A few tips and tricks to up your beauty IQ and get the look you want
It’s easy to get stuck in a beauty rut. The same old-lipstick day after day. The same basic nude palette of subtle browns and pinks that help us look presentable without standing out. The ones that society values because they “accentuate our natural beauty.”
Don’t get me wrong. There are times this I want this look. But oftentimes I want more.
Sometimes I want to be classy. Sometimes I want to be daring. Sometimes I want to be sporty.
And sometimes I want a mix of these things.
For example, I just purchased my dream car, a Jeep, and I can’t wait to try out the “sporty” look as I fly down the road with the top off, blaring Journey or The Weekend or whatever I’m into at the moment.
And my guess is you might also want to add a little more versatility and fun in your own makeup routine. You might want to “shake things up” a bit.
And if you don’t want to, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Because small actions of experimentation where your beauty routine is concerned can go a long way.
What are some of the things it can do?
- It can help accentuate your best facial features.
- It can up your confidence and courage.
- It can make you more alluring and mysterious. (People love enigmas and experimenting with different looks can up your mystique.)
Here are some tips and brands to try to mix up your makeup routine and let you reinvent yourself every day.
Before we get started, just know that I am giving you an honest make-up junkie’s opinion without any intention of personal gain. I have no affiliations with these companies or brands. My only reward is to know that you will go out your door and into the world looking like the “you” you want to look like that day.
Play around with foundations.
Foundation is just what it says. It is the background of your artistry, and the look you want starts with which foundation you choose.
- If you want a sporty look that is low key and relaxed, try a tinted moisturizer. There are some great formulas out there that tend to minimize things such as flaws or wrinkles without hiding your own skin.
My favorite tinted moisturizer is Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Eclat’s All in One Glow. This product provides the perfect “no makeup” look, just better. For example, this tinted moisturizer works to diminish subtle flaws while at the same time adding moisture to your skin via its holy grail ingredient of hyaluronic acid, a substance that gives your skin a plumper, younger look.
- If you’re going for a fresh glowing look, try a luminous dewy foundation. This type of foundation is my personal favorite. I love the subtle light they add and the fact that they have more coverage than a tinted moisturizer.
If you don’t mind spending a bit more for high-end make-up, Georgio Armani makes a great foundation of this type. It is called Luminous Silk Foundation. This foundation has won many awards and has literally thousands of positive reviews. It provides moderate coverage and gives your skin a lit from within look.
There is also a great drugstore version of this type of foundation. One of which is L’Oreal Paris Makeup’s Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation. It’s around ten dollars, and to be quite honest, I almost prefer it to Armani’s version.
- If you want full-on pin-up girl glam, you probably want to opt for a matte foundation. These are typically high coverage and mask most of your flaws to give you that perfect blank canvas that you can paint on as you wish.
Estee Lauder makes two great versions of this type of product. One is their Double Wear Stay in Place makeup. It gives long-lasting high coverage and stays on all day. If you want even more high coverage, you can also try their Double Wear Maximum Coverage foundation. It literally covers everything and provides a matte finish as well.
A word of warning though.
Matte is often hard to pull off if you are older, as it tends to accentuate lines and wrinkles. My advice? Use a luminous dewy foundation and top it with a medium coverage concealer to use on flaws or imperfections. Just avoid the under eye and other areas where fine lines accumulate, such as those dreaded frown lines around your mouth.
Experiment with blush and cheek color.
There are a lot of theories on how to make blush work to create certain looks. How you use it really depends on the image you want to portray.
- If you want a no-makeup look, it is best to use a cream blush around the areas where the sun would likely hit your face: your cheekbones, the tip of your nose and chin, and a bit on the forehead. Another tip? Use a subtle color and go easy. You can always layer on more if you like.
Perricone MD has a whole line of what they call “no makeup” makeup. Their “no makeup” line includes foundation, blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, and bronzer. The products are extremely subtle and look like you, just better.
- If you want that fresh dewy look, try a blush with a hint of shimmer. Not glitter mind you. Shimmer. If will reflect light and give you that glowy faced look of health and vitality.
Nars Blush is the perfect product for this look. It literally has a cult following and comes in both powder and liquid form.
- If you want a more mysterious “woman of the night” look, you may want to forego blush. This will allow the center of attention to be on your eyes and lips and give you more drama.
A word on contouring:
If you want full-on glam with chiseled cheekbones, try contouring. Basically this involves adding a slighter darker “shadow” color that follows the bottom of your cheekbones, adding your regular blush color above that, and then accentuating the uppermost part of your cheekbone with a highlighter.
If you google contouring, there are some great tutorials which will show you how to do this well. I recommend experimenting with this technique when you have a little practice time because, if not done correctly, it can look more Indian war paint rather than sculpted goddess.
Try different eye techniques.
You can have so much fun playing around with eyeshadow. There are so many types, creams, gels, and powders.
- If you want the most natural look, try experimenting with cream shadows. Again, use a small amount to start with and build for more color. Also, when you use cream shadow, use an eye primer first. Otherwise, your shadow may accentuate fine lines, go on unevenly, or crease. Use shades of beige or light brown to simply draw a bit more attention to your eyes.
- If you still prefer a mostly natural look but want to add a bit more zest, try using these same natural, nude colors and apply the contour concept described above to your eyes.
The contoured eye is basic: a medium color on the lid, a contour darker color in the crease and a lighter color above the crease.
For example, you could try a light brown on the eyelid and a darker brown in the crease with a beige or light shade on top of the crease. You may wish to add a light brown liner at the base of the lashes to add an extra punch that will get your eyes noticed.
- If you prefer a more dramatic look, you can follow the same technique but with bolder, more intense colors and techniques. For instance, you could add shadow just underneath your lash line for a particularly intoxicating effect. You could also do a smoky eye. In these cases, you probably want to use a black liner instead of a brown one to add more drama.
- Of course, all of these techniques should be followed by mascara. Mascara can be used to subtly enhance the eyes and make them appear bigger and more alluring. You can choose from formulations that add either length, volume, or both. For example, if you want real drama with an almost false lash effect, Too Faced makes the best mascaras. This will have all eyes on your eyes.
Though you can get eyeshadows anywhere from your local drugstore to high-end makeup stores like Ulta and Sephora, I can tell you one thing I’ve found. The shadows that are a bit more costly usually have a better effect. The colors tend to go on richer and smoother than more inexpensive brands.
One brand that is relatively inexpensive and works well is Morphe’s variety of eyeshadow palettes. You can purchase a small palette for fifteen dollars or a larger palette for twenty-five dollars. They have every color imaginable and go on silky smooth and rich.
Some food for thought on how to up your eye game:
- Try different colors. Lots of times the dark intense color you see as garish in the palette looks softer when applied to the eyes.
- Experiment with liners and liner techniques. For a natural look try brown to line your lash line. For drama, opt for black. Although a lot of people say lining the waterline (the area of the inner rim of your eyelid) makes eyes look smaller or can make you look older, try it. It makes me feel ultra-desirable. Others also recommend making your eyes appear larger and brighter by applying white liner on the waterline. And oh yes, give the winged liner or cat’s eye technique a go just to see if you like it.
The bottom line is it all washes off. If you don’t like the look, you don’t have to wear it. Just don’t knock it before you try it; otherwise, how will you know?
Up your lip IQ.
Personally, I don’t spend a lot of money on my lipstick. I am sure that there could be a difference based on cost, but the real power of lipstick lies in its color and texture.
Much the same as foundations, lip formulations come in satin, glossy, and matte.
- For a more natural look, you may prefer a lip stain, gloss, or lipstick in a satin texture. These accentuate your lips while looking more subtle and less over the top.
- For a more sultry look, try a bit more color and top it off with some lip gloss. Think Jennifer Lopez. If you really want to up the drama, a lot of glosses also add a bit of sparkle in the mix.
- For old-style classic glam, matte is usually where it's at. This look involves less shine and provides a more refined aura of sophistication.
More tips on lips:
- As with eyeshadows, experiment, experiment, experiment. What looks too soft or too bold in the tube may be just right when applied.
- If you want to enhance the size of your lips, there are many lipsticks or glosses which claim to have a lip plumping effect.
One cult favorite is Too Faced’s Lip Injection Extreme Lip Plumper. Some people dislike these types of plumpers because they have a tingly effect. However, in most cases, this is not really uncomfortable and goes away after a few minutes. And isn’t a little tingle worth a bit of Angelina Jolie’s seductive trademark?
A good start on your lipstick search is NYX cosmetics. They simply offer it all concerning both color and texture. And the prices are extremely reasonable, cheap even.
The finishing touch: highlighter
I have only recently come to enjoy this makeup product. I never really tried it before, but it really can do wonders for your face.
A little highlighter goes a long way, so use sparingly. After all, you don’t want to resemble an 80’s disco ball.
Try using a bit at the top of your cheekbones, right above your cupid’s bow, and in the inner corners of your eyes.
Highlighter, when used the right way, can go a long way towards making you look and feel like a movie star siren. And that’s something I am always up for.
At the moment, I am in love with Anastasia Beverly Hills Sugar Glow highlighter kit. The colors are all varied and beautiful and will work with almost every skin tone.
One last general makeup tip before I wrap up:
To enhance your makeup know-how, the internet is an invaluable source. Read up on products and their reviews. Try looking at Youtube’s endless number of makeup tutorials. They will give you more brands and more tips to ponder.
The bottom line:
Makeup can be a girl’s best friend. She can bring you up when you're feeling down and make you see sides of yourself you never thought existed.
And she’s not needy.
You can ditch her whenever you want and she’ll still be loyally waiting for you when you decide to visit her again.
But play around with her. You might find she’s an awfully wonderful companion.