I’m going to switch directions this week and say a few words about finding and trying on the ideal make-up. First and most importantly, don’t trust the lighting in any store. It’s almost always fluorescent which is super gross and unflattering. Try on some make-up (either in the store or at home) then look at it in the natural light. You’ll be able to see how well it covers, or if it really is as bright as it looked in your bathroom. As I mentioned before, your car has excellent light (in the daytime, of course). Check your rearview mirror (only when you’re stopped at the stoplight!!!) and you’ll get a much better idea of what looks good and what doesn’t. You’ll be able to tell if your makeup is looking cakey (usually caused by dry skin) or too greasy. Or how good of a match the foundation color is that you picked.
You’ll hear people say that you should try on makeup on your wrist or the back of your hand, or someplace odd like that. The fact of the matter is that you should try the makeup on your face, where it will be regularly worn. Because your face is not the same color as your hand or your wrist or even your neck. For example any lipstick will look very different on pink lips than it will on a beige or brown hand. Duh. I would love to be able to tell you exactly which colors will look perfect on you, but I can’t. And that’s the very thing that has women running terrified from the make-up aisle. But don’t be scared! It’s not too hard! If you can name a baby you can certainly find a lipstick that will flatter you.
Let’s talk about the makeup section of department stores. I avoid them if possible. First, the make-up counters intimidate me. There is always some girl looming nearby who makes me feel like an idiot. I’m sure she’s looking at my makeup and finding all the flaws with it (She probably isn’t but that’s how I feel.) Plus it’s very difficult to compare between brands. Obviously the sales girls are going to push the brand that they represent. I prefer some place like Sephora or Ulta that carries lots of upscale labels (if that’s what I’m in the market for. If I’m looking for something cheap then I just go to CVS or wherever). I can play around with all sorts of brands without a girl standing there staring at me. I also trust the employees (sort of) because they tend to have a better feel for which brands are better for different skin conditions, tones, etc. If you have them do your make-up (which they are happy to do for free) they’ll run around the store finding the products that seem “just right” for you (they may or may not be just right but you can take samples of most products home to try out and make sure. They’ll also give you a nice form that lists the brands and colors of everything they put on your face.)
See, that doesn’t sound too scary does it? Just be aware that they will also tell you that you need all sorts of moisturizing products as well. If you’re embarrassed to tell the lady that you use Vaseline Hand Lotion on your face then just lie and say you use Clinique. She won’t know the difference, I swear. Unless you don’t use any moisturizer on your face. In which case, shame on you! Go get something with an SPF today! Remember that they are trying to sell you stuff, but they won’t do that unless you look good. So just keep that all in mind before you hit the fancy stores.
Here is another important thing to know about makeup: The internet is wonderful for researching makeup. There is one site in particular, Makeup Alley, that is nothing but a collection of makeup reviews (think Amazon, but you can’t actually buy anything). You can search by brand or product or even which products have the best review scores. It’s great for getting a feel for which things you might want to try next time you go to the store. There are reviews for everything from Cover Girl (cheap!) to Shiseido (expensive!). Say, for example, you are looking for a concealer but you have really oily skin and summer is just starting, meaning you’ll be even shinier than normal. You’ll read through the reviews and people will say things like, “I have greasy skin and live in Florida and this concealer lasted so well!”. Great! You can put that on your “must try” list. Now you just have to track down a nearby store that carries the product you’re looking for to try it out (the company that makes the product you’re looking for will usually have a store locator page.)
I realize I’m probably making this all sound much more complicated than it really is. Hopefully I’m not scaring you off. My goal is to demystify the beauty world so you’ll feel more confident the next time you decide to spend your hard-earned dollars on something to make you look and feel prettier.