Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Basics To Getting A Finished Looking Face

This post is dedicated to going through  the basics of a finished face. It discusses the must-haves and must-do's of makeup. It is a comprehensive guide, meant to inform in an in-depth manner, because the people who most need these tips describe themselves as clueless when it comes to makeup. It is an introductory guide, so don't be scared by the length!

1) Cover-up
Cover-up is the most well known of the beauty products, and for a reason. Everyone has a different word for cover-up, whether it be base, foundation, or corrector. Cover-up refers to makeup that covers the redness, acne scars, marks, spots, and unevenness that Mother Nature gave each of us. Using cover-up is crucial in getting an even and flawless face. In this picture, taken from Benefit Makeup's site, a model is pictured with her natural face and then with her face done, presumably using Benefit's Hello Flawless foundation.

Don't be fooled though, her face is definitely given some "wow" factor in the after picture by having completely done brows, eye shadow, mascara, blush, possibly/probably concealer, and lipstick/gloss. Don't panic! Some of those elements aren't totally necessary (although the result is pleasing, no?), and we'll be covering these topics next.

2) Concealer- Concealer generally falls within the realm of cover-up, but it is not absolutely crucial. Foundation is the big whammy of cover-up. It is the essential product that gives skin an even glow. It is for your entire face. Concealer is for stubborn problem areas, and adding a little extra coverage to trouble spots, or dark circles. Generally this is added after foundation, but some people choose to put it on before foundation. Their reasoning is that they like to concentrate on their problem areas first and then even out their face, while others like to get a generally even face and then tackle their problem areas. It's all personal preference. In this picture, also taken from Benefit, a model is seen in her natural state and then with Erase Paste concealer added to even her skin. Once again, don't be fooled. If you look at the circle picture, when she has added her concealer, the majority of her skin already looks clear. This is because she used foundation beforehand. This picture is somewhat misleading because it makes it seem as though Erase Paste is responsible for completely evening out her skin, which is most likely not the case. Also, she has on many other products for eyes, lips, cheeks, and brows in the finished result.
At this point, your face is done. The last step is to use a product to set your makeup. For most people, this is generally powder. Powder sets your liquid/cream makeup and helps it last. If using a powder foundation already, then putting powder over more powder doesn't make sense, so you don't need this last step. You can either choose a powder that matches your skin tone and foundation shade, or a translucent powder without any/much color to set your makeup. A well-received setting powder is MAC's Mineralize SkinFinish Natural. This, and all powder setting makeup should be applied with either a big fluffy face brush, or a kabuki brush (this is if you powder adds coverage and you want to buff it into your skin to get more of that coverage. Also used for powder foundations) 

A well-received translucent powder is Makeup Forever's HD MicroFinish Powder. 

3) Mascara- Mascara enhances the look of your lashes, the flirtiest part of your face! Long, thick, fluttery lashes make a girl look extra feminine and alluring, not to mention sexy. Mascaras come in different colors and formulas. Generally the old stand-by is a black mascara, and I would recommended getting one that has several benefits listed on it's packaging, such as volume AND length. According to advertisements, Maybelline's Great Lash is the most popular mascara in America (as in sold the most out of all drugstore mascaras I believe). This is a nice mascara for having natural but definitely more noticeable lashes.
My personal favorite is Maybelline's Colossal Volume Express Mascara. This one promises 9 times the volume. 
* A Note about mascaras: Mascara is generally regarded as the one product you don't need to go to a high-end beauty department store to find. It is a product that drugstore brands do extremely well, and there is no reason to spend a lot of money on high-end mascaras when drugstore mascaras do a comparable job. Also, mascaras come in water-proof formulas. Grudgingly, I have switched to mostly wearing water-proof formulas, because I'll rub my eyes sometimes and with regular mascara this might smear or when your eyes get watery your mascara goes everywhere. With a water-proof formula, this isn't a problem. Also recommended for the beach/rainy days. However, I say I have grudgingly switched because water-proof formulas generally do not work as well as their non water-proof counterparts. For example, the water-proof version of the Colossal Volume Express Mascara only volumizes up to 7x whereas the original volumizes up to 9x.
4) Eyeliner- Eyeliner is not necessary, but I would say it is used more then eyeshadow when in a pinch and full lashes just aren't enough to make you look as refined as you want. Eyeliners come in cream, gel, pencil, and liquid formulas. They are generally quick to apply, unless you are going for a specific look, such as a winged eyeliner, which takes some time and practice. 
Generally though, if you want to add eyeliner in a hurry just smudge some on your upper lashline to make your lashes look thicker. Alternately, you can swipe some on your lower waterline to give a darker more smoldering effect. When I go without my glasses, I can't not wear some on my bottom lashline. I just don't look awake without it. You also don't have to choose between eyeshadow or eyeliner. For a typical smokey look, you'd wear both. Even for everyday, it sometimes makes sense to wear both. They compliment each other. I say that eyeshadow isn't mandatory because I didn't get into it until literally 2 years ago, but it really is  the only way to create a voluptuous smokey eye. However, for minimalists, eyeshadow isn't a must-do or a must-have. In a pinch, swipe a nice taupe brown color on your lid.

5) Brows- Some girls don't need to do this, and most girls don't have to. I fill in my brows because I have way over-tweezed brows and I need something to not make me look crazy and half-brow-less. For this you can use either a brow powder, a matte eyeshadow that matches the color of your brows, or an eyebrow pencil. You basically just want to lightly fill in areas where the hairs are sparse to create a more consistent look. I also like to extend my brow pencil past where my natural brow ends to look more refined. There are plenty of expensive brow products, and among the most well-acclaimed is Anastasia's Brow Products, sold at Sephora. I however, just use Wet N Wild Eyeliner/Eye Brow Pencil in Dark Brown. Costs about a dollar at Target.

6) Lips!- You can use a lip pencil, a lip stain, a lipstick, a lipgloss, or even balm if you want. The most muss-free product is probably a nice chapstick type product that has a hint of color. A great product is A Kiss Of Shimmer Pearly Shimmer from Nivea.

Some girls prefer lip gloss to lipstick but I don't. Lipgloss can be sticky, tacky, goopy, and messy. Your hair WILL get caught in it on a windy day and it WILL be a hot mess. I like neutral lipsticks for everyday wear. I LOVE any and all MAC pink/neutral colored lipsticks, especially Modesty from their Cremesheen formula.
 Credit for this picture goes to

I haven't mentioned blush or bronzer, because those products aren't essential, just for adding some color to the face. When done right blush and/or bronzer gives the face a nice glow and extra radiance. Highlighter is also being left out. Highlighter is for getting a dewy sheen, a glow on the cheekbones, browbone areas, cupid's bow of the mouth, and down the bridge of the nose. It just gives a pearly luminescence that makes it seem like there's a spotlight on all the right areas of your face. If you want suggestions about these, just leave a comment! :) 

Two amazing Makeup Gurus doing quick, effective five-minute makeup:

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