Thursday, July 10, 2014

Confessions of a Makeup Amateur - Foundation Routine & Tips

I'm going to switch gears today and focus on my experience with makeup.  While I love fashion, makeup products are another area of the beauty spectrum that I have been curious about the last few years.  I love the idea of turning an otherwise plain (albeit beautiful, of course!) face into a dramatic, photo shoot ready visage.

Since I was never curious as a kid, I didn't start experimenting with makeup until college.  I think I purchased my first makeup products when I was 19.  I've watched tutorial after tutorial on YouTube and read umpteen articles on different products, their uses and what would be beneficial to my fair complexion.  I have very sensitive skin, so I am always careful to research each product I buy and it's effects on the skin.  The one thing I want to focus on today is my foundation routine and how I've experimented to get the results I like.

I'll be the first in line to admit trying to buy, apply and set a full face of foundation was extremely scary at first.  What if I use the wrong color and look like an oompa loompa?  Liquid, cream or powder?  Apply with a brush, sponge or fingers?  Does it look cakey and worse than if I just left my skin as is?  Is the $30.00 liquid really any better than it's $8.00 dupe?  All of these questions plagued my mind as I stared at countless brands, shades and prices available to use.

I would like to share some helpful tips that have helped me get to where I am now when it comes to attempting the flawless face.  I hope that in sharing these tips, it will save you time and money, but also help you with the application itself.  All too many times during my experimentation, I wound up looking cakey from too much product OR the wrong color altogether because I chose the wrong shade for my skin.  Let's just say "ivory" doesn't always mean ivory...I learned to never trust the names that companies give their different shades.  Just because Ivory matches you in L'Oreal Paris doesn't mean Ivory will match you in Maybelline New York.  My biggest foe, though, was deciding what to buy and how much to spend on each product.  I would like to point out that I use drugstore products only unless I manage to score a great deal on higher end products.  I've found the cheaper alternatives to high end products (like MAC, Urban Decay, and Chanel) get the job done just as well if used properly.

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First off, the list below is in the order I put on face products (followed by the current products I am using) when applying what I call my "base face."  Base face is a clean, even canvas before I paint it with my favorite eyeshadows, lip colors and the like.  You'll see that I don't use any blushers.  I have naturally rosy cheeks, so I just allow that to shine through instead of covering it up completely.  Why apply another product for something your skin already does naturally?

5. Contouring Bronzer - NYX's Mosaic Pressed Powder in Latte ($8)

Current products listed were used in this photo.

My first tip to beginners is don't get frustrated if you don't get it right the first hundred times.  It takes trial and error to find the right products and amounts to apply in order to achieve your flawless face.  As you can see, I have products from all different drugstore lines.  It has taken me about three years of experimenting with products, ways to apply and the amount to apply to achieve a balanced, clean look.  Enjoy the experimenting and laugh off the oompa loompa phase - we all go through it.

Secondly, I recommend to ALWAYS use a face primer before applying any foundation.  I used to scoff at all of the YouTube tutorial people for spending money on and taking time to apply a primer.  Foundation is supposed to smooth you out and even your skin tone, right?  Not necessarily.  Primer ups the ante by providing a nice glowing finish.  It fills in the pores, smooths fine lines and creates an even base for your products to glide on with ease.  I was sold the minute I tried my first all over face primer.  If you want to try one without spending much, E.L.F. makes a wonderful primer for just $6.00.

My third and final tip that I think is one of the most important to achieving a flawless face is to use makeup brushes to apply your products.  The only exception for me is that I use my fingertips to apply primer.  For all other products, I use brushes.  It may take a lot of trial and error to find the right brushes for a good application, so I recommend purchasing some cheap ones first before spending much more money on different brushes.  The E.L.F. Essential Line is great for experimenting with; these brushes are only $1.00 per piece.  The E.L.F. Studio Line has a little higher quality for $2 and $3.00 per piece.  I use a small stippling brush for liquid foundation, a small concealer brush for under-eye concealer, a soft Kabuki brush for setting powder, a medium-sized, tapered bronzing brush for contouring and a fluffy powder brush for the final dusting of setting powder.  For me, using brushes instead of sponges or fingers makes the application much easier and quicker when I'm getting ready for work in the morning.  Now that I can gauge how much product to use, brushes help give me an overall even and full coverage application.

I hope these three tips have been helpful to beginners out there.  Stay tuned for more makeup tips in the future!

Much Love,

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