Till I was in university I hardly ever used any makeup. 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 makeup every day 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 eyelashes. 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.
Right before my wedding, when I was on a holiday in Dubai, I shopped too much. I then went to Abu Dhabi to stay at one of my best friend Hamnah’s place. When I reached there she asked me my plan for the next two days. I told her I can’t possibly shop anymore 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. I had absolutely no idea what they were.
Following is a picture collage of my beautiful friend Hamnah who is the reason I am confident about makeup today.
I guess the look on my face made it very clear to her that I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. She told me that I need to buy makeup within these two days despite my skepticism. First, she took me to her room and showed me her amazing dressing area. She had an organized set of cosmetics and a whole chest of a drawer full of all kinds of makeup. 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 shopping. We then went out and bought all the makeup products she advised after we had tested them out.
I must admit that by insisting to teach me the basics of makeup, it has certainly made a difference in my life. Earlier makeup 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 makeup 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. Let’s 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.
The moisturizer I use is Nivea Soft which works best for me. But in humidity, I have to skip this step so my face doesn’t become too oily. Applying moisturizer before primer is important as it clears all the rough or dry patches and smoothes out skin. People with oily skin should use a moisturizing gel rather than cream. Recently after moving to Canada I have switched to Vaseline moisturizer as it works better for the cold extreme temperatures here.
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 to it. Similarly, the purpose of the primer is to close pores and make our face smooth for makeup. 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 alright. It did expire too quickly though.
A good foundation is the key to perfect makeup. The foundation which she recommended was Revlon’s Color Stay. I keep trying out different ones as I tried Loreal after Revlon.
I have also tried Essence ‘No Makeup 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.
Foundation flat brush
4. Illuminator for evening functions
An illuminator is for a 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 makeup. 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, it is 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. The green colour is used to cancel out the redness on the face. Lilac/lavender shade is applied to the specific areas where complexion of your face is dull.
This can be applied to any scars, pimples, spots or redness on face. The concealer can also be applied on the 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 the 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 have loose 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.
It is only applied during daytime events. It is used for contouring over jawline and on top of the 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 you’re looking for. Generally, it should be a colour 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 separate 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 the 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 specialized 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 colour rather than adding a single layer all at once. Apply bronzer to the areas of your face where the sun would naturally hit. Using very light strokes, first apply the bronzer to the top of the 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.
No makeup is complete without the perfect touch of blush. It never occurred to me that one can have more than a single colour of blush in their make up collection. Hamnah made me realize 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.
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 cheekbones, below the eyebrow arch, on the temples upward, over the lips, cupid bow and middle of the chin. Some optional areas for highlighter are eye inner corner, forehead, under the eyebrow.
As the purpose of shimmer and highlighter is more or less the same, I apply one of the two.
The shimmer is available in liquid and powder form. It can be used as cream highlights on your cheekbones as a base and you can use powder highlight on top of it. It can also be used on eyelids and then you can intensify it by putting pressed eyeshadow. I normally rarely use shimmer but when I’m travelling I find it easier to take these with me as they have multipurpose. They can be used as a highlighter and as eyeshadow.
Even on my makeup free days, I never forget lipstick. 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 colour 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 makeup 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. It’s a fresher, younger 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 there’s a recipe for DIY make up setting spray. Would love to try it here
My 10 Minute Makeup Routine
Even though I learned all the above from my friend, I don’t quite follow it step by step. My makeup routine is actually like the following: