POSTED ON NOVEMBER 19, 2008:
Best Face Forward
Avoid looking like Bozo the Clown, apply makeup with care
Face It. Chances are you've been wearing makeup since you were a teen and will continue wearing it until you are very, very old. Why not buy the nice tools that can be used long-term?
One of the least flattering things a person can ever do is look someone in the face and ask, "Are you really tired? You look tired today." Or "Are you feeling okay today?" See, these questions are the polite way of saying, "Wow, your face looks like crap today. Hope there's a legitimate reason."
Sometimes this happens when ladies aren't wearing their full face of makeup. When it does happen, it only reinforces that they need a full face of makeup. Really, makeup isn't like clothing. You aren't indecent if you walk out of the house without it. Makeup is like any other accessory -- done right, it enhances one's overall look; worn incorrectly, you look off-key.
And whether you use one cosmetic and spend five minutes or you have a duffle bag of powders and potions and spend an hour, it's always good to understand the tools of the trade.
First off: the debate between department store makeup versus grocery and superstore makeup. What's the difference? Price. I don't know why one eye shadow palette would cost $35 while another only $9. It might be like going to the mall and seeing a white t-shirt at one store for $10 and $75 at another; you could be paying for the name. Department stores or places that sell the expensive makeup (like Sephora's) do have the upper hand, as you can try on the makeup in store to determine if you like the product and/or if it is the right color for your complexion.
Typically, you'll find publications that put out annual makeup lists, the items come from both department and drug stores. This says to me that those who have tried it all agree that it's kind of all the same. And the great part is, while the shifty economy might not let you invest in a new wardrobe at the moment, you could spend some money on new makeup without splurging.
While you might not need to invest in the "fancy" expensive makeup, you should invest in nice application tools. Many people use doll-sized eye shadow sponge applicators provided with a makeup tray or use their fingers to manipulate eye shadow or blush to the right shade.
Chances are you've been wearing makeup since you were a teen and will continue wearing it until you are very, very old. Why not buy the nice tools that can be used long-term? Makeup brushes aren't always cheap, but they make the application job simpler and the results better. The money spent, when divided amongst the years you will use the brushes, probably proves to be a cost-effective purchase. They require only a little soap and warm water to clean, and they'll be much more refreshing than using a finger to put on foundation, a two-inch paint brush for blush or a tiny, decaying multi-shadow saturated sponge set.
Now, what to do with the actual product? First, never put makeup on a dirty face. It's like painting a canvas covered in dust. Start fresh. Follow the cleaning with a good moisturizer. As winter weather approaches, it's good to have a stronger moisturizer than usual. Always look for an oil-free version to keep your pores from clogging and your face from looking greasy. From this point on, what you do next depends on your particular routine.
Just You and Eye
For my particular makeup routine, I start with eyes. I find that oftentimes, eye shadow can go everywhere. Not that you want it to, it just does. When using a bristled brush and not a minute sponge to put on eyeshadow, you risk powder going onto the side of the eye and sprinkling under the eye and onto the cheeks. Because this happens and typically requires clean up with eye makeup remover, I personally don't put on foundation until the eyes are complete.
Eyeshadow should be chosen based upon what makes your eyes pop. Often, women choose their eye shadow to match their outfit, but this is a fashion faux pas. Instead, women should be aware of what opens up their face. Grays, purples and blues enhance blue eyes; browns, plums, and greens make green eyes pop; and metallic and neutral shades compliment brown eyes. These basic shades work for day-to-day use and work with -- not against -- any ensemble. While you can use a highlight (a neutral shade with a bit of shimmer) right underneath the eyebrow, eyeshadow is meant for the eyelid. Any higher up on the eye and the result is tragicomic, even in the most neutral of shades. To completely open up the eye, use a white, shimmer-based shadow to lightly dabble in the corner of the eye by the tear duct.
The last trick of the trade -- and the most important -- is preventing eye shadow creasing. This is when your eye shadow slips throughout the day into the socket part of the eye lid leaving no shadow on any other part of the eye lid, but a dark line deposited across the socket.
Use powder (the kind that you use on your face) to lightly dust the eyelid before putting on your eye shadow. It won't affect the shade of the eyeshadow, but it does set the eye makeup.
Liner, of course, is very popular. Looking around the city during the evening, one can see that the ladies of Tulsa know their way around kohl eyeliner. This is certainly acceptable for evening, but during the day, the look should be toned down. Dark browns or grays work for daytime eye-lining and even black, when smudged and subdued, allows a woman to not look overly made up during the day.
I find eyeliner to be tortuous, getting it to look even and next to the lash line, but others may have difficulty with eyelash curling. I have heard it referred to as a "medieval torture device" (from a comedian? Movie quote?). Those with eye issues should be wary, but for everyone else, curled lashes have never done any harm. As long as you keep a steady hand with no sudden movements, you'll end up with curled lashes still attached to your lid.
Follow up with your favorite mascara to seal the curl and to elongate/thicken/whatever your mascara of choice claims to do. Mascara has a shelf life and no amounts of hot water can keep it smooth for long. If it goes on the lashes clumpy, it's time to toss. Moving the brush side to side as well as up and down ensures that the all lashes, including the teeny tiny ones, are covered from root to tip. In fact, a cosmetics company recently created a vibrating mascara wand to that works the brush this way. Your arm movements should work fine though.
While you don't need to and/or shouldn't curl the bottom lashes (they do make curlers specifically for the bottom lashes), they also need a coat of mascara. After completing both top and bottom, go through with an eye lash comb. This device, when brushed through a set of lashes, ensures that you have individual, non-clumped lashes instead of one thick lash.
Now, your face. Liquid and powder foundation are the standards here. These are used to even out skin tone. Sadly, people also use these to cover blemishes, which do not work, look terrible and are horrible for the blemish. Red, swollen and (gross, I know) crusty or oozy blemishes need air, not clogging. Aesthetically, it just helps the blemish stick out like a flesh-colored sore thumb.
Use a concealer when you can't do anything else and use the foundation for the rest of the face and neck. When choosing a liquid or matte foundation, opt for something light and as sheer as possible. You'll still get coverage without having a thick, heavy something on your face. And always go for a color that matches your skin tone. Too light or too dark looks ridiculous. Department stores help because you can try it on your skin before purchasing. If your drug store has a no-returns policy on opened makeup, you may have to buy, buy again until the shade is right.
Although you'll end up with a shade that's right on with your complexion, you can't neglect everything around your face. This means do not forget the neckline. I don't know how people still neglect this portion of the face, but you can't just hit your jaw line and stop. Blending into the bottom of the chin is more natural looking. This works for both liquid/matte foundation and powder or a combination. Often, pressed powder is used on top of liquid/matte foundation to sort of seal the color.
What isn't natural looking are streaks of bronzer or blush across the face. Everything must be blended and placed in the right spots on the face. Blush goes on the check bones, not slashed across the check in a diagonal pink mark. It's meant to look like a natural blush, not a circle on the check like Strawberry Shortcake. Similarly, bronzer is not meant to be streaked across the cheek. It should be placed delicately in the places that the sun would hit you. This includes the forehead, checks and the bridge of the nose. Should you not be able to apply bronzer without looking bizarre, it might not be the best product for you to use.
You can complete any look with lips. I've heard that
gloss is for teenagers, but it looks lovely. Shiny lips of any sort are only as lovely as the lips being highlighted. Remove the dead skin from the lips that will make lipstick look disgusting by dampening the lips and running a finger side to side across the lips to remove flaky skin.
After you have smooth lips, choose a lip color, whether it be gloss, lipstick or a stain that works with your skin tone. Lighter skin tones should stick with warmer shades that bring out orangey tones while darker skin tones can wear darker, blue-based colors. Lip liners are only necessary when wearing red lipstick and should be used for more than the line -- fill in the whole lip.
Taking these steps into consideration ensures you'll only be asked if you're tired when you're yawning.
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