This past year I really dived into the crazy world of makeup (last mentioned here). I had no idea where to start, but I knew that my usual routine (if you can even call it that), just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Along the way I definitely made some mistakes and probably spent way more money then I needed to trying out different products. So, as I sit here now, a year later, and with a good makeup routine in place, I thought I’d take everything I learnt and hopefully help some of you out. Whether you’re just starting out or if you already have a makeup routine in place,these next ten tips will surely help anyone and everyone!
1. LEARN WHAT DIFFERENT PRODUCTS DO
Start to understand the differences among products, and no I don’t mean the difference between foundation and eye shadow (hopefully that difference is pretty clear). What I mean is understanding that there are differences among each product type. For instance, you can have matte foundation or a luminous one. A matte foundation is great for those people with oily skin or if they don’t like any shine to your complexion. Whereas a luminous foundation will give you that dewy look (my personal preference). People with dry skin can benefit from a luminous foundation, as it adds more of a healthy glow to your skin.
2. DO YOUR RESEARCH
Where do you begin to learn about the differences in products, what tools to use, how to use them or even what makeup to buy? Youtube. My guilty pleasure (if you can call it that). I started watching a few “beauty gurus” on youtube at the beginning of last year and it has helped me so much in the makeup department. Not only can they give recommendations about products (definitely do your research before you buy), but they are also amazing to watch to see how they apply their makeup. I find that some of their looks are a bit heavy for me and my day to day look, but I love watching and learning the different ways they apply their makeup and the different brushes they use. Two of my favourites are Jaclyn Hill and Nicole Guerriero.
3. INVEST IN THE RIGHT TOOLS
After watching a few (or many) videos, I began to see the different types of tools that were out there. Just because a brush is “designated” for foundation or for blush, doesn’t mean that’s what you have to use it for. There are no rules with makeup, well maybe to avoid baby blue eyeliner (throw back to my grade 6 glory days). I quickly learnt that having the right tool for the job can make a huge difference. The best thing is that now a days there are so many options when it comes to makeup brushes. You do not need to break the bank when buying brushes. There are online stores that offer great brushes (like Sigma) and there’s amazing brushes you can find at Target (like Sonia Kashuk and Elf). If you do decide to spend a bit more, don’t worry because if you take good care of your brushes (wash them when needed) they can last you a very long time and be a great investment!
4. START WITH A TINTED MOISTURIZER
When I decided to change up my routine last winter, it was because my skin was looking pretty lack lustre and I was wanting to even out my skin tone. I didn’t really know how to achieve this, and I (for some reason) really did not want to dive into the world of foundation. I always thought foundation was so heavy and so noticeably there (I’ve since learnt that’s not the case). But I came across the perfect middle ground, that was tinted moisturizer. Not only does tinted moisturizer hydrate your skin, it also provides light coverage and evens out your skin tone. It’s the perfect product to start out with if you’re starting to get into the foundation side of makeup because it can easily be applied with your fingers for a light coverage or can be built up for a heavier coverage down the road. Even as I’ve moved along and now wear foundation from time to time, my tinted moisturizer is still one of my all time favourite staples in my makeup bag.
5. USE SHADOW FOR FILLING IN BROWS
Friends, I can’t say this enough. Fill in your eyebrows. I think it is probably one of the most overlooked steps in peoples makeup routine but it is definitely one of the most important. Your eyebrows frame your face, so if you fill them in (even just slightly), it can make a huge difference. I know that might sound daunting, and coming from someone who has zero drawing capabilities, trust me you can do this too! I started filling in my eyebrows years ago with shadow and a small angled brush. This is definitely the best way to learn how to fill your brows in and you can lightly apply shadow or build it up if you want them more defined. To start out, I suggest filling in any sparse areas with short little flicks of your brush. Don’t worry about creating a shape for your brows (that will come later after some practice), just stay within your already defined shape.
6. USE A BEAUTY BLENDER TO APPLY FOUNDATION AND CONCEALER
There are many different ways to apply foundation. You can use different brushes, you can use your fingers or you can use the beauty blender. The last item might seem foreign to some of you (but seriously go buy one now!), but it is absolutely my favourite and I think best way to apply foundation and concealer. If you are heavy handed and apply too much product, the beauty blender will soak it up so your makeup doesn’t look caked on. I find that when I apply my foundation with the beauty blender it gives a really smooth effect and product doesn’t ever cling to dry spots (since I have drier skin). Also, it’s just super easy to use and can save you lots of time! All you do is hold the beauty blender under water and squeeze it a few times so it can absorb water. Squeeze it out agin, getting most of the water out and then roll it in a towel or paper towel and squeeze it one last time (the towels will really absorb any excess water). Then, I put my foundation on my face in small dots all over and dab my face with the beauty blender to blend it out, I never swipe or drag it. Same goes for my concealer (I use the pointed end) and just dab the beauty blender to blend my concealer out.
7. BUY DRUGSTORE PRODUCTS WHEN POSSIBLE
I’m a big believer in mixing high end with low end, not only with my clothes but with makeup as well. There are so many great drugstore brands these days that make amazing products. Here’s a little tip for you, if you find a high end product but don’t feel like spending the money on it, head over to Pinterest and type in the high end products name with the word “dupe” next to it. You are bound to find lots of pins that match your product to a drugstore version. Above is just a few of the high end (pictured on the left) products and their drugstore (pictured on the right) equivalent. If I’m interested in trying a certain product out, say a cream eyeshadow, I’ll always try to find a drugstore version first. If I’m liking the results but I find the colour isn’t as intense as I want or it doesn’t last all day, that’s when I’ll take the plunge and buy the high end version.
8. ASK FOR SAMPLES
One of my favourite things about Sephora (besides the sea of makeup products) is the sample products they give you at checkout. It’s a great way to try new products that you’ve maybe had your eye on or even try something you never thought you’d wear. I once got a bright purple lipstick as a sample and you know what, I actually loved it! This is also a great way to try makeup on at home and wear it a few times before investing in the actual size. I’ve done this a few times at MAC, where I’ve liked a concealer and asked for a sample to take home. The girls were so lovely and always willing to provide a sample for me. I personally like trying products out at home, which usually has better lighting then the store and I can see how it wears for the day. Always ask to see if they’ll give you a sample first to try and then you’ll know if you want to actually buy it! And hey it will probably save you some money too!
9. ASK FOR HELP MATCHING COLORS TO YOUR SKIN
I honestly think this is why I stayed away from foundation for so long. I felt like I could never properly match foundation to my skin. This is definitely harder to do in the drugstore as well since sometimes testers aren’t available and the lighting usually isn’t great. This is where Sephora or even MAC can be great. The girls can help you find your perfect colour match and you can begin to see where you fall within all the shades. This is good because you can learn whether your skin is more cool toned, warm toned or neutral toned. Also, whenever you are matching a foundation to your skin, always match it to your neck. This will eliminate you looking like a ghost… which is good because no one can pull that look off.
10. EXFOLIATE, EXFOLIATE, EXFOLIATE
Finally, the best thing I’ve learnt for achieving that perfect smooth skin look is to exfoliate. Not only is exfoliating great for your skin, but it will allow your makeup to go on so much smoother and not cling to any dry spots. I alway try to exfoliate before applying my makeup (just a gentle exfoliator) and I’ll use a rougher one maybe once a week to really take away the dry skin. A great way to do this is with electronic brushes like the Clarisonic. I’ve always been interested in the Clarisonic, but wasn’t ready to spend all that money for one, so I went to Target and found a similar version by Olay. Now I know and have heard nothing beats the Clarisonic, but the Olay version does a pretty great job and I now know that if I were to buy a Clarisonic it would definitely be used a lot.