Thursday, October 20, 2011

Intimidated by makeup? Part 1

There's always that point where one transitions from adolescence to adulthood and it is during this transition that you may find yourself spotting an interest in something totally new to you; something you never thought you needed to try...until now. Makeup, ladies. Makeup.

Now what is makeup? Cosmetics? Maquillage? As a young teen I used to think girls my age wearing makeup was totally absurd. I used to think they were trying too hard to appear older. Well, some were trying to hard... But! Really, is makeup necessary? Yes and No.

Many out there share different thoughts on makeup and my philosophy is that makeup should be used at one's comfort and pace, to enhance one's natural beauty. Once you're armed with some basic beauty knowledge, the world's your oyster and you will feel comfortable to explore the realm of makeup.

(Image courtesy of Getty Images)

Let's find out if you're intimidated by makeup but ever-so-want to be apart of the beauty community:
1. Do you walk past beauty counters in a department store not knowing what to look at but wanting to stop and take a peek?
2. Do the presence beauty counter sales assistants (SAs) make you feel uneasy whenever you do stop and peek at a counter?
3. Have you ever wanted to buy some sort of makeup item but didn't know what shade/ colour/ texture/ type of product to choose?
4. Do you search for beauty advice online but do not understand the difference between various cosmetics and find it difficult to understand makeup lingo?
5. You've bought some makeup items but don't know which to begin with/ order of application?
6. Are there too many brands out there and you're just overwhelmed by the choices available to you?

If you've said yes to more than 2 of the above, then you're probably trying to find your comfort zone with your new found acquaintance, makeup. No fear, you're not alone and I've been there. We've all been there.

I have some advice I would love to share for those trying to settle into the beauty community. Take my advice lightly with a pinch of salt, ok? I am by no means a beauty expert and I'm still discovering more things beauty-related on a daily basis. Just thought I'd share some experience when I had to face my fears in trying to settle in :D

1. Knowledge is power. Read up on cosmetics online. Take note of a product you see in stores and search for it online e.g. Google "cosmetics foundation" and look at what a number of sites have to offer.
2. Once armed with an arsenal of basic beauty knowledge (knowing face, eye & lip makeup items), look up any brand you may have noticed in stores, online e.g. If you've walked past a Chanel counter, visit their cosmetics site to get a brief understanding of their cosmetics lines and releases.
3. Before thoroughly understanding makeup, take some time to understand basic skincare. After all, flawless skin won't need much or any makeup to cover up ;) The health of your skin will determine what cosmetics you would want/ need to use to enhance your natural beauty.

4. Beauty blogs provide a good source of makeup reviews and tips. Some blogs feature higher-end cosmetics while others review drugstore items. So, take some time to scout drugstores/ pharmacies and beauty counters to know the market prices of cosmetics and find what you want. Be patient during this discovery process :D

5. Learn by observing. There are tons of beauty gurus on YouTube and they provide makeup tutorials that can teach you a thing or two on applying makeup. juicystar07 , RAEview, MichellePhan, BEAUTYQQ Just a few to get you started :)

The basics

1. Face makeup. Also known as "base makeup". Basic items in this category are:

a) face primer- Prepares your skin for concealers and foundations. Acts as a "base" for foundations to last longer + allows for smoother application of foundation.

b) concealer- Conceals imperfections on skin (acne scars, blemishes, dark eye circles, red patches) that cannot be concealed with foundation alone. Available in different shades. Should always be lighter than your foundation shade.

c) foundation- Probably the key item to create an even finish on your face. Usually available in powder-cream and liquid formulations. When choosing a foundation, first determine your skin type and the finish you are looking for. Is your skin oily or dry or a combination of both? Are you looking for a matte or dewy, natural finish? Next, determine your shade (colour). Your shade should match your natural skin tone. Also, determine first if your skin is yellow or pink toned. This part intimidated me the most because finding the perfect foundation shade required the help of a beauty SA at a Chanel counter but I overcame my fear and as a customer, I knew it was my right to demand their assistance :D But really, popping by a beauty counter will save you the hassle of searching and matching a foundation shade to your skin tone. The beauty SAs will do it for you. It's their job.

d) highlighter- Used for contouring your face. Highlights (draws light to) the high points of your face to create more depth and also give the impression of a higher cheekbone/ thinner, higher nose bridge. Can be used on forehead and around eye area to brighten these areas for a fresh look (not dull). If you have naturally good features, you may learn how to use highlighters and darker beige tones/ bronzers to contour your face and further enhance what you're blessed with

e) blusher/ cheek colour- An absolute favourite of mine because it adds that tinge of colour on your cheeks to give some life to your look (healthy glow). Usually available in a variety of shades of pink, red, orange and everything in between. If you're fair skinned, try light pinks and corals. If you're more tan, you can experiment with darker shades of rose and reds.

f) powder- Essential! Helps to "set" your makeup, creating smooth-looking skin and allowing your face makeup to last longer. Also helps to keep oiliness and shine at bay. Usually applied after foundations and before blusher/ cheek colour. Available in loose form or compacts and also different shades depending on the brand.

It is most definitely not compulsory to use all of these items. The purpose of having face makeup is to create natural, flawless skin on your face. If you have good skin to begin with, then don't bother with having too much stuff on your face.

Essentials: A good foundation + powder + blusher/ cheek colour. If imperfections show through your foundation, consider using a concealer that is suitable for your skin tone. If it doesn't bug you, then you may do away with concealer. My routine: basic skincare + sun protection > foundation > powder > blusher > eye makeup (covered in later posts)

Important: set a budget, try to stick to it and never ever be pressured by a SA into buying a product you've never tried/ researched online!
This is all for the first part of my guide to getting you settled in. Remember, you should be discovering and wearing makeup at your own pace and comfort. The way you wear your face is for yourself, entirely up to you and all about making you feel good. Be yourself, find your style and have fun!


  1. Good tips! I was also overwhelmed by everything when I started out, but thank goodness for the internet, and especially YouTube! :)

  2. Wow... like this post a lot!

    I've only started 'learning' about make up this past year and I am already 27! LOL.

    I still have a long way to go though but with YouTube.. anything is possible to learn! :)

  3. Laura: Thanks!

    goingkookies: Thanks, it's never too late to start :)