Unless you are in your twenties or unless you are going to an event that calls for loads of make-up … then you are doing yourself a disservice by applying layers and layers of make-up. You don’t fool anyone … you just look like you are trying to hide something.
The second golden rule is that you need beautiful skin to have the perfect make-up … so it’s really important to focus on the quality of your skin and making it as healthy looking as possible.
Now when it comes to applying foundation, blush, eye make-up and lip colour, these few tips might help you:
1) Moisturizer: You need to apply a moisturizer even if you have oily or combination skin. You simply need to find a formula suited to your skin type.
2) Primer: I know that Paula Begoun thinks that primers are marketing ploys concocted by savvy cosmetic marketing execs to dupe women out of their hard earned money, but I can tell you that the first time I used a primer … I was hooked and could not believe it had taken me that long to discover this miracle product. A primer will create a perfect canvas for your make-up and in my opinion it helps you use less foundation because everything glides so easily and looks so effortlessly perfect.
You can read about my beef with Paula Begoun here: If you’re not wearing primer before applying your foundation … your make-up is simply not complete!
3) Foundation: As women age, it’s soooooooooo imperative that you use the RIGHT colour of foundation for your skin. Your foundation should NOT be two shades darker or lighter because it ages you terribly. The same apply to using too much foundation. When applying foundation, I’d recommend either your fingers (which I used for decades) or better yet a foundation brush. The day I discovered why I need to drop an extra $40 on a professional foundation brush was a revelation to me. It’s insane how perfectly finished you look. Of course, if you have time and the inclination spraying on your foundation will give you that veil finish. Sponges are my least favourites because they soak up so much of your foundation.
4) Concealer: Some make-up artist will use the concealer before applying the foundation while others will only use it after they’ve applied the foundation. I’ve tried bought and I get far better results when I apply my concealer before applying my foundation … but this might be a little different for you so you might need to test both methods. I apply concealer under my eyes and on any acne spots I want to hide.
5) Pressed and loose powder: I often use both to finish my make-up. You’ll surely want to choose one or the other because foundation is simply not complete without powder.
6) Blush: Blush should be a kiss of colour and not a big geometric shape on each side of your face. A lot of women really overdo it when it comes to applying blush and it does NOT look good at all … you end up looking like someone who hasn’t got a clue on how to properly applying their make-up. My favourite shades of blush are pink and coral shades because they open up the face. I find that some of the greyer shades close my face. The best technique to applying blush properly is the smiling technique. You should smile at yourself in the mirror and apply your blush on the fleshy parts. Once you are done, you should use your finishing powder brush to even out your blush.
7) Eyes: I know this is a bit controversial and some make-up artists like to counter the entire eye with a black pencil, but in my opinion this worked well when I was 18 or 19 and still clubbing like it was 1999! At my age and with the number of hours I work there is no way I want to close my eyes by countering them entirely with a black pencil. I find the look severe and I find that it accentuates the puffiness under my eyes on those days where I didn’t get a good night’s rest. When it comes to eye make-up, I prefer to keep the black pencil or liquid eyeliner on the top of my lid. During the day, I much prefer a softer look that can take you from the office to cocktails with friends. During the night, I think the smoky eye is a winner because it looks seductive. Luckily, we know that the smoky eye doesn’t have to be done with a black shadow … you can use any colour that compliments your eye colour. My colour of choice when it comes to a smoky eye is purple!
* As women age, I think it’s important not to put on too much eye shadow and make sure you choose shades that compliment your face. As you age, you’ll surely notice deeper wrinkles and creases and you’ll want to take that into consideration when it comes to applying your eye shadow in order not to highlight things you might not want to highlight.
* Fake eyelashes are more popular now than ever. After having had the experience of wearing them for an entire afternoon I must say they do make you feel glamorous, but you have to keep in mind that using pieces will give you a softer and more natural look than using an entire row of fake eyelashes. I’d say your best bet is to actually meet with a make-up artist at a counter (MAC Cosmetics is notorious for this type of thing) and let a beauty expert show you how to properly apply your fake eyelashes.
* While on the topic of beauty experts, a lot of women would win by booking a make-up session with a make-up artist at the cosmetic counter of their choice to learn how to properly apply eye shadow. MAC Cosmetics and Bobby Brown constantly fly their top make-up artists all over North America to teach women how to use their products. I’d say if you are shy in apply eye make-up, book one of those appointments. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this only applies if you are looking for elaborate make-up. Sitting down with a make-up artist even when you are looking for a more natural and low maintenance look makes perfect sense as you age because you really want to learn how to adjust your make-up routine to the changes you see reflected in the mirror.
#8) Mascara: Mascara is an extremely important part of eye make-up and frankly I think that in many cases I find that a good night’s worth of rest and two coats of mascara is all I need for the perfect eye make-up! You can choose different formulas of mascara to address any issue you have. It’s important to properly apply mascara or else it will only end up being a distraction to people looking at you. Make sure you start at the root of your lashes and zigzag your way to the tips.
9) Lips: The days of the dark lip pencil are GONE! It makes your mouth look smaller and it also makes your mouth look small. When it comes to choosing the perfect shade of colour … it’s a combination of your skin tone, the colour of your eye make-up (if you’re wearing any) and the shade of blush you’re using. I always prefer to define my lips with a colour that MATCHES my lip colour and I ALWAYS apply it with a soft hand so that it defines without standing out. Your lip colour and the lipstick colour will dictate what which shade of lip pencil to use. You can choose to apply the lip straight out of the tube or to use a pencil. The pencil will always give you a more finished pout.
Lipstick or lip gloss? I personally don’t believe in discrimination and I indulge in both. That said, I do have a soft spot for lip gloss and when I do apply lipstick I tend to favour the sheer lipstick formulas that give colour but not the full intensity of the more saturated lipstick.
There must be millions of shades of lipstick, lip gloss, sheer lipstick and lip stains on the market and you have to be a bit daring and experiment with colour in order to find the right shade for you!
These nine steps may seem like a lot, but they don’t take that much time. If I’m not doing a smoky eye, I will take about 10 minutes to put on the perfect face. I don’t have that much time because I have quite a busy schedule, but there is ALWAYS time for mascara, blush and a lip colour and that changes your face instantly!
I’ll add one last thing about make-up … we’re in 2009 and there is NO excuse for using the little tiny brushes and sponges that come with the make-up you buy. Making the investment in good quality make-up brushes is essential. They will last you forever and they will help you better apply your make-up. Companies like Sephora, MAC Cosmetics and Beaute Cosmetics have mastered the art of producing professional quality brushes. I must own three different sets of MAC Cosmetic brushes and I always get them when they have their holiday sets. These sets used to only be sold in December and you used to have to buy them when they came out because they sold out so quickly. Lately, I’ve noticed that MAC Cosmetics produces a few summertime sets. You cannot beat the prices and quality on these brushes!
Photo by Enid Yu
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