Make up basics every girl must know – Part 1 of 2

Till I was in university I hardly ever used any make up. I started applying lipstick and eyeliner in university only on occasions. I have been so into sports that I had to take shower a lot. Wearing make up everyday was just out of question. When I moved to London, there was a huge culture shock as my colleagues would dress up so much to office that one could see their backcombed hair and false eye lashes. Most of them had extremely long fake nails with nail art on them. Very few had original nails. In order to fit in while living there, I started dressing up too and trying to look my best. At the most, I would dab a bit of foundation on my face or apply compact powder with lipstick and eye liner about 3 times a week. The other days I just managed to drag my sleepy face to work as I just couldn’t be bothered.

Over the years, I started watching some youtube videos and got inspired by following a few make up experts. I felt that seeing videos before an important event was very useful as I could easily inspire myself to deck up. That way I wouldn’t be so demotivated about it. It also made the art of make up much more exciting. 

Last year when I was on a holiday in Dubai. I shopped too much for my upcoming wedding. I then went to Abu Dhabi to stay at one of my best friend Hamnahs place. When I reached there she asked me my plan for the next two days. I told her I can’t possibly shop any more as I have already spent much more than my budget. She asked me what cosmetics have I bought for my wedding? I told her that I have got everything I need. She then asked me if I have got a primer, illuminator, highlighter and bronzer? My reply to each of these was No. I was embarrassed to ask what they are exactly. Following is a picture collage of my beautiful friend Hamnah who is the reason I am confident about make up today. 

I guess the look on my face made it very clear to her that I had absolutely no idea what any of those things are.  She told me that I need to buy make up within these two days despite my scepticism. First she took me to her room and showed me her amazing dressing area. She had an organised set of cosmetics and a whole chest of drawer full of all kinds of make up. I told her that I do not believe in spending too much on myself, and I will not buy brands like Mac. She said I shouldn’t worry about that as she knows about drugstore brands which are equally good. She said first of all she will run a trial make up on me while explaining it all and then we’ll go out for shopping. We then went out and bought all the make up products she advised after we had tested them out. 

I must admit that by insisting to teach me the basics of make up, it has certainly made a difference in my life. Earlier make up was just something I had learned on my own and I had no idea how to get the best out of it. Now I feel I know the basic techniques and the way to do it. I am so thankful to Hamnah for taking out time and helping me. It has truly been a blessing. In this day and age, it is even more important to know the basics of make up application. Regardless of whether you apply it every day, once a week or only on wedding occasions, a woman of today needs to know how its done in order to fit in and more importantly for self confidence. Lets face it, we all know we look so much better with that perfectly blended foundation. 

When Hamnah taught me the basics. I wrote it all down in the form of a list. I will now be sharing it with you. The products which I recommend in my blog have all been personally tried by me. I changed my friends products a little bit according to my skin type, budget and availability. 

1. Moisturiser
The moisturiser I use is Nivea Soft which works best. But in humidity, I have to skip this step so my face doesn’t become too oily. Applying moisturiser before primer is important as it clears all the rough or dry patches and smoothes out skin. People with oily skin should use a moisturising gel rather than cream. 

2. Primer
When an artist starts painting on the canvas, he/she applies a coating of white glue on the canvas to prepare it. This makes the surface smooth and paint can easily be applied on it. Similarly the purpose of primer is to close pores and make our face smooth for make up. Simply apply a very small amount of primer on your palm and dab it on your forehead, cheeks, chin, and nose. The one I use and recommend is Maybelline’s Baby skin instant pore eraser. Nyx angel veil primer is a great option for those with dry skin. 

In case the above primer is not available, I have also tried Ingrid primer which seems to work well too. 

3. Foundation 
A good foundation is the key to perfect make up. The foundation which she recommended was Revlons Color Stay. I keep trying out different ones as I tried Loreal after Revlon. 

I have also tried Essence ‘No Make up feel’ which is also good for humid weather. In Humidity, I actually avoid wearing liquid foundation altogether. I prefer using Mousse foundation which doesn’t make my face too oily and skips the steps of applying compact powder. I have tried Maybelline  Dream Matte Mousse but I wouldn’t recommend it as its pieces fall off on my clothes during application and I prefer Essence soft touch mousse as its application is very smooth and it gives a gorgeous smoothness on the face. 

A flat top, buffing brush or beauty blenders are the best options for applying foundation.  

Beauty blender

Foundation flat brush

4. Illuminator for evening functions
Illuminator is for shiny look so it is only applied in evening and night events especially on occasions like weddings and parties. It gives a lovely glow on your face. The brand recommended is Nyx. It can simply be mixed with foundation on your palm and applied. 

5. Dark Circle Corrector
This is an important step in make up. With your middle finger, lightly dab a small amount of this concealer onto your dark circles under the eye area. This orange coloured concealer is perfect for asian skin tones. As I mostly keep long nails, its easier for me to apply this using a small brush. 

Different concealers have their own particular use. Salmon or orange shade is used for concealing under eye dark circles which is the only one I have. Green color is used to cancel out the redness on the face. Lilac/lavander shade is applied on the specific areas where complexion of your face is dull. 

6. Concealer
This can be applied on any scars, pimples, spots or redness on face. The concealer can also be applied on skin under the eye in a triangular shape before blending it in. The brand which I recommend is Maybelline Fit. On principle this is to be applied along with dark circle concealer under eyes. But when I used both these along with powder, I felt a little uncomfortable so I apply one of the concealers under the eye, not both. 

Note: One has to be careful while applying illuminator and highlighters in humid weather as face is already shining naturally. In humidity, apply pressed highlighters and avoid liquid illuminators.

7. Banana loose powder/Translucent loose powder 
It is applied on the areas where concealer was applied (especially under the eye area) to reduce the shine caused by concealer, to set concealer and to avoid crease of the concealer. This is another item I haven’t yet purchased but is in my list as my friend explained its purpose. I do have lose powder which can be used instead. But I mostly skip this step. 

8. Compact face powder
Face powder is then dabbed on to the face to give it a finished look and remove all shine. At the moment I am using Rimmel but a layer forms on top of it which needs to be removed every few weeks so I don’t really like it and I’m going to look for its replacement soon. If you have dry skin, you can skip this step. 

9. Bronzer
It is only applied during daytime events. It is used for contouring over jawline and on top of forehead with a brush like a blush brush. The company I chose for a mat bronzer is catrice and a shimmery bronzer for night functions is by Rivaj UK. Pictures of both are shown below. 

People mostly find it difficult to choose a bronzer. I asked my friend Hamnah to explain this to you all. Since the purpose of a bronzer is to darken the complexion a little, the one you choose will depend on your skin tone as well as how dramatic a change your’e looking for. Generally it should be a color which is two shades darker than your natural skin tone. Test a little on the clean skin of your face to make sure it ‘warms’ your skin tone without making it look fake. If you have fair skin, look for a honey coloured bronzer, for a medium complexion, choose a rose-bronze or gold bronzer. Dark skin is best enhanced with an amber bronzer. Choose two saperate bronzers for when you are at your palest in winter and for your tanner summer skin. This will keep your application uniform year round. 

For application you need a wide, fluffy powder brush with a rounded top. If your brush is too small and stiff, it will give blotchy results. There are specialised bronzer brushes available in the market, although any large blush or foundation brush will work equally good. 

It is best to apply bronzer in light even coats to build up color rather than adding a single layer all at once. Apply bronzer to the areas of your face where he sun would naturally hit. Using very light strokes, first apply the bronzer to the top of forehead, the cheekbones, and down along your jawline. Done correctly, your bronzer application will be in a ‘3’ shape on both sides of your face. Make sure your bronzer application isn’t too heavy and has an even appearance. 

10. Blush
No make up is complete without the perfect touch of blush. It never occurred to me that one can have more than a single color of blush in their make up collection. Hamnah made me realise that there should be separate blushes in red, orange and pink tones so they go with all the shades we wear. I have got three right now and I think they’re good enough. 

11. Highlighter 
At this point a highlighter is applied with a highlighter brush which is shaped like a fan. 
A highlighter is applied on the highest point of cheek bones, below the eye brow arch, on the temples upward, over the lips, cupid bow and middle of chin. Some optional areas for highlighter are eye inner corner, forehead, under eyebrow.

12. Shimmer 
As the purpose of shimmer and highlighter is more or less the same, I apply one of the two. Shimmer is available in liquid and powder form. It can be used as cream highlights on your cheekbones as base and you can use powder highlight on top of it. It can also be used on eye lids and then you can intensify it by putting pressed eye shadow. I normally rarely use shimmer but when I’m traveling I find it easier to take these with me as they have multipurpose. They can be used as highlighter and as eye shadow. 

13. Lipstick
A lipstick is applied. Ideally a lip liner is used to draw the outlines so the lipstick doesn’t bleed after a certain time period. With a lip brush you can dab the color onto the lips.  I have a collection of lipsticks including flormor, rivaj UK,  beauty UK, revlon, color collection, DMGM, Maybelline and Gosh. I prefer lip crayons as they stay longer. 

14. Setting spray
A setting spray sets your make up for longer wear. The last step in make up is to close eyes and apply setting spray on your face so your make up stays and doesn’t smudge.  A matte setting spray will not add any shine or glow to your face and should actually remove any shine you saw before applying it. Suitable for oily/combination skin. A dewy setting spray will add a slight sheen/radiance/glow to your face and make it look more like real skin. Its a fresher, young look. Suitable for normal or dry skin.

I have been wanting to get a Mac spray which my friend recommended but honestly, every time I go to get it, I don’t have the courage to spend so much only on one spray. So I have not yet purchased this item. If you know about a drugstore brand with a good setting spray, do let me know as I would love to get that to complete my make up collection. I just came across a blog in which theres a recipe for DIY make up setting spray. Would love to try it here

Lastly, I must emphasise that it is vital to properly wash all your make up brushes, sponges and beauty blenders at least once every month. If you use make up regularly then you must do it every 2 weeks. 

Please note that applying setting spray is the very last step in make up. So eye make up has to be completed before this step. Eye make up is a separate post which I will be sharing next. Stay tuned. Today I wrote on a completely new topic and I would love your feedback. Here is the next part of this make up post. 

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