Tag Archives: makeup advice

4 Popular Makeup Hangups You Need to Get Rid Of

As I continue to reiterate in my posts, I have a real distaste for misinformation being provided to people about beauty, makeup and skincare. Most magazines and blogs seem to spurt the same few tips, ideas and how-to guides every few months… the problem with this is that some of the advice that is given to the public is not necessarily true (or at least not to everyone) and the makeup wearing public become afraid of using techniques that might actually be helpful for the look they’re trying to achieve or may be more flattering to them than the path most trodden.

I think it’s important to break down these tips that people follow that are actually doing them a disservice, so here are a few of the “pearldrops of wisdom” that my clients swear by, and are surprised by how great they look by breaking these rules.

1. You can only focus on eye makeup or lips, not both.

This is the number one most common “rule” that I keep hearing from customers and clients.

“Oh no, I can’t wear bright lipstick and have a smokey eye- I’ll look like a drag queen” is pretty much word for word what I hear. Here’s a quick newsflash for you: yes, you can. 

You can wear a shade of lipstick that isn’t a “nude” shade with smudgey eyeliner and glamorous dark eye makeup. You can wear red lipstick with a black smokey eye. You can add more liner and some false lashes with a deep plum lip. This concept that it’s somehow “balancing” to only have one focal point is nonsense. If you really like dark mysterious eyes and nude lips, that’s awesome. If you really like bold pop lips and nothing but mascara on the eyes, that’s fine too. If you wish you could wear both, stop wishing and do it. Who doesn’t want their whole face to look great, not just one feature??

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From my own portfolio. Model: Erica Rose.

See in the above photo how the girl pictured doesn’t look like a drag queen? Notice how she still looks glamorous and not like she’s been shot in the face with Homer Simpson’s infamous makeup gun? It’s about balance. Not the balance that the beauty editor in some teen magazine told you about to sell magazines and perpetuate myths, actual balance.

If you want to have intense eyes and intense lips, you need to match the intensity between both. Choose colours that work well together instead of clashing- blue eyeshadow and coral lipstick looks garish and definitely over the top, but a brown/black smokey and a deep shade of plum or red does not. The reason being that you’ve picked a colour scheme for the whole face, nothing clashes, nothing tries to compete.

Here’s how you can pull this off:
– Pick eye and lip colours together and see that they complement eachother
– When applying your makeup, take breaks and look at your face as a whole and not just the feature you’re applying makeup to
– You only look as stupid as you feel. If you want to clash colours and don’t give a damn, you’ll look great. People will compliment you on being able to pull off such a daring look. If you look embarrassed, people will point out ways you could have done better- rude and embarrassing.

2. Brows need to be pencilled in darker or completely re-shaped to look good

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Look at this picture of Miranda Kerr and hang your head in shame.

In fact, look at any runway beauty shots. Unless you stumble upon the Chanel statement brows from the last few seasons or an especially colourful collection by Galliano, most models, actresses, etc keep their brows looking pretty natural. They’re not pencilled in darker than they usually are, they’re not shaped to be perfect Marilyn Monroe shaped brows, they keep them the way they are.

Celebrities are meant to look like themselves, having an interesting mole on your face or straight brows instead of curved ones adds to their appeal. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you. Filling in lightly with a shadow the same colour as your actual eyebrows will show off your natural shape and keep brows from looking sparse or unruly.

Here’s how to live without a brow pencil:
 Fill them in with an angle brush and eyeshadow
– If you absolutely must use a pencil, pick one shade lighter than you think you’ll need
– Small, light-handed strokes will prevent you from looking like Malibu Barbie
– They’re seriously just eyebrows. They are literally pieces of hair that grow on your head, considering how much hair women actually remove from their bodies, it seems ridiculous to rave about 2 small patches of hair that sit above our eyes.

3. People with smaller lips should wear nude lipgloss (and not dark lipstick)

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Notice how Dita Von Teese doesn’t have lips like a cod fish? She wears red lipstick every day without over drawing them to oblivion. Again, part of this comes under the “you only look as stupid as you feel” speech I made earlier, but realistically, if you’re filling in your lips correctly and lining them correctly, your lips will look no larger or smaller than they normally do.

I personally have tiny little lips like a cat’s bum. However, I over draw my lips just slightly. With a nude lip, it’s hard to actually see the genius correcting I do on my lip shape to give them a more Marilyn like appeal, but the second I’ve got a nice red, a deep plum or even black and the liner contrasts obviously against my face, my lips look huuuuuge in comparison to how they normally look. A lot of clients literally assume that I just have perfect lips (which I don’t)

Here’s how to wear whatever damn shade of lipstick you want:
 Find the colour that you want
– Fill in lips with liner to keep a cleaner colour and a longer lasting result
– Apply lipstick with your preferred method.
– Check your teeth a thousand times with a touch of paranoia
– With the same lip pencil you used earlier, draw in the shape of your lip line. Do this with your mouth closed once you’ve finished that precarious spot on the sides of your mouth where one wrong move means a clown face. The reason you should do this with your mouth closed is that you’ll get a more natural result and it’s easier to see if your lip shape is even on both sides. Symmetrical lips look fuller.

4. False eyelashes are for strippers and drag queens and look totally fake.

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Katy Perry in her recent Eyelure ads

Katy Perry is pretty rad looking, so I can understand your confusion here, but bear with me. She wears out there outfits, not out there makeup. Her makeup is surprisingly demure for someone who shoots whipped cream from her boobs on stage. False eyelashes, when chosen and applied properly, will not instantly make you look like an extra from a B-grade porno. They won’t transform you into RuPaul if you weren’t already wearing drag makeup. They will, however, open up the eye a lot and make you look awake and alluring and super feminine.

Here’s how to overcome your fear of glueing foreign objects dangerously close to your eyes:
– Pick the right kind of lashes for the occasion. If you find strip lashes easier (most people do) then find some which have the hairs spaced out instead of compacted very tightly.
– Pick lashes which are not all completely the same length. These always look fake.
– Lashes which are soft and moveable will always look more fluttery and siren-like than rock hard, too-shiney ones cut into bizarre geometric shapes. These are the cheap party wigs of the false eyelash world- great for costume parties but not for convincing anyone that you’re just actually a complete fox.
– Go with your bad self and wear whatever the hell you want on your face.

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The 5 Most Annoying Makeup Myths Perpetuated By Instagram and YouTube

As a professional makeup artist, I’ve had clients ask me for bizarre bits of advice which have left me scratching my head. They have usually admitted that they saw a video on YouTube or a picture on instagram instructing them to use certain products in an unconventional way or convincing them that this is how the pros really do things. Having worked in cosmetics retail for a while, I found this maddening as people would request products that don’t actually exist or for purposes that at best would break them out and at worst could be downright dangerous. If a product isn’t tested for or designed to be on certain parts of your face, you are risking your health because of something a random stranger on youtube told you. I ask you, is it really worth it? Most internet beauty “gurus” have no training in this field… part of our training is a health and safety aspect to ensure we don’t blind, burn or otherwise injure our clients. Keep it in mind.

Now without further ado, the most annoying beauty myths perpetuated by instagram and youtube:

1. Concealer contouring.

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(pictured above is the masterful work of Kevyn Aucoin, image from “Making Faces”)

When I was working at a certain cosmetics counter, contouring became a popular beauty trend in a really big way. I had sixteen year old girls, business women, housewives and every kind of ordinary or not so ordinary customer come in to ask me about contouring. Well… sort of.

I had people come in and ask me for “concealer palettes for contouring”. Wait, what? they don’t exist. I would sit them down and explain that every makeup brand has products designed for contouring which would blend with more ease and match their skintone better. I’d let them try them for themselves. Then they’d say “well, on youtube she used concealer….”

Let me explain why this is annoying to someone who makes their living out of makeup. Concealer is just one of many mediums you can use for this technique. Many artists prefer not to use concealer as it is not designed to be blended into the base. Concealers are typically thicker and many are also comedogenic (meaning they block pores) as they’re only designed to sit on top of problem areas, not to blend in flawlessly with your foundation. You are literally breaking yourselves out or looking cake faced because you’re copying a random stranger’s beauty routine. What works for one person may not work for you. For this reason, many brands have cream or liquid highlighting and contouring products or kits. If not, do it the old fashioned way and use a foundation 1-3 shades lighter for highlighting and 1-3 shades darker for contouring. Your skin will thank you and you won’t look cakey. My favourite products for contouring and highlighting are powders as I find them easier to build up naturally and being the last thing going on your base, it will be most prominent.

2. Only bright, colourful eye makeup is “good” eye makeup.

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(image above is work by the amazingly talented Queen of Blending)

Amazing eye makeup like this is extremely eye-catching and definitely shows a mastery in this particular kind of eye makeup, but it’s not a measure on how talented you are within your own skill set. In my opinion, you’re “good” at doing your own makeup if you’re able to disguise areas you are unhappy with and accentuate areas you like; if you’re able to make yourself over in a style that suits your face shape, colouring and personal style. In my opinion, you’re “good” at doing other people’s makeup if you’re able to make somebody over in a way that suits their face shape, colouring, personal style and matches the occasion or criteria you have been given for their makeup. In short, if you’re a whiz with bright, colourful, bold eye makeup with bold, winged liner and dramatic false lashes, you’re good at doing eye makeup. If you can create a clean pin-up look, neutral smokey or minimalist eye makeup without any hassles, you’re good at doing eye makeup. No one style is worth more than another.

3. Brows need to be completely drawn in at all times

A big trend right now is incredibly filled in brows. With bold liner and a more bombastic look, this looks amazing and finishes the look beautifully. However, if you’re a “chuck on some BB cream and a touch of mascara and gloss” type person, it looks unbalanced and focuses unnaturally on the brows, giving more of an “Oscar the Grouch” appearance than a smouldering neat look. A lot of girls also have a habit of using a pencil or shadow that is too dark for their brows which, again, looks fine with a full face of bold makeup, but very OTT for every day looks. Your pencils and powders should ALWAYS be suited for your hair colour (most brands have a blonde, light brown and dark brown) and when it doubt, go for the lighter between two shades.

4. You’re only “good” at makeup if you’re good at artistic looks

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Makeup by the incredible Alex Box for Illamasqua

This image is a fantastic way to demonstrate the ability of one artist. Many people have an ingrained belief that only through creating more artistically driven or high fashion makeup are you “truly” a talented makeup artist or talented as a makeup user or consumer. These styles are used usually in advertising or for high fashion, editorial or runway looks. If you actually look at the runways or editorial shoots in magazines like Vogue, they’re intended to derive a feel for the collection or season rather than to be wearable to the everyday person in an every day situation. If you’re not brave enough to wear an outfit straight off the runway in all its crazy glory, you don’t need to wear makeup that is as over the top either. Nor does it indicate a level of skill. The look below was created by the same artist for the same company and, while it’s still more ornate than a true natural look, it still has the criteria of being “good” makeup, which is that it fills the criteria needed for the occasion, suits the wearer and is applied evenly and blended properly.

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The bottom line? if you’re good at intense fantasy looks, prosthetics or just drama filled looks that consist of your every day style, my hat goes off to you. If you’re good at soft romantic, neutral looks, you’re good at makeup too. If you’re good at pin-up style, dolly style makeup or any other style that makes you feel amazing and look like a million bucks, you’re good at makeup. No more type casting or excluding.

5. EVERYONE needs a super-dooper full coverage foundation to look flawless

This is arguably the most annoying trend of all. No two people have the same type of skin. If you feel more comfortable with a very full coverage because you have a lot of noticeable pigmentation, an oilier skin type, scarring, acne, etc then by all means. However, if you’re relatively young with clear skin and no real problems with oiliness, you have no real reason to actually wear full coverage foundation. If you have mature skin, it is ageing and if you have problem skin, it will accentuate the texture of any blemishes. Most people need a medium coverage or sheer to medium coverage with correct concealing. If you seal it with a light dusting of powder, it will last you all day and there’s no reason to wear more unless you want to. If this is how you feel most comfortable within your own skin, don’t let me correct you. That’s awesome. It’s more important to be happy and personal style is just that. However, if you are simply following the instructions of a friend or a youtuber or buying the products used by a babe on instagram or tumblr, keep in mind that they’re not you. Their skin isn’t the same. Go to a counter, get colour matched and try a finish, texture and coverage that make you look and feel amazing and like you could take on the world or seduce a rockstar with the wink of an eye.

Remember with all of these myths, the main issue is that the makeup buying public are copying single people on mass and defining it as the only way to look or feel good. We are all different and need different things in our lives, whether it’s what we put on our mouths, in our minds or on our faces. Fulfilment is a personal journey that cannot be achieved by jumping on a band wagon.

Now go out and be the best, happiest and most secure person you can be… because you’re an independent woman who don’t need no man.

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