Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quick Flawless Base Routine (using Make Up For Ever HD Foundation and Estee Lauder Maximum Coverage Foundation)



Ok, I'm not saying I have a lot to cover. Neither do I have flawless skin, obviously. I have dry spots, some areas with obvious pores, some unevenness, old acne marks, and dark circles.
This is not a tutorial for covering serious acne (I always recommend you get that treated rather than covered) or scarring. It's just a quick way to look as flawless as possible, without caking up your face with lots of unnatural-looking makeup.

You want products that can give maximum pigmentation with minimal texture, so it still looks and feels like skin up close.

The products:

Unfortunately, in my experience, good "fake" real skin does not come cheap. But if you are doing this for your wedding or a special occasion, I think it's ok to consider a once-in-a-blue-moon splurge to feel really confident.

Make Up For Ever HD Foundation: The best balance between lightweight texture and high pigmentation. It sets into a real skin texture, so you get coverage but not that powdery, mask-like texture of matte foundations. A tiny bit goes a long way so this is an investment if you're willing to shell out. If you're lucky, you'll find a perfect match. I don't have one, so I have to mix 123 and 117 for a perfect match. Ouch.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover Camouflage Makeup: I don't use this as a foundation. I use it as a concealer because it's SO high coverage. I prefer it over some other products because it lasts a lot better but doesn't feel TOO dry on the under-eye area for my combi/dry skin. If you're on the market for a good liquid/cream concealer, I highly suggest checking this out because it comes in a huge 30ml tube and lasts FOREVER.

Sigma F05 brush: You can use any duo-fiber stippling brush, but I find this works a lot faster and blends the foundation out a lot more flawlessly for that really airbrushed finish.

MAC Fix+: Or any alcohol-free toner or setting spray

Step 1: I pump out a small amount of foundation on the back of my hand and then lightly dip just the tips of the brush hairs into it. You want the tips of the hairs to have a small bit of product, so that the fibers are still pretty much separated from each other. Avoid wetting chunks of fiber so they clump together.

Step 2: Stipple the brush onto your face lightly to distribute the foundation and then very lightly buff the tips of the brush into your face in circular motions. Some people like to just dab-dab-dab, but I find the swirling helps to "airbrush" away your pores. Just don't be too rough if you have dry, flaky skin as this can make it worse.

Step 3: Apply dabs of concealer on dark marks. In general, I like to use my finger to pat and blend undereye concealer. For spots, I like to dot onto the spot directly, and then use the F05 brush to stipple lightly. This once again "air-brushes" the area without looking like you have a patch of heavy product.

Areas to look out for include:
  • Inner corners of eyes
  • Outer corners of eyes
  • Uneven areas
  • Spots
  • Veins around the nostrils
  • Corners of the mouth

Step 4: Set the T-zone. I don't powder all over at this point. I just use a transparent setting powder like Silica, Make Up For Ever HD, MAC Prep + Prime, etc on a sponge wedge and lightly press (not rub!) onto the T-zone, chin and sides of the nose where the pores are more obvious.
P.S. I also like to do my brows at this point. It's not important; just a personal preference.

Step 5: Adding some glow back into the skin so you look fresh and dewy. I apply some highlighter onto cheekbones and brow bones.

Step 6: Finish with a hint of pink blush along the temples. The softer and looser your brush, the more natural your blush will look.

And that's it! You can move on to the rest of your makeup!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Get 35% off Coastal Scents Hot Pots and Magnetic Palettes from now to 20/4/2012, 1pm EST

Whether you're a budding makeup artist or just building up your collection of eyeshadow shades, now's a good time to check out Coastal Scents Hot Pots! These 26mm shadows are exactly the size of MAC refills, come in a big selection of shades and cost $1.99 each.

Plus, they usually give you a free 12-pan palette if you buy 12 pieces of eye shadows.
The quality has been fair-to-good for me so far, with the stars being all the metallics, though a few of the matte shades I got had lower color-payoff than higher-end brands.

P.S. Coastal Scents ships internationally.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dark Seafoam Marine Tutorial (featuring Stargazer Blue Cake Liner)

This is a fun evening eye made up of several blues. Navy blue crease (The Body Shop Eye Shadow Single in #31), metallic seafoam-grey lids (Cyber Colors Cosmos Eyeshadow #01 Neptune), and a gorgeous matte prussian-blue liner (Stargazer Electric Blue Cake Liner - though it's not really electric blue) which costs all of £3.50. 

The hardest item to obtain or duplicate would be Cyber Colors Cosmos Eyeshadow #01 Neptune (available at Sasa boutiques around Asia), which is a gloriously unique baked shadow made up of swirls of gunmetal, silver, and teal. I tried and tried but couldn't find any substitute. The closest would be to mix an iridescent teal shadow with a metallic grey.

Step 1: After applying a base, brush on a deep navy blue shadow in the outer V of the eye and smoke along the socket line (above the crease).

Step 2: As I was using an iridescent baked shadow, I used my finger to smooth on the lid color for maximum intensity. (Note that using your finger only works for baked/mineral shadows or very soft ones like Stila, and TheBalm, as they don't contain enough talc to get ruined and sealed over when they come into contact with oils in your finger.)

Step 3: Using a pencil brush, run the shadow along the lower lash line as well.

Step 4: The fun bit. Add a few drops of water or liner mixing medium onto a prussian blue cake liner and apply along the lower lash line and upper lash line, ending in an outer flick. (I highly recommend the Stargazer Electric Blue Cake Liner as it's a gorgeous and unique shade unlike any of the generic navies around.)

Step 5: Finish with mascara for the final look.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring Night: Smoky Duochrome Eye (all drugstore products!)

A smoky eye and false lashes do not necessarily mean a heavy look if you layer on some shine and subtle color.
Here, I used:
  • elf Black Licorice cream shadow duo (black shade)
  • Wet n Wild ColorIcon in Greed (sparkly black and gray-gold shade)
  • Essence Colour & Shine eyeshadow in 03 Wear It (baked sparkly purple)
  • Bourjois Liner Pinceau 16 Hour liquid liner in black
  • Ardell 120 Demi lashes

Step 1: Apply the black base in an even layer, sheering out above the socket line.

Step 2: Dab the tips of a brush into black shadow and then pack it gently along the lash line. Don't run this over the entire crease area as you need to leave space for the silver-gold.

Step 3: With the silvery-gold shade in the Wet n Wild palette (or any soft grey you have), run just above the black shadow in a thin strip. You may need to go over a couple of times to build up intensity. Try to keep the color within the socket line.

Step 4: Run a sparkly purple along the socket line, framing the rest of the eye makeup. You can smoke this color out a bit more since it's the outermost shade.

Step 5: Apply black liquid liner at the base of your upper lashes, and then apply wispy false lashes. To keep the look lighter and more lifted upwards, I'm not applying anything on the bottom lash line. Not even mascara.

Friday, April 6, 2012

How to get Glowing, Contoured Cheeks (for Day)

Contouring vs Bronzing:

I think there's a lot of confusion regarding bronzing, contouring and highlighting. 
Bronzing does not equate to contouring. When you bronze yourself, you give yourself something of a fake tan and a sun-kissed glow. It subtly changes your skin color but does not make your face skinnier or your bones more pronounced.

In reverse, highlighting and contouring subtly alters your facial structure but does not alter your overall skin tone the way bronzing does.

It's important to separate the two because so many people end up buying the wrong product to do the wrong job when they get it mixed up. 

This tutorial is for:
  • People who have slightly oilier skin or don't like cream products to slide around on their face.
  • People who want subtle contouring and highlighting that looks natural enough for day-time wear.
  • People with relatively clear skin at the cheeks. If you have lots of marks and pitted scars to conceal, I don't recommend doing this.

MAC 227 shadow brush: perfect for smoothing on highlighter.
The tools:
I'm using a slightly shinier highlighter and a deeper contour powder than I wear on a day-to-day basis because my camera will not pick it up otherwise.

You need
  1. A firm, large eye shadow blender for highlighting (like the MAC 227, above)
  2. A small face powder brush like the MAC 109 or Sigma F50
  3. A powder highlighter: If you are pale to light skinned, get something pink-toned (I used MAC Silver Dusk Iridescent Loose Powder). If you have medium to tan skin, go for a peachy shade. If you have deep-toned skin, go for a real bronze-y or coppery shade.
  4. Matte contouring powder: Make sure you get a color that looks like the color of the shaded parts of your face. This means your skin tone but 2-3 shades deeper. This does NOT mean any redder, or yellower.
  5. Regular blush

The Steps:
Step 1: Start with foundation or whatever base you use. Conceal any discolorations if you need but know that you might need to touch up afterwards as your contouring and highlighting may remove some product.

Step 2: Apply your highlighter thickly along the brow bone, and then along the cheekbones. Be generous with your highlighter. This is going to get faded out and blended when you apply all your other products later. Also, start the highlight much higher up on the cheekbones, almost right under the eyes. See below image for the whole area where you should pack on highlighter. This lifts your cheek bones and allows the sheen to catch the light better, so you get that polished perfect-skin glow. 

Warning: If you have a lot of laugh lines at the outer corners of your eyes, avoid going up that high of course.

Step 3: Contouring.  Use a small face powder brush for more control and color intensity. The darker matte powder should "cup" the highlighter earlier and curve in at the outer corners of your temples in a rough C. If you want to sculpt and lift your cheekbones, you should always run your contour just slightly higher than the actual hollow points of your cheeks. 

If your lower cheeks are a little chubbier than you'd like, you can also lightly dust the remaining contour powder down towards your jawline. 

By this time, your highlighter should have become quite subtle from the brushing (above), and your contouring should not look like any hard stripes.

Step 4: This is optional. If you want a flush, just pick up your regular blusher and lightly dab from the cheekbones INWARD along the line where your highlight and contour meet, until you end at the apples.

I say go inwards because placing your brush onto your apples first will leave you with a big patch of pink or red on your apples, when your blush hits the moisture of your base. If you place it along the cheekbones first, the skin there has already been set with a layer of highlighter and contour powder, and you should have just a small amount of blush left by the time you reach your apples. Otherwise you will need to blend out the red patch with loose powder.
Step 5: Optional as well! Touch up any concealer lightly where needed, but don't go overboard unless you want a matte beige spot on a dewy pink cheek.

Finish by dusting setting powder all over IF you need to bring down the sheen and color a notch. I mostly just skip this and apply setting powder only in the center of my face.

The finished look:
 Contoured, glowing cheeks that look like dewy skin but don't FEEL sticky or oily at all.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Getting the Perfect Cat-Eye with Powder Liner

This is a tutorial for getting a softer, simpler cat eye liner look using powder rather than gel, pencil or liquid.
The benefits are that:
  • powder is easier to control, especially if you're new to eye liner
  • if you make any mistakes you can rub it away easily
  • you can go on light, and then build up intensity when you like the shape/angle
  • you can use it dry for a softer look, or damp for something that looks more like liquid liner (be careful which shadows you use though. Not all work wet.)
  • you can use pretty much ANY eye shadow or pigment of your choice, which means the color options are endless
The application technique is actually the same as when you apply gel or cake liner with an angled brush.
The easiest brushes to use for this look are flat angled brushes. Wider/larger brush heads are actually easier for getting extended wings. Natural hair brushes also tend to work better than synthetic ones as they pick up more pigment.
Step 1: After applying the rest of your eye makeup, dab the tip of your angled brush into black shadow or cake liner. I'm using it dry for a softer smokier line. You can dampen your brush to get an intense line if you're using cake liners or loose pigments.

Step 2: Use the LOWER LASHLINE AS THE GUIDING LINE for the angle of the brush.  I simply place the brush along the outer corners of the bottom lash line and then gently stroke the brush along that line. Extend inwards along the lower lash line. 
This step is key because it:
  • helps you to make the angle of the flick more balanced on both eyes
  • gives that gorgeous sweeping arc of liner when you close your eyes, as this follows your natural eye contour. 


Step 2: Next, line your upper lash line. All you do is pick up more powder with your brush and tap off excess before placing it right at the base of the lashes and wiggling gently to "push" the pigment onto your skin. Then remove your brush, pick up more powder, and then place it along the next section of your lash line. Don't try to stroke the brush all the way from one end of your eye to the other. This is MUCH easier and much more precise.

Step 3: To get rid of a harsh angle between the flick and your upper lash line, place your brush along the flick and then stroke it inwards diagonally towards the center of your lid. This thickens up the line at the outer corners without ruining that beautiful angle.