For thousands of years women have used artificial means to enhance, preserve, and protect their beauty. From the ancient Egyptians who used kohl to highlight their features and moisturizers to combat the effects of desert heat to the Edwardian ladies who brought cosmetics out of the closet, generations of ladies have used make-up.
High ranking Roman women utilized cosmetics with such skill that Platus wrote, “A woman without paint is like food without salt.” The women of the 21st century are no different than their sisters of the past. Any woman can maximize make-up to emphasize her best features and minimize less flattering ones. Learn how with these simple tips.
First, purge your make-up collection, dump all those odds and ends of many colors, the sale items, the outdated products, and start over. Buy the basics and buy only products in shades that flatter your skin tones. The make-up products that should be part of every woman’s beauty regime include:
- A good moisturizer
- Foundation, preferably a cream-based one, and concealer.
- Powder, pressed or loose
- Eye make-up products including shadow in natural shades, black/brown mascara, liner if needed, and a brow shaper.
- Blush in two shades, one lighter, one darker
- Lipstick in a shade that works well with natural skin tone and complexion; also in a shade that matches blush; other necessary products include crystal lip gloss and chapstick.
A good beauty regimen begins with cleanliness. Start
with a clean mirror, clean face, and clean hands. Never use hand soaps or bath bars on sensitive facial skin. Use cleanser products or facial soap. Use good lighting. Apply moisturizer to face and rub into skin with gentle motion. If possible, choose a moisturizer that includes SPF protection from the sun. Naturally pale women may want to opt for a tinted moisturizer that can give additional color to their face.
If a concealer – to hide dark circles under the eyes is necessary, apply first then apply foundation. The best way to apply foundation is to use a slightly damp sponge. Begin with the nose and mouth area then work outward. Be sure to blend foundation well and to blend edges to avoid a mask-like look. Choose a foundation that suits natural skin tones – such as ivory for a fair complexion. Don’t make the mistake of going too dark with foundation.
Groom the eyebrows. Do not tweeze or pull hair. Brush brows into shape and use a brow shaper if necessary. Eye make-up can be understated or obvious. Choose earth tones such as honey, bronze, hunter green, coral, or plum. Use three coordinating shades. Apply the lightest shade from the lash line to brow bone. Follow with a medium tone from lash line to the eyelid crease and finish with the darkest shade along the lash line. This accentuates the eyes with color. Neutral shades and earth tones are optimum choices. Brighter colors can appear harsh or tacky.
To make eyes appear larger, apply a thin coating of white concealer beneath the foundation below the eye or line eyes with a dark liner. Never use artificial eyelashes but remember that a single coat of brown/black mascara can define lashes.
For the most natural, glowing use of blush, select two shades, one lighter than the other. Apply the lighter shade to the cheeks and blend. On the apple of the cheek (the smoothest, roundest part of the cheek) apply the brighter hue and blend. Dust with powder after blending with sponge or fingers. The best shades for blush are soft pinks, peaches, and beige tones rather than bold reds or hot pinks.
The most flattering lip color is one that looks good without any other make-up. Select a favorite color that looks well and use it. Some women choose a deeper shade for evening or formal occasions. Avoid dark lipsticks because these can harshen the appearance more than they enhance. New long-lasting lipsticks provide color that stays. Blot any lipstick with a gentle motion. To define lips, line the lips with liner in the same shade and finish with a clear lip-gloss. Never apply white or very pale lipsticks that are not flattering and avoid very dark shades that draw too much attention to the mouth. Coat lips before applying lipstick with chapstick to make a smooth base for the color.
Women who feel uncertain about what look best suits their facial features should consider having a beauty makeover at a department store or beauty salon. Beauty consultants can also help steer women toward the hues that best suit their natural complexion.
Other make-up musts include remembering to never wear make-up to bed. Wearing make-up overnight can clog skin pores and cause pimples or other blemishes. Have a twice-daily cleansing ritual to keep skin clean and clear.
Remember the often quoted rule of thumb that less make-up is more – or that a more natural look can emphasize and flatter. It’s not necessary to buy all make-up products from one specific cosmetic line. Buy the products that provide the best individual results. If all come from the same line, great and if not, use what works.
Whenever possible, try before you buy. Ask for lipstick and other make-up samples. Check how color blends against your skin and how it appears in various lights.
Accentuate overall beauty. Consider choosing a signature fragrance instead of cluttering the dresser with multiple fragrances. Opt for one that expresses the individual you or choose two, a lighter daytime scent and something more sensual for evening. Basic types of fragrances include fresh, natural, floral; musk; oriental; woodsy; sporty; and fruit and citrus. Select a designer or well-known fragrance such as White Shoulders, Tabu, Eau De Cologne, or Elizabeth Arden, then make it your own.
Be sure to try a fragrance before buying – all fragrances interact with individual body chemistry in different ways.
Choose a flattering hairstyle. Maintain short styles with frequent shape and trim visits to the stylist. Wear comfortable, attractive clothing in colors that bring out the individual best.
All the tired cliches’ about beauty may be true – it may be in the eye of the beholder and it may be no more than skin deep but with the use of make-up, any woman can improve her appearance and gain self-confidence.