Hello and welcome! This blog has been established as a platform for discussing wedding make-up and skincare. Short articles and tips will be posted to provide information and cover basic to advanced techniques. We hope you join our community and participate in the discussions. You will learn how to apply your own make-up to look your best on any special occasion. This will help you to plan your wedding make-up so that the make-up artist you choose is clear about the look you want to achieve. Of course if you are on a limited budget, the make-up skills you learn on this blog will help you to save on costs.
If you are lucky enough to have balanced lips (see illustration), your make-up application on this area will be relatively easy. If your top and bottom lips are in proportion with neither lip thinner than the other, you have balanced lips. Balanced lips will become thinner over time due to the breakdown of collagen, elastin and fat during the ageing process. Due to the initial plumpness of this lip shape, the thinning process will not be as pronounced in comparison to other lip shapes.
To apply make-up to balanced lips, you will need a lipstick in the colour of your choice, a good quality lip pencil in a matching or slightly darker colour to the lipstick, a crème highlighter in a cream / beige colour or a few shades lighter than the colour of your skin, a lip brush or lipstick applicator, a fine artist’s paintbrush or make-up brush and a mirror. The crème highlighter is optional but will give your lips a youthful appearance if desired. The use of a lip pencil is essential to this technique and provides definition. Lip pencils also contain wax which prevents the lipstick bleeding or smudging onto your facial foundation makeup.
Method (see illustration below):
1) Draw around the shape of the lips with a freshly sharpened lip pencil, taking care to stay on the edge of the lips. Using a blunt pencil will result in the line being too thick. It helps if you start from the centre of the bow on the top lip then extend the lines out to each side. Similarly, start the line at the centre of the lower lip and extend to each side. It is important not to draw the line above or below the edge of the lips as this will distort the balanced shape. Check in the mirror to make sure that you are happy with the pencil line that you have drawn. You can always redraw the pencil line if you feel you need more colour and definition.
2) Fill in the top and bottom lip areas with your lipstick, taking care to work the colour in well with the lip brush or applicator. Place a soft tissue between your lips and close your lips to lightly blot excess lipstick. Depending on the type of lipstick you are using, you may wish to apply a second coat.
3) Taking the fine artist’s paintbrush or make-up brush, coat the tip of the brush with the crème highlighter in cream / beige colour or a colour a few shades lighter than your skin. Paint a fine, even line around the edge of the lip pencil line you have drawn. The aim here is to avoid painting the highlighter over the lip pencil line. You are simply applying subtle highlighting around the lip line. Finish if desired by placing a dot of highlighter on the area between the centre of your upper lip and your nose. To blend the highlighting, simply pat gently with the pad of your little finger, taking care not to smudge your work. The heat from your finger will help the highlighter to set on your skin.
4) Depending on the type of lipstick you are using, you may wish to set your lip makeup. You can do this with translucent, loose face powder. Dip a powder brush into the face powder , tap the brush then swirl it over the back (not palm) of the opposite hand to that which you are using to apply your make-up This will remove excess powder. Using the back of your hand as an artist’s palette when you are working is a good habit to get into. This will ensure a light touch and professional application. Gently swirl the brush over the surface of your lips. Do not press the brush on the lips as you will disturb your work. Only a tiny amount of powder is needed to set the make-up. Alternatively, there are clear lipstick setting sprays available on the market but remember to patch test on your skin before using any new product.
Microbeads are tiny plastic spheres that have been added to a range of cosmetics, skincare products, toothpaste and sunscreen over recent years. Many exfoliant products, in particular, contain large amounts of microbeads that are washed down household drains every day. Scientists have discovered that the ocean floor has been contaminated by these plastic beads, which are too small to be blocked by filtration systems. As a result, the beads are being ingested by marine species and there are concerns about toxicity in the food chain. Even freshwater lakes have been found to be contaminated by microbeads. The microbeads are not biodegradable so the potential consequences for the environment are horrendous.
This is really bad news as microbeads were a breakthrough for gentle and effective skin exfoliation. Previously, exfoliants contained natural ingredients, such as ground almond shells and fruit kernels – the equivalent of using sandpaper on your skin in our view. We can expect microbeads to be phased out quickly as there is immense public pressure on companies that use these ingredients. Hopefully, the cosmetic companies will soon find an alternative ingredient that will comply with their environmental responsibilities.
So, what can we do in the meantime? Check labels on any new cosmetic, skincare, toothpaste and sunscreen products you buy to ensure that the ingredients do not include microbeads. Do the same with your existing products and find out how to dispose of products containing microbeads responsibly. Definitely do not flush the products down the drain. If you intend to finish using the products, do not use them in a shower or rinse in a washbasin. Removing the product from your skin with a damp disposable cloth may be the safest option. Remember to wrap the cloth and dispose of it via the landfill garbage collection.
Research new exfoliants emerging on the market to find environmentally responsible alternatives. Visit Fauna and Flora International (FFI) to find out more about this issue and download your copy of the Good Scrub Guide.
If you prefer to be an activist, spread the word on social media and join or support organisations lobbying for change on this issue.
Eyebrow pencil should be applied after you have finished applying your eye make-up. This will avoid the possibility of smudging your work when you are applying eyeshadow and mascara.
Comb your eyebrows neatly into shape using the comb side of your eyebrow tool. Comb up at the start of the eyebrow then across, following the curve. Try to follow the direction in which your eyebrow hair naturally grows. This usually involves combing up then across as you work around the curve.
Starting at the beginning of your eyebrow, apply small strokes of pencil just under the top row of hairs. Find where the topmost hairs join the skin and apply the pencil to the hair at that point. Each stroke of the pencil should be firm but not too heavy. Your aim is to feather the pencil on in small strokes. Do not be concerned if the pencil marks the skin as well as the hair – this is to be expected. Do not attempt to cover every hair. Start with a minimal number of strokes spaced apart as the effect can be built up as desired. On this first application, stop feathering the pencil on at the highest point of the eyebrow curve, leaving one third of the eyebrow (closest to the ear) free of colour. Using the brush side of your eyebrow tool, brush the pencil marks to blend the colour into the eyebrow. Take care not to disturb the eyebrow shape you so neatly combed earlier. Work within the definition of the eyebrow as you do not want to end up with smudges above or below the area. As you blend you will notice that you are working the colour along the eyebrow – this is why you should leave the final one third free of colour initially. Sit back and check your work in the mirror. If you need more colour apply the pencil in feathered strokes where required and then repeat the blending with the brush. If you have applied the pencil too heavily, simply turn the brush on the eyebrow tool to the other side. Brush through as before with the clean side of the brush to remove excess colour. Remove any smudges with a cotton tip or orange tip (See Preparation and tools post). Blot off any excess oil with a clean tissue. Remember to check your make-up in different lighting and make any adjustments to the colour or your technique.
To prepare for applying eyebrow pencil you will need a good quality kohl pencil in the colour of choice, an eyebrow tool consisting of a comb and brush combination (see photograph) and a special make-up pencil sharpener suitable for kohl pencils. Normal pencil sharpeners are not suitable as kohl is softer than lead. Sharpen your pencil but not too sharply as the tip may break off. It is fine to have a slightly rounded edge on the tip of the pencil as long as it is not too broad. Always sharpen your pencils slightly before use to prevent any build up of bacteria. Cover the pencil tips with the lids provided for storage. Keep a cotton bud handy for touching up errors – slightly dampened with a couple of drops of make-up removal oil. An orange stick (used for manicures) is also useful for this purpose – lightly wrap in a small amount of slightly dampened cotton wool with a couple of drops of oil. A make-up mirror with magnification on one side will also be very useful. Note: the black pencil featured in the photograph is actually a soft dark grey/black combination however any black pencil should be avoided on eyebrows.
There are a wide range of colours available in kohl pencils. In general, choose a shade that is slightly darker than the natural colour of your eyebrows. The darker shade will show up well in photographs and the effect will be subtle. Avoid black, even if your eyebrows are naturally black in colour. Black looks harsh in any lighting and it is best left for Gothic make-up styles. True black pencils should be buried in the bottom of the make-up case, or better still, thrown away. There are beautiful kohl colours available including brown/black, charcoal grey/black, dark brown, dark brown with red or orange highlights, medium brown and so on. You are only limited by your own imagination! Medium to dark grey or charcoal coloured pencils are an option for older brides. Pencil colours can also be mixed – for example, you could alternate strokes from a dark brown pencil with a red pencil and blend after application. Take the time to experiment with different colours until you are happy with the result.
For further information see previous post on eye and lip pencils.
Many people apply eyebrow pencil incorrectly. The most common mistake is to draw a hard curved line over the eyebrows (see photograph). This error is often seen on women with thin or light coloured eyebrows. The method of application looks very unnatural, especially in daylight and photographs. The eyebrows dominate the face, rather than enhancing other features, and the person may even look ‘surprised’ – not a good look!
In the sixties and seventies it became fashionable to have thin eyebrows. Some girls took this to the extreme and even shaved their eyebrows off, drawing the lines in with eye pencil. Mothers cried or yelled and told their teenage daughters that their eyebrows would never grow back. Of course many of the girls didn’t listen, but guess what? – their mothers were right! Two things are likely to happen as a result of extreme plucking of eyebrows – 1) the eyebrows won’t grow back and there may even be permanent bald spots; 2) the eyebrow hair will grow back even more profusely and you will find hairs growing where they never grew before. So, listen to your mothers and this applies to young men as well, as it is now fashionable for both sexes to shape their eyebrows. Following the fashion of thin eyebrows, Brooke Shields became the celebrity that many young women wished to emulate. Look her up when she was the celebrity of the day and check out her eyebrows. The point is that fashion is constantly changing and drastic changes to your appearance can make you feel unfashionable for the rest of your life. Eyebrow shaping is an art and there are actually prestigious awards for beauticians who can do this well. Templates for shaping eyebrows have also been developed by savvy entrepreneurs. If you want to have your eyebrows shaped, consult a professional at least the first time this is done. Ask to see examples of their work or speak to satisfied customers before they touch your eyebrows. Ask them to give you instructions for maintaining the shape yourself. If you are on a budget, research the topic on the internet before you even attempt to pluck your own eyebrows. Never pluck above the eyebrow or between the eyebrows. Only remove as few hairs as possible to tidy the area. Use an eyebrow brush to tidy your eyebrows before you even start and this may be all you need to do. If your eyebrows are really profuse you can make them look less thick by applying concealer or foundation lightly over the hairs at the bottom of the eyebrows. The effect will be subtle and look natural. Some people lighten their eyebrows but, again, this is not recommended as the natural colour may never return. In the next article we will discuss the correct technique for applying eyebrow pencil as you may need to do this for your wedding photographs.
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Dark circles under our eyes may be temporary or permanent. The causes may include feeling tired or stressed, sports injuries, pigmentation, genetics and so on. Whatever the reason for this condition, it can affect our self-confidence as we interact with others around us. If the dark circles are permanent or do not clear up quickly, always consult your doctor for advice. There are also beauty products on the market that claim to minimise the condition, should you wish to experiment with these and test their effectiveness. The other alternative is to camouflage the area with concealer using professional make-up techniques.
Concealer is applied over moisturiser and before applying foundation. In general, concealers designed for the face are not suitable for the delicate area under the eyes as they are heavy in texture or too dry so that the skin can easily be dragged. If a thick texture is applied under the eyes, this can result in a strange raised effect when viewed under lights. The concealer can also build up in fine lines under the eyes with an unflattering, if temporary, ageing effect. The best concealer to use is a light liquid concealer or liquid crème eyeshadow. Another option is to use liquid foundation, which should be a shade or two lighter than the foundation colour you plan to wear. Powder based concealers are definitely not suitable for the under-eye area as these will cake, particularly when foundation is applied over the top. If there is obvious discolouration, such as a purple effect, consider visiting a make-up specialist at your local department store for advice. They may suggest concealers with special tints, such as pink, to tone down the appearance of the discolouration. Only don’t let them talk you into buying any concealer with a heavy texture!
Invest in at least one good quality, general purpose concealer brush or a soft artist’s paintbrush with a curved shape, soft bristles and a pointed tip. Concealer brushes also come in other shapes such as wedge shapes for other applications. The foam make-up applicators will be too rough for the under-eye area. A fine make-up brush such as an eyeliner brush is also recommended, along with an eyeshadow brush and the wedge shaped sponge described in an earlier article. A mirror is also obviously an essential tool.
Our aim in applying concealer is to introduce light to tone down the shade visible as dark circles. Examine the under-eye area in the mirror to identify where the concealer is needed. Start with a tiny amount of concealer on the end of the brush and gently apply a thin layer to the entire under-eye area without dragging the skin. This will ensure that there are no gaps and variation in the colour. Remember to feather the concealer up and under the lower lashes, trying not to coat the eyelashes while you are doing this. If you do make a mistake and coat any of the lashes, blot gently with a very soft facial tissue. Take the wedge shaped sponge and gently pat the concealer to blend it, encourage absorption into the skin and remove any excess. Carefully add tiny dots of concealer with your brush to the discoloured areas, using the absolute minimum needed to disguise the area. Remember that you will be applying foundation over the concealer so try not to get too carried away. The goal is to achieve translucency as far as possible in this area. Allow a few minutes for the concealer to settle then inspect the results in natural daylight and under lighting. Touch up and blend as necessary.
Many women experience shadowing under their eyes caused by reflection from a prominent eye socket bone. This can become more pronounced with ageing and the under-eye area becomes hollow in appearance. The solution is to take a fine brush such an eyeliner brush and paint a fine line of light liquid concealer just inside (not on) the eye socket bone. When painting the line, follow the half circle from just under the inside corner of the eye to the other side. Blend the line with the wedge shaped sponge as described above. Blend only as much as you need to so that the line looks natural, but not enough to remove your work. The light colour of the concealer will reflect the shade so that the shadowing is less pronounced or hardly noticeable. This method is more effective when used over foundation.
Another technique disguises shadowing or darkness at the inside corner of the eye. Apply your eyeshadow as required (eyeshadow styles and techniques will be covered in future posts). As a final step, take your eyeshadow brush and lightly coat with white or crème eyeshadow (or a colour a few shades lighter than your foundation), tap off excess then dot in the inside corner between your eye and your nose. Repeat on the other side. Take care not to get the powder in your eyes. The powder can be gently blended with the brush or a make-up applicator. Yet again, the subtle application of a light colour counteracts the shade.
Capillaries are the smallest of the blood vessels and play an important role in transporting oxygenated blood to the tissues, releasing waste products such as carbon dioxide and cooling the body down. These blood vessels are so fine that they resemble strands of hair. Networks of capillaries are found throughout the body however, for the purpose of this article, we are most concerned with the capillaries that are close to the surface of the skin. The skin on our faces and necks is much more delicate than the skin on the rest of our bodies and it is constantly exposed to the elements. When we are overheated the capillaries dilate as the blood rushes to the surface of our skin in an effort to release the heat and cool the body down and then recedes. When we are cold the blood circulates through the capillaries to maintain optimal temperature so our skin may appear flushed or paler than usual. If we move for instance from a heated room to the cold outdoors the natural circulation of the blood to the skin may be more rapid than usual, causing damage to the capillaries. As the capillaries are very fine, they are fragile and susceptible to bruising or breakage. Damaged capillaries on the face are often described as spider veins because of their ‘angry’, red, web-like appearance.
To prevent broken capillaries, it is important to avoid extremes of temperature that may place excessive strain on these blood vessels. Avoid showering or bathing with water that is too hot or too cold. In particular, avoid a hot shower or bath when your body is cold and avoid a cold shower when your body is overheated. If you subscribe to the European method of alternating your shower temperature from hot to cold to boost circulation, do not use this method on your face or neck. Similarly, if you are feeling hot, do not try to cool down by washing or rinsing your face with cold water. If you are feeling cold, it is not a good idea to warm yourself up by washing or rinsing your face with hot water. Tepid to lukewarm water is always the best for the face and neck area. If you engage in strenuous physical exercise, take time for your body to cool down before having a shower. Be cautious if consuming alcohol, which can cause pronounced heat and flushing on the facial skin. As always, treat the skin on your face and neck gently and this will also help to avoid damage to capillaries close to the skin’s surface.
If damaged capillaries do become visible there are beauty treatments available but these are often expensive and may result in other issues such as scarring or loss of pigmentation. Another option is to lightly cover the area with concealer before applying your foundation. Green tinted concealer is effective for covering and neutralising the red appearance of capillaries as it is the opposite colour on the spectrum. In summer, wear hats and clothing in light breathable fabrics to prevent overheating. In winter, dress warmly and wear hats and scarves. In cooler weather consider changing to a foundation with a higher oil content to further protect the skin from extremes in temperature. It is much more sensible to take measures to protect your skin rather than looking for solutions once damage has occurred.