Makeup 101: Skincare essentials

OK, so this isn’t about make-up: It’s about the make-up canvas, your skin.

Obviously, make-up is a lot more fun when you don’t have to camouflage dark circles, blemishes, etc. So, good skincare is really important! And, if you’re like me and about to give up make-up, good skin will be all you have! πŸ™‚Β 

So, in the tradition of the last two posts, here’s what you need (basically):

  1. Cleanser for your skin type. I tend to use two during the year: a more stringent one during the summer, and a creamier one the rest of the year. Right now I am loving Loreal’s 360 cleansers, which come in different formulas. (I’m using the cream one) This is a lot of fun, plus you get gentle exfoliation, which is always good!
  2. A toner/astringent. Now, if you’re out of college, unless you have super-oily skin, you don’t need astringent. Your skin has calmed down its oil production enough. If you still want something to tighten and tone, use a toner like Lancome’s or Bliss. Clinique also has a very good skin care line.
  3. Eye make-up remover. A must! And it must be oil-free, so that if you are using it to clean up mistakes, you can re-apply over it. Two of my favorites are Target’s house brand, and Lancome’s (you get a sample of Lancome’s with almost every Lancome bonus, it seems like…).
  4. Moisturizer. MOISTURIZE. Please. πŸ™‚ It must have at least an SPF 15 in it. (You must wear sunscreen! All year!) I like Olay for both AM and PM formulations. Night cream, I think, is an add-on as soon as you’re out of college. It helps! I have used fancy moisturizer, and drugstore moisturizer, and really, Olay is my favorite. For the night I use the regenerist night cream, which is a lovely lavender color and really works!
  5. Eye cream (optional) As you get older, like mid-twenties to early 30s, you might want to think about it. If you have really dry skin, use it. If you have normal skin, consider it. (Again, Olay has many nice ones.)
  6. Exfoliator: I use a scrub once a week. My favorite is this one from origins. I usually follow it up with
  7. A mask, for my skin type. Masks are fun! Origins also has some excellent ones.Β 
  8. And, to have on hand: A blemish treatment (use as needed.) This is my absolute favorite.

As always, if anything makes your skin feel tight, or gives you an unpleasant sensation, wash it off! Don’t use it! If you want to try an expensive product, see if you can get samples first, to see how your skin reacts to the product.

Be sure to wash your face every night using the above products in the above order. In the AM, I usually just wash my face and moisturize. If you are very oily you might have to rewash, or just use toner/astringent, to freshen up in the morning.

Other suggestions:

  1. Drink lots of water!
  2. DO NOT SMOKE. If you do, stop. If you don’t, never, ever start. It is a gross habit anyway.
  3. Get enough sleep (yeah, this is hard for me, too).

Makeup 101: Essential makeup

Yesterday, we covered essential brushes, and how to clean them. Today: essential makeup, and how to wear it.

Every woman—every woman—needs at least this much makeup in her arsenal. And she needs to know how to apply it to her advantage. I don’t care if you only wear makeup to weddings, or if (like me ) you wear it, in varying degrees, every day (although I don’t wear it to the beach, I think that’s pointless, it’s coming right off when I body surf!). Everyone will have events where they want to look polished and pretty. This is the stuff you’ll need to start.

And it’s a good idea to experiment before the Big Day. If, like me, you got your start in parochial school where make-up was not allowed, you learned to experiment subtlely. This has served you well. πŸ™‚ If, however, you did not wear make up in high school, or college, or grad school, and now are faced with the prospect of wanting to/having to because of jobs/big events in your life, this is a good place to start.

So, here we go:

1) Obviously, a bag to keep it all in. I like some of these. Or the freebies that come with department store beauty gifts. πŸ™‚

2) Concealer. Even if you have a blemish-free face, it’s always good to put some under the eyes to lighten the area. Applying concealer for blemishes is a different animal than applying it to lighten dark circles. For the latter, you want a shade lighter than your skin tone. For the former, you want one that matches your skin tone. If you’re pale like me, the same shade is doing double-duty. It’s nice that way, being pale. :)(And, you’ll also want some makeup sponges—available at any CVS/Walgreens/Target/Kroger—for blending. Fingers can get messy!)

3) blush/bronzer. Whatever you choose, something that adds color. There are as many formulaes as there have been popes, so take your pick. Basic guideline: dry skin—> creamier blush. Oily skin—>powder blush. Summer—> powder blush. Winter—>creamier blush. Normal skin—> whatever the heck you want. Oh, and oilier skin—> go more matte, nothing really sparkly. Applying cream and powder blush also requires different techniques. We’ll hit those in a future post. For now, just get some (And don’t forget: TOSS THE BRUSH IN THE PACKAGE!)

4) basic eyeshadow: in a neutral shade. matte or shimmer, your call.

5) Mascara. Really, in desperate times, you only need concealer and mascara. Mascara, unless you have deeeep dark lashes, is a must-have. And really, everyone should have it, it is God’s Gift to Women! It is so fun! And it is one of the first things I began to play with. My favorite is any Lancome mascara (with Cover Girl being my drugstore pick). Black works on almost everyone, unless you’re a redhead, then you probably want black/brown or brown. DO NOT get mascara in weird, funky colors, unless you are in a line of work that requires them, and in which case, you probably are wearing much more makeup than the basic list here. πŸ™‚

6) lip balm/lip gloss/lipstick: really, something that soothes and/or colors your lips. I love lipstick but I really only remember to put it on when I’m onstage, on a date, going to church, or going out to the theater/ballet/symphony/nice meal. Normally I just forget. I am a lip balm girl all the way, though. Especially in winter and summer, have a lip balm with SPF handy at all times!

7) Powder—pressed, to start. GOOD powder can be found at Bobbi Brown (pale yellow!) and Lancome, but drugstore brands are also perfectly serviceable. DO NOT EVER by “translucent” powder. It’s not translucent, it makes you look funny!