Monday, December 10, 2007

Ignore The Experts! How to define your true makeup shade.

I don’t know about the rest of you out there in makeup land, but I have had my share of frustration over the years on what makeup shades should I wear based on the advice of so called experts. Are you a “Cool” or a “Warm”? Why does this matter? Have you ever gone to a cosmetics counter and had a makeover, only to get home and wash it off immediately because there is some alternate version of you staring back in the mirror? Ok, this is extreme, but I think you get my point!

After many years of playing by the rules, I finally broke ranks and discovered they are myths..... Not fact. I no longer follow them and play with many color choices. Besides, I discovered these rules limited my creativity and prevented me from trying some of the most provocative shades in eye colors and blushes I have seen. Yes, some colors shocked me when I applied them to my face and they went straight into the infamous junk drawer, (why do we do this, as though the color will magically work next time we pull it from our makeup graveyard. Why does putting discarded makeup in the garbage can such taboo? Anyone?) Back to my point; However, some shades that I wasn’t sure about when they beckoned to me from the shelf, stunned me at how they enhanced my features. I had no idea what I had been missing.

Many say check the veins in your wrist to suggest whether you are a warm or cool when making your makeup choices. Personally, some days my veins are green and other days they are blue. So which am I? This theory does not hold water for me. I have yellow undertone, but with some pink in my face regardless of the vein colors. Sometimes I appear a bit beige. What time of year is it? My yellow undertone is replaced with a reddish tanned skin instead of a golden brown during summer months. Why is that? Are you confused yet? Well, as you will see it is actually not as complicated as the experts would make it appear.

Since all skin has some yellow in it due to melanin, combined with several other shades within skins’ pigment, it is wise to use makeup that compliments the undertone which is typically yellow, and soften the overtones. A perfect foundation shade will possess the proper undertone with hints of several overtones to blend well with the shades of natural skin. Please don’t ever buy a totally pink shade of foundation unless you like to appear older and look like you are wearing a pasty mask. If this is your skin tone, a foundation with yellow undertone with some pink in it will always compliment your face and make you appear more natural and younger looking. The yellow undertone will pull through, while the other complex blends of color will tie in with your overtones, giving you flawless skin. Your skin is simply not all one shade. This is why mineral makeup is so much nicer than liquid foundations since it mirrors your skin instead of masking it.

The best place to check your natural skin tone: Look at the skin on your neck and follow this down into the chest and shoulder area, then compare it to the skin on the inside of the upper arm where the sun rarely hits. What overall tone do you see? The reason why the face is not a good location to check for proper skin tones is due to sun damage, aging, rosacea, acne, along with other skin problems which can tend to plague our delicate faces and mask its true undertone, creating confusion by what you see in the mirror.

According to experts, watch out for shimmer shades and bright lipstick: Are you a lady of mature years like myself? How many times have you heard "don’t wear shimmer shades on your face, it will make you look older?" Or "don’t wear dark or bright lipstick it will make your lips appear thinner!" False....False....False! Let us address these one at a time.

As women mature we lose pigment from our skin, so we actually benefit from touches of shimmer here and there to enhance and brighten our features. Keep shading soft and natural and based on your depth of skin tone, yet experiment with all different shades of blush and contouring bronzers. I have discovered many blush shades that look beautiful on many different skin tones despite the rules, including myself. So experiment and remember you control the amount you apply. It is more about how much color rather than what color. Your cheeks will look refreshed and glowing giving you a younger appearance with a soft blush color that possesses a hint of shimmer. (No sparkle, please).

Darker to medium matte eye colors in beiges and browns were my main focus when I was younger and they looked great. But as I got older, when I looked in the mirror I began wondering why I looked so tired and old all of a sudden. I tried using lighter matte shades, but that didn’t work. Hmmm....what was it? I stumbled on the secret when I found a beautiful mauve eye shadow, yet it was a shimmer. Ignoring the rule, I went strictly for the color that I adored. The discovery of using a softer shimmer mauve shade made an incredible transformation. It took 10 years off my appearance and the blue in my eyes was more intense. My eyes were brighter, looked well rested and the light refracting properties of minerals softened my fine lines removing that old tired expression. Plus trying this new shade in the pink color family was a new experience and I couldn’t believe I had never strayed from my boring colors of browns and beiges of 20+ years. The door swung wide as I entered into experimentation heaven by trying mauves, light pinks, grays, beiges, soft browns, soft greens, soft blues, maybe some shades of eggplant with ivory. Notice I emphasize “soft” in these shades. Try new shades out for yourself and see how this will give your eyes such a youthful appearance as long as you stay away from intense colors or soften out by blending well. No hard lines!

Now for those who are experiencing their lips beginning to thin and also losing their natural pigment, this is the best advice. Dark or bright lipstick won’t make the lips appear thinner, but will call direct attention to them, emphasizing the loss of fullness you may have once had. Also matte lipsticks will give a flat look and really won’t offer a benefit except for adding pigment to the mouth. Softer lighter shades with a hint of shimmer with perhaps an overlay of a lip gloss will give the appearance of a lovely fuller mouth. Never draw your lip liner beyond your lip line. This will appear artificial and is easily noticed by anyone you carry on a conversation with. Remember the “I Love Lucy” era? She was a prime example as were so many actresses from this time. This is also old school of makeup artistry, and was done for thin lipped women since it was before the day of collagen injections. Makeup should be about enhancing our natural beauty, not recreating it.

The Ideal Look: Tie your soft lip color in with your blush if you can and the results are amazing at giving a more youthful appearance. If you can bring the eyes along for the ride, then you truly have achieved perfection. But combining the lip shade to compliment the blush shade is ideal since we are now placing pigment back in those areas nature once gave us. They don’t have to be an exact match just in the same color palette for the optimum natural effect. Eye lids are not naturally pigmented so play your eyes up or down to achieve the look you desire. This is an example of of all colors in the same palette and her skin looks flawless, youthful and purely natural, instead of overly made up. An ideal look for mature women.

Always experiment and go with what you feel looks best on your own face. You are the one who ultimately sets the rules, not the so called experts.
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