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Makeup Tips and Tricks

The Skin | The Cover | The Powder | The Brows | The Eyes | The Lips | The Cheeks | The Brushes | Tips & Tricks

Make-up has been around since Cleopatra but it was really Max Factor who revolutionised make-up, as we know it today. There will always be trends that we follow, but the basics will always remain the same. Make sure you know what works for you and what doesn't because not all the trends suit all the people out there. Remember there are "rules" to make-up but all rules where made to be broken, or should I say 'Have to be broken'. Hey we weren't all born with the perfect dimensions and rules are usually there for those fortunate enough to have perfect dimensions.


Skin preparation & Skin Care

It's important to cleanse the skin twice a day even if you don't wear make-up everyday. We are surrounded by 'free radicals' and air-borne dirt so make sure you get rid of it before you go to bed at night and make sure you start your day with clean skin. See Skincare

Skin Types & Skin Problems:

Today there are very few people out there with truly oily skin. Even acne sufferers are suffering from skin dehydration these days. Why? Because we're overloaded with 'free radicals', harsh & synthetic products, incorrect diet and not enough water. Lack of moisture in the skin leads to dehydration of the skin. This ironically leads to your skin producing extra oil to combat the dryness. 70% of teen acne can be reversed or corrected by simply using the correct skin care products & correcting the diet. So with that said, make sure you're using the correct skin care range for your skin type. Choose products for sensitive skin rather than products for normal/combination skin. Avoid products with alcohol and perfume as they dehydrate the skin. DO NOT USE PRODUCTS THAT ARE WATERPROOF.


Concealer & Cover Stick:

As the name implies, these products conceal and cover imperfections on the skin and can be used to 'hide' flaws, pigmentation and dark shadows under the eyes. Usually the problem with concealers is that when they go wrong, it is because they look too heavy and end up making whatever you were trying to conceal even more obvious. Crusty spots and cakey under-eye areas are the main offenders, but colour can be an issue as well. Because concealers are used to conceal things, they are thick and usually very dry in consistency. For concealing facial discolouration such as freckles, blemishes, or red spots, use a concealer that matches or is just slightly lighter than your foundation.


foundationAn attractive makeup application must begin with a foundation that blends smoothly and evenly, merging with your skin. Even if you feel that you need a foundation that provides good coverage, obvious coverage is a mistake and can negatively affect your entire makeup application. The primary goal when shopping for foundation is to select a foundation for your skin type that matches your underlying skin tone exactly. Avoid buying a foundation to alter skin colour because in daylight or office lighting, it will appear completely unnatural.
With so many new products on the market, correct skin analysis is also very important when choosing a new foundation. What worked when you were 21 is probably not going to work quite so well at 31. And what worked at 31 is definitely not going to do the trick at 41. Firstly make sure you have the correct colour foundation. Do not test foundation on your wrist, test it on your jaw line and make sure you check the colour in natural light. You'll probably need one colour for summer and another for winter.
Apply foundation with a make up sponge; make up brush or with your fingers in a downward (to keep facial hair flat) and outward movement. Apply to the whole face including the eyes and lips but do not over apply to the eye area especially if your skin is dehydrated. This will lead to 'caking' of foundation in the lines. Make sure to blend foundation into your hairline and jaw line but don't apply foundation to the neck or under the chin. To cover small or light blemishes, dab your make up sponge over the area to conceal the problem.

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Colour & finish:

powderPowders come mainly in 2 forms: compact and loose. Although there are many shades of powders today, powder should match the foundation exactly or go on translucent so as not to affect the colour of the foundation. A red or very pink under toned skin should go for a yellow-based powder to tone down the redness of the skin. Compact powders come with a thin powder sponge/puff and can be very drying to dehydrated skin but are great for more oily skin. Loose powder is fine for everyone. If you need more, use more but always remove the excess from your brush before applying to the skin to avoid a 'caked' look.
After you apply the foundation and concealer, dust a light layer of powder over the entire face and eyelids. Apply the powder with a large, full, round brush. Avoid using a sponge or powder puff, which can put too much powder onto the face. Pick up some of the powder on the full end of the brush, tap off the excess, and brush it on using the same motion and direction as you did for the foundation (down and out).

Sun powders, African powders & powder bronzers:

They're all the same thing just with a different name depending on the make up house. They're basically lightly coloured powders in 'sun kissed' or bronze shades. Applying a sun powder can give you that extra facial definition or sun kissed look without looking like you've got blusher on. These sun powders shouldn't be used to darken your foundation in summer. Rather buy 2 different shades of foundation and then accentuate your face with a sun powder.


Brow shaping:

Just as the shape of a moustache can drastically change the appearance of a man's face, the shape of the eyebrows affects the appearance of the eyes. In many ways, the overall appearance of the eye area is defined by the arch, length, and thickness of the eyebrow. Tweezing the brow is all in the details. Which hairs you tweeze and which ones you don't is the difference between attractively shaped brows and mis-shapen ones.
To shape the brow, tweezing or threading is probably the best option for accuracy and to prevent mistakes. Waxing is an option but may be difficult to control the wax if you're doing a "home job". You may inadvertently remove the wrong hairs. Never shave the brows!!

The 'rule' is:

browshape* The beginning of the brow should align with the edge of the nostril.
* The arch of the brow should fall at the back third of the eye.
* The topmost part of the arch should lie just above the outer edge of the pupil.
* The eyebrow should follow the full length of the eye but it shouldn't extend into the temple area. This can make the eyes look droopy.
* If the rules don't work for you then try using an eyebrow pencil to draw on different shapes over your brow area to see which shape looks the best.

* Use a magnifying mirror, at least a 5X magnification, so you can see each hair.
* Go slowly (one hair at a time) so you don't over-tweeze.
* Do not overstate the shape of the brow; minimal brow alteration is best.
* Do not pluck brows into a thin line thinking it will make your eyes look larger. It can look dated or give the face a surprised look and this shape is not easy to correct once the damage is done.
* Trim long brow hairs by brushing the brow hair upwards and trimming along the top edge of your brow. Tweezing long brow hairs rather than trimming them can result in gaps in the eyebrow or create a patchy appearance.

Brow Liners, fixers and colour:

Once you've shaped and trimmed your brows, there are still a number of ways to improve your look further. If you've got unruly brows try using a brow fixer, which 'sets' the brows. Also try some colour. If you're blonde, use a brown pencil and slightly darken your brows to define them. If you've over tweezed your brows permanent make-up is an option to look at. Always make sure to brush through the brows with an old mascara brush or eyebrow comb to remove any traces of foundation and powder before you leave the house.

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How to achieve the look:

EyeshadowOptions for building an eye design are almost too numerous to list. The basic concept is to shade the eye to accent its shape, or to change its shape by using a progression of light to dark colours across the eye, blending one over the other so that you can't see where one stops and another starts. Below you can follow, how to use one eye shadow or several different eye shadows to create a well-blended, classic eye-makeup design. Even for the most formal eye-makeup design, four different colours should be plenty. Whether you use one, two, three, or four different eye shadows, they become a full design when worn with eyeliner and mascara.

One-colour design:

This design blends one soft, subtle colour all over the eye area, from the lashes to just under the eyebrow, with no patches of skin showing through. You should not wear only a splash of colour over the eyelid and ignore the rest of the eye area. When applying a single colour, first place it from the lashes to the crease preferably using a brush. Make sure that you do not extend the colour into the inside corner of the eye or out beyond the lid onto the temple. Also be certain there are no patches of skin showing through on the lid next to the eyelashes. The entire lid at this point is one solid colour. Next, place the colour from the crease up to the brow, following the entire length of the eyebrow from the nose out to the temple area. Avoid leaving a hard edge at the outside corner of the eye where the eye shadow stops. Because the eye shadow for the one-colour eye-makeup design is so soft and subtle, blending and application is quite easy. The best colours for this design include light tan, neutral taupe, beige, pale mauve brown, pale grey, light golden brown, camel, and light auburn. Whatever the colour, it should definitely not be obvious.

Two-colour design:

This is the most common, practical eye design. Approach this design by applying the lighter colour to the eyelid and the deeper colour from the crease up to the brow or, the deeper colour to the lid and the lighter colour from the crease to the brow. I know, I know….Which colour and what shades go where? The general rule is that the eyelid area is compared to the under brow area. The larger or more prominent the eyelid area, the darker or deeper the eyelid colour can be; the smaller the eyelid area, the brighter or lighter the eyelid colour can be. The notion is that if the eyelid area is already prominent, it isn't necessary to make it appear any bigger by applying a light colour to it. If the eyelid area is small, it's fine to make it more prominent by wearing a lighter colour. Generally speaking, the under-eyebrow colour should be a shade or two darker than the lid colour. You do not want it to be a distinctly different colour, just a different shade. The lid can be taupe, beige, tan, camel, grey, light auburn, golden brown, or any light neutral shade, and the under-eyebrow colour should be a deeper shade of the same colour. Women with darker skin tones can wear muted rose, mauve, or peach as long as it doesn't make their eyes look irritated or isn't too obvious. Bright, noticeably shiny, or whitish shadows can look dated and make the brow bone look more prominent and heavy.

Three-colour design:

Start by applying either of the basic one or two colour makeup designs mentioned above. Once you have done that, the third shade, an even deeper colour than the two previous colours, is added to the back (outside) corner of the lid or in the crease, or over both the crease and the back corner of the lid. In this design, the lid and under-brow colours are softer and less intense than the colour at the back corner of the lid or in the crease. Regardless of where you place this third, darker colour, it can be a beautiful deep shade of brown, charcoal, cedar, mahogany, sable, red-brown, slate, chocolate brown, camel, deep taupe, eggplant, or even black. If you apply the third eye shadow in the crease, the trick is to not get the crease colour on the lid, but rather to blend it slightly up into the under-eyebrow area and out onto the temple. When sweeping the crease colour across the eye, be sure to not follow the down-curving movement of the shape of the eye. The best look is achieved if you blend the crease colour out and up into the full back (outer) corner of the eye, and up onto the back of the brow bone.

Eye shadow Tips:

Matte powder eye shadows in an array of neutral tones from light to dark are your best bets for a classic, sophisticated eye design that accents the shape and colour of your eyes. Unless you're using just one eye shadow colour, use at least two eye shadow brushes for application. Prep the eyelid and under-brow area with a matte-finish concealer, foundation, and/or powder before applying eye shadow. This ensures a smooth, even application and if you have fair to medium skin will also neutralize the red and blue colouration of the eyelid. Tap off any excess eye shadow from your brush before applying—this will prevent over application as well as flaking eye shadow. If you really want to make the colour of your eyes pop out, choose a contrasting colour in a soft tone and apply this to the lids. Blue eyes come alive with pale peach or cantaloupe hues, green eyes seem richer with light bronze or caramel tones, hazel eyes become more alluring with chestnut and golden brown shades, and brown eyes are nicely accented by almost all neutral tones. Another trick is to use complimentary colours. Blue eyes = Orange; Green eyes = Red and Hazel eyes = Purple

Eye-Design Mistakes to Avoid:

Colours* Do not over colour the eyes; excessive bright colours are distracting, not attractive.
* Do not create hard edges; you should not be able to see where one colour stops and another starts. Practice your application and learn to blend well.
* Do not wear bright pink or iridescent pink eye shadows; they make eyes look irritated and tired. Muted or pale pink is an option.
* If you are concerned about making skin look more wrinkled, do not wear shiny eye shadows of any kind because they exaggerate the appearance of lines. If you have smooth, unlined eyelids and prefer a touch of shine, apply it sparingly for subtle shimmer rather than distracting glitter.
* Do not apply lipstick or blush over the eye area; it might sound like a time-saver, but if you have a lighter skin tone, it can make you look like you've been up all night crying. However, most bronzing powders can work as eye shadows.
* Do not match your eye shadow to your clothing or your eye colour. If you have blue eyes, blue eye shadow makes the blue of your eyes look duller.
* Avoid eye glosses and other greasy products at all costs. These may look intriguing in photographs, but are more annoying than alluring in real life because they stick, smear and smudge all over the place in a very short period of time.
* If you have an olive complexion, avoid shades of grey.
* If you have a pale complexion, stay away from bright, vibrant colours.

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EyelinerAssuming you have a steady hand (if not, try this sitting down so you can steady your arm by placing your elbow on a table), position your brush, pencil, or applicator so it is as close to the lash-line along the eyelid as possible. Then draw a line from the outer to the inner corner using one fluid stroke, following the curvature of the eyelid. Do not extend the line past the outer corner of the eye or hug the teardrop area of the eye. To start, keep the line as thin as possible, and if a thicker line is desired, repeat the process. Making the line along the eyelid a solid even one, becoming slightly thicker at the back third of the lid can be an attractive classic look. Be sure the lower liner is a less-intense colour than the upper liner. Also make sure that the two lines meet at the back corner of the eye. As a general rule, avoid lining all the way across the lower eyelashes. Plus, wrapping a complete circle of eyeliner around the eye tends to create an eyeglasses look and can make the eyeliner a stronger statement than the eye itself.

How thickly can you line the eye?

As a general rule, for a classic look, the thickness and intensity of the eyeliner is determined by the size of the lid—the larger the eyelid area, the thicker and softer the eyeliner should be. The smaller the eyelid area, the thinner and more intense the liner should be. If your lid doesn't show at all, forget lining altogether.

What about applying eyeliner in the rim of the eye?

Be careful – unless you have very large eyes and want to make them appear smaller, I recommend staying away from lining the inside of the eye. Not only does the liner smudge more quickly, but it can also aggravate the mucous membrane of the eye, leading to infections and/or sensitivity.

Which eyeliner colour should you use?

For a classic eyeliner application, choose shades of dark brown, grey, or black eye shadow for the upper lid and a softer shade of those—tan, taupe, chestnut, soft brown, soft grey, or soft black—along the lower lashes. Eyeliner is meant to give depth to the lashes and make them appear thicker. If the liner is a bright colour or a true pastel, attention will be focused past the lashes to the coloured line, as opposed to the more subtle flow of colour from dark lashes to dark liner. Test it on yourself. Line one eye with a vibrant colour, the other eye with brown or black, and see which one looks like it has thicker lashes.

Checking for Mistakes:

After using powder eye shadow as eyeliner, check for 'drippies' under the eye and on the cheek. 'Drippies' are those little powder flakes that fly off the brush and land on the cheek. Knocking off the excess from the brush every time helps prevent 'drippies', but there will always be flakes that end up where they don't belong. The best way to go after drippies is to use your sponge and simply wipe them away. If you do this, your next step is to touch up your foundation if that has gotten smeared. Always double-check the intensity of your eyeliner application and blend away any thickness or colour that is more dramatic than you intended. If you do choose to wear pencil eyeliner, check for smears under the eye as the day goes by. This is annoying, but letting it go without blending away the smears can make any well-applied eye-makeup design look like a mess.

Eyeliner Mistakes to Avoid:

* Do not use greasy or slick pencils to line the lower lashes; they smear and smudge.
* Do not use brightly coloured pencils or eye shadows to line the eye; they are distracting and automatically look like too much makeup. All you'll see is the colour and not your eye.
* Do not extend the eyeliner beyond the corner of the eye (no wings).
* Do not make the eyeliner the most obvious part of the eye-makeup design.
* Do not line the inside rim of the lids, between the lash and the eye itself; it is messy and can be unhealthy for the cornea.
* If you do use pencil to line the eye, apply a small amount of eye shadow over your pencil eyeliner to help set it and keep it from smearing.
* Do not apply thick eyeliner to small or close-set eyes.
* Do not use eye shadow as eyeliner unless you use the proper brush (one with a small, precise, fine-tipped point).
* Do not line the eye with a circle of dark or bright colour. Both are too obvious and create an eyeglass-style circle around the eye.
* Do not over blend, spilling your eyeliner onto the skin under the lower lashes; that makes dark circles look worse.


MascaraMascara is an amazing invention and is considered fundamental to any kind of makeup application. Many makeup artists say that if you're not wearing any other makeup but still want to wear something, wear mascara. On the other hand, many of us get carried away and wear way too much mascara. Unfortunately, too much mascara increases the chances that the mascara will flake, chip, or smear, and that the lashes will appear hard and spiked. Also, the eyelashes can take only so much weight, and excess weight can break them. The desire for longer, more noticeable lashes inspires many women to use the device that curls the lashes by squeezing them into a bent-upward shape. The problem with lash curlers is that they can crimp lashes into a severe angle, which looks unnatural, and while it may make lashes more noticeable, it can also break and pull them out. If you still want to curl your lashes, only do so before you apply mascara, never after, or you will end up with broken or strangely bent lashes. The best lash curlers are the ones with a sponge tip to protect your eyelashes. Squeeze gently with even pressure. Hold for a few seconds and release slowly.

Types of Mascara:

There are two basic types - waterproof and water-soluble. Mascaras should not smudge, flake, or clump. By the way, it's not your fault if they do. Price does not tell you anything about how a mascara will perform.

Water-soluble mascaras:

The problem with some water-soluble mascara's is that they don't come off easily with water, even though they should. Luckily, there are great water-soluble mascaras that build long, thick lashes without clumping or flaking and that come off with a water-soluble cleanser.

Waterproof mascaras:

These can be problematic, because in order to remove this type of mascara you must pull and wipe around the eye area. This, in turn, sags the skin and causes lashes to fall out. I understand the desire to go swimming while wearing your makeup, or to cry at weddings and not have mascara streaming down your cheeks. Waterproof mascara is fine for occasional use, but wearing it every day can cause more headaches in the long run. Another drawback is that most waterproof mascaras can break down and smear due to oil from your skin or emollients in your moisturizer or foundation. Do not make the mistake of thinking that waterproof means smear proof.

Applying Mascara:

Place your mascara brush as close to the lash base as possible and roll your brush up over the lashes, once you've applied a coat of mascara, gently brush the tips of the lashes to separate and accentuate them. Have you ever had mascara end up on the eyelid or under the eye while you're applying it? Wait until it dries completely and then remove it with a cotton swab or your sponge. Most of it will just flake off, with very little repair work needed. Always check for mascara smudges; they can look sloppy and distracting.

Mascara Mistakes to Avoid:

* Do not wear coloured mascara such as blue, purple, or green if you're going for a professional daytime look.
* Do not wear mascara that smears or smudges; there are a lot that don't without having to be waterproof.
* Do not use waterproof mascaras on a daily basis; they are too difficult to remove and too hard on your lashes.
* Do not forget to apply mascara evenly to lower lashes.
* Unless you are Kim Kardashian, do not over-apply mascara; your lashes will look clumpy.

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Lip care:

LipcolourChapped, dry and cracked lips are a nightmare when it comes to applying your lipstick. A good tip to remove dry skin is to mix some sugar in with your cleanser and rub gently over the lips. Do this once a week when you do your face mask and apply mask onto the edges of lips. A sure sign of internal dehydration is dry and cracked lips so increase your water content and your dry lips will be gone in no time. Do not use products like 'Lip Ice' or Vaseline as they contain petroleum, which dries the lips even more. Try olive oil as a substitute.

Lip liner & Lipstick:

Your lip pencil should be the same colour as your lipstick or possibly a shade darker. Start by lining from the centre of the bottom lip to the outer edge and then from the centre to the other outer edge of the lower lid. Draw a cross at the bow of your top lip then join the top of the left cross to the outer left edge of the lip. Do the same with the right side. If you want your lipstick to stay a little longer, colour in the whole lip with pencil then apply lipstick or lip-gloss.


Shadows & highlights:

Using a blush brush, apply blush along the full line of the cheekbone brushing down and back toward the ear. Always knock the excess powder out of the brush to avoid applying too much blush. Use your sponge to soften any hard edges. Do not apply blush to the temple area, chin, nose, or forehead--this tends to make skin look uneven and ruddy.

Blusher & sun powder:

See powder.


Possibly the most important tools for a good make up application. Invest in a good set of brushes and pay that little extra to ensure you don't end up with brushes that loose hair or are rough on the skin. Clean your brushes regularly with an anti-bacterial soap and warm water. Wrap the hair section of the brush in paper and secure with an elastic band to keep the shape of the brush as it dries - DO NOT BLOW DRY with a hair dryer!!


Identifying the brushes

1. Powder Brush

2. Blusher Brush

3. Mask Brush

4. Double Brush

5. Eyeliner Brush

6. Lip Brush

7. Slanted Shadow Brush

8. Mascara Brush

9. Eyelid Shadow Brush

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Here are some 'rules' that can help you create the makeup look you want.

* Less is best.
* Foundation should match the skin exactly so there are no lines of demarcation.
* Concealer should be only a shade or two lighter than the foundation.
* Powder should match the foundation exactly or go on translucent so as not to affect the colour of the foundation.
* Eye shadow colours should be neutral or pale shades ranging from pale beige to pink to tan, brown, dark brown, and plums.
* Eye shadow colour (when used as a brow tint), should match the exact shade of the existing brow hair.
* Eyeliner on the upper lid should be a darker colour than the line along the lower lid (which should be a softer shade of beige or brown).
* Blush can be almost any colour as long as it coordinates with the lipstick colour, but it must be blended on softly, without any noticeable edges.
* Lipstick guidelines are more versatile, from neutral to bold, with the only suggestion being that smaller lips should wear brighter shades than larger lips.
* To create a tanned appearance, use golden brown and chestnut shades for your blush, eye shadows, contour, and lipstick, but do not, under any circumstances, apply a foundation or bronzer all over the face if it leaves a line of demarcation at the jaw or hairline.
* If you are wearing wardrobe colours like red or pink you can match your lipstick with that colour. However, try not to clash colour tone. For example, if the outfit you are wearing is peach or coral, your blush and lipstick should have that same underlying colour or be a neutral tone.

Colour Mistakes to Avoid:

* Don't wear white or very pale lipstick. This can make you look like a ghost.
Bad makeup* Don't wear blue or green makeup.This is a debatable point but in general blue and green eyeshadow (especially matte eyeshadow) can make you look older than you are.
* Don't wear navy blue eye shadow. Stick with neutrals, pinks and plums, brown or black, which look smoky. Navy tends to look "dirty."
* Don't wear dark brown or black lipstick. (On Dracula it's great; on women, it looks like death.)
* Don't wear really shiny eye shadows - especialy if you're over 16. They exaggerate the appearance of lines.
* Don't wear rainbow-style eye shadow designs. Always blend the edges of colour.
* Don't wear eye shadow applied as a smudge of black around the eye, unless your objective is to look like you are in a punk rock band.
* Don't wear clashing blush and lipstick; they should be in the same colour family.


You have applied your powder and it just looks too heavy and matte. If there is still a little bit of foundation on your hands from your base application, rub your hands together until you build up some warmth. Now press your hands to your face. The warmth and the little bit of foundation combined will help to pull some of your natural oils through the powder more quickly. This works very well even if all you are trying to do is get your make-up to look slightly more lived-in slightly more quickly. You know how make-up almost always looks better about 30 minutes after you apply it? This gets you there instantly.

Shadow has fallen all over your upper cheekbone as you were applying your eye make-up. DO NOT RUB IT! If you do, you will push the fallen shadow into the rest of your make-up. Try to brush it away with a clean brush and a little bit of powder. If that doesn't work, dip a cotton bud into your foundation and use it to erase the fallen bits. Rolling the cotton bud around the under-eye area will usually pick up all of the dust, and then the foundation left behind can be used to blend and fix the problem. This is usually only a problem if you rub the shadow into the foundation . . . .

Too much eyeliner underneath? Foundation or concealer on a cotton bud will once again erase the problem.

Mascara boo-boo? You have got all your eye make-up on and it looks rather lovely. When you go to apply mascara, you get a blob of it either on your eyelid or your cheek. Do not take a cotton bud full of spit and try to get it off quickly! Leave it to dry. I know that is hard, but if you can manage it, you will be able to pick the dry fleck off without ruining any of the rest of your eye makeup. Be patient with this one and you can almost always correct it without any mess at all.

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