What this post is about – knowing how and where to start if you are a beauty virgin and want to understand what to buy, what to do with it and how to make the most of it.
I often get a lot of questions from beauty novices asking me to recommend what to buy, how to use it, or a general ‘how do I look like me, but better?’ A blog post is the best place to address some common mind bogglers such as ‘how do I choose the right lipstick for my skin tone?’ or ‘how do I wear eye shadow the right way?’.
However, instead of answering questions, this post is aimed at giving you the information you need to learn the art of looking naturally beautiful. The secret is in the basics. So, let’s charge ahead.
Understanding your skin type
It can be exhausting and overwhelming to be in your own skin, literally and otherwise. The frustration with constantly trying new products and punishing your skin has to end; learn to understand your skin type and begin the love affair of a lifetime.
Your skin can either be oily, dry, combination (oily T-zone and dry in other parts) or moody. It may also change with time, age, weather, childbirth, hormones, humidity etc. Whenever you buy a new product, ensure that it suits your skin type – consider if your skin is sensitive, prone to redness, acne, sun irritation, or allergies.
For example, oily-skinned girls should wear gel-based moisturizers, matt foundations and setting powders, whereas dry-skinned girls need all the hydration they can imbibe in the form of thick, rich creams, hydrating primers (vs silicone-based), and dewy foundations.
To read more about my skin care routine, click here.
Understanding your skin tone
We are all so uniquely beautiful because no two women have the same skin. It is important to understand what undertones (warm or cool) your skin has. If you have blue veins you are cool-toned; if you have green veins, you are warm-toned. And that is just the tip of the iceberg!
For example, I am brown-skinned with cool undertones. This means that a blue-toned (or cool-toned) lipstick such as M.A.C Flat out Fabulous (a bright blue-toned plum) flatters my skin tone – makes it look brighter, fresher and lighter, and makes my teeth seem whiter. However, a colour such as M.A.C Runway Hit (a warm, light coral nude) completely washes me out – makes me look pale, dulls my complexion and makes my teeth look yellow.
What colours work for you
Colour analysis is important to understand what colours are best suited to your skin undertones, your eyes and your hair. Are u a Winter, Summer, Fall or a Spring? If this is foreign mumbo-jumbo to you, then look no further – the amazingly talented Instagrammer and You Tuber Mimi Ikonn describes the nitty grittys of colour analysis in her You Tube videos. Never wear a wrong colour or a wrong shade of lipstick ever again! She’s got you sorted!
Research + Test before you buy
I cannot emphasize the value of research enough before investing in an expensive product. Cosmetics are heavy on the pocket (also because they are heavily taxed when they are imported to India), come in small quantities and will often need repurchasing.
As a beauty blogger, I too read reviews and swatch products before I purchase them (unless they are available for online purchase only, in which case I do adequate research). So if you are a novice, I highly recommend trying stuff out, requesting for samples or reading online reviews and speaking to friends before you invest. The first 3 pointers from this post can help you make better choices.
It is important to note here that you ought to understand a blogger’s skin type, skin tone and style to see if it suits yours before you trust their judgement for reviews.
Watch a lot of You Tube videos
Use the power of social media to your advantage. Follow beauty YouTubers, Instagrammers and bloggers for the scoop whoop on new launches, limited editions, and latest trends. Watch makeup and beauty tutorials, seasonal must-haves, trending makeup bag favourites, tips for investing in cult classics, or participate in giveaways to win free goodies.
My YouTube beauty gurus are Kathleen Lights, Jaclyn Hill, Amelia Liana and Esteé Lalonde.
Stay on top of things by subscribing to beauty bloggers who send newsletters to their subscribers with everyday beauty tips and tricks, hair and outfit inspiration or a low down on the presumptive trends for the following fashion season. Whether it is ombré lips, colour correction, mermaid eyes or face baking – go out there and explore; there is so much to learn from our own cult of beauty fanatics!
Would you believe me if I said that I didn’t know how to wear eye shadow on my wedding day? I took some pink blush, dabbed it on my eyes with my finger tips and that was it! So it was a good thing that I had a beautiful saree to compensate for the amateur makeup skills (and a talented make up artist for the reception who came to my rescue –read more about it here!).
A mirror, a set of brushes and some patience is all you need to master makeup. Don’t be afraid to experiment, try a new beauty trend or a classic make up look. If ever in doubt, watch Lisa Eldridge on YouTube. Her dreamy, classic makeup tutorials are so much fun to watch and always fill me with awe.
The beauty junkie’s dilemma
Don’t hoard (saying this mostly to myself). Be minimalistic – buy only one product from each makeup category, one that sufficiently suits your needs. Even as I type, I know this can be a daunting task. However, I am specifically addressing beauty novices with this suggestion. Too much stuff will lead to confusion, and you will never know if something new gives you an unpleasant skin reaction. Try one new product at a time on your face, once you know that it works for you, move on to the next.
I will be doing a series of posts dedicated to the best drugstore products to buy and the best brands to invest in for each category of makeup. I want to do adequate research and testing before I recommend products to my readers, and want to ensure that at least 70% of the products I speak about are easily available in India. But, the plan is to have it up and going in the next few weeks. Watch this space.
Classic is safer than trendy
If you are just starting off with makeup, keep it basic and classic. Let the professionals do the green smokey eye, the purple blusher, the holographic highlighter or the navy lip. Classic brown/sunset/burgundy smokey eyes and nude lips, or a simple brown/taupe/mauve eye shadow look with bright lips, with a little bit of variation every now and then, will still leave you ample space for experimentation and skill development. Remember, classy never goes out of style. It’s safe and will always get you the compliments.
Here is a basic mauve-look tutorial from Kathleen Lights. I do a similar look on many occasions and this is my absolute go-to routine.
Investing in base makeup
Invest in high quality primer, foundation and concealer. If you begin with a flawless canvas, you could go rogue with the painting and still create a masterpiece.
I hope that these simple pointers will help you get on with your everyday beauty needs. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself staring at a computer screen, one year from now, writing a post about how you mastered the art of looking naturally gorgeous! Until next time, stay stunning, unbelievable, bewildering and outrageous! XOXO