Now that you’ve spent a fortune on that ‘perfect finish’ mineral or liquid makeup that is all the rage, what’s next? You browse fashion magazines to study the makeup effects of the models and stars and spend hours in front of the mirror every morning applying ‘your face’. Why doesn’t it look right? What’s it gonna take?
Let the sun shine
Is your makeup area well lit? Is it TOO well lit? Try adjusting the lighting and you may discover that you are finally able to cover flaws and highlight your strengths without much difficulty. Consider investing in one of those free-standing makeup mirrors which has adjustable lighting for day, evening and office. You can sometimes pick them up at yard sales and Goodwill for a dollar or two!
Now, close your eyes and picture…you! Is the look you are aiming for realistic? Does it ‘fit’ you? Does it fit your lifestyle? These are important questions to ask yourself because for any ‘look’ to look RIGHT, it has to look like you – your personality, your lifestyle.
If only I could look like…
Ok, now, you’re still thinking of all of those gorgeous babes in the magazines, eh? Well, pick one of them who has similar features to your own. For me, that’d probably be Barbra Streisand (that nose – sigh!) But, man, what a beautiful lady! Muted shadows, earth tones, light/sheer lips. That’s the look that works for me, just as it always has for her.
Tone it down
Speaking of earth tones and sheer…are you choosing the right colors to complement your skin tone, personality and lifestyle? For example, I’m fair skinned, am a single, working mom and have a decidedly off-kilter sense of humor. I don’t need bright blue and violet eye shadows to draw attention to myself, my mouth usually does that for me! And, with my fair complexion, the earth tones blend and accentuate, not over-power.
And speaking of single motherhood, who has TIME to do the dramatic, stop-you-in-your-tracks effects that so many models show off?
A side note
Here’s a great example of using eye makeup to accentuate, not compete with, your eyes. My 19-year-old popped her head in while I was writing this article to tell me she was off to see her boyfriend. I looked up to tell her to have fun and be careful and noticed her eye shadow. The kid had put sparkly white all over her eyelid. Pretty color, but not for her. She, like her mom, is fair skinned and she has BRIGHT blue eyes.
So, I simply said “c’mere Jess” and I took one muted sparkly medium brown color eye shadow, and using an eye shadow brush, brushed it lightly over the base of her lid. “Ok, go look”
“Wow, that really makes my eyes pop, mom, thanks!” I hear from the bathroom. And it did make her eyes pop. Muted earth tones to offset some brilliantly bright blue eyes. And it took all of 45 seconds to do.
Practice makes perfect
Learn by doing, and by having a friend apply your makeup. Take turns with a friend for an afternoon applying each other’s makeup. See through someone else’s eyes how they picture you. If you have daughters who are old enough, do this with them. You may not like, or feel comfortable, with every makeup trick they tried, but I bet you’ll pick up one or two that you do like and you’d never thought of.
A solid foundation
Selecting your foundation color is the essential first step to a beautiful face. Keep in mind the season – what looks gorgeous with that mid-July sun-kissed tan of yours will look like a Halloween mask by late October, so take a look at your color selections often.
For a liquid foundation, apply with fingertips or a sponge, starting with your forehead and working down to your chin in a ‘T’ shape and then smoothly blend out towards the edges of your face. Don’t use too much pressure during the blending and don’t forget your neck! A makeup line around your jaw line is just not the ‘cosmo look’ I know you’re going for! Personally, I am in love with mineral makeup. I like how it applies, how it blends, how it stays and also how it allows my skin to breathe. I do have to say that Bare Escentuals is the best I’ve found (and no, I don’t sell their product, but I do swear by them!)
The eyes have it
Choose colors which complement and emphasize your eyes, not compete with them. If you have big, beautiful, brown eyes, then greens and golds are a perfect choice. Blue eyes go great with muted earth tones and green eyes just look amazing with the purples and violets. These don’t have to be BRIGHT shades, you can find muted shades of most any color to complement your eyes. Those of us with variable eye color, or hazel eyes, can wear almost any color and have it set off our eyes, but I would steer clear of the blues!
I’ve found that powder eye shadows (loose powder), when applied with a good quality eye shadow brush, tend to look the most natural and stay in place the longest. If you have problems keeping your shadow in place, try brushing a layer of finishing powder or mineral makeup lightly over the lid before applying the shadow.
For eye liner – I like the powders, but, even if you like the liquid, remember one thing – smudge your liner enough that it doesn’t look like someone took a sharpie to your eyes! Line from the start of your bottom lashes towards the corner of your eye to the outer corner. On the upper lid, line as close to the base of your lashes as you can – and smudge enough that it is an effect and not a ‘line’. NEVER completely encircle your eye (lining the inside corner) unless you have absolutely huge eyes as lining all the way around makes your eyes look much, much smaller. And this is usually not the end result we women are looking for!
Here’s where most of us have some problems. What I do is use a bronzer *lightly* across cheekbones and then do a light dusting of a very sheer rosy color over my entire face and neck to give my face a healthy, glowing look. The key here is ‘less is more’. You want to look rosy and healthy, not look like a painted ventriloquist’s dummy! Use a soft, wide, natural-bristled make-up brush and finish with an almost sheer light finishing powder all over face and neck. (This extends the lifespan of your makeup and evens out your facial tone)
Last but certainly not least – the lips. Choose a muted-tone liner, one that is at least the same shade as your lipstick, if not one shade lighter. Now, I’m notorious for licking and biting my lips all day and lipstick usually doesn’t have a prayer of staying put for more than about 10 minutes. So, what I do is use a lip pencil that is in a little darker hue of a shade I like (I love the mauves) and line my lips. (tip: don’t line the corners of your lips – only line TO the corners of your lips)
After lining, I actually use the lip liner to fill in with color on my lips, then put on a layer of lip plumping gloss in a lighter shade to offset the darker lip liner. This works well for me as I have thin lips and it stays much better than any lipstick I’ve tried (and I’ve tried most of the “this will last all day” stuff!).
Wala – you’re well on your way to a gorgeous you!