Archive | January 2014

Blending foundation & TV presenters

You probably already know about the importance of blending foundation into your jawline – but have you ever considered your hairline and even your ears? Take some time to watch television presenters, especially those from news and current affairs programs. When these presenters have hairstyles that leave their foreheads exposed, you will often notice a strange white line above their make-up and below their hairline. This is caused by the make-up artist failing to blend the foundation up and into the hairline. It is even more obvious because the foundation colour chosen is darker than usual to compensate for the lights. Digital technology intensifies the imperfect make-up application. Really, there is no excuse for this unless the make-up artist is inexperienced or lacks training in working with cameras and lighting. You will rarely see this in a movie as only the best make-up artists are used. We will talk more about foundation application later. In the meantime, when you apply your foundation with our favourite wedge-shaped sponge, take care to blend up and into the hairline, over your ears and into the jawline. There is no need to reload the sponge with foundation while you are doing this. Simply use the excess foundation that soaked into the sponge while you were applying the make-up over your face.

Can disposable make-up removal cleansing cloths replace your skincare routine?

There are many brands of disposable make-up removal cleansing cloths on the market but can these really replace your daily cleansing routine? These cloths are very convenient and can even cam remove long wearing foundation and heavy eye make-up. Some are marketed as both cleansing and skin toning cloths. The first problem is that it is difficult to know what the cloths have been impregnated with. If the product is strong enough to remove makeup quickly, what is it doing to the natural balance of your skin? Secondly, if the cloth includes a toning ingredient it is unlikely that the user will rinse their face after using it, leaving a residue on the skin. If the cloth is rough in texture (such as those marketed as exfoliation aids) it can drag the skin or damage the skin’s surface. More importantly, however, your skin needs to be massaged daily to preserve its healthy tone. This can only be achieved through the use of traditional cleansers. Think of this as a workout for your face – we will talk more on this subject in future posts. There is a place in our skincare routine for these cloths, particularly when travelling or staying overnight with friends or family. If the cloths are very soft and you are satisfied that the ingredients are gentle then by all means use them to remove make-up at night. However, always rinse the face and follow with a traditional cleanser. An inexpensive option is to buy soft, unscented baby wipes for sensitive skin. After all, if a product has been developed for a baby’s delicate skin we can reasonably assume that it is okay for our skin too. Experiment with different brands and only choose soft baby wipe cloths as some have a rough surface. When using a make-up removal cloth or baby wipe, test first on a small patch of skin to make sure you are not sensitive to the ingredients.

The plain satin pillowcase – essential beauty item

Have you ever slept very deeply only to find on awakening that deep creases have formed on your cheeks or under your eyes? Imagine how you would feel if this happened on your wedding day! This is caused by pressure on your face during the night, especially if the pillowcase fabric has wrinkled under your face. You have been in such a deep sleep that your face remained in the same position all night long.  Luckily, the creases usually disappear quickly following a morning shower but sometimes they linger. People with mature skins will tell you that this problem becomes worse over time as the facial skin loses its plumpness and elasticity. It is important to minimise the formation of creasing on the face as this can lead to premature wrinkling. A satin pillowcase can help to prevent this problem as the slippery surface prevents your face becoming stuck in one position. Satin pillowcases provide a little touch of luxury and are available in a range of colours to suit your décor. Choose a plain pillowcase as you do not want to be lying on frills or ruffles. Satin fabrics vary in quality so find a pillowcase made in a breathable fabric. Check if the fabric is breathable by placing your hand, palm up, inside the pillowcase then blow through the fabric towards your hand. If you can feel your breath on your hand, the fabric is breathable. If you cannot feel your breath, do not buy the pillowcase and look for another brand. If a fabric is not breathable, it will be very sticky and uncomfortable to sleep on and defeats the purpose we are trying to achieve. Silk pillowcases are another option but they are not very practical as silk stains easily and may need to be dry-cleaned.

Never drag the skin around your eyes – removing eye make-up

Young people often wear heavier makeup styles for evening events and this can be difficult to remove. The skin around your eyes is very delicate and must be treated gently. There is very little padding from underlying skin fat in this area compared to the rest of your face. Dragging the skin can stretch it, resulting in premature wrinkles. Find a good quality eye makeup remover that is compatible with the cosmetics you use. Cheaper eye makeup removers are often little more than detergent. An oil based remover will do a much better job of removing waterproof mascara and heavily pigmented cosmetics. There are makeup removal towels available but many of these are too rough for the delicate eye area. Here is a method for removing eye makeup. Take a round disposable make-up removal pad – these are quite inexpensive, sold in large packs and widely available. The pads are lined with cotton wool under a gauze covering. Dampen the pad slightly under the bathroom tap then place it on top of your hand. Using the palm of your other hand, press down to remove excess water. Add a few drops of eye makeup remover to the pad and carefully remove your makeup. If necessary prepare another damp pad and repeat the process. This method will be very gentle as the water helps to spread the product. It will also be more economical as your remover will last longer. As always, patch test any new products before you use them and take care to keep the remover and makeup out of your eyes.

Product claims – make-up and skincare – natural, organic etc

It is okay to be sceptical when cosmetic and skincare companies make certain claims about their products. These claims are essentially marketing – designed to entice you to buy. Skincare and cosmetics contain fillers and certain chemical ingredients that act as preservatives to maintain the integrity of the products. Without these ingredients the products would have a very short shelf life – similar to fresh fruit and vegetables, which are highly perishable. It would be quite shocking to purchase an expensive cosmetic or skincare product only to find that it was unfit for use a few days later or full of mould, which can be highly toxic. Many years of scientific research is behind the development of the ingredients contained in the products we use on our skin every day. We can be reasonably optimistic that the products are safe and stable if purchased from well known brands. It is unlikely however that claims that such products are natural or organic can be substantiated. Often a product is marketed as natural or organic  because it contains essential oils or natural ingredients such a fruit acids. These natural ingredients are added in minimal amounts compared to the overall size of the product.  It is also important to be aware that natural ingredients such as essential oils can be very irritating to sensitive skin – for instance tea tree oil, lavender oil and peppermint oil. Many companies claim their products are not tested on animals and this is probably true. But can we be certain that the ingredients they are using in their products have never been tested on animals? Possibly not. In our quest to be environmentally and socially responsible,  we can certainly choose brands that ethically source ingredients such as Palm oil and use recyclable packaging. We can also educate ourselves about product ingredients and there is a great deal of information about this on the internet.

Luscious lips – lip enhancement technique

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Young people often have an almost imperceptible white line around their lips. The reason for this is that their lips are at an optimal stage of development – full and plump with naturally occurring collagen and elastin. The blood supply gravitates to the fullness of the  lips and leaves a white line as the blood recedes. This youthful appearance to the lips can be enhanced or replicated with a simple make-up technique. Outline the lips with a lip pencil or liner that matches or coordinates with your lipstick. Draw this line in a fine or medium stroke. Using a lip brush, fine paintbrush or the sponge applicator of a liquid lipstick, work the lipstick colour into your lips inside the outline. Many people do not take the time to work the lipstick into their lips and wonder why their lipstick rubs off so quickly. It is worth the extra effort to achieve a beautiful result that should last for hours.  Place a tissue between your lips and press lips lightly together to blot off any excess. if necessary, touch up and/or apply another coat. Blot and touch up again if a second coat of lipstick is applied. Allow lipstick a minute or two to set. Take a fresh, clean lip brush or fine paintbrush and coat with concealer, crème eyeshadow or foundation. The colour you choose will depend on your complexion. Ivory, cream or light beige will work for those with fair to medium complexions. People with olive or deeper complexions will need to choose a colour that is a few shades lighter than their foundation. It is a matter of experimentation to find which colours will work best for this technique. Carefully paint a fine line outside the lip pencil outline previously applied. Gently pat (blend) into place with a cosmetic sponge, taking care not to remove the highlighting line you have drawn. Fine, loose cosmetic powder can then be used with a powder brush to set the lipstick and highlighting. The correct application of loose setting powder will be covered in a future post. Remember to check your lipstick application in various lighting settings as you may need to slightly change the colour of your highlighter. This subtle technique is perfect for looking your best in photographs.

Eye and lip pencils

Eye and lip kohl pencils are essential items to have in your make-up kit. The best kohl pencils are in our opinion made in Europe, especially Germany. Expect to pay more for quality but the pencils will last a long time if properly cared for. You will need a pencil sharpener especially designed for kohl pencils ( a normal pencil sharpener will chew up the tip). The advantage of kohl pencils is that you can achieve different looks with fine or medium lines and blending to achieve a soft or smoky affect. The colour stays in place and is easy to remove. We do not recommend liquid eyeliner for your wedding as it can look harsh in daylight. If an error in application occurs (and this can happen in a blink of an eye), liquid eyeliners are almost impossible to repair without removing completely and starting again. You definitely do not need this stress on your wedding day! Liquid lip liners may be an option but lack the versatility of lip pencils.

Highlighting and shading powders and crèmes

Professional make-up application involves the use of  powders and / or crèmes to highlight features and to minimise features. We are all familiar with the use of blush to emphasise cheek bones however there are other more advanced techniques. For example, the appearance of  a wide nose can be minimised by subtle shading with a powder slightly darker than the foundation colour. A narrow nose can be made to look wider by subtle highlighting with a lighter colour. The darkness many people experience in the corner of their eyes can be minimised with a carefully blended spot of light coloured eyeshadow powder, crème or foundation. You will need to experiment to find the best colours to use for this purpose as this will depend on your complexion. White, ivory or beige may be suitable highlighter colours for fairer complexions while deeper colours will suit those with medium to dark complexions. Highlighters must be lighter than your foundation and shading must be darker. Subtlety is the key so the differentiation in shades should not be too extreme, especially in daylight. There are products specifically designed for highlighting and shading as well as a wide range of eyeshadow colours that can be used for this purpose.

Mascara

Choose a waterproof (not smudge-proof) mascara for your wedding day. This will be an emotional day and you cannot predict the weather. The last thing you need is to have mascara streaming down your face and onto your beautiful clothes. You will need an eye make-up remover specifically designed to remove waterproof mascara and remember to test this prior to the day. If you have black eyelashes a black mascara will be fine. Otherwise choose a medium to dark brown depending on your colouring. The aim as always is to avoid make-up looking harsh in the daylight. Black mascara may work at night or in a night club but it will not be suitable in daylight unless your eyelashes are naturally black. Avoid dramatic mascaras that are thick or contain particles to give the illusion of length. Mascara colours such as blue or green will also look very strange in daylight. Similarly, save false eyelashes for evening events as they will not look natural during the day.

Setting powders for foundation

You will need a loose, fine grade, matte setting powder to match your foundation. Avoid glitter ingredients as this will make your face look shiny in daylight. Remember the camera lens needs a focus point and you do not want this to be a shiny forehead, nose or chin. We are not great fans of mineral powders for this purpose because they are often coarse. Mineral powders are generally intended to replace foundation therefore the coarseness of the powder grains helps adherence to the skin. This makes it difficult to apply the mineral powder lightly over foundation so the skin may appear dull and sallow. Fine grade, loose powders are available in translucent colours which may suit fair complexions. Otherwise, try to match the powder colour exactly or as close as possible to your chosen foundation colour. Try to find a loose powder in a container with a screw on lid. This will make it easier to transport and the lid will be useful for application of the product. You may be lucky enough to find a separate cosmetic container designed for loose powder. A cosmetic compact with matching cake powder will also be useful for touch-ups during the day. Even if you plan to use a long lasting foundation, these powders are still needed to set the product and avoid shine.