Saturday, November 22, 2008

He's so...pretty

When we think of men using makeup, historically, we think of Ancient Egyptians using ash to line their eyes, or Elizabethans using lead to whiten their faces - both questionable practices as far as health. But contemporary men don't need to sacrifice their health or resort to using found objects to acheive the perfection that cosmetics offer women today. Entire product lines are now devoted to the powdering and preening of men. The resurgence of attention to a man's appearance and overall hygene can perhaps be attributed to the consumerism that is now ever-present in our North American & European culture. What else can explain the popular colloquialism, "guyliner"?

A friend requested an article about male eyeliner and after bumbling around on the internet I was totally hooked on figuring out which guys are wearing makeup and what makes them decide to take the plunge. I say plunge, because I don't think many realize what they're getting into when they consider wearing makeup. Makeup requires more than just the actual makeup, scroll down to my "It List" post to see the various stuff required to apply a full face of makeup.

This may be why a lot of guys aren't opposed to black eyeliner. It's easy to get used to because it resembles a common every day tool, a pencil. And part of the appeal of guyliner is that it doesn't need to be perfect. No winged cat-eye liquid liner here, sister! In fact, the smudgier and more imperfect, the better.

Guyliner is the perfect gateway to the world of makeup products, hence Jean Paul Gaultier's makeup line, "Monsieur", whose signature product is the "crayon-kohl" (eyeliner).

Monsieur, indeed! There's even an instruction video for the novice* guy-liner.

(*to be said in french accent)

I think eyeliner can be worn by guys if it's done right. Makeup, on the other hand, (like foundation, mascara, lip gloss) is tough to pull off by guys who don't want it to look like they're wearing it. 2 seconds in poor lighting, and the jig is up.

Here are my personal yay's and ney's of guyliner, using photos of some of the most well known 'liners' of our time:

Green Day: Ney!! Smudging eyeliner just on the lower lid is for halloween, not the red carpet.

Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day: Yay!! Subtle, yet brings the dramz. Lookin' good, Billie Joe.

Brandon Flowers of The Killers: Ney!! Is it even possible to be too subtle? This technique is overly feminine...I dunno, maybe it's the cranberry-coloured satin jacket and waxed eyebrows. Brandon Flowers of The Killers: Yay!! This pose makes it hard to tell, but there is a definite improvement in his eyelining technique. The eyeliner looks like it's meant to be there, no subtleties here, buddy boy.

Dave Naverro of Jane's Addiction: Ye-Ne-yy?! I can't make up my mind! Is this good or bad?? The goatee is bad, right? It's grossness is throwing me off. But I don't mind the liner and shading.

Criss Angel, "illusionist": Ney!!!! Ok, I won't hold this against him too much because judging by the mesh and goggle sunglasses this is probably circa 1998. But, this is definitely the wrong way to use guyliner. It's too heavy and in combination with everything else, it's over the top.
Criss Angel, illusionist: Yay! Putting the pure cheese aside, I like the eyeliner. In this case, it works. Kudos to you, Chrissss, narcacism and all.

Rules of Guyliner:

1. As a guy, if you're going to use eyeliner, or know someone who is dabbling with the idea, make sure it is put on with a sure hand. Don't try to make it look like you're not wearing eyeliner, that always backfires.

2. Although you should apply it like you mean it, too heavy of a hand makes guyliner look like part of a Halloween costume.

3. After applying it on both top and bottom lids, smudge with a q-tip to ensure the liner is right at the lash line and not hovering just above.

4. Don't use anything glittery or liquid, the dryer the pencil the better.

5. Apply it with your audience in mind, are you going to a wedding (au natural is best) or out on the town (layer it on!).

6. Wear it with confidence.

Rimmel makes a great eyeliner, it's easy to use and cheap. Remember to buy a sharpener and keep it separate from the sharpener you'd use for desk pencils.

Rimmel Soft Kohl Eye Pencil in Jet Black

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My, you're looking svelt!

After trying out many cosmetic products and not always using up the last drops of one product before I try another (bad habit, I know), I end up with mountains of Sephora & Shoppers purchases. Lately I've been trying to stream line everything down to the bare essentials. Who knows if CNN's constant coverage of the global recession, or hearing about yet another conglomerate declaring chapter 11 bankrupty is influencing my spending habits - but either way, all this talk of economic downsizing and natural disastor has lead me to think that an abundance of cosmetics does not make me feel content, in fact, it results in quite the opposite. When I look at my cosmetics all stacked up and teetering on the edge of the vanity, I feel overwhelmed and suffocated. Do I really need five eyeliners? Not unless I plan on wearing a different colour every day. and I don't. So it's time to streamline.

5 Steps towards a more streamlined cosmetics routine:
1. Pitch any empty/old/funky-smelling products, here's a guideline to the life span of most cosmetics from makeup2beauty:

Mascara & Liquid Eyeliner - 3 to 6 months
Powders - 2 to 3 years
Liquids & Creams Foundation/Blush/Bronzer- 12 to 18
Lipstick & Lip Gloss - 1 to 2 years
Pencils (eye, lip and brow) - 2 to 3 years
Nail Polish - 1 to 2 years (if stored in a cool, dry place)
Perfume - 2 to 3 years (if stored in a cool, dry place)
Moisturizer - 12 to 18 months

2. Use products effectively. Read labels and understand how these products work, ie. facial moisterizer is probably most effective on clean, make-up free skin. Use enough product to actually see results and feel the benefits, ie. don't skimp just because it was expensive or because you love the product and want to save every ounce, use it like you mean it and you'll reap the rewards.

3. Ask for reputable advice. This can apply to most things in life! Instead of buying a product on a whim or because you like the packaging, ask for assistance. Describe what you're looking for and your price range and a reputable store rep (such as Shoppers Drug Mart cosmeticians) should be able to provide some solutions. Places like Sephora and Shoppers Drug Mart are independent from the product lines they sell, and so in theory, there shouldn't be any sales pressure. Use review websites too, this ought to narrow down your search to just a select group of product names.

4. Find products that do double-duty. Many products on the market today are promoted as having multiple uses. Other products aren't marketed as being multi-purpose per-se, but with some creativity can be useful in different ways, ie. bronzer or blush is great as a subtle eyeshadow and lip colour (apply to lips then swipe on lipchap to keep the colour in place and add moisture)

5. Sort through cosmetics on a regular basis. Either pitch out (get rid of cosmetics you don't use any more and never will, or if they're past their prime) store away (store cosmetics from the wrong season in a shoebox in your closet, pull out when the weather matches, ie. self-tanners, hot pink nailpolish) clean the products you end up keeping, such as face brushes, nozzles of moisterizer bottles, fingerprints on bottles and eyeshadow cases, etc. Your cosmetics will look like new, and you'll be more inclined to use them.
Here are some of my 'desert island' must-haves, to inspire a more svelt cosmetics collection:
Cetaphil facial cleanser: it has variations for dry, normal, oily, and sensitive skin. It smells great and leaves skin feeling super clean, takes off makeup.

Ojon Restorative hair treatment: it smells like incense and smoke, but it repairs any level of damaged or dry hair. It can be applied to wet, damp, or dry hair. When rubbed between the palms it becomes an oil and can be used as a hair serum to keep unruly hair sleek. Best find of mine in a long time.
Smith's Rosebud Salve: Like vaseline but more glamourous. It can be applied as a lip treatment, lip gloss, blemish healer (when the skin gets dry and cracked from acne potions), eye brow gel, the list goes on.
Urban Decay Primer Potion: use as a primer/base for eyeshadow, it also evens out skin tone (eliminates redness) and gives concealer something more to grip to (great for the occasional emergency pimple cover-up, although not recommended for every-day use)
Two-faced lash injection mascara in black: This macara creates tubes around each eyelash, extending them and making the lashes thicker. The tubes eliminate the need for eye make-up remover because it just washes off with warm water and a gentle wipe with fingers.

Benefit benetint: a rosey coloured tint that can be used as a cheek tint (apply to moisterized skin or else the 'tint' becomes a 'stain') and as a lip colour with great lasting power.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Here are some videos I found that have really good explainations and tips for make-up application:

Ford Model make-up artist, Fatima Olive, shares her make-up must-haves. This is a really good tutorial for basic make-up application:

Ford Model make-up artist Johnny LaVoy shows how to create a modern version of the classic smokey-eye. Such a great eye for the upcoming holiday season. Picture this with electric blue for New Years Eve, or peuter and black for a tamer but still glamazon eye effect.

How to use liquid eye-liner. Top tips and techniques! alliteration is key for make-up tutorials..i find.

Eyeliner:How To Apply Liquid Eyeliner

How to create subtle red lips:

Latest Trends: Make-Up:How To Wear Red Lipstick

Friday, November 7, 2008

Winter Palette

Here's a scrapbook of makeup looks I'm enjoying this season:

Alberta Ferretti Fall '08

charcoal smudged eyes, pale lips and skin.
I think the Ferretti version of this face is more wearable, but I love this interpretation too (below). I like how the charcoal eyeshadow is taken up almost to the brow bone, very Kate Moss circa 1998.
Louis Vuitton Fall '07
cat-eye black liquid liner, pale skin.
Liquid liner takes practice, practice, and more practice. The easiest way to accomplish the cat-eye is to draw the line you want to acheive with an eyeliner pencil first -- erase any mistakes easily with a q-tip and concealer -- then trace over top with the trickier liquid stuff. I've heard scotch taping a stencil works too. But any time office supplies are involved with makeup application it's good practice to rethink things.
I love this mod interpretation of the cat-eye:
I think the best way to pull the look off is to choose a vibrant colour that compliments your skin tone and eye-colour, and keep the rest of your makeup bare and soft. This is the, "I'm going to a gallery opening" face.
Preen Fall '08
peuter gray eyeshadow, stained berry lips, pale luminous glow to skin.
I think this makeup look can serve many occasions. It's appropriately demure for work, but it can be amped up with eye liner for post-office fun. I think this is the best go-to holiday face too.