So I went out for drinks last night. Oh wait—Trainer George, if you are reading this, NO OF COURSE I DON’T DRINK.
Anyway, I was waiting in line at one of Toronto’s finest hotspots with another beauty-minded friend, and we couldn’t help but notice All.Of.The.Makeup. And not just because we work in the biz, mind you. I’m all for the sisterhood, and I hate pointing stuff like this out because if makeup makes you happy, then who am I to complain? But OMG, this was intervention-level stuff. Think goopy red lips, extreme amounts of bronzer, theatrical eyeshadow. (And this was an after-work bar. Imagine what happens when they’re not coming from the office?!?)
So I think it’s time I used this blog—my platform, as it were—for the greater good. We need to talk about this, because I do believe I’ve been an enabler for far too long.
The whole point of makeup
Is to look like you’re not wearing any. And also to perfect your complexion, enhance your features and make you look prettier.
Let’s remember this, okay? I mean, I love me an extreme runway trend as much as the next person, and it sure can be fun to play around with them for, say, a splashy evening out. But we too often forget that the people demonstrating said obvious makeup looks are 15-year-old freaks of nature with preternaturally plump and dewy skin and alien-esque features. ANYTHING looks good on them.
We mortals, on the other hand, have to be very, very careful. One false move and that’s how articles like this come about.
Not that I endorse doing your makeup specifically FOR men, of course. But I think far too often women get caught up in the marketing machine of beauty that tells us we HAVE to be wearing all of these kazillion products, especially colour products. (And this is where I feel terribly guilty as well, because I do tend to bang on perhaps a little too much about the joys of orange lipstick or turquoise eyeliner.)
And surely you’ve seen countless ads like this:
I’m not saying this can’t look good in real life, but from what I saw last night, it’s way riskier—I saw girls doing this type of shadow with heavy bronzer, skinny eyebrows, obvious lipstick. It was too much.
So I firmly believe that we all need to work on nailing the natural look FIRST. Which is where my next point comes in…
You should be spending at least 50% of your makeup application time on your SKIN
Okay, unless you are one of those aforementioned 15-year-old freaks. The rest of us need serious help—but far too often we rush through the skin stuff in order to get to the fun things like eyeliner and lipstick.
And that is how mistakes like this happen:
Catherine Zeta-Jones, in case you didn’t recognize her. Shocking, right?
Anyway, lest I confused you with the headline of this story, let me be clear that achieving perfect-looking skin can actually take quite a bit of makeup. (Cue Calvin Klein quote: “The best thing is to look natural, but it takes makeup to look natural.”) By “too much” I just mean makeup that other people can detect… which was definitely what I observed last night. Sadly, there was lots of CZJ skin in the house.
The good news is that there are so many skin-perfecting products now that do the job without being heavy or at all detectable.
I’m in love with this new Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base, which is a fantastic first step before the rest of your makeup (even if you’re just wearing concealer) to give your skin a, well, “fresh glow.”
I’ve also been using this new BB cream from Estée Lauder far more than my beloved MUFE HD foundation lately. (Check out this post for the scoop on BBs.) I have to say that it’s replaced the MAC one as my favourite of all the BB creams… and when I wore it for the first time to a beauty event a couple of weeks ago, NO LIE, three different editor friends told me my skin looked amazing. I had just come from a sesh with Trainer George, but STILL. I’ve been wearing it ever since.
So yeah… consider lightening up, especially for the summertime, with a BB instead of a thicker, heavier foundation. Just remember that you’ll still need concealer—it can’t do everything.
Oh and speaking of concealer, make sure you’ve got one that isn’t too light for your skin tone. (Another faux pas I saw last night. God, I’m such a Mean Girl!) The best thing would be to get yourself down to Sephora post-haste and ask the makeup artist to colour-match you with one of Make Up For Ever’s HD concealers. The shade selection is incredible, and they give high coverage without being cakey.
Other skin things to keep in mind:
- Go easy on the bronzer. I’ve never been a fan, and after seeing all the bronzing going on last night, I think I may just ditch it completely this summer. I mean, it HAS been more than 10 years since J.Lo came out with that look. (And I think blush makes you look far more “healthy” than rubbing brown pigment all over your face.)
- That said, listen to Carmindy (not me) when it comes to blush.
- You know how I feel about shimmer.
- Watch out for the Eagle. Also, the reverse Eagle.
- Set your makeup with a colourless HD powder, which is less detectable than a tinted one, and use it only in the areas you get shiny.
- A good tip for cutting the powdery feel is to spray your face with a facial mist as the final step in your makeup.
- In general, LESS IS MORE.
Pick a feature, any feature
After you’ve nailed the skin thing, you want to choose between eyes and lips. Even though that rule is not really a rule anymore, based on runway developments such as this:
I just think it’s, again, too risky to walk out of the house with both eyes and lips emphasized unless you’re doing something deliberately dramatic for black tie, etc. Certainly not appropriate for guzzling beers on a patio in your skirt suit.
It’s really all about balance, so if you’re doing A Lip, please do keep the rest of the face bare and clean. Bit of blush, bit of shimmery neutral eyeshadow and mascara, and that’s it. Think this:
Also note that high pigment plus high (vinyl) shine can be a bit intimidating. Wear at your own risk:
For eyes, I’m all for smokin’ them up or flickin’ them out with lotsa liner… just make sure you follow the same rule and wear with just blush and ideally, lip balm. (I’m even finding gloss too much these days.)
In general, earthy shades that are in the same family as your skin tone—taupes and browns and beiges—are a safer choice for eyeshadow contouring versus high-contrast cool tones like charcoal. See how you don’t really even notice the eyeshadow here?
Itching to wear colour? Try what my beauty friend did last night and apply it as a sheer wash over the lid… or go for a single hit of bright liner either along the upper or lower lash lines.
One thing you should feel free to pile on
WORD. As long as they’re not getting stupidly clumpy, and you’re not wearing Kardashian-styles fake ones, I have zero problem with extreme lashes.
Am I being a Mean Girl about this too-much-makeup business?
Do you agree that makeup’s primary purpose is to perfect and enhance?
Have you spotted any makeup disasters lately while out in the wild?