“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” – Margaret Wolfe Hungerford; we have all heard that, albeit cliche, very true statement. What is also true is that beauty is measured with one’s own perspective—who more important to know their beauty than oneself? It is important to know the difference between what you know to be beautiful about yourself and what about your beauty others cannot see. For most of my life I did not feel beautiful, or pretty. I compared myself to every girl around me and on social media (it all started with MySpace.) Not until I reached the latter part of my twenties did I realize I was killing my soul trying to impress people who didn’t matter. Time after time I would get my heart broken by rejection and ridicule; I tried it all and did every “beauty” regime under the sun, to no avail. Why did some people still find me unattractive and how could they so easily sniff out my desperation for acceptance? I discovered the answer was because I couldn’t see my own beauty; I spent so many years trying to convince others to see what I could not see either. My mind was so consumed with making other people see me as attractive that I spent no time at all making myself believe it. Even the most well intentioned and honest people would turn me away and that was because, as it turns out, I didn’t like me either. The simple solution was to start “liking myself” the way I wanted other people to—turns out, that would end up being the hardest journey of my life thus far. Suffice to say, the road to this ‘new me’ was perplexing and terrifying… but I have now surpassed my goal. I love who I am because I am a good person who wants to do good for others. With this ‘new me’ I can now share all of the beauty tips and tricks I have discovered along the way that make me feel as beautiful on the outside, as I do on the inside.
Below are the tips and tricks I use pump me up and make me feel incredible every time I walk out of the door. I will try to include beauty tricks for everyone, at any stage in their life!
GOOD FOUNDATION—not the product…the skin!
You must have a clean, exfoliated and prepped skin for any makeup product. Often times we focus all of our attention on the skin “cleaning”, “moisturizing” and “blemish eliminating” products that do not seem to make a whole heap of difference. Why is this? So many of us skip the most important step to obtaining a perfect skin foundation—EXFOLIATION. Without removing the dead skin cells that build up on our face, the topical products we use cease to penetrate the surface layers of the epidermis. There are many products, services and techniques that can be used to properly exfoliate the skin—some are entirely free and can be found in your kitchen cabinet, other venues can cost upwards of a couple thousand dollars. I will include all of my favorite options below.
- Microdermabrasion (Microdermabrasion is my personal favorite treatment—it feels amazing and is the least costly of all the options.)
Some other treatment options that are prescription grade but can be used at home are as follows (some require an RX prescription.)
- Tretinoin – Vitamin A derivative. This product must be prescribed by a physician/dermatologist.
- Chemical peel pads
Using a makeup primer is a vital step in prepping for your foundation (skin and actual makeup foundation.) A key detail, one that missed me for years, is choosing a primer that is copacetic with your foundation. REMEMBER water based primers must go with water based foundations and oil based primers must go with oil based foundations. What did we learn growing up? WATER AND OIL DO NOT MIX!
Foundation is what prepares your face for a flawless canvas, ready to be painted and morphed into a beautiful masterpiece. Choosing a foundation is like choosing a base ingredient in a cake—choose the wrong ingredient and the entire cake falls apart. The foundation you choose must match your current skin tone and undertone. Furthermore, the foundation must agree with your skin type; are you oily, dry or both? Most foundations today present themselves as the product for each skin type they are created for. It is fairly easy to determine your skin type, tone and undertone. I will go over below…
- Take a shower, wash and exfoliate your face with a product that contains natural ingredients. Do not touch your face or apply any product. Wait at least 3 hours… is your skin oily, dry, both or neither?
- Is your skin white, black or brown? It is as simple as that; skin tone is the same thing as skin color.
The skin undertone is a bit more tricky to determine, especially if you fall into the “olive” or “neutral” skin color categories. Below I have listed tricks to help you determine which category you fall into:
- Cool – pink, red or bluish (do not tan easily; skin frequently burns).
- Warm – yellow, peachy or golden (tans easily; rarely burns).
- Neutral – mix of both warm and cool (can tan and burn equally).
- Olive – warm green hues (can tan or burn depending on how much melanin your olive skin has).
Check out this link for a tips and tricks on how to determine your skin tone: HERE
Now that you’ve determined your skin type, color and undertone I will list some of my favorite foundation brands below:
Missha BB cream in ‘Honey Beige’ is my current favorite. It’s technically a ‘BB’ product but has great coverage like an expensive foundation!
CONTOURING + HIGHLIGHT
Contouring is one of my favorite makeup routines and highlighting is the yin to contouring’s yang! From minimal outlining to full on facial modifications—I will cover it all!
- Only use contouring shades with brown based hues (orange is fake looking and compliments NO ONE). My all-time favorite contour stick is the ‘KIKO Sculpting Touch’ below.
- Only use highlight shades that are the same undertone as your own (I go over skin tones later in this piece).
- BLEND… dear God please blend all of it. Contouring and highlighting can go undetected—key word is “can”. Best way to blend out your contouring and highlighting is to apply the contour first and soften the entire face with a beauty blender or brush; remembering to leave a darker hue where the contour is placed. Next you will apply the highlight and repeat by softening the color and blending the highlight & contour together. Please see video below for an amazing step by step tutorial!
4. Highlight high points of your face with a non-shimmer liquid/powder.
- The skin directly above your eyebrow and underneath the eyebrow where the arch begins to the tail end of the eyebrow
- The bridge of your nose
- Outer part of jawline, above where your jaw meets your neck.
- Top of cheek bones
- The top of eyelids is optional
Certain palettes are great for a combination of contour and highlight products. Listed below are some that I have personally tried and find to be very easy to use…
TO POWDER… OR NOT TO POWDER
Depending on your skin type and what kind of foundation you choose, powder can be an essential part in maintaining your masterpiece. For me personally, I apply powder only to my T-ZONE, where I get the most oily. If you have particularly dry skin, avoid powder altogether. As tempting as powder may be to complete your look, know that powder will emphasize older and dryer skin. For setting foundation stick with “baking” powders and translucent powders, apply to: forehead (right above and center of eyebrows), creases of nose, under eyes and chin. Placing powder under the eyes can be tricky as powder tends to fall into the creases. Choose a powder that states it ‘will not set into fine lines’.
Some say I am backwards but I enjoy using bronzer, blush and extra highlight, following my powder application. Bronzer is tricky and just like my cardinal rule with contour colors—only use brown based bronzers. Instead of shopping for “bronzer” products, I lean more towards “tan” powders that are not too much darker than my natural skin. However, for those ladies who have a natural golden hue, or self-tanned golden skin, using a ‘golden’ bronzer is applicable. Apply the bronzer on the contour areas and blend out towards your hairline. Make sure the bronzer is applied lightly and that it blends over most of the face (avoiding underneath the eyes and general center of face).
When makeup is “finished”, is it though? Not without blush. The origins of blush came to be when women and men began wearing makeup and noticed the ‘unhealthy’ and or ‘unnatural’ look of it all. What was missing? The natural shade of color our faces produce when we are young and healthy. Your undertone plays a huge role on what blush you use, so refer to undertone=blush chart below. Take a loosely bristle brush and circle it into the blush—tap off the excess. Apply blush along the crease where your cheek meets your jaw (same place as the contour); blend down to the apple of your cheek. For liquid or mousse textured blushes, take a beauty blender and dab it into the product. Apply it to the crease, then down to the apples of your cheeks.
Check out this link to determine the best color suited for your undertone: undertone=blush.
A LITTLE EXTRA GLAM GOES A LONG WAY
Now extra highlighter is entirely optional but I must insist, I cannot do without. It is done with very minimal application and only on the same areas you would of highlighted previously. Take a loosely bristled brush and dab into a highlighter powder (hard pressed or loose), tap off the excess and apply to the highlighted areas. Below are some of my favorite highlighting products:
If you are unlucky like me you have to create bomb eyebrows everyday. Years ago I had “90’s” eyebrows—no need to elaborate. I even spent more than half a grand getting my eyebrows ‘micro-bladed’ and I still have to add color each day. Anyways, life is unfair and having little to no eyebrows ins’t the end of the world… especially when there is makeup at hand! When creating the ‘perfect’ brows you will want to first take notice of your face shape. There are many different shapes of eyebrows for different shapes of faces. If you already have a natural shape but you would like to simply enhance the color, just follow your natural line. Choose an eyebrow color that is 1 to 2 shades darker than your hair.
Lips are one of my favorite features to accentuate. I lean more towards the ‘natural’ look but on the odd occasion I will spice it up with some dark red hues. Choosing a color is fairly easy, as we already know what looks flattering on us and what definitely does not. Key tips, light color is for the light of the day and darker shades are for the darker night. However, I believe anyone should wear whatever color makes them feel the most confident!
To start, prep the lips with moisturizer and dab off excess moisture. Then apply the lip liner. The liner you choose must either match—or be no more than 1 shade lighter or darker than the lipstick. With the liner, outline the outer edge of your lips—vermilion line—and blend it in by dragging lines towards the inside of your mouth.
My favorite lip liners:
Some of us were blessed with rich color in our lips and some of us weren’t… I certainly was not. I recently had a conversation with my girlfriend about lipstick, it went like this:
Me: “I always wear lipstick.”
Kristen: “Shut-up, are you wearing lipstick right now?”
Me: “Yea, I always wear it because I have hypo-pigmentation on my lips and I look nauseous without lipstick.”
Me: “I know.”
She laughs, I laugh and we go back to drinking wine and cooking pasta.
Eyes are the window to your soul – William Shakespeare. Eye makeup is the conduit to your natural beauty—so treat it as such. My cardinal rule is either: focus on lips, or focus on eye makeup. Eye makeup must be treated as the “enhancer” tools that they are. Artificial eye makeup sticks out like a sore thumb and takes away from your natural beauty. Your eye color should be the only deciding factor on your eyeshadow color choice. Below I have listed the best hues to go with each eye color:
- Green: all golds (light gold, dark gold, rose gold, metallic gold, etc.), wine/burgundy, smokey grays, brown shades.
- Light brown: browns, greens, purples, silvers, golds.
- Dark brown and black: bold colors, blues, violets, chocolates, metallics.
- Blue: grays, purples, greens, oranges, mauves.
- Heterochromia: you don’t need any eye shadow… your eyes win by themselves…but if you must, choose an eyeshadow that works for both eye colors.
Mascara and eyeliner go lightly in the day and heavier at night. For a more natural look, only put eyeliner on the upper lids of your eyes. For close-set eyes, put eyeliner only on the outer corners and flip up the line for a nice wing: tutorial
Below are some of the products I am currently using for my eye makeup.
***Bonus mascara tip***
If your mascara is starting to get ‘dry’ and ‘clumpy’ add a few drops of Visine Clear Eyes Eye Drops to your tube and swish it around. It is a true money/mascara saver!
MAKEUP FINISHING SPRAY
It would be an entire shame to spend so much tedious effort into creating your masterpiece if it didn’t last more than a few hours… so I bring you makeup setters!
The function and directions are quite simple: spray product two feet away from your entire face and viola!
Perfumes are wonderful additives to confidence. With the right amount, a perfume scent can boost your attractiveness exponentially. Something that is not well known is everyone has a natural scent and that scent can either make or break your overall aroma. The perfumes listed below are some of the ones that I ALWAYS get compliments on:
ALL YEAR ROUND TAN
I love the sun, maybe a little too much too. Having a natural sun-given tan has never been my strong suit so I had to start relying on tanning products. Rules for using tanning products…
- Always use brown based products
- Exfoliate before each use!
- Us your time to blend and work with layers. Apply one layer, wait a day and shower, then apply the next layer.
HAIR REPAIR & GROWTH
Anyone who knows me knows I am super self-conscious about my hair. For years I dyed, burned and teased my hair to death. For a good while my hair put up with my bi-polar antics… until it could no longer take the repeated stress. I have been on the road to hair recovery for a year now. Below are some of the products I have used that have DEFINITELY made a difference!
I will continue to add to this page and I welcome any inquisitions and requests! Thank you so much for reading <3.