1. Buy two separate face powders: The first is lighter in colour than your skintone and light in texture, used under the eyes to set concealer and bring light under the eyes (avoid powders with light reflectors and SPF if the powder will be used during photography). The second can be any powder that you love in your natural skin colour. Set makeup or take down shine with the second powder. Use both in tandum to emphasize the planes of your face.
2. As old fashioned and granny-like as this is, nothing sets foundation better and makes your makeup last longer like setting your makeup with a pressed powder and a sponge (or puff). Pressing the powder onto your skin (instead of spreading it all over your face - and into your lungs - all willy nilly with a brush) really extends the life of the foundation on your skin. It also creates an airbrushed like quality because it camouflages pores better than just dusting your face with powder. Just make sure that you're not packing the makeup on.
3. When applying eyeliner, don't think that you have to get it perfect right off the bat. Sometimes just having one solid stripe can look harsh. I find that the best way to apply eyeliner is to smudge it with a q-tip, brush, or fingertip, right after it's been applied. This ensures that it reaches the base of the lashes and looks soft and subtle. This is a great tip for women with wrinkles too as you can blend out any eyeliner mistakes.
4. To improve the staying power of eyeliner on the inner rim (waterline), dry the eyelid ledge first with a q-tip, carefully! This removes any excess moisture. Then apply the liner, and set with a brush dipped in eyeshadow that matches the eyeliner. This extra step extends the life of the liner by at least 3x.
5. You don't need to buy expensive emulsifiers in order to convert your dry shadows into wet shadow. The trick is to remove as much eyeshadow as you intend on using from the eyeshadow pot, then emulsify with either water or Visine in a separate dish or palette (or back of your hand, etc). A mistake a lot of people make is to put the emulsifier directly into the eyeshadow pot, thereby changing the chemistry of the rest of the eyeshadow. Applying eyeshadow wet amps up the intensity and longevity. Just make sure to prime your eye well beforehand, because products applied wet tend to crease more. (This trick can also be used to convert any eyeshadow into an eyeliner).
6. Curl your eyelashes! Unless you have incredibly curly eyelashes naturally, everyone needs a good lift in the morning. Curling your eyelashes really does lift your eyes and open them up, it works on everyone. For extra oomph heat up your metal eyelash curler for a few seconds with your hairdryer (on low setting!) then carefully set your lashes. The heat helps hold the lift.
7. When applying blush start at the hairline (I know, sounds 80's...but we were on to something!) then sweep to the apples of your cheeks. This way more colour is deposited along your cheek bone instead of near your nose, which can look 'dolly' like. Angle the sweep of colour depending on your face shape: if you have a narrow face, draw the shadow horizontally to widen your features; in contrast, draw the blush on a diagonal to slim and narrow a wide face. This picture isn't really demonstrating what I mean, but it shows how the colour should migrate into the hairline, and not just sit on your face like two dots.
8. Skin primers are unnecessary unless you have skin scarring you're trying to cover up (in which case they can help minimize texture issues). Apply facial moisturizer after washing your face and before applying makeup. Let dry (about 5-10 minutes), then apply makeup as usual. Same effect as a primer, less goop on your face!9. A clean, damp washcloth can replace any exfoliator. A washcloth saturated with some face cleanser will clean pores and remove makeup better than an exfoliation scrub. This trick can also be used to remove dead skin from lips.
The bare minimum that everyone should attempt daily in order to have healthy skin and look polished is to do the following:
- Drink water (boring! but true. Diet coke doesn't count)
- Wear SPF 15 every day, higher if you're in direct sunlight for more than 15 minutes. Reapply frequently
- Wash your face in the morning and at night with a gentle cleanser - no matter how tough your skin is, gentle is the way to go.
- Moisturize your skin, no matter how oily it is. Everyone needs a good moisturizer that suits their skin type.
- Makeup: Definition is key to great makeup that looks natural, so focus on the following: Eyebrows, eyelashes, & cheeks. Everyone can always use a little eyebrow defining, mascara on their lashes (after curling!) and blush or bronzer.
- Get a good bronzer, I can't emphasize this enough! Bronzer looks great on everyone throughout the entire year. It's just about finding the best colour for your skin tone. If you are fair skinned you can substitute bronzer with blush - look for apricot or peach coloured blush to warm up your face. Medium skintones can use any bronzer they prefer really. Just avoid overly sparkly or dusty formulas, no one can pull that off. Dark skintones can use bronzers with a gold base, as this will really set off the deep tones in your skin. Avoid bronzers with orange and ash undertones.
- Keep your hands away from your face. Don't lean, pick, irritate, etc. As much of a habit as it is for some people, hands touching and picking your face causes a lot of damage over the years.
I'll post more tips as I think of them!
**Update: thought of something about adding light to the face - which is super flattering on everyone.
A light shade of concealer or some sort of light reflective moisturizer/liquid (Like Benefit's Moonbeam) applied to specific planes of the face bring brightness to the face, creating a flattering halo effect. Here's a crappy diagram of what I mean:
The yellow fuzz represents where highlight can be applied to emphasize the high planes of the face. (Cheek bone, temple, inner corner of eyes, tip of nose, bridge of nose, & the cupid's bow)