Tag Archives: makeup

Bridal Makeup: The I do’s and don’ts

My dear friend Sam is getting married soon and she recently inquired about how to achieve a natural, dewy, minimalist look for her big day.  She cited Kate’s (Moss not Middleton, ya’ll) recent nuptials as inspiration.Wedding makeup is tricky business.  The bride must consider lighting, photography, and longevity.  Often what works on camera can look down right freakish in person.  Furthermore, who can be bothered with endless touch-ups on such an important occasion?Most brides aim for subtle enhancement to show their best selves.  The approach for each bride must be individually tailored to achieve optimal results, but there are a few hard and fast rules for wedding day makeup that simply should not be ignored.Despite what you might have learned from last weekend’s Jerseylicious marathon, a smoky eye doesn’t work for everyone.  Those with hooded eyelids or smaller eyes should stick to lighter neutral shadows.  A smoky eye can easily melt into a raccoon eye without proper preservation.  If you insist on breaking out some intense shadow for the big day, have at it, but for the love of Aucoin please no super bright colors.  Save the hot pink and purple; this is your wedding day and not a club crawl through the Jersey Shore.Keep shimmer to a minimum.  A little here and there to catch the light is fine – corner of the eyes, brow bone, a smidge on the cheek bones, a dab in the center of the lip or arch of the cupid’s bow (NOT all locations por favor).  Shimmer reads prominently in photographs.  If you go crazy with the highlighter all over; you’ll appear oily and shiny in your pictures.  Soft matte works best on camera.Dramatic brides may consider a red lip.  Proceed with caution.  Red lips are extremely high-maintenance.  Gotta keep it off the teeth, off the dress, and reapply often for maximum punch.  A scarlet smoocher can easily dominate the face and take over a photo.  The wrong shade of red causes the rest of the face to recede.  The tendency is to overcompensate with too much color elsewhere or look washed out.  Consider a subtle red wash on the lips to keep features balanced.Go easy with the foundation and concealer application.  Let your skin and inner light shine through.  Remember the aim of these products is to perfect the skin, not mask it.  Splurge on high-end foundation and concealer, even if you go budget in other areas.  Without a perfected base, the whole look crumbles.Invest in a primer.  A decent primer provides staying power.  Primer is the key to 8-12 hours of longevity, so you look as good at the end of the reception as you did walking down the aisle.

 

see spot vanish

Really nothing ruins a beautiful day like a great big zit.  Don’t even front like you don’t consider staying home on account of a bad skin day.  Well those days are done.  Today, learn how to expertly camouflage imperfections and give good face even when it isn’t cooperating.

 

First gather your tools.  You will need the following items: foundation, concealer, loose powder, bronzer, good light, a mirror, a clean eyeliner brush, and makeup sponges.First prepare the skin by physically exfoliating with a scrub, washcloth, Buf-puf, or the like.  If the little inflamed friend is giving you a full 3-D effect, get the area as smooth as possible by removing all the dead and flaky skin.  Be gentle; redness is hard to cover up.

Toner helps tighten and remove residue, but it isn’t required.

Apply moisturizer all over.  Moisterizer will not cause further breakouts.  This essential step plumps the skin and readies it for foundation.  Let moisturizer soak in for several minutes before proceeding to avoid pilling.  Go blow dry your hair or puff a doobie while you wait.

Set up right in front of a well-lit mirror.  Let’s parse that sentence for meaning.  When I say right in front of, I mean right fucking in front of – like inches away.  I set a stool up in front of a full length mirror so I can get right up on it.  A counter separating your face from the mirror ain’t gonna work unless you have phenomenal vision.

 

The benefit of daylight cannot be understated, but if good lighting + daylight isn’t an option, take the shades off a couple lamps and set them on a chair or nearby table.  Remember, the light should be directed towards your face, not the mirror.  Yes, this much exposure can be terrifying at first, but you must face the truth before running for cover up.

The goal is always to use the least amount of product and aim for the most natural, effortless finish.  Keep these guiding principles in mind as we forge ahead.

Start with foundation, concentrate product where you need the most coverage and then blend down and out in the direction facial hair grows.  Keep blending; using the fingers helps temper the foundation.  Sponges help blend along the hairline.  A decent foundation should take care of a great deal of minor imperfections, but even full-coverage formulas lack the might required for a full-on blemish.Enter the eyeliner brush: indeed unorthodox, but a tiny tipped eyeliner brush allows for ultimate precision.  If the pesky spot flames with color, go a shade lighter with the concealer.  Steady your elbow, dab the brush into the concealer and gingerly apply it to the imperfection.  Paint the area, and wait.  Again, don’t forget our guiding principles – use a light hand.  Let the product set up for a minute.  Now is a good time to address any other little issues like under eye circles or broken capillaries.After a minute, if the mound remains totally covered, pat gently with fingertip to soften and blend edges.  If color has peaked through, reapply only to that area and then blend.

Lightly powder and bronze for an all over glow.

Complete face with blush, mascara, and gloss.  Amp it up further with eyeliner and shadow when the occasion warrants it.

Remember, it doesn’t matter how expertly your eyes and mouth are painted, a throbbing blemish distracts from the overall look.  Take the time to perfect the skin before getting into heavy color.

Good Luck and Good Face.

Royal Wedding Ennui

I realize this may be a minority position, but anybody else find the whole union oddly depressing?  Anachronistic, conformist, transactional, and remarkably beige, it was like watching the death of freedom.  While the mainstream loved her gown, it was at best unoffensive and at worst a boring Grace Kelly knock-off.  The dress did not particularly embody the McQueen aesthetic, but credit to Burton and her team for  achieving a flawless fit.  Even though the press made a big deal over Kate’s choice to do her own makeup, can we agree the brows were a little too dark, her under-eye area needed attention, and the blush was a little muddy?  While the nuptials weren’t a style disaster, there were certainly imperfections swept over in the universal hyperbolic praise.  Maybe it is this Teflon-quality that makes Mizz Middleton absolutely perfect for her new job?

OH-HI-GLOW

Holding down Ohio, gorgeous DC reader KB wrote requesting advice on how to fake a Miami glow in the Midwest:

“I would like to look sun-kissed but don’t want to damage my skin.  I got sunburned by accident two weeks ago and my skin looked worse almost immediately.  And not just redness, wrinkly.  So the issue is twofold; I’m interested in the Demeter Clarc recommendations for sunscreens as well as a way to fake the tan.  I’ve never done a tanning lotion or bronzer (more interested in faking through the latter…I feel like there are scary nasty things in those turn-ya-orange lotions).  So I don’t know which is better, how to apply, or what yields the best results.  Also, if there are products in the mid priced range, I’d be much obliged as well.”

I’ve avoided giving general advice about bronzers.  Achieving the perfect bronze usually requires a bit of trial and error.  That said, I’m not about to leave you beyond the pale, so here are a few tips and recommendations to get you started down the terracotta brick road.

The first and most important rule of bronzing is that the product MUST be matte.  No shimmer.  No sparkles.  No glitters (ever, anywhere).  Add luminosity later; this is not the place.Next KB, you gotta decide on liquid or powder formula.  Both have advantages and disadvantages, therefore it is worthwhile to have one of each in your arsenal for different occasions and purposes.

Let’s start with liquid/cream/gel options.  On a really good skin day, this type of bronzer replaces foundation for good glow.  This time of year, mix bronzer with foundation for a subtle transition to summer.  Many of these products contain sunscreen too.

Luxury: Bobbi Brown All Over Bronzing Gel SPF 15, Soleil Tan de Chanel.Budget: Organic Wear Liquid Bronzer, Bonne Bell Gel Bronzer.

Powders are more a common choice, but also the source of many a makeup mistake.  Finding the right color is super challenging.  For the most part, avoid red or orange undertones (unless you are a red-head).  Look for a brown base.  Go too dark for your skin tone and risk looking muddy.  Fair-skinned folks look for light brown sandy shades.  Often when a brand offers two shades, the lighter one can look orange and the darker one is too dark.  Think café au lait.

Luxury: Nars Bronzer in LagunaThe Balm Bahama Mama Bronzer.

Budget:  Rimmel Natural Bronzer, Organic Wear Natural Bronzer.

Once you find the perfect product in the most flattering shade, keep these bronzing commandments in mind.

1) Exfoliate first.

2) Matte finish only.  Said it once before, but it bears repeating.

3) Don’t forget the neck!  Blend softly all the way down to the collarbone.

4) Consider blush compatibility.

5) Less is more.  Forehead, nose bridge, chin, temples, cheekbones, stop there.

Blinc Mascara

Happy mascara Monday dolls!  Good news; after several disappointments, finally I have a worthy recommendation for you: Blinc Mascara (formerly Blinc Kiss Me Mascara).  Like nothing else, the formula hardens to form flexible tubes around lashes.  Remove with eye-appropriate cleanser, gentle massage, and warm water.  Extremely resistant to flaking, Blinc Mascara boldly boosts volume and length and provides a less shameful walk-of-shame type of non-smudgability.  Follow the application instructions.  Specifically, apply multiple coats in quick succession before the product dries.  Feel free to curl lashes before application and again once the formula sets. While the idea may seem gimmicky, Blinc Mascara actually performs with dramatic results, unmatched endurance, and freaky futuristic lash adherence. 

Tarte multiplEYE mascara

The claim: stimulates lashes for a 638% increase in lash volume and increased appearance of length, growth and strength.

The experience: For all the highfalutin promises, multiplEYE mascara ain’t all that.  (I’m specifically talking about the mascara and not the natural lash enhancer which is a totally different conversation.)

Let’s parse their claim for subtext, shall we?

Whenever you run up against the word “appearance” in a cosmetic or beauty add, use common sense.  “Appearance” usually equates to “temporary,” as in no lasting results.Tarte was careful to craft the statement to read that the product increases the appearance of growth.  Surmise from this linguistic trickery that no ingredients contained in this mascara will actually grow lashes à la the prescription lash stimulators.  In fact, Tarte disclaims in the small print:

multiplEYE™ clinically proven natural lash enhancing mascara is not intended to treat, prevent, cure, relieve, resolve, stop or reduce hair loss or to promote the growth of hair. Do not get in the eye. Rinse immediately if contact with eye occurs. If irritation or redness occurs, please discontinue use.

Well that explains the burning sensation.

As for the 638% increase in lash volume – in my experience, bollocks.  Don’t expect the rush of a major impact lash with Tarte multiplEYE mascara.  All in all, this one is a lashluster disappointment.

Josie Maran Cosmetics ~ GOGO Instant Natural Volume Argan Mascara

Josie Maran, best known for her stint as a cheesy Maybelline spokesbitch and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model, launched a “natural” beauty line with the goal of using sustainable, cruelty-free, and ethically sourced ingredients where possible.Let’s acknowledge the obvious: natural makeup doesn’t have the best reputation for performance.  Good face isn’t up for compromise.  Therefore, natural makeup must be judged against the same standards as its synthetic counterparts.When compared with other luxury brands, Josie Maran’s GOGO Instant Natural Volume Argan Mascara fails to impress.  For starters, the brush isn’t great.  Add to that the clump of product that failed to disperse and sat on the end of the wand defiantly.  Third, the formula causes lashes to stick together into little spikes.  Not especially lengthening or thickening, GOGO Instant Natural Volume Argan Mascara is utterly mediocre.Josie claims the mascara contains organic, cruelty-fragrance-toxin free ingredients, however glance below – some of the components are natural, but there are definitely a few WTFs on the list.

Water, Styrene/acrylates Copolymer, Organic Copernicia Cerifera Wax, Dilinoleic Acid/propanediol Copolymer, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearic Acid, Oleic Acid, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Ci 77499, Tromethamine, Black 2, Kaolin, Pvp, Mica, Organic Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Organic Beeswax, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, C18-36 Acid Triglyceride, Aloe Barbadensis, Lecithin, Potassium Sorbate, Hexylene Glycol, Laureth-4, Panthenol, Simethicone, Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.At $22, GOGO Instant Natural Volume Argan Mascara’s price point rivals that of Korres, Lancome, and Christian Dior’s mascaras, but in no way competes with any of these brands in lush-lashed results.