Beauty Basics: It’s “Prime” Time!
I’ve been receiving a lot of questions about eye makeup and foundation lately and more often than not, my first thought is:
"They must not be using a primer."
What’s so great about primers?
So funny you should ask :] In my opinion, primers are key to making any look the best it can be. Think about if you needed to paint a room in your house. What’s the first thing your typically do? Lay down a primer. Same principle applies…just with makeup :]
Primers help to do the following:
- They give you a good canvas. Primers are going to fill in any fine lines and help make the area your applying makeup to nice and even. Some primers can also help to even out your skin tone a bit.
- They give your makeup something to stick to. Now, I don’t mean that primers are super sticky on your face, but they will give the makeup you’re applying something to adhere to, which in turn will help your makeup last MUCH longer than it would on it’s own.
- They provide a barrier between your face and your makeup. I’m not saying that primers are going to help clear your skin or anything, but since they fill in any uneven areas on your face, they are going to help keep makeup from really seeping into your pores.
- They help to keep your skin moisturized. What I mean by this, is primers help to lock in your skins moisture so that your face won’t dry out over time. This may not be the case for EVERY primer, but those a typically mattifying primers which are meant to remove the excess oil from your skin but can sometimes take out a bit of the moisture as well.
Types of Primers.
There are really two types of primers: face and eye. They have different types of formulas, but their end goal is still the same…making your makeup last.
Choosing the Right Primer.
Picking the perfect primer for you is really going to depend on your skin’s chemistry.So ask yourself the following question:
"Do I have dry, normal, combination, oily, or sensitive skin?"
The answer to that question will help guide your in choosing the right primer for you. I’m going to talk through each skin type and then provide a face and eye primer that will work best for you.
I have dry skin.
Well, if you have dry skin, you’re going to want to help look for something that is going to help hydrate your skin as much as possible. You’ll want to look for something that has a lotion type feel to it for the face. For the eyes, look for something that’s creamy.
Stay away from any primers that claim to be mattifying. The point of those primers is to help to draw excess oil and moisture from your skin. If you have dry skin, a primer that is mattifying can lead to your skin appearing flaky…not what you want.
Face primer(s) for dry skin:
1. Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer
2. Laura Geller Spackle Under Makeup Primer
Eye primer(s) for dry skin:
1. Mally Eye Essentials Perfect Prep Eye Primer
2. Benefit Lemon Aid Color Correcting Eyelid Primer
I have normal skin.
Well aren’t you just lucky :] You can look for a primer that’s more suited for what look you’re really going for. You can try a hydrating formula is you want your skin to stay nice and dewy, or you could go for a mattifying primer if you really want your skin to stay nice and matte.
Face primer(s) for normal skin:
1. Makeup Forever HD Microperfecting Primer
2. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer
3. Laura Mercier Foundation Primer
Eye primer(s) for normal skin:
1. MAC Paint Pots
2. Too Faced Shadow Insurance
3. Urban Decay Primer Potion
I have combination or oily skin.
The key to your skin is going to be helping control any excess oil you might get. Your going to want to look for primers that help to mattify the face. For eye primers, look for ones that will dry to a matte finish.
More often than not, when you have oily or combination skin, you’ll have larger pores. Try and find primers that help to minimize the size of your pores.
Also, look for primers that are oil-free.
Face primer(s) for oily/combination skin:
1. Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light
2. NARS Oil-Free Pro-Prime Pore Refining Primer
Eye primer(s) for oily/combination skin:
1. Benefit Stay Don’t Stray Primer
I have sensitive skin.
You wan’t to do the best you can to protect your sensitive skin, so finding a primer may be a bit more difficult.
I would try and stay away from primers that have silicone in them. Silicone can prevent your skin from breathing as much and lead to breakouts.
I’d also try and look for primers with more natural ingredients in them.
Face primer(s) for sensitive skin:
1. Tarte Clean Slate Primer
2. Tarte ReCreate Silicone-Free Primer
3. Covergirl & Olay Simply Ageless Primer Serum
Eye primer(s) for sensitive skin:
1. Korres Eye Primer
That’s all I’ve got. Hope this helped! Make every morning prime and start using face and eye primers! :]
Getting to Know Your Skin
We all want to get the most from our makeup, and in order to do that, you need to have a full understanding of your skin. Depending on your skin type, you’re going to want to chose different products that are going to help combat some of the issues that your skin might have.
If you don’t know your skin type, take a minute and introduce yourself to your skin. Touch it, get to know it. Your skin is like a brooding teenager…it just wants to be understood :]
Let’s just dive right in…
Determining Your Skin Type
There are 4 main skin types; Combination, Oily, Normal, and Dry.
- Oily: When your skin is oily, it will often look and feel moist. You have large, open pore when your skin is oily. You may be more prone to breakouts all throughout your face as your pore tend to get more clogged when you have oily skin. Your skin will tend to build up oil throughout the day and may be very shiny by mid-day.
- Dry: One key way to tell your face is dry, is how it responds after you wash your face. If you skin tends to feel tight, then your skin is most likely dry. Your skin may also get red or irritated when subjected to harsh weather conditions.
- Combination: Combination skin is very common. You can think of it as a hybrid of oily and dry skin types. When you have combination skin you tend to get oily only in certain spots, typically your T-Zone (forehead, down your nose, and chin) and you’ll stay dry around your temples, under your eyes, and cheeks. Since your t-zone is oily, you may also tend to break out there as well. You can also have combination skin when your skin types changes during certain types of the year. So for instance if you skin is dryer in the winter than it is in the summer you may have combination skin.
- Normal: There is always one of us that will luck out and have normal skin. Normal skin tends to have an even complexion and will find that it’s balanced, so it’s not too oily or too dry. You won’t notice a change in your skin throughout the day like the other skin types. You also won’t have much of a reaction to your skin when trying new facial products.
Now, if you don’t have normal skin, don’t fret. All skin types can be worked with, it’s just about understanding what your skin naturally wants to do and trying your best to work with it, not against it.
Here are 5 quick steps you can do to determine your skin type:
1. Wash your face and gently pat it dry. Allow your skin to sit for 30 minutes before moving on to step 2.
2. Grab a Kleenex or tissue and cover as much of your face with the tissue as you can and gently press it into your skin from top to bottom.
3. Remove the Kleenex or tissue from your face without rubbing it into your face. You’ll want to peel it away from your face.
4. Examine the tissue. You might need to hold it up to a light.
5. If the tissue is oily in several spots then your skin is oily. If the tissue is oily in a few spots, especially around your forehead and nose, then you have combination skin. If the tissue has little to no oil on it, then your skin is either dry or normal. The way to tell is dry is to feel your skin after you’ve applied the tissue to it. If you notice flaky areas, then your skin is dry. Normal skin will leave little to no oil on the tissue and your skin will still feel supple.
In addition to knowing your skin type, there are two main problems that your skin might also deal with: Sensitivity and Acne-Prone.
- Sensitive: A lot of times, when your skin type is sensitive, lotions, sunblock, and other face product tend to irritate your skin, so you need to be very careful when applying things to your face.
- Acne-Prone: Don’t think acne is just something teenagers have to deal with. Pimples and breakouts are something we may have to deal with later in life, and if you have oily skin you’re especially susceptible to this. So if you think your skin is acne-prone, make sure you have good skin care regiment in place that involves acne treatment.
Let’s Talk Eyeliner!
Eyeliner is one of those things can be a bit overwhelming when you’re first starting out with makeup. Even if you’ve been doing your makeup for a while it can still give you plenty of hassle.
There are different types of eyeliner and they can serve different purposes, so it’s good to have an understanding of what works best about particular liner styles, what are some of their quirks, etc.
Let’s address something first…why even apply eyeliner?
Eyeliner is going to add definition to your eyes. It’s going to help make your eyes pop, and make them appear larger as well. By applying eyeliner along your lashes, you’re going to help make them appear thicker…and who doesn’t love thicker lashes, right??
Now, let’s talk about the different types of eyeliner.
- Liquid liner can come in either a tube with a brush that comes out that has the liner on it or a liner pen that contains the liquid inside of the pen.
- Liquid liners can be a bit tricky. They take a lot of practice to get down, but once you have practiced with it, you’ll get a super bold, slick looking liner which is great for dramatic looks.
- Since it’s a liquid, it can sometimes get out of control and it easily smudges, so it’s very important if you want your liquid liner to last, you should really set it with an eye shadow.
-Applying a liquid liner takes a very steady, precise hand, because it will show all of your mistakes.
- Great for creating cat eye liner and other dramatic styles
- You can get very thin, precise lines and will help to make your lashes look thicker
- Takes a ton of practice and patience
- Smudges pretty easily
Liquid Eyeliners To Try:
- Drugstore: Revlon Colorstay Liquid Liner
- High-end: MAC Superslick Liquid Eyeliner
- Gel liner comes in pot and can either be applied with a fine tipped eyeliner brush or an angled eyeliner brush.
- I’ll admit that I am a huge fan of gel eyeliner. It’s my favorite, so I’m gonna try to not make this biased :] So, with all that being said, gel liner delivers a great look because they are very pigmented and last a long time.
- Gel liners also make a great base for eye shadows.
- Like liquid liner, gel liner does take some practice, but unlike liquid liner, it’s creamy gel consistency, makes it easier to go on and won’t slip and slide around on you like a liquid liner will.
- One thing that is frustrating about gel liners is that they can dry out pretty easily, so it’s important to make sure the lid is fully closed so you don’t allow excess air in to the pot.
- Consistency makes it easy to apply
- Great for great cat eye / winded liner
- Great for smudging along your lower lash line
- Can sometimes take practice to learn to apply properly
- Tends to dry out quickly
- Not as portable since it requires a separate brush to apply it.
Gel Eyeliners To Try:
- Drugstore: Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Liner
- High-end: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Liner
- Pencil liners are definitely the most basic of the types of eyeliner. They are easiest to apply and are very convenient. You don’t have to have any other makeup tools to apply them. Whenever you need more, you can just sharpen your pencil.
- Some eyeliner pencils can be a bit hard, so when you apply it to your lid it can hurt. So when looking for pencils, find one that has a creamier formula.
- Pencils are great to have, because they can be used to do so many different things. You can also use eyeliner pencils to line your lips or fill in your eyebrows.
- Pencils are also great for lining your waterline, but make sure it’s a waterproof formula so that if you tend to tear, they won’t pull the makeup back into your eye.
- Really easy to apply and control
- Comes in a variety of colors so you can achieve lots of different looks
- Can be used for a lot of different purposes
- Is often hard to get a very precise, accurate line
- If the formula of the pencil is hard, it can sometimes hurt or pull on the lid as your apply it.
Types of Eyeliner Pencils To Try:
- Drugstore: NYX Jumbo Eyeliner Pencils
- High-end: Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner Pencils
Now that we have a better understanding about the different types of eyeliner, let’s talk about the different types of shapes we can create with eyeliner. There are LOTS of different shapes that can be created, but I’ll just discuss 3 of the basic ones that you could wear on a day to day basis.
This shape just follows the natural shape of your lashes. It’s going to help make your lashes appear thicker and fuller.
Subtle, Natural Cat-Eye:
To create this shape, think of it as if you’re extending your lower lash line upwards toward your brow. This liner gets a bit thicker toward the outer corner and wings out. You can also smudge a bit on your lower lash line to help make you lower lashes appear thicker as well.
If you have droopy eyes, this little flick you add to your outer corner will help lift them.
Bold, Dramatic Cat-Eye:
This look really helps to reshape your eye. It’s going to help your eye appear elongated and lifted.
Fine Tipped Eyeliner Brush:
Good for getting a nice thin line close to the lash line
Flat Eyeliner Brush:
Good for smudging color into the lash line and helping them appear thicker
Bent Eyeliner Brush:
Similar to a fine tipped liner brush, but the tip is bent. This can make it easier to apply winged liner because your hand won’t cover up your eye as you apply it.
Angled Eyeliner Brush:
Good for applying cat-eye eyeliner. Also good for applying shadow to your eyebrows.
Some Extra Eyeliner Tips:
If you’re curious to see exactly how to apply eyeliner, it’s probably better to watch someone do it, rather than have me explain it, so here’s a video for your enjoyment :]
Here are some extra tips for applying liner.
- Applying white eyeliner to your lower lash line will help your eyes appear bigger
- Make sure you apply your liner as thinly as possible and then build the thickness as desired. It’s always easier to add then it is to take away.
- Make sure your liner is as close to your lashes as possible. You don’t want to have a gap between your lashes and your liner.
- I’d throw out your eyeliner after about 6 months, any longer than that, and you risk bacteria building up.
- When applying liner, use short even strokes. Don’t try to do it all in one motion.
- Don’t be afraid of colored liners. They can add a fun pop of color to your look.
Beauty Basics: Making the Most of Your Lashes
When I think back to my younger days, the first makeup product I wore on a regular basis was mascara. I think more often than not, mascara is one of the first makeup products we all tend to try on our own. Lashes are something that automatically can pull an eye look together, so making the most of them is key.
For many, our lashes are something we tend to apply product to on a daily basis. And if you’re just starting out with makeup, you might be wondering some tips and tricks on applying mascara, or what kinds of brands are best for certain things, or perhaps how to prevent your lashes from clumping, or even why you should curl your lashes. Well hopefully I can provide you with that info in this post and by the end you’ll be able to apply mascara like a champ and have an idea of a brand that will work for you. Let’s get started!
Tips to Applying Mascara:
- DON’T pump your mascara wand before applying it. I’m not sure who started this and why…but all this does is push air into the mascara tube and dry out the mascara quicker.
- Before you place the wand on your lashes, make sure you’ve removed any excess product. You really don’t need a ton of mascara to coat your lashes, and by having the excess product, it’s only going to lead to your lashes potentially clumping up.
- As you apply your mascara, wiggle the wand from side to side as you bring the wand up your lashes. Wiggling the wand from side to side is what separates your lashes and helps to prevent them from clumping. This way, you get a nice even application.
- When applying mascara, I think it helps to look down into a mirror. This will help prevent getting the mascara onto your eyelid and potentially ruining your eye makeup.
- I think it helps to apply a layer of mascara to the tops of your lashes as well. It helps them to look thicker and will curl your lashes a bit too.
Picking the Right Mascara for You:
It’s important that when looking for a mascara you get the right formula for what you’re looking for. Are you wanting to add length? How about thickness? It’s important to know these things so you get the right one.
If your lashes need help in the length department, then lengthening mascara is for you. Lengthening mascaras are going to have applicators with densely packed bristles so that you can really get the product on your lashes. It’s going to help define and separate each lash.
A product you might want to try: Maybelline Define-a-Lash mascara
Thickening / Voluminizing Mascara:
These type of mascaras are for when you want to make your lashes appear fuller and more dense.
A product you might want to try: L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara
Waterproof mascaras are great when you need a mascara that is smudge proof. These types of mascaras contain special ingredients that help to repel water so that they don’t come off. However, be advised, waterproof formulas can be a bit harsh on the lashes when used frequently. You should always make sure to fully remove this mascara to prevent your lashes from breaking.
A product you might want to try: Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara
Non Clumping Mascara:
Non clumping mascara is a type of lengthening mascara. You might also see it referred to as telescopic mascara. It’s just a mascara that contains some ingredients that prevent it from clumping, i.e. silk extract or glycerin. This is good for people with shorter, densely packed eyelashes, as it will add length without clumping your eyelashes together.
A product you might want to try: L’Oreal Telescopic Explosion Mascara
Some Extra Lash Tips:
- Curl your lashes before applying mascara. I know that eyelash curler looks a bit scary, but it really does help to curl your lashes before you put on your mascara. Why you ask? Well, when you curl them they’ll extend upwards and when you apply the mascara to them you’ll be able to see them more. One thing to note, don’t ever curl your lashes after you’ve applied mascara, you risk breaking them off!
- Try applying two different types of mascara. This is a tip used by a lot of makeup artists. What they’ll do is first apply one coat of a lengthening mascara and then follow it up with a mascara that has a thickening formula. This will help you get lashes that will look more like falsies!
- Use an eyelash primer. An eyelash primer works like any other primer you use. It’s going to help separate your lashes and it’ll give your mascara something to stick to.
Beauty Basics: Getting the Most Out of Your Lipstick
Overall applying lipstick is a pretty simple thing, but there are a few steps you can take to make sure your get maximum staying power from your lipstick.
Check out these few simple steps:
1. Make sure your lips are moisturized.
Lips that are well conditioned are important to getting your lipstick to last as long as it can. If your lips are dry and cracked, the lipstick isn’t going to bind as well to your lip. So make sure your lips are kiss-ably soft before you begin to apply any lip products.
2. Use a lip liner.
When applying lip liner you’ll want to trace along your lip line and then fill in the rest of your lip with the lip pencil. Try and pick a lip liner that is similar to the color lipstick you’ll be applying over it. This is going to create a base for your lipstick, just like we’d do with eyelid primer when applying eye shadow. Same principle. Plus, lip liner lasts a lot longer than lipstick. So are your lipstick wears away naturally, if you apply a lip liner than is a similar color to your lipstick, you’ll still have a bit of color to your lips.
Since we’re on the subject of lip liner, I thought I would note this as well: DON’T line outside of your lips. A lot of people think that it will make your lips look bigger, but just so we’re all clear, everyone will know that your lips aren’t as big as you’re trying to make them appear.
3. Apply your lipstick with a lip brush
Now, I understand you might have to skip this step when you’re in a hurry, but I think it really helps to apply your lipstick with a brush. Not only will you be able to get much closer to you lip line, you’re really building up color on your lips without applying any excess product.
4. Apply a small amount of concealer around the outside of your lips.
You’ll take a small amount of concealer on a small brush and apply it to the outside edges of your lips. This may seem a bit odd, but what this is going to do is help your lipstick from feathering or bleeding beyond the lines of your lips. It will also give your lips a nice crisp look so you get a perfect looking application.
5. Blot your lips after you’ve applied your lipstick.
Blotting your lips with a tissue after you’ve applied your lipstick is just going to help get rid of any excess product that might try and slip around on you.
Here’s a video that walks your through the application.
That’s it! If you follow these few, simple steps you should be on your way to beautiful lips that maintain their color for a lot longer! :]
Beauty Basics: The Art of Contouring and Highlighting
For those of your starting out with makeup, the idea of contouring and/or highlighting might seem a bit overwhelming. And if you’ve seen people who contour or highlight incorrectly, you might think to yourself, “Why on earth would I want to look like I have huge brownish/orange streaks on the side of my face and big white circles under my eyes?!”
Fear not beauty lovers, contouring and highlighting shouldn’t be scary, and once you learn the techniques behind it and why it’s done you’ll be wanting to try it out for yourself. So let’s get started!
First things first, let’s talk about light!
So you just got done applying your foundation to your face, your complexion looks even and you’ve disguised any blemishes or areas you might want to cover. However, by applying one color all over your face, you removed pretty much all of it’s dimension. As your face has curves and is not a flat surface, it should look like it has some depth to it.
So with that being said, I want you to think about your face. Now think about light hitting your face. As light travels across our faces, it causes the areas that it hits first to become highlighted. Those areas are highlighted because the stand out from other areas of the face.
So what areas will the light hit first on our faces?
- Brow bone
- Bridge of the nose
Now think about the areas of your face that aren’t getting hit by the light. The areas that are getting hit by the light are going to cast shadows on those other areas of the face. This is where contouring comes into play. Contouring is about emphasizing the areas where those shadows can appear.
So what areas of the face get cast by shadows:
- Hallows of the cheeks
- Under the chin
- Crease of your eye
- Sides of the nose
- Under the tip of the nose
Then why should I contour/highlight?
As I mentioned before, highlighting and contouring is going to add dimension to your face. Think of it like this, any area of the face the you highlight it going to stand out and sort of bring that area forward. Any area of the face that you contour is going to make that area recede back and look like it’s further away from you.
You can use highlighting and contouring to sort of chisel your face in way. Have you been dying to make your cheekbones look more pronounced? By highlighting on the tops of your cheekbones and then contouring underneath of them you’ll make them look like the area below your cheekbones is sunk into your face a bit more and the tops of your cheekbones pop out a bit more, hence making them look more pronounced.
So, the areas that I mentioned that get hit by light first are the areas where you should highlight with makeup. The areas that get cast in shadows are the areas where you can contour with makeup.
On the diagram below, you can see the areas in white are areas you can highlight and the ones in brown are for contouring.
NOTE: Like any other makeup you apply, you need to make sure you BLEND when you highlight and contour so it looks as natural as possible and you don’t have any harsh lines.
Here’s a face that’s been contoured/highlighted a bit:
See how certain areas of her face stand out and other recede back?
Here’s a great video on contouring and highlighting.
So now that you have a little information about contouring and highlighting you might be wondering what products/tools can you can use to achieve the desired effect?
You can use creams or powders to contour/highlight. It’ll really depend on your skin and what type of look you like. Creams are great because they tend to blend better and you can apply them before you put on your liquid/cream foundation and blend it in so it appears very natural. Powders also work really great as well. If you have oily skin, you might want to try a powder.
Here are just a few different products for contouring and highlighting:
1. Smashbox Step-by-Step Contouring Kit
2. Coastal Scents Contour & Blush Palette
3. Coastal Scents Concealer Palette
There are a few different brushes you can use to contour as well. I’m not going to list particular brands, I think it’s more important to talk about the way to use the brush. Each brand is going to have their own version of it so you can find one that is in your price range.
1. Flat top brush
The flat top brush is great for applying contour to the hallows of your cheeks. You can put product on the edge of the bristles and apply it to the hallow so you’ll have a line. Then use the flat top to buff out the edges and get a nice, natural smooth looking contour.
2. Angled Blush Brush
I really like to use an angled blush brush for contouring and highlighting because it follows the natural shape of a face very nicely and you can drag the brush to add color and then buff away the excess to get a nice finish.
3. Pointed Blush Brush
The pointed blush brush is great because it can fit into the natural curves of your face. This type of brush is great for applying contour to the hallows of your cheeks and a highlight on the tops of your cheek bones.
4. Small Contour Brush
A brush like this is great for applying contour/highlight to areas like your nose. Depending on the size of your face, you might be able to use this brush to apply contour/highlight to your cheeks, chin, and forehead as well.
5. Crease Brush
You can’t forget about the eyes! Using a brush like this, you’ll be able to apply a dark shadow to contour your crease and/or highlight your brow bone.
Well, that’s all I’ve got. I hope that helped. Get out there and start contouring and highlighting!! :]