Cosmetic Karma or Makeup moves

You look good. It has to be true – your friends tell you so all the time. But their completely unreliable opinion aside, who’s to say that you couldn’t look even better?

There are many ways to improve your “look.” You can get a new dress, new shoes, new nose, lose weight, gain weight, or visit a monk and get your soul cleansed. But these methods all involve time, money, or delayed gratification. You want to look prettier now, and for free, dammit! Well, that may be a tad unrealistic, but there is a way to improve your general appearance in a couple of minutes and at a relatively low cost: Improve the way you slap on that makeup.

What suits you best

Part of the fun of putting on makeup is mixing and matching various colors and shades for different looks and effects. But it’s important that when you choose a color, it must suit your skin type, skin color, and eye color. If you have dark skin tones, bright red blush won’t blend into your skin, no matter how hard you try to rub it in. And if you’re pale, black eye shadow won’t win you any admirers – instead, people will be asking you who won the fight (or maybe they’ll just think you’re goth). So be realistic and keep reminding yourself that certain colors and ingredients look better in their packaging and on other people.

Facial makeup

Facial makeup (concealer, foundation, and powder) was invented to make your skin look flawless. The chart below explains what kind of facial makeup you need:

Skin Type Facial Makeup Type
Dry Liquid or Cream
Normal to Dry Liquid or Cream
Normal to Oily Oil-free liquid or Powder
Oily Oil-free liquid with a matte finish
Combination Liquid, Cream, or Powder (whatever balances your
face)

When picking out a facial makeup, you have no choice: you have to get the color that’s closest to your own skin color. If you fail to obey this rule, you’ll end up looking as if you got a really weird tan, or like a female Michael Jackson (neither of which is desirable). Don’t test facial makeup on your hand or arm; apply it to your neck or face for a more accurate match.

Concealer. Also known as cover stick, goes under foundation and is used for spot treatments. It’s great at hiding baggy eyes, pimples, and other blemishes. It comes in liquid bottles and tubes (which are thinner and good for drier skin), and sticks and compacts (which are thicker and good for oilier skin). Choose a concealer that is slightly lighter than your regular skin color – the foundation that you apply over it will even it out.

  • Foundation. Foundation goes on all over your face to make it looks uniform and smooth. It comes in three types: liquid, cream, and powder. Make sure that your foundation is oil-based for dry skin, oil-free for oily skin, and water-based for combination skin.
  • Powder. Powder can be applied over foundation to help “set” it, but its main purpose is to help keep your face looking fresh as the day wears on. For that reason, powder usually goes in portable, easy-to-use packaging. While lots of people like loose powder, we prefer pressed powder – it’s just neater and it seems to last longer.

Eye makeup

Eye makeup (eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara) is arguably the most fun type of makeup. With a quick sweep of a sponge-tipped applicator or cute little brush, you can go from girl-next-door innocent to positively trampy. Here’s a handy little chart to help you figure out what colors would best suit your eye color:

  • Brown eyes: Shades of slate blue, gray, and plum will help brown eyes stand out.
  • Green eyes: Shades of pink, salmon, mauve, and brownish-pink will help green eyes look even greener.
  • Blue eyes: Shades of brown, camel, and taupe will help blue eyes appear even bluer.
  • Eyeliner. Eyeliner belongs on the base of your lids, and its purpose is to enhance the size and shape of your eyes. Some people also like to line the bottom of their eyes, which really has a dramatic effect. Eyeliner comes in many different colors and forms, including pencil and powder (ideal for a “natural” look), and cake and liquid (for a more “dramatic” look).
  • Eyeshadow. Eyeshadow goes on each entire lid and sometimes in the space between your lids and your eyebrows. It comes in a variety of colors and also several different forms, including cream (good for dry skin), matte (good for oily skin), and pencil (good for all types of skin).
  • Mascara. Mascara only used to be available in black, but nowadays you can find it in all sorts of colors. So while black mascara was used for the sole purpose of making your eyelashes stand out without calling attention to the fact that you have mascara on, colored mascara is now used to make a bold statement. If you choose a colored mascara, we recommend that you stick to darker colors like navy blue or plum, as opposed to light blue or green. The latter is just too bizarre and unnatural for our tastes. Mascara comes in a wand with a tube; there are straight wands, and there are curved wands. The shape of the wand is a matter of preference so you have our permission to experiment with both.

Lip makeup

Experts argue over whether you should apply lipstick or lipliner first, but you should just try it both ways and see what turns out better on you. The makeup masters all agree on this fact though: Your lipstick and lipliner should match and blend together. Never apply a liner that’s darker to your lipstick in an effort to make the liner stand out. That was an awful, awful ’90s fad, and everyone was glad to see it pass.

  • Lipstick. Even those who don’t usually wear makeup have been known to slap on some lipstick from time to time. There’s gloss lipstick (which comes in a little pot or tube with a wand), and frost, matte, and cream lipsticks (which come in the famous lipstick stick). Try out all the different kinds of lipsticks to find out the ones you are most comfortable wearing (they are all quite different in texture). If you don’t have any money, buy a cherry popsicle and give it a suck before going out the door (if you like that “6-year-old returning from camp” look).
  • Lipliner. Lipliner goes around the perimeter of your lips and is used to define them and keep lipstick in place. (Lipstick clings to the lipliner and is therefore less likely to rub off or “bleed”). Lipliners typically come in pencil form.

Blush

Blush should go on after all of your other makeup because it is the final touch and should match the rest of your makeup, not vice versa. Choose a blush color that resembles the color on your cheeks after you’ve exercised. Anything darker than that will look fake. Blush is the one thing you should not have to blend, because if you do, it means it’s too bright for your skin. Blush comes in powder and gel/cream forms. Powder is easiest for beginners to use because it’s easy to brush on and it doesn’t get streaky. Gel or cream makes good daywear because it gives off a fresh and dewy look.

Lipstick and lipliner

  1. Condition your lips with lip balm (avoid chapstick and other waxy substances) and let it fully absorb before applying color on your lips.
  2. Now you can choose to either apply the liner along the natural shape of your lips first, then fill in the rest of your lips with lipstick, or applying the lipstick first, then topping it off with liner. If you have a problem with getting the liner to blend with the lipstick, apply the lipstick first. When lining your lips, start at one corner of your lower lip and work your way towards the center. Use short, even strokes and never line directly onto your skin – always have the line touching the edge of your lips. Then line your top lip, concentrating on the small arches at the center of your upper lip, making sure they’re defined but not too pointy and freaky-looking.
  3. Use a lip brush or your pinky finger to blend lipstick and lipliner together. You should not be able to pinpoint where the two connect. Blending will also help keep the color on your lips longer.
  4. “Blot” your lips by lightly clamping them down on tissue and releasing immediately.
  5. Another tip to keep you from “eating” all your lipstick is alternately applying color and blotting it. This will create layers of color. (But don’t apply more than three layers or your lips will look frighteningly thick.)

Blush

Never forget the purpose of applying blush; many girls mess up on blush application because they think that redder is better – not so. Redder actually means faker, and the point of putting on blush is to look as if you are blushing, not like you’re wearing blush. So always aim for a healthy, vibrant glow, not clown cheeks. If you have a hard time telling the two apart, consult a friend before making a public appearance.

  1. Powder blush generally comes in small compact cases with little brushes. We recommend that you invest in a large and poofy brush with bristles at least an inch long. The effect is a more natural look.
  2. With blush application, you have two options: Daywear and nightwear. Daywear looks more natural, and you would apply the blush directly on the “apples” of your cheeks (that’s the balled up part of your cheeks when you give a big, cheesy smile). Nightwear is more dramatic, and it requires sweeping the blush along the bottom of your apples, towards your temples.
  3. With both powder and gel/cream blush, one thin layer is usually enough. (Remember: Dlowns frighten people.) At night, you have our permission to apply a second (very thin) layer for a more dramatic look. No more than that!
  4. Here’s a fun tip: for subtly sparkly cheeks, swipe a thin layer of shiny powdered pink eyeshadow over your powder blush. (Don’t try this with gel/cream blush or it will come out streaky.)

Remove the makeup

It’s tempting to just come home and zonk out on the couch, but we’re warning you: Don’t ever go to bed without taking off all your makeup first. You’ll be sorry when you wake up to discover a smeared and pimply version of the goddess you were the night before (and a smeared couch).

Besides, removing makeup is quick and easy. Here’s how to do a thorough job of it:

  1. Get all your hair out of your face with a headband or ponytail holder, popularly known as “scrunchee”.
  2. Start by removing your eye makeup with a cotton ball that’s been moistened with eye makeup remover formula. Rub each eyelid gently until all the color is gone. Don’t use regular makeup remover on your eyes because it might be too harsh. Similarly, don’t use eye makeup remover on the rest of your skin because it might cause you to break out.
  3. Splash your face with lukewarm water and lather on a facial cleanser that’s meant to remove makeup. Concentrate on areas where you had makeup on, and add water if necessary.
  4. Spend at least a minute lathering the facial cleanser on your skin before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. Then pat your face dry and apply a moisturizer.

After that, go to bed, get some rest, wake up, and start the whole damn thing all over again. And while you’re going through the motions, don’t forget to smile cutely and sing an upbeat rendition of “I Enjoy Being a Girl!”

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