“Pretty is something you’re born with. But beautiful, that’s an equal opportunity adjective.” Anon
Make-up shouldn’t be this dark hole that only a few lucky women in the know understand. I don’t know a woman who doesn’t want to look beautiful. Look closely. Right or wrong, even the women I see in pardah (the Islamic black head-to-toe covering that shows only a women’s eyes and hands) has had a manicure and is wearing some make up.
I’m no pro, but I have made some fundamental mistakes in the past. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned the hard way over the years through experimenting and just generally finding my way through this dark hole:
Before you start:
- Wash your hands before you apply any moisturiser or make-up. I know this sounds over obvious, but I’ve seen some horrendous things.
- Clean and moisture your skin properly ahead of applying make-up (last night’s shower doesn’t count). If you don’t, don’t bother with make up at all.
- Vary the formulation of your skincare as needed. For example in Winter I use the dry skin formulation of my creams and in Summer I move to the combination variation of the same cream.
- It doesn’t matter how dark your skin tone is – wear an SPF. Black does crack. Really. You can often get this built into your moisturiser or foundation these days.
- Seen those women on TV with chicken necks? Skin care is not just about your face – don’t forget your décolletage!
- I’m not a fan of salon facials. I’d rather spend that money on buying skin treatments you can do weekly at home (or on a massage!).
- I know you *know* it’s bad to sleep with make-up on, so I won’t labour this point but try keeping a pack of make-up remover wipes at your bedside for those lazy nights.
- Make sure wherever you do your make-up everyday has loads of natural light. Hence a fluorescent lit store isn’t the best place to make a purchasing decision.
- Once you’ve cleaned and moisturised, let your skin rest for 10 to 15 mins before you start to apply make-up.
- Your foundation is your most important make-up purchase – spend time finding the right colour and formulation (stick, liquid, mousse etc). Wearing the wrong colour foundation is a crime against humanity.
- If you like a liquid liner look but don’t have steady hand, try a gel liner – much easier!
- Splurge items should be: foundation, concealer, corrector and powder. Buy the best quality you can afford.
- Go-cheap-if-you-must items: mascara, blusher, eye shadow.
- Blend your foundation well – ask someone to check you before you walk out of the door to ensure you don’t have streaks. Looking into a mirror, cup your hand over your hairline pulling your hair back away from your face and ensure you can’t see where your foundation starts and ends. Check your jaw line. Your neck and face should be the same colour. Obviously.
- Don’t be intimidated by make-up girls behind the counter in stores. Ask all your questions and get them to do a trial for you in-store, its often complimentary. Get them to write down all the products they use on you so you know what to ask for if you decide to come back and buy.
- Remember that these sales assistants work for their respective make-up houses/brands & are chasing daily targets, so expect them to punt their products hard. Don’t give in to undue pressure and make sure you get multiple opinions and samples.
- On that note, dont be shy. Ask for samples you can try at home in better lighting.
- Get onto their mailing list for events and launches etc.
- Invest the right tools. Yes it’s going to be expensive. I bought 2 sets make up brushes from The Make-Up Studio (one for home and one for my handbag/travelling). Years on I still have them. Don’t use the cheap “mini” applicators that come with some products.
- The best applicator for foundation is your finger! Yup, your body heat “melts” the foundation so it goes on easily and spreads well. If like me, you don’t enjoy the messiness of that, use a foundation brush instead. Whatever you do don’t use a sponge, it soaks up all your expensive product although it does even out well.
- Please please please wash your make up brushes at least every 2nd week with a gentle shampoo. Towel dry & then let them air dry – I’m shocked at how many women don’t ever do this!
Read here for my daily self-taught routines on make-up and skincare and how I’m learning to love the skin I’m in.
I’d love to know – what are the mistakes you have made and learned from???
Remember – accentuate, don’t cover up. Make the best, no better, of what you have. Love the skin you’re in. Try.