Monday, July 15, 2013

My Make-Up Routine

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So my make-up routine has changed significantly for two very particular reasons: 

1) I am no longer employed (haven’t been for awhile actually), and 2) I’m way more into the natural look now than I have been into for a long time.

The former means that I can no longer afford the expensive, highly select make up I used to purchase. I joked to my sister hat I have gone from the luxury Brand BlackUp to Black Opal. If you don’t get that joke, basically BlackUp is a fancy French brand which is super expensive and for a time the only place it was offered in the Western hemisphere was my little island (now I think you can get it at Sephora in USA), and went to Black Opal which is a drug store makeup range which is also geared towards black women.

The latter means I don’t have to use products that are very pigmented because the natural look is supposed to be understated. Learn this rule.

More pigmented (blush/eyeshadow/ lipstick) = $$$$.

Less pigmented product = $

Anyway, let’s get started.

1.       After moisturizing, I prime with NYX Studio Perfect Photo-Loving Primer in the purple bottle which is supposed to be for Anti-Dull Skin Colour Balance. It’s a decent primer, nothing ground breaking. If you live in a hot climate, it can tend to make you look shiny, so I really prefer to use this at night when it is cooler.

2.       I follow by brushing and filling in my brows. I have the most unruly brows in life, so I also comb them. I fill in with cheap eyeliner. I realized this really works for my brows because cheap eyeliners tend to be a lot less pigmented than expensive ones, so my eyeliner does not look harsh on my brows. In any case, I have really dark brows, so a dark brown eyeliner is barely detectable on them.

3.       I follow with concealer. I use Black Opal’s Flawless Concealer in Toast under my eyes, and also to conceal the marks on my nose from former spectacles (mentioned that in the sensitive skin post). It’s a really good concealer actually.

4.       Because Toast is light, I go over it with my NYX Total Coverage concealer palette. Honestly, its a very 'meh!' concealer.

5.       I set my concealer with Black Opal’s Bronzing powder. I know it sounds weird to set under-eye concealer with bronzer, but it actually works really well with my complexion.

6.       Then I highlight. I highlight before I put on my powder because the highlighter looks more natural that way, when it’s blended in with the overall face powder. I use two NYX blushes as highlighters, because the shades, Sand and Angel are actually not traditional blush colours at all. Sand is a true gold with flecks in it, and Angel is a white-pink colour. They work really well as highlighters.

7.        I rarely wear blush as it is supposed to be used, because I naturally have bright, chubby cheeks that are already quite distinct. If I’m feeling fancy though, I use MAC’s Shimmer Blush in Springsheen. It’s a coral-ish, orange-y colour. The orange colour in it blends into my skin tone really beautifully. I loathe pink and red blushes because they look too obvious on my skin tone, so I tend to use more natural- looking blushes, when I do wear any.[1]

8.       For my powder I use Black Opal Color Fusion Powder, in tandem with Milani’s Cocoa Glimmer Strips.

9.       I love lipstick, and for a natural look my go-to nude lip is MAC’s Pro longwear lipstick in the shade Made To Last. Now this was not meant to be a nude, its actually an autumn deep brown-pink. However, on my dark skin tone, it’s a nude cuz its closest to the natural colour of my lips. If I’m feeling fancy I line with a brown lipliner, but my lips are naturally lined because the edges are darker than the pinker inside, so its usually not necessary.

10.   I follow up with Jordana’s lipgloss in Sunset Kiss. It’s a fairly light lipgloss which brightens the nude. But to be honest, as my lips are already so full I really don’t need shiny gloss, so I usually skip it.

11.   I do my eyes last. I know that’s unconventional, but I prefer it because I don’t wear a lot of eye make-up, just mascara and the tiniest bit of eyeliner, if I’m feeling special. Another reason I feel confident about applying eye make up last is that I’m pretty good at applying mascara, so I never have to worry about product getting under my eye or smudging that I’d need to rub away. I’ve been using L’Oreal Lash Architect for YEARS, but my last tube is on its last legs now, and I’m thinking its time for a change. I’ve been eying several different L’Oreal mascaras as I mentioned in my last post, but now I think I’ll just go for the L’Oreal Volume Plus Collagen in Blackest Black. Its $38 where I live by the way. And that’s a drugstore brand. Cost of living here is INSANE! In the US it’d be less than $10). (I also wanna buy Clinique’s Bottom Lash Mascara which is $28 here).

12.   I only wear eyeliner if I feel my eyes still need an extra oomph even after my mascara, mainly if I’m going out somewhere fancy. And even then I just tightline my eyes for a subtle effect. I used to use MAC’s Kohl Eyeliner in Smolder, but I lost it. Which was extremely tragic as it cost me $40 here. Now I just use some no-name kohl eyeliner because I’ve found that when I use product on my water line, it rarely budges even with cheaper products which tend to spread. I just love kohl because its so intense that you can get away with only using a little on your tear line, and your eyes suddenly stand out.

And that is it. So I hope you’ve noticed that I’ve come up with some cheap drugstore alternatives to the fancier brands I used to buy. Everyone says drugstore brands aren’t as good as high end ones but I completely disagree. Make-up is more about savvy application than the product, I’ve found. You can buy the fanciest Lancome or Dior mascara, but if you don’t know how to apply it, you are worse than someone than someone who bought Maybelline’s Lash Blast and knows how to work it. Admittedly, I have found that it takes a lot more product from a cheaper brand to get the same finish as a high end product. You will go through products faster, especially concealers. You really have to lay it on thick. But with all concealers, the most important thing is to blend, blend, blend. Blend out so you don’t notice the change in colour to the rest of your face. Once you’ve got that down, you can use most concealers. So its all about application, not all about products.

Even when I do get a decent job, I highly doubt I’ll go back to spending the ridiculous amounts of money on make-up products anymore. I just can’t justify it when there are such great drugstore products like L’Oreal (which has perfected mascara) and Black Opal (I’ll say it again: that flawless concealer is da bomb) and Jordana (which makes a mean lipgloss). These drugstore brands have found their niche and they know what they are good at.

Its true that fancier brands have perfected certain products too, that I still can’t find replacements for in the drugstore. Estee Lauder’s Pure Color Blush line is divine, and nothing is as satin-y and gorgeous and subtle as it anywhere.

Clinique’s Bottom Lash mascara is amazing and I haven’t found any other bottom lash mascaras in any drugstores here.

I’m told nothing compares to Dior Show mascara but I haven’t tried it and I’m pretty sure something in L’Oreal’s Voluminous line would give it a run for its money any day. (What? I’m biased?)

Anyway, those are just my thoughts on make-up which I’ve been thinking a lot of recently. My next post will probably be about exercise or diet as I’ve recently been getting much better in taking care of myself.


[1] I never contour because the underside of my cheekbone is naturally darker, like that of many dark-skinned women. Lucky us!!

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