of the outer lid or extend upwards for a winged eyeliner.
Mascaras enhance the eyes by lengthening and thickening the eye lashes. One important tip is to remove excess mascara from the wand or brush (use a tissue) before you begin application. Apply mascara to the upper lashes first. Brush them upwards from underneath, Try using small zig zag movements to avoid the mascara from clogging your lashes. To apply mascara to your lower eye lashes, use the tip of the mascara wand, starting application from the roots, downwards.I feel most comfortable applying mascara downwards starting from the roots, however I’ve seen tips that suggest applying mascara with gentle side to side motion…try it if it works for you. If you have an unsteady hand, place a tissue at your bottom lash line while applying mascara on to your bottom lashes.
Lipsticks give the face an immediate pop of color. It is best to first moisturize your lips with a lip balm or Vaseline before you apply lip color. If you can follow this up with a gentle swipe of a soft toothbrush or flannel to remove dead cells, you will get a perfect base for your lipstick. If you have the time, prep your lips with some foundation and dust some loose powder over it. This will make your lipstick last longer. Use a lip liner to outline your lips – start at the Cupid’s bow. Fill in this outline with lipstick using a lipstick brush (using a brush gives more definition to the lips). You can blot the lipstick over a tissue and reapply to make the lipstick last longer.
I have gathered most of these tips from two books – The Complete Beauty Book by Helena Sunnydale and Complete Beauty Book by Helen Foster. If you are looking for beauty books, take look at these. They are nice.