Sunday, July 20, 2014

My Basics on makeup

Two options for starters' kit: an inexpensive one (left) and more high end products (right)

For all of you who are just starting to get interested in makeup, here are a few basic things I've learned over the years. All of them come for personal experience

What do I need?

When you're starting to use makeup, you might be clueless as to what you need.  I know it might seem scary to buy things you've never used before and you might think that it's too much, and you might be right, but there's no reason not to try. Here's my basic shopping list:

  • Mascara: a must. When you wear mascara, your eyes seem more awake and it really completes your look. You can even skip eyeshadow and your eyes will still look great, just with mascara. There are many choices, and that it's up to you. As for me, I prefer waterproof mascara, because with the humidity down here, it always smears and I end up looking like a green-eyed racoon. However, it's harder to remove, so that's your choice. Also, there are many wands that can give you different effects. Some prefer more natural looking eyelashes and others prefer the false eyelashes look. Mascara is the number one item in this list, because to me, once you put it on, you look instantly better and more polished.  
  • Foundation: start with a tinted moisturiser or a BB or CC cream. They cover a lot less than regular foundation, but they enhance all your best features. For beginners, I think it's way better than foundation, while you get used to wearing makeup. It's easier to apply too, as you'd not be covering, but rather hydrating your skin with a little extra. However, there are many foundation formulas. Don't be scared to explore, as there are foundations for every skin color, every skin type, every price. When choosing a foundation or a BB cream, is important that you choose the right shade, preferably in natural light and match it, when possible, to your face or neck. The right shade is the one that disappears and blends so perfectly, you can't even see it. If you end up buying a shade too dark or too light for you, or of you can't find the right match, you can always mix two different shades to get a more suitable color. 
  • Powder: It can be pressed or loose, they both look great in my opinion. It depends more on the powder itself that the texture. The appropriate shade is also important in this case, although it's  less noticeable than the foundation. At first it would be best to buy translucent powder, the safest choice. In my opinion loose powder looks more natural and it doesn't look cakey, but it can be pretty messy when you want to carry it around. As for application I've seen big brushes, small brushes, but I guess it depends on the territory you want to cover. For an all-over-your-face powder, big brush and for small, more accurate approach, use a small brush. It's also important to start applying little by little, and build it up as needed.
  • Blush: What you're looking for is a healthy flush, like when you work out. Although traditionally blushes are pink, there is a whole range of pinky, peachy or golden shades you could try. Personally, and because my skin is rather tanned, I prefer a more peachy glow, a coral hue or a strong pink. Try to search a color that would look natural on you.  Less is more, and your best is always your more natural self, in my opinion at least. As for the texture, if your skin is rather oily, a powder blush might be best for you, and if your skin is on the dry side, you can go for cream blush. At least, traditionally speaking. With my combination skin, I've tried cream blush and loved it, only to have to disappear 30 minutes after I've applied it. Sometimes I still use it, because it looks really natural, so take your pick. 
  • Eyeshadow: My favorite makeup category! I love playing with eyeshadow and eye makeup in general. If you're a makeup newbie, go for a neutral palette, maybe with a twist, to give you something extra and include a color for your eyebrows (like the ones in the photo: The Natural Shadow Palette by NYX (left) or The Smashbox Full Exposure Palette (right)). Most of the neutral palettes come with strong dark colors that you can play with. Try applying them in the crease, blending them very well and using them with caution. When it comes to eyeshadow, it's OK to use colors and you don't have to limit yourself to certain colors. However, the neutral palette is a safe bet of a range of colors that you can wear everyday. I would  advise you not to wear glitter or too much shimmer to go to work, but rather something neutral and matte. 
  • Eyeliner: You might be wary of getting too carried away with it and end up with something too done for a work day. I was too! But after trying a lot, I've found out that a very thin line very close to the lash line can make you look great, and it's an awesome complement to mascara. There are gel liners, liquid liners, kohl pencils... So many choices, so take your pick and little by little you'll see! I love gel eyeliners, because they are so creamy, they just move so nicely through your eyelid and, unlike the liquid eyeliners, you don't have to wait for them to dry, and it requires a lot less skills. If you're a beginner, you might want to try out pencils first. They're easier to apply, and you don't need a perfect line, you can smudge it at the end with a cotton swab and it will still look polished. If you want to try out liquid eyeliner, don't pull your eyelids on the side (at least, not too hard) and attempt to do one straight line. It might be a better idea to draw small lines along the lash line, like dashes and then completing the line.
  • Lips: use, again something natural, either lipstick, tinted lip balm or lip gloss (my favorite). When you buy them, make sure to at least try it in your hand, as shades can look different in the package and you might be misled. I always wear lip balm first, as you should always wear something nurturing and hydrating before applying anything else, even if it is petroleum jelly. In my opinion, lipstick might look too harsh, if it's the wrong color, but out of all the makeup products, it's the easiest one to remove, without messing up the rest of your makeup. So, give it a try! See what looks good on you, mix up two colors if you think one might be too strong. Until you feel more comfortable, buy colors similar to your lips, with a little something extra, a little sparkle or hydration. As for lip glosses, as they give a softer color but they make your lips, well glossy, and it might not be what you want, and some people don't like it as you hair night stick to it. However, it's my favorite finish and colors are not nearly as strong as they seem. 

Now I have the products, now what?

Well, the application involves a lot of discovery, and you might even like studying your face. I love the time I spend putting on my makeup, mostly because is a time for me. Those 10 minutes in the morning are a great way to start the day for me. 

If you want to see videos with great tips and wonderful ideas to put your makeup on, I highly recommend these Youtube channels:

Among many, many others. Don't be afraid if you think it's too much. Just take one tip or two from them, and add it to your routine. I'll be posting some more on application of these items later on and making some more recommendations.

Well I hope this was helpful! 
Leave questions, suggestions and comments below


Simply Aphrodite

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Drugstore Makeup vs. High-End makeup

As part of my makeup for newbies series, I've been thinking about cost vs. value and when it is a good idea to splurge on something.  So:

 Should I spend a fortune when buying these items?

No, obviously not. Makeup is found in all price ranges and in the drugstore you can also buy fantastic  items. Some of my favorite drugstore brands are Revlon and Maybelline, but you can also check in your nearest drugstore. What I don't like about drugstore products, at least where I live, is that you can't always have samples and can't always get the right shade. Other than that, you can find a lot of affordable great things in the drugstore. That doesn't mean that some luxury items are not worth it or that you should only get makeup at your drugstore. Over the years, I've treated myself to some pricey items, some of them worth it, some of them not so much, not because they're bad, but because you can find items of great quality for a lot less, and to me, that's not worth the high price.

Maybe you've heard that it depends on the product you're buying, it might be a good investment or simply something you want to splurge on. Either way, it might be worth it, if it makes you feel so beautiful and happy that when you wear it, your face lights up. That is...well, priceless, and the ultimate beauty item. (Because you look your best when you're happy). This applies to clothes, or a fragrance or jewellery...But in the more practical sense I've found a few guidelines of things you should invest and  things you shouldn't. So here's my take on them:

Skin care

Yes and no.

Face wash and makeup remover: it doesn't have to be so fancy, especially when you can find great face washes at the drugstore that are fantastic (I love Cetaphil products). I've also read that since the product stays for such little time in your skin, you would be wasting your money. I think that might be true. You should always find something that doesn't dry your up too much and that doesn't irritate you. I used to use the Clinique Liquiq Facial Soap, and I loved it, I still do, but now I've tried some other products and I think there are some great soaps in our drugstore without having to break the bank. The same applies to face toner. Regardless of the brand or price point, find something that works for you, that does good to your skin. Also, you might want to consider natural oils to remove your makeup, like olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil... they dissolve the makeup right away and they might not irritate your skin as some other products.

Moisturizer? Well, that's something worth splurging. Why? because it stays with you all day or all night, and it can make a difference. Specially serums. Up to a few months ago, I wouldn't even look at them, thinking they were only for ladies of a certain age, but now, after informing myself, I've realized that they work on everybody's skin. Serums contain highly concentrated ingredients, that's why they are so pricey. As for moisturizer, if you have a specific issue, it might be worth to buy something that might help you, even if it is more expensive.

Body lotion: I know that this might contradict what I said about lotions earlier, but I don't think you should spend a lot on body lotion. All you need is something nourishing and hydrating. I don't know you, but I go through the lotion bottle very quickly, and I try not to spend too much in it. Every now and then I use something more luxurious like  L'Occitane's Almond Milk Concentrate, just to give myself a little boost when I'm feeling down, or if a special occasion presents itself.

Never forget sunscreen!! I'll do another post on day and night beauty routine, but my one product for the day, regardless of the weather is sunscreen.


Primers: I have used several primers and although I prefer more high end brands, drugstore items like the  Revlon Photoready™ Perfecting Primer is not far behind. Several other brands have amazing primers. My personal favourite: Smashbox's Photo Finish Foundation Primer Pore Minimizing. It's great, it leaves skin smooth and ready for foundation. I know a lot of you prefer to skip this step and that's alright. I use it because my skin is on the oily side and primer helps with the situation. You can always explore and see for yourself if it is worth it or not. 

Foundation: That's an item worth investing some money. I'm sure you've noticed that even in drugstore makeup, foundation is the most pricey item. Again in the drugstore you'll find very good items, but I have to say I prefer more luxurious brands. Make sure to get the right shade, one that disappear in the skin (in your face not your wrist). Texture-wise, in my experience, some of the drugstore items can be chalky and thick, and some of them might even smell like...paint! (more on that later). I bought my Lancôme Foundation Teint Idole Ultra 24H a few years ago and it's one of those items that I kept repurchasing; it quickly became one of my all time favourite items. This foundation has never disappointed me and for me, that's worth my money. 

Blush and powder: Again it depends on the product. In my opinion it would have to be something really special for me to invest my money on. Usually Maybelline and other drugstore products are great and make you look amazing! I love the Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush™ and the  Revlon Photoready™ Powder, just to name a couple. Of course high end brands also have fantastic products.

Eye Shadow: I've read in a few places that people think it's something you shouldn't spend tat much money on. I completely disagree. For many years I bought cheap drugstore makeup and used it, thinking it was the same as high end brands. Dead wrong! Once I was able to afford more expensive brands like MAC, Smashbox or Clinique, I realized what I had been missing. For starters, you don't need to pick up that much product for you to see it in your eyelids, which keeps happening to me with eyeshadows like the Revlon Customeyes™ Shadow + Liner. Also, the expensive brands last longer. Once I went to a wedding and after the rain my eyeshadow was still in place. To me, they are really worth it. I love putting makeup in my eyes more than my lips, and in my opinion, there's no contest, buy high end brands.

Lipstick, lip gloss: I'm not too picky when it comes to any of these items. I'm rather self conscious about wearing too much lipstick, so I would go with tinted lip balm and that's it. I've used high end brands and I don't see much of a difference with drugstore dupes, and it's not something I would invest in, except if it is an exceptional shade. That said, there are some, lip glosses in particular, with a very bad taste. It's like solvent or something. It's just wrong!

What should I do when I decide to buy something pricey?

If you're thinking about investing in something expensive, I have to say I have never been disappointed by a pricey item, mostly by following a few rules:

-Do your research. Whenever I start hearing about a new product, I always make sure it will be worth it. There are thousands of makeup bloggers like myself, who review the latest products out there for you. So, make sure you gather several opinions before making a choice. 

-Try it on. It's the most important part, as you're always seeing all kinds of commercials that advertise the next best thing for you skin, but everyone is different and your skin might react in a different  way. When you go to department stores or other makeup stores, they might apply it on you or also give you a free sample. If you are wary about asking, don't be, that's their job. To help you. So, go over there and say you want to try that Chanel Foundation. But don't buy it yet... Leave it on for a while. Go home. Look at yourself in different mirrors, with different lights and see how much it lasts, and if after a few hours you still like it. 

- Read the label. I know it sounds obvious, but it could happen. A few months ago, in an airport in Houston, I was so excited about my favorite Clinique moisturizer being on sale that I didn't realise that  it was the lotion for dry and very dry skin, and my skin is combination!. So, double check before paying for the correct product. I know getting your money back might not be a problem, but still, isn't it better to check well before buying?

- Enjoy it! For a few years and even still now, I sometimes put too much value into some of the most expensive products I use, and I save them for special occasions. I know they're expensive, but they are meant to be used. Eventually,  they all go bad and then, you would have wasted your money. So use them and enjoy them! You deserve it!

For now that's it! I hope you like it. Share it, spread the word!!