I know a lot about make-up, probably because I wear a lot of it. However my tips are not for everyone. I am not going to tell you how to get your make-up to look more natural. I am not even sure what that is. If I wanted to look natural, I wouldn’t wear make-up. That is the whole point. I am also not going to tell you how to apply make-up flawlessly as to look like the girls on magazine covers. I am sure you don’t need me telling you that Photoshop was involved in that process, and unfortunately it doesn’t come in a compact. I am not going to tell you how to mix and match your make-up. That is your business. Some say only highlight the eyes or lips, but not both. Why not? I personally highlight everything (refer to my first statement where I tell you I wear a lot of make-up). I don’t know the “rules” of make-up application per se, but I do know what looks good. And despite the fact that I wear tons of it, I have managed over the years to find a balance between the dramatic and the “that should never happen.”
This morning I ran out of eyeliner. I never let my make-up run out completely before getting more, but I have been rather distracted lately, so as I pull the little stick out of its holder, I notice it is completely dry. Like most women I have containers filled with refuse make-up products that never made it into the everyday wear pile. As I am rummaging around I find a dark black eyeliner. I generally wear purple since it complements my eyes (hazel eyes will appear more honey-ish with purple trim, as opposed to black liner that will darken them).
Looking through this bag of make-up I started remembering the various stages of my application techniques over the years. I have always had the dramatic eyes going on. Full liner, dark shadow, highlights, etc. But even so, now I have managed to do it more subtly. I am not sure how it happened, but I went from having full on Cleopatra eyes to crazy shades of popular hues, to something that really works for me (which I will get to in a second). In case you are wondering, yes, I did have a neon blue eye shadow phase. And not just any neon blue, but the most obnoxious shade of it imaginable that I would dutifully spread across the entire surface of my eyelids, extending close to my brow line. Recall Mimi from the Drew Carey Show. Yes, I know. Back then I totally thought it looked good, but unlike now, no one actually validated this opinion. In fact several of my friends would often hint at other colors, tactfully trying to direct me towards the softer hues and beiges. I think that was the problem. I have never been a beige eye shadow kind of girl. And this is perfectly fine, except I never experimented enough with other colors to figure out that neon blue was just not my color (or anyone else’s). Back then if a man ever said to me “let’s take that off,” he was referring to the eye shadow. For the most part people just let me indulge this for several months until the fad wore off and I was forced to find an alternative. That is when I discovered shimmer. It was still not me, but a large step up from the neon blue. It has been a while since then, and many other experiments have been conducted, but I think I finally figured out what works.
Creating the perfect eye shadow intensity:
I won’t tell you which color is best for your eyes. Again, that is for you to figure out, and also half the fun. But sometimes colors you buy don’t look as they do on in the bottle or compact (just like nail polish), and you end up tossing them into the refuse drawer or bag. The problem is usually the intensity. You buy a deep color only to find it pales on your actual skin. To bring out the true color of the shadow, apply liquid concealer to your eye lids before the shadow. It will deepen the color and also prolong the wear since now your make up has an extra layer of protection from natural body oils. It will also allow you to put extra shadow on, working it into the concealer, so if creasing occurs you can easily smooth it over with your finger.
Adding shadows to your blush:
Not everyone has high, defined cheek bones. But you can certainly create their image. Instead of using just one blush color to highlight your cheeks, use two tones to really illuminate your structure. Use either a bronzer or regular blush that is two tones darker than your skin on your actual cheek bones. Then apply a softer, more natural blush to the apples of your cheeks, extending all the way to your temples. The contrast will make your cheeks pop just the right amount. Make sure you blend them so there are no definite borders between the two colors, or between your blush and the rest of your face. Basically blend until it looks like your cheeks just radiate with color. You will know. If it doesn’t look right, it is not.
Special occasion lips:
This is not an everyday tip, but for some it can be. I personally prefer ColorStay these days. There are dozens of colors to chose from, and the color doesn’t fade or wear off for many hours, even if you are eating or drinking. However, if you are okay with reapplying often, or just don’t like the way stay-on lipsticks feel (they do have a weird texture, and I know plenty of women who won’t wear them), then you can benefit from using a lip plumper. Some women do not need to plump their lips. I envy you. I don’t *need* it, but I do like the effect it has. A lot of different brands make plumper, and one of my favorites is Buxom. If you don’t like the tingly feeling or the taste of these products, then you can achieve a similar effect by dabbing some gold or silver lip gloss to the center of your lower lip over your normal lip stick. Smear it in a bit, and your lips will appear fuller. In my opinion gold works best for this trick.
A quick note about the lip plumper: do not use if you plan on kissing someone. It will sting them. It will not come off right away.
There are dozens more tips I can provide, but these are the basics. Next week I will discuss some of the less obvious ways to apply make-up.