Category Archives: Face makeup

Introduction to Blush

Blush adds color to your cheeks, which can help make you look healthier if you don’t have natural redness there. Also, if you’re wearing foundation, blush will help keep you from looking washed out. Blush comes in cream and powder formulas.

  • Cream blush – can be applied with fingers and blended out with a stippling brush or fingers. Cream blush is especially good for dry skin. Also, you can layer powder blush on top of cream blush to increase wear time if that’s a concern for you. Note that cream blush should never be used on top of powder foundation, as it won’t blend out well over powder.
  • Powder blush – applied and blended out with a blush brush. If you use liquid foundation, particularly if you have oily skin, be sure to powder your face before applying powder blush; it’ll blend out more easily that way.

Some drugstore blush recommendations:

  • Milani
  • Wet n Wild
  • Black Radiance
  • Sleek

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Highlighting and contouring

Highlighting and contouringHighlighting and contouring are used to “sculpt” your face as shown in the diagram, by accentuating the natural high points/shadows in your face. This is based off the simple principle that light colors bring an area forward, while dark colors make an area recede. So you would apply light colors to the areas of your face that are naturally prominent, while applying dark colors to the areas of your face that naturally recede.

Highlighting is applying a liquid or powder a few shades lighter than your skin on areas you want to bring forward, like the tops of the cheeks and center of the nose. This can make your face look more “glowy.” If you just want to highlight your cheekbones, you could use something matte or shimmery, whereas if you want to sculpt your whole face, including all the highlighted areas in the diagram, a matte product is best. While some people even use concealers, that can look cakey fast due to the high coverage in those formulas.

Contouring is using a powder or cream a shade or two darker than your skin in areas you want to recede, typically the perimeter of the face, cheekbones, jaw, and sides of the nose. This can help to define your cheekbones and make your nose look more narrow.

The best color to use for contouring is strongly dependent on your undertones. If you have very warm undertones, something warm (like a matte bronzer) can work, while a cool-toned or taupey color might pull blueish or purplish on you (you can see this effect in this swatch of NYX Taupe on warm-toned skin, where it looks a bit purplish). If you have very cool undertones, something cool-toned (gray or cool taupe/brown) can work, while a warmer color might look too orangey. If you have more neutral undertones, try a neutral brown like Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow (for light skin) or Kevyn Aucoin’s Sculpting Powder (for light to medium skin).

You can choose to just highlight, just contour, or do both if you like. Regardless, highlighting/contouring products would go on top of foundation. However, in the case of stick or liquid highlighters, you could try putting it on before foundation, then lightly patting your foundation over it, to get a sort of “glow from within.”

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Introduction to Concealer and Corrector

Concealer is used to cover up blemishes and under-eye circles. You can use it on a bare face, or if you use foundation, you can supplement it with concealer in only the areas where you need it. If you use powder foundation, you’d apply concealer first, then foundation; if you use liquid foundation, you could do that as well, but then you might move around your concealer as you apply/blend out your foundation. Plus, if you apply foundation first, you might find that it provides enough coverage of at least some places that you won’t need to use concealer.

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Introduction to Foundation

Foundation goes over your whole face and is intended to even out your complexion so it’s all the same color, rather than having darker or redder spots here and there. It also serves as a base that helps other products such as blush adhere better. Foundation is not really intended to cover up blemishes (though full-coverage foundation can do that to an extent) – that’s what concealer is for.

There are numerous different kinds of foundation:

  • Liquid foundation – Most liquid foundations are water-based (these are typically good for warm weather, as they are water-resistant) or silicone-based (these glide on the skin very smoothly). There are liquid foundation formulas and coverage levels to suit any skin type.
  • Powder foundation – Powder foundation may be loose or pressed in a compact; it is typically quick and easy to apply, but is not great for dry skin.
  • Cream foundation – These tend to be full coverage and feel heavy/thick, but you can sheer them out with a sponge. They are generally better for normal to dry skin.
  • Stick foundation – These tend to be fuller-coverage, are convenient, portable, and good for spot coverage, so they can double as concealer.

There are also lighter-coverage alternatives to foundation:

  • Tinted moisturizer – Moisturizer that has light pigmentation to provide sheer skin coverage; best for normal to dry skin not in need of heavy coverage. You can also take liquid foundation and mix it with a little moisturizer to create your own tinted moisturizer.
  • BB cream (“beauty balm” or “blemish balm”) – Originally a Korean product, BB creams are multi-functional – a combination between a light foundation/tinted moisturizer, sunscreen, and skincare such as whitening for hyperpigmentation. American BB creams tend to just be like tinted moisturizer, with no additional skincare benefits. BB creams tend to come in a very limited shade range and are meant to oxidize after application to match your skin tone. They are best for people who aren’t very pale or very dark, who are looking for light to medium coverage.
  • CC cream (“color correcting” cream) – This was an attempt to jump on the wave of BB cream’s popularity; CC creams are meant to do the same things as BB creams, with additional lessening of discoloration (redness, hyperpigmentation). In actuality, there’s not a huge difference between the two products. There’s also DD cream (“dynamic do-all”/”daily defense”) which is basically the same thing with a new name.

Choosing the right foundation is highly dependent on your individual needs — what your skin type is (normal, dry, oily, combination), what level of coverage you want (light, medium, full), what finish you want (matte, satin, dewy), and of course you need a match to your skintone – not just lightness/darkness but also matching undertones.

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