How to Choose the Right Makeup Colours for Your Skintone

If only choosing the right makeup colours was easy….perhaps for some it is, but for many of us, it’s a problem we face each time we choose a makeup product.

Hopefully, having a better understanding of COLOURS will help us to make better colour choices, be they for clothing or makeup.

Few people explain the COLOUR THEORY for makeup better than Robert Jones.  I’d just like to share this video with you so that you can gain an understanding of how our natural skin colour interacts with colours we put on our face.

I’m merely introducing the video here so you can decide if you want to check it out.  I’d just like to say that I gained a lot from this.

Click this:  Learn Makeup Color Theory Using the Color Theory with Robert Jones

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I like how the description gives a detailed overview of the video, you know exactly what he’s going to cover….

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Primary colours, secondary colours, tertiary colours

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Bring attention to the eyes using complementary colours (colours opposite the colour wheel eg. blue is opposite of orange/brown in the colour wheel so blue and brown are complementary colours)

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Skintone and blushers – the way to identify which blusher colour is better for your skintone

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Skintone and lip colours – why certain colours do not suit certain skin tones

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Robert Jones explains why the colour on our left is better than the one on the right, though both suit the skin tone they’re placed against.

Do spare some time viewing this video (15 mins) – I think it helps demystify some colour ‘issues’ we have with our makeup!

All credit goes to Robert Jones Beauty Academy, I’m merely introducing this to you readers so you could share my discovery! 

How To Choose the Right Double Eyelid Tape – Part 1 Types of Double Eyelid Tape

This is a 4-part series on some information about eyelid tapes.

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Double eyelid tapes are commonly found in Asian cosmetic stores with more varieties than ever before.

Let me share some tips with you so that the next time you go shopping for eyelid tape, you can think about these pointers before you make your selection.

The main factors to consider are these 4: ‘Type, Color, Shape and Texture.  This post covers the first one: Type.

TYPES OF DOUBLE EYELID TAPE

There are single-sided and double-sided eyelid tapes in the market.

A. Single-sided tape is like regular cellophane tape (one sided). When you stick it on your eyelid, it sits flat on the surface, thus pushing and supporting your lid, creating a fold at the top of the tape.

One type of single-sided eyelid tape - you cut the tape into your desired shape and length.

There are 2 types of single-sided eyelid tape.

  • One comes in a roll (like cellophane tape – picture above) and you need to cut them into shape yourself.
  • The other type has been cut out for you. You just need to detach them from the backing and stick them onto your lids.

B. Double-sided tape, like double-sided tape, is sticky on both sides. If applied correctly, it is hidden – sandwiched between the skin folds of your eyelid. Correctly used, you won’t be able to see the tape at all, therefore faking the most ‘natural’ looking double-eyelid for you.  The best quality double-sided eyelid tape is produced by Japan, called ‘D-Up Wonder Eyelid Tape’.

Which one to use?

1.  For newbies / those who hate fuss :  the single-sided cut-out tape
You just need to get the right shape and size for your desired double eyelid effect and tape it on. With practice you’ll get it right.

A variety of shapes are available.

2.  For the adventurous / those who are conscious about displaying their eye tape:   double-sided eyelid tape

But be warned, this is tricky to use. An applicator comes with the tape when you purchase them, but getting the tape out and sticking them correctly on your eyelids without using fingers takes practice. (But truthfully, single-sided eyelid tape is just as tricky to use!)

Who uses the eyelid tape in rolls?

This is usually used by makeup artists who encounter a variety of eye shapes in their line of work.  They also have the expertise in cutting the tape into the shape, size and length that is required.

My Verdict:

How to wear false eyelashes without looking like you’re wearing them

Main issues with wearing falsies: 1. our eyelashes look false a mile away,  2. we tend to look more ‘made-up’ than we wish to.

In a previous post I talked about choosing natural lashes.  In summary, we choose natural lashes according to these factors:

  1. Your personal style
  2. The occasion and / or the look you wish to achieve
  3. Your eye features
  4. Your own lashes

Bearing in mind that ‘natural looking false lashes’ is an oxymoron, many of us girls still want to explore ways to enhance our natural lashes to make them look fuller and longer.  Nice long lashes just make us look more feminine.

How to wear falsies without looking like you’re wearing any?

First we need to understand why false lashes look ‘unnatural’.

  • False lashes often look too thick when they combine with our own.  To look natural, we should select those that are sparse, not thick and dense.
  • The eyelash bone of false lashes are usually stuck onto our upper lashes so they are exposed, giving away the fact that we are wearing falsies.  To look more natural, hide the eyelash bone, or select falsies that have transparent bone.

Steps to achieving natural looking false-eyelash-look:

  1. Get strip lashes that are sparse.  Thick lashes look fake.

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    The pair on the right will provide the more natural visual effect.

  2. Cut the strip into 3 or 4 short pieces.

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    Cut into 3 or 4 depending on your preference

  3. Apply glue to the top of the eyelash bone. You’re going to apply the strips under your natural lashes.

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    Apply glue to the top of the bone.

  4. Apply these strips UNDER your natural lashes (NOT ABOVE as is commonly done).
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    Apply the strips under your natural lashes. Place a short strip at the end, middle and front.

  • Important: Apply glue to the upper part of the eyelash bone. This way, the glue will stick to your lashes, not the upper waterline. (The waterline is the part that’s just under the root of the lashes.)
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After attaching a strip at the corner of the eyeImage

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Eye closed: you can't tell that there is a false strip under the lashes.

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(Sorry about the inconsistency in the lighting of the photos. They’re just to illustrate a point. )

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A video speaks ten thousand words, so to illustrate check out Queenie Chan’s youtube video on this method of applying the lashes.  The video is in Cantonese but there are English subs and she demonstrates the technique clearly in it as well.  Happy trying!

My verdict after trying this out: 

  • A very good application tip. Just need to be careful that you do not get glue on your waterline.  Remember, apply the glue at the top of the eyelash bone.

How To Choose Natural-Looking False Lashes

If you ask me what makeup traits dominate these last few years, I’ll have to say “natural makeup” and “the use of false lashes”.

In the previous post, I blogged about what natural makeup means to me.  In this one, I’d like to talk about the use of false lashes and how to find natural-looking ones that suit you.

The use of false lashes is no longer restricted to stage shows and evening events.  In fact many people I know wear false lashes daily – even to work.  In the past, false lashes were considered acceptable only for glamorous evening events, photography and stage performances by most people.  However, with more and more ‘natural-looking’ options available, I find that people are more open to experimenting with them.

If you’re thinking of experimenting with false lashes, but you don’t want to look ‘weird’, read on to find out more about choosing false lashes that look ‘natural’.

My fav lashes - clear strip and sparse 'lashes'

Let’s consider some of the factors that affect our choices.

  •  Lighting – Day Light:

Day time makeup should be subtle.  In daylight, makeup colours show up very clearly. You will also notice that dark colours like black look harsher and heavier for in day light, and as a result, they do not flatter the wearer if too much is applied.  So, in the same way, if your false lashes are thick and long, they look exaggerated and heavy, therefore, they don’t look ‘natural’.  They also tend to cast a shadow under your eyes.

  • Lighting – Incandescent (yellow) lighting

Yellow lighting is much more forgiving than daylight.  In fact it casts a flattering glow.  For your false lashes to look ‘natural’ for an evening out, you can afford to wear lashes that are slightly longer and thicker.  And your makeup colours can be darker and slightly thicker even for a ‘natural’ look.

  • Views:

Views refer to how others see your eyes.  People look at us from various angles – up, down, left and right.   Thick, dark, false lashes just don’t look good from the side and top if you’re in day light.  They’re flattering seen in incandescent (yellow) lighting which softens your made-up look.

Avoid having lashes that darken your eyes if you’re going to spend most of your time in an office environment or an environment with bright lighting.

  •  Makeup or No Makeup:

Sparse and ‘thin’ false lashes are appropriate for a barely there makeup look (note:  not ‘no makeup’).  Even ‘natural’ makeup is makeup.  In any case, you should have some makeup on if you’re wearing false lashes.

Thick false lashes are for heavy smoky eyes and evening looks.

How should you choose your false lashes?  Bear in mind the following:

  1. Your personal style
  2. The occasion and / or the look you wish to achieve
  3. Your eye features
  4. Your own lashes

For the purpose of discussing false lashes for day makeup, let’s take a look at our own lashes.

  • What are your own lashes like?  How would you describe your lashes?  Long, thick, sparse, short, point downwards, always curled…..
  • For false lashes to look nice for a day look, you should select those that are similar to your own lashes. 

My nephew's long lashes!

My case study:

  • My natural lashes are of average length and average volume (thickness).  So, the lashes that look best on me are those that are of similar length and volume.  That is because they help to volumise my existing lashes.  If applied close enough to the lashline, they don’t even look like they are false.
  • I also notice that the falsies that look good are those that are crisscrossed at the strip.   That’s because my lashes grow that way themselves.  Falsies that have straight too-neat ‘lashes’ look odd on me because they don’t blend in well with my own.
  • I also prefer falsies that do not have a black strip.  Clear strips are better. You just need to fill in with eyeliner.

    Good lashes. Pros - fine and natural. Cons : the thick strip. They must be applied very near to the lashline.

 

Hope the notes above help with your selection of false lashes!

What is ‘natural makeup’?

K-drama (Korean drama series) and high-definition technology catapulted ‘natural makeup’ to fame in Asia.

Korean Actress Song Hye Gyo

When ‘hallyu’ (the Korean wave) reached the shores of many Asian countries in the late 90’s, it brought with it the love for everything Korean including its fashion and style.   Today, ‘Korean-style makeup’, with its emphasis on flawless skin and natural colour tones, is popular for the general female population here.     I think it’s the best makeup style for every day wear.

What does high-definition technology have to do with natural makeup?

Well, the intensity of makeup colours (and all other flaws for that matter) is magnified when seen on HD TV screens.   To conceal flaws like zits and scars, heavier makeup is required.  Heavy makeup is seldom equated with natural makeup.   But thankfully, makeup technology changed along with technological advancement.  With that, we now have makeup products that adhere better to the skin and possess light-diffusing qualities to make ‘makeup’ look less made-up.  Less became more.  (Click here to see a blogpost about HD makeup)

Cargo Cosmetics' HD range

 

 

What is ‘natural makeup’ then?

It’s NOT no makeup.

Personally, it’s ‘second skin’ makeup –  makeup that gives the illusion of good skin, even when you don’t have it.  It’s makeup that uses the effects of light and dark to create a pleasing look.  The main point about natural makeup is that it enhances the wearer’s features without being loud with the colours she wears.

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Foundation:  Creates an even-skintone.

When foundation of the right colour is applied on to the face, it covers problem areas like scars and spots, thereby making the skin colour look more even. Remember though that for your foundation to look ‘natural’, the colour must be matched on your jaw.  If the colour seems to disappear on your skin when you swatch it, then that’s the best colour for you.

Foundation

Blush:  Gives a healthy rosy glow to the skin.

Many of us have yellow undertones.  Therefore corals and peaches (which are pinks that have some orange in them) look better on us than a ‘Barbie doll pink’ blusher.  The duller your skin looks, the more it benefits from a blusher.

Blusher

 

Eye-colours: Create depth and definition to the eyes.

Neutral colours are preferred though brighter or shimmery colours can also be used (sparingly of course).  Attention should be drawn to your eyes rather than the colour of the shadow you wear. To create the illusion of a bigger and more deepset eyes, various shades of beige and brown are used to emulate shadows to create depth.

Neutral-toned eyeshadows

 

Eyeliners and mascaras:   Create depth and definition to the eyes.

Browns and blacks are basic dark colours that create depth and definition.  Therefore you’ll find that they’re the most effective in defining the eyes.

Mascara

 

Lipsticks:  Create definition and balance particularly on a made-up face.

Lipsticks help to give colour to the face and also create a balance with the others colours you have applied on your face.  If you have pale lips, you NEED some colour to give you a healthy look.

Lipsticks

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In general, some examples of basic colours that create natural-looking makeup are:

  • warm-toned foundation (yellow-based)
  • peachy, apricot, coral blushes
  • shades of beige and brown for eyeshadows and contouring
  • brown or black eyeliners and mascaras
  • warm pinks, corals, peach lipsticks – or any other that’s 1-2 shade darker than your natural lips.
  • Note 1:   Beware that nude lipsticks are not necessarily the best for ‘natural makeup’.   They make your lips look pale and are usually ideal for smokey eyes or makeup that are heavy on the eyes.  You need full makeup to pull off the nude lipstick look. 
  • Note 2:  Stay away from pale frosted lipsticks – they make you look ill.

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Natural makeup makes it possible for everyone to look more polished and put-together.  It’s a combination of good application, right products and a light hand.  When applied well, natural makeup makes people say ‘YOU look great!

Remember Maybelline’s tagline – “”Maybe She’s Born With It.  Maybe It’s Maybelline”?   I’d say that natural makeup is “Maybe it’s makeup.  Maybe she’s born with it.”

 

*All product pictures are from Cargo Cosmetics, a line catered to the average consumers and professionals.

How to Choose a Professional Makeup Artist

So,  you have decided to engage a professional makeup artist, what should you do next?

Seek out a makeup artist

It’s difficult and unfair to gauge what an artist can do without looking at his/her portfolio.  However, for an evening / day makeup, a general rule of thumb is this:  if you like a particular artist’s own makeup, then you’ll likely like what she can do for you.

Professional makeup artists fall in a couple categories:

  • Employed – If you engage one, that usually means you’re engaging the company that employs them unless you engage them during their non-work hours. If they work for a company that sells products, they are expected to use their products.
  • Freelancing –  Freelancers are more flexible in mobility and time.

Another important thing to consider when you choose an artist is the ‘trust’ factor.  Oftentimes this is built from an existing relationship, or recommendations from others.  Yet other times you choose a random artist because of your intuition. Whatever reason it is, ‘you’ – the client – makes the decision.

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Expectations for Professional Dinner, Bridal or Special Formal Occasion Makeup

Here’s a list of the things to look out for.

  • Before The Appointment:
  • Tell your artist what the occasion is, what kind of dress/outfit you will be wearing, what look you aim to achieve. You should do this when you make the appointment.
  • Important tip:  If you wish to change into your outfit only AFTER your hairstyling/makeup, make sure that you wear a buttoned down blouse/shirt.  No pull-over shirts – that will ruin your hairstyle and makeup!
  • Hygiene

Sanitisation of tools and products is important.  Find out if the artist sanitises her products and tools.  I am very particular about this.  I disinfect my tools with brush cleaners and alcohol, and I use fresh sponges for application of foundations.  However, realistically, complete sanitisation can’t take place when many people need to be made up one after another, but disinfecting of tools with brush cleaners can be done. (Click here to read about sanitisation of tools.)

Photo Credit: Teeratas / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • Products

Bear in mind that freelance makeup artists are not obliged to be brand-loyal.  Different products are used by artists, and they don’t have to be expensive to be good.  Many cheaper products can give equivalent or better results. A lot of drugstore brands like L’oreal, Maybelline and Revlon have excellent bases, foundations and colours.

Using higher-end products is a personal preference. But if you’re particular about the brands of products, ask before you engage the artist.  Usually an artist who uses higher-end products will charge more for their services.

If you prefer to use your own products, bear in mind that the artist will still need to supplement yours with hers in the event that you do not have what she needs.

  • Location to do makeup

Some makeup artists are mobile.  They can travel to your home or the salon where you do your hair, and for that you should expect to pay more.  In truth, most artists prefer the client to go to their workplace because of better lighting conditions for makeup.  Discuss this with the artist beforehand.

  • Time required

Good makeup takes time to achieve. Depending on the look and the makeup artist, it can take any amount of time between 30 and 60 minutes.  To be safe, 45-60 minutes should be allocated for dinner makeup because it takes time to build a look and that often is crucial to achieving good, longer lasting finishes.   There are eyebrows to trim, base to apply and eyes to dress.  Be prepared to give the artist time to perform all these.

  • Hairstyling or makeup first?

Preferably makeup before hairstyling.  However, should a hair-wash be required, then it should come first.

  • Never judge makeup whilst in progress! 

A makeup look is never complete until the artist says so. So, wait till the end before you decide if you like it.  Avoid looking into the mirror if you find yourself worrying about your final look while it’s in progress.

Have a trial makeup session if you are concerned that you won’t like the look, but do know that trial sessions are charged as well.

  • Application of false eyelashes

It’s common for the artist to ask if you would like to have false lashes.  (In fact, for phototaking purposes, false lashes are  highly recommended.) If you do not have any, you could buy from her and the application is free.  If you bring your own lashes and want the artist to apply them for you, be prepared to pay RM5 for the application.  This is industry practice.

To know if you lashes are suitable for the look you want, discuss with the artist beforehand.

  • Fees  $$$

A makeup artist’s fee is determined by many factors.  For makeup alone, most artists determine their fee by their level of skill, experience, the products they use and time needed.  If you engage a celebrity artist, be prepared to pay multiple times more than a non-celebrity artist.

However, additional charges are incurred for the following:

  1. purchase of false eyelashes or application of false eyelashes you bring,
  2. trial makeup session,
  3. additional treatment before makeup (eg. use of ampoule),
  4. transportation if it’s a distance away.

Discuss these with the artist before the actual appointment to avoid misunderstanding.

If there is a group of you who needs makeup done, you can always negotiate the fees.

Photo credit: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • Trust and listen to your artist

Many people have set ideas about what they should look like after makeup.  Those who are very conservative are wary of changes, while those who are more adventurous expect more.

  1. If you’re very conservative, chances are you do not use sufficient colours to brighten up your look.  You need to trust your artist to give you sufficient colour.
  2. If you’re very adventurous, chances are you follow trends and possibly like to highlight features boldly.  Whilst that’s a good thing, it can backfire when your makeup is not harmonious / balanced with the rest of the makeup (unless it’s stage or special effects makeup).

Always tell your artist about any concerns you may have after the completion of the makeup and discuss it with her.  The important thing is to listen to her input as well.

 

 

Why should you engage a professional makeup artist?

Question:  A special event is coming up and I expect to be photographed a lot.  Should I do the makeup myself or should I engage a professional artist to do it for me?

Answer:  Well, if you’re someone who seldom put on make up, I highly recommend that you have a makeup artist do it for you.

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In this blogpost, I’m going to explain the differences between DIY makeup and one done by a makeup artist.   As a makeup artist myself, I’d like my clients to know the differences.

Generally, the key advantages a professional makeup artist has over others are ‘products’, ‘skill’ and ‘experienced judgment’.

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PRODUCTS

  • A makeup artist has the required products and tools to do what is required so that your makeup will last.   Most of the time, a client doesn’t have the necessary products to create the right effect herself.  As a makeup artist, I’m constantly trying out products to select the ones that work best for the job.  That can amount to a lot of products!  That is why you see makeup artists with large cases of products to cater for their clients’ very specific needs.

The brushes I use often for a finished look:

SKILL

  • Getting back to the basics….
  • It’s common to hear clients remark that they can never apply foundation the way a professional does.  Base makeup is essential for a good look.  A good makeup artist can create dimension by employing the right products.  More than one foundation colour is often used, and strategic placement of colours that create depth and highlight is essential in sculpting the client’s face so that it doesn’t look flat. The makeup should also be light and natural, not cakey.

A bride and me

  •  A light hand…..  
  • Something that looks simple may not be so simple to do.  The Korean au naturale look which is so popular today needs more work than what a client thinks.  To create the natural look, many steps are performed.  In fact, nude looks take skill and time to achieve.  Why?  It’s built on the principle of ‘less is more’, but to make sure you have ‘enough’, you need to start with a light hand and keep building. And a makeup artist has the discernment that many beginners don’t have.
  • Precision – placing the products where they are needed
  • A makeup artist applies products more precisely and strategically than a client would.  For instance, the eyeliner is one of the most important products to ensure you have more defined eyes. Applying eyeliners very closely to the lash roots is the key to creating denser-looking lashes and more definition. More often than not, a client and makeup novice finds it extremely hard to do this step well.

Working on a photoshoot...

  • Blending….
  • The colours of a beautifully made up face blend in with one another seamlessly.  You shouldn’t be able to tell where it begins and where it stops.  The technique of blending is one that every artist should have mastered and one that makeup newbies hasn’t quite grasped yet.
  • Correct and Sculpt…..
  • “Can you make my face look slimmer?”  That’s a question I get asked often!    –  Within reason, a makeup artist can minimize perceived flaws. Usually dark circles, spots, redness and dullness of skin can easily be hidden or corrected with the right products and right application.  A wide face can be made to appear narrower and a double-chin disguised.  If flaws can’t be hidden, ‘distractions’ can be created by highlighting another feature!  Needless to say, the more natural the correction or sculpting (or contouring as it’s also known) it is, the higher skill level is required.

Makeup look - focus on the eyes, light lips

EXPERIENCED JUDGMENT

  • A makeup artist can see potential in a client.  A lot of people are so concerned about perceived flaws such as  small eyes or a wide face that they fail to appreciate and highlight their good features.  Often an experienced makeup artist can bring out the neglected asset of clients and in so doing, change the way they think about themselves.
  • A makeup artist can help change a client’s misconception.  I have 3 examples below that illustrate that:
  1. A client might be adverse to a particular style of makeup (for example, smokey eyes).  However, through a makeup artist’s work, she may come to realize that it is a good look for her.
  2. Many people are a little wary about the use of false lashes.  Whilst they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, there is a type (or more) for everyone.  In fact, they are a must if the client is going for a photoshoot!  A makeup artist can educate a client on the types of lashes that enhance her own.
  3. A client who has very thin lips always believed that darker colours are better for her.  Not everyone knows or accepts that dark colours on very thin lips actually accentuate its thinness.  The makeup artist can show the client a comparison by creating an eye-focused look and lighter coloured lips which takes away the attention on the lips.  No doubt beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but a makeup artist can take on the role as an educator in sharing with clients what products are better for her and what are not.

In the next post I’ll talk about what to anticipate when you engage a makeup artist to do the makeup for you.

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