On a daily basis I meet women who, for various reasons, opt not to wear any makeup on a daily basis. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Not even a coat of mascara, and barely a swipe of lipgloss. Some say that they don’t have time, and rush to make it out of the house and to work every morning. Others are afraid of looking too cakey or made-up, and opt instead for a fresh face. But more often than not, I’m hearing from women who simply have never learned the basics of makeup products and application, and have no idea where to begin!
Taking myself and my personal love for cosmetics out of the equation, I can understand how overwhelming the world of makeup may seem for a newbie. Walking up to a makeup counter in a department store, or even down the beauty aisle at CVS, there are simply way too many options! Foundations in every hue and formula. Varying textures of lipstick. Liners in pencil, gel, and liquid form – oh my! But, fret not. There are a few quite simple products and tips you can use to segway into wearing clean, everyday makeup.
Prior to applying any type of color to skin, it’s critical to prep the face. After moisturizer (which, contrary to popular belief, is a must-have daily skincare step), primer should be the next product you grab. Think of foundation primers like the base coat that you apply before nail polish: it smoothes the surface, allows the color to be more true, and gives your products longer wear. Have you ever hurriedly painted your nails without a base coat, only to find ridges, chips, and faded color just a few hours later? Primer prevents similar effects from happening to the skin. With it, you’ll find that your foundation and cheek color are easier to apply and last far longer throughout the day. No more wondering where your powder and blush disappeared to by lunch hour.
Application Tip: Apply a dime-sized amount with fingertips over the entire face. Allow product to soak in for a couple of minutes before moving on to foundation.
Even those with flawless skin will wake up at times with sleepy eyes or an unexpected blemish here and there. On days like this, concealer is our best friend! As we know, concealers come in a variety of colors and formulas, but it is important to select the right product based on your skin type and tone. Those with very oily skin, for example, will want to avoid extra creamy concealers, as they will crease and run throughout the day. We must also consider that each woman may easily need at least two different types of concealer, based on her specific concern. The product that works best at concealing under eye dark circles is not the same product that will be used to conceal acne scars and other blemishes on the face. Under-eye concealers are typically a shade or so lighter than our natural complexion to highlight, and more hydrating for that delicate, thinner skin. Concealers for face tend to be a bit thicker and drier in consistency, and match the skin exactly.
Application Tip: Concealer brushes allow you to be more precise with application, especially under the eye. Sweep product into darker valley beneath the eye, into the tear duct, and directly under the lower lash line. Blend and fade outwards. If necessary, gently use the tip of your ring finger to further dab and blend the product.
Try: M.A.C. “Studio Finish SPF 35” Concealer, Bobbi Brown “Creamy Concealer”, Estee Lauder “Double Wear Stay-in-Place” Concealer SPF 10, Laura Mercier “Secret Camoflauge” (for skin only – not under-eye)
Skin: Tinted Moisturizer
For those who choose not to wear foundation for fear of looking “too” made-up or cakey, tinted moisturizers are an easy, no-brainer way to even out skin tone. Unlike a full-coverage foundation, tinted moisturizers offer hydration and lightweight, sheer color that still allows your skin to breathe. There are different varieties based on skin type (normal, oily, dry, etc.), and most even offer sun protection as well.
Application Tip: Though you can apply tinted moisturizers with fingers, try using a damp sponge instead. Wet sponge, squeeze out excess water, then apply product. Press and roll sponge into skin and sweep over eyelids (which are often naturally discolored). Because sponges are porous like our skin, they allow the product to soak in more naturally without leaving traces or streaks.
Setting: Translucent Powder
Translucent setting powders are the perfect way to finish off the look after applying face makeup. As the name indicates, these powders are sheer and colorless, and come in either pressed or loose form. For oily skin types, try using a matte pressed powder, which will absorb oil and reduce shine throughout the day. Press into the skin with a velour puff and dust away any excess. Regular skin types may prefer a loose powder applied with a fluffy brush. Those with dry skin may be skeptical of powders in general, but there are several illuminating powders that, when applied with a duo-fiber finishing brush, can create the illusion of dewiness and luminescence.
Application Tip: To avoid leaving traces of powder on deeper skin tones, be sure to tap excess product off of the brush or sponge prior to application. Also, don’t forget to set under-eye concealer! Pat translucent powder beneath the eye to avoid pesky creasing and smearing.
Try: Lancome “Translucence” Mattifying Silky Pressed Powder, M.A.C. Mineralize SkinFinish, Bobbi Brown “Sheer Finish” Pressed Powder (Darker skin tones, try “Golden Orange”!)