I get asked about my makeup. Like, a lot. I think this has less to do with the Inherent Awesome with which I apply my makeup and more to do with my complete lack of color fear. :D For example, my eyeshadow application may be neat & mediocre & uninspired, but if the eyeshadow itself is a combination of neon & spring greens (like today), people notice it and go "HEY! You're great at eyeshadow!"
But it occurs to me that through pure love of it, I have acquired a lot of makeup knowledge, and many of you have asked. Some of you don't even have the vocabulary, so that's kinda how I'm going to start. You other Makeup Monkeys please feel free to jump in and clarify if I start getting questions in the comments. I am certainly not the only makeup fan here, and there are a couple of people on my list who are far better at it than I am.
What I find is this: yes, the eyeshadow is the "centerpiece" of my face, but in order to be happy with it, I have to make the rest of the face look a certain way, too. For me, the look I'm most fond of is very matte, no shimmer. I contour my cheekbones and my jaw line and that's it. The only other place I wear much color is on my lips, and only in the winter. In the summer, my dearest asqmh
has kinda converted me to the glossy, sheer wash of color type look. My high pigment MAC lipsticks are mostly for the cold weather.
If I mention products, I'm going to try & list both a high-end brand and a department store brand, so you know what to look for in your price range. I use a mix of both, honestly. I'm a Target girl, so anything I mention is available there.Stuff That Goes On Your Face in General
In the order I use them in..Cleanser
I use a mild soap for this, honestly. Some people will flip out & tell you NEVER to use soap, but there's this guy at the Memphis Farmer's Market who sells goat's milk soap and y'all, it's the BEST. This is what I use to wash my face, and it does me very well. I'm also extremely fond of several LUSH cleansers, like Ultrabland and Angels on Bare Skin.Scrub
Cleanser is mandatory; this one is optional. A "scrub" is something that exfoliates the top layer of your skin. I have a tendency toward dry skin no matter what I do, so I use scrubs to get rid of that top, dull looking layer. I don't use them every day except on my lips. My lips peel like CRAZY, and the only way to keep that under control is to use a scrub to get the dead skin off daily. My favorites are Ocean Salt from LUSH and the Walnut Scrub from Bath Junkie.Toner
Toner is a liquid you use after cleanser & before moisturizer to make sure you've gotten all of the cleanser & scrub off your skin. Some people swear by this but it seems pretty optional to me. I will say that when I use a toner I need less moisturizer. I use Tea Tree Water by LUSH. Department store option: look for something by Clean & Clear or Noxema. Please note: astringent is different. It's harsher on your skin & I don't recommend it. Sea Breeze has an astringent. IT BURNS USSSSSS.Moisturizer
Even if you have oily skin, you should probably be using one of these. You've just washed the devil out of your face & it's time to be putting some healthy moisture back in. Also, drink water. Your skin likes it. That's not Makeup Hillary talking...that's Nurse Hillary. Physically, skin is healthier when you're hydrated. Obviously if you're oily skinned, you won't want a heavy moisturizer. Enzymion (LUSH) is a very good light one. In Target, look for the Oil of Olay brand and then pick one that says it's for your skin type. I use Neutrogena Healthy Skin lotion at night, to sleep in, and I use LUSH Celestial or Imperialis under my makeup during the day.Primer
Optional. Sometimes I use it, sometimes I don't. Primer goes on over your moisturizer and creates a smooth surface for your foundation. I always wear it beneath powder foundation (it makes my skin look very matte, and then the powder evens out the tone). In a store like Sephora, you'll notice many brands: Sephora, Smashbox, Urban Decay, Makeup For Ever. They all cost more than $10, and all of them have a common ingredient: dimethicone. Want to know a secret? This is another tidbit from asqmh
. Monistat makes a "chafing ointment". If you've ever worn a pair of wet jeans & gotten a rash, or if you've had "chub rub" where your legs rub together, that's what this stuff is for. Put it on your skin & it creates a barrier, smoothing out all of the friction-causing places. Monistat's ointment? Dimethicone. So if you can get over putting something called "Monistat" on your face, you can get a tube of primer for $5. :D It's what I use, and I also own a sample of Sephora's primer. They look, feel, and wear EXACTLY the same.Foundation
Now here we get into MAKEUP! Foundation is optional. The goal of foundation is to even out your skin tone. You want to match your skin tone as closely as possible. For this I do recommend going to someplace like Sephora or the MAC counter or another place where there are makeup professionals. If places like Target had testers available, it would be a different story, but as it stands you'd have to buy a whole product before you could test it. At Sephora or MAC or Ulta, testers of all products are available, and you can try out a foundation on your hand (or even your face, if you were so inclined!). It's really great. In fact, this is what I did a few days ago to test the powder foundation I got. You can't go on dark/light alone; skin has "undertones", and sometimes they're unexpected. I am ivory, but my undertones are more pink than gold (which is unusual for a redhead). Like I said, check them out to see what fits you best.
Foundation comes in many forms: powders, liquids, creams, etc. You can apply it with a sponge, a brush, your finger, whatever. Different forms have different "coverages"; powder applied dry has a light coverage and is good for natural looks, while liquids & creams have heavier coverage, and usually go on with a sponge or fingers. I favor 2 currently: Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse (in Classic Ivory) for my medium-full coverage and Sephora Mattifying Powder Foundation (in D20) for my light-medium coverage. I apply the Maybelline with my fingers and blend it all over. The Sephora is applied dry with a kabuki brush (short, very broad brush with a very short handle, meant to be used with a circular "buffing" motion). To illustrate what I mean by coverage: the Maybelline lightens my freckles to the point that you can't even see them on my forehead, and they're much more faint on my nose & cheeks. The Sephora powder lets my freckles shine right through; it just seems to "soft focus" my skin. They're there, they're just less sharp.Blush
Blush is used to "contour" your face. It's slightly different from your skin tone; brighter or darker. You put it somewhere on your cheeks to achieve a certain look. For example, I use Sephora's Blush Trio in Apricot. I place it just on the bottom edge of my cheekbones. You can barely tell it's there; all it does is call attention to my cheekbones. It emphasizes them, makes you notice that they're there. Why? Because I have awesome cheekbones. That's the point of blush. You use it to emphasize the line you want on your face. You have adorable apple cheeks that make you look 10 years younger? Blush them puppies. It's going to depend heavily on the shape of your face, so I can't tell you precisely where to put it. To me, some of the best examples of blush usage are 1940s Hollywood actresses and pinups. Those girlies knew how to rock the rouge.
DO remember, however, that blush should not be terribly noticeable by itself unless that's the specific look you're going for. This is why I would never wear an extremely magenta blush; I stick to slightly cool tone apricots & peaches. You want it to blend into your own skin tone at the edges. Don't apply it so that it leaves a visible line. Lines look icky.Bronzer
Bronzer is related to blush, but not quite the same. Some people use it to make it look like they've been in the sun; a fake tan, if you will. That's not what I use it for. I use it on my neck, just underneath my jaw line. This is because from the front I have a very defined looking jaw, but from the side I do not. Bronzer (EXTREMELY WELL BLENDED) beneath that jaw creates a more defined line. I put this on with a fan brush for super delicate application, and then I blend the living daylights out of it. You can use any bronze-toned blush for this. Physician's Formula is a great department store brand for this, and I'm currently using Sephora's bronzer in "Bahamas" I think.
I am not well-versed in using bronzer to actually, y'know, BRONZE oneself. I'm assuming it would go on the places one wanted to look "sun-kissed", like perhaps the tops of the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, etc. Again, BLEND THE DEVIL OUT OF IT. You do not want a line. Lines are not okay. Powder
Finishing powder or setting powder is used to bring the look of a face together. In my case, it's a matte powder that I use to kill the last bit of shine on my nose & cheeks & forehead. Others don't use a matte powder; for example, asqmh
is a junkie for MAC's "Mineralize Skin Finish". These provide a bit of shimmer and make your face look quite "glowy", as though someone lit a candle under your skin. It's a very pretty look if it's your style. My powder: Maybelline Dream Matte powder. I've not used any of the higher-end powders because I'm really very happy with this one.
That's it for now. I'll take a poll here: next, shall I do lipwear or eyewear?