Makeup application has become a skillset as tactical as carpentry, well maybe not that hard, but it's definitely not easy if you are a novice. So, you've looked at hundreds of hours of Youtube videos, you're subbed to all the makeup hack pages on Instagram, you even made sure to get professionally color matched at Sephora and grab the exact items from the videos, but your makeup still looks horrible... You may shrug it off as you lacking skill or using the wrong techniques, but it actually may not be your fault. Here are some of the things I learned through trial and error while finding my perfect makeup collection.
- You have to find products that work for YOU.
Just because you have the same skin type as someone doesn't mean you have the same skin. Also, just because a product is made for oily skin doesn't mean it will work on your oily skin. Even more shocking, just because a product is matte, doesn't mean it can't work flawless on dry skin. By all means, use intended labels as a guideline, but trial and error is the only true way to find out if a product will work for you. P.S. expensive doesn't necessarily mean good and cheap doesn't necessarily mean bad.
- It takes waaaaay longer to get it right than it seems.
I feel like I'm pretty comfortable with my personal makeup look, a pretty basic full face. It still takes me at least an hour to do. If I'm trying to be fancy, I'm looking at about 2 hour. Take your time. When you allow yourself to concentrate on what you're doing, you'll be able to get a more even application. When you take your time, you notice the patterns that give you the best results. Pros who do a full glam beat everyday have built up muscle memory. With familiar products, they can knock out their full face as simple as tying shoes. It takes practice and patience to get to that level, so for now just plan accordingly.
- You may not use the same steps as others
I'm not talking about the infamous debate of eyes first or foundation first. I'm talking about the actual type of products you use from start to finish. Most how to lists will tell you to prime before foundation or eyeshadow, set after with powder or use concealer to highlight. You may skip out on some of those products. I personally found that my foundation looks better without a primer and I don't have problems with it moving or being uneven throughout the day. I do like primers on days I don't wear foundation, but under my foundation is a no for me. I love them separately but not together. You may find that some steps are better left out of your makeup routine.
- All makeup products don't work together
Makeup is nothing like cooking. If you're baking a cake, it doesn't matter what brands of products you use, the cake will still come out the oven the same. That is completely false when speaking of a beat face. Even though it's a "primer" it doesn't mean it will play nicely with your foundation choice. The same can be said about makeup and tools used to apply them. Some eyeshadows don't work well on a brush, they work better with a finger. There are even foundations that work better with a brush than a sponge. Of course all of these examples run vice versa, so the best rule of thumb is to test out any new product you buy before you need them to perform.
- All makeup tools don't perform the same
Just because they look identical doesn't mean they will give you the same results. As I've stated in previous blogs, I'm cheap. When I first started getting into makeup, I had the same notion as most people starting out. Expensive makeup is better than cheaper makeup and a makeup brush is a makeup brush, you're just paying for the name. WRONG. On both accords too. You already know you have to find what works for you, but makeup tools need some trial and error too. Not all sponges are the same, just as brushes come in a plethora of styles. The density and textures of both can drastically influence how your products apply, even when they look identical. Some sponges soak up way too much product while a dupe can make you blotchy because they don't absorb enough. Brushes aren't very different. One can pick up the perfect amount of any color and blend beautifully, while it's dupe doesn't even realize it's a makeup brush.
- Makeup can look different after it settles
Most people have heard of oxidation with foundations, but that's not the only way makeup can change from the initial application. Think about a liquid matte lipstick. When it goes on out the tube, it's wet and far from matte. As time goes by and it dries down, it transforms into a budge proof lip color. For example, even though your face was airbrushed when you walked out the bathroom at home, when you get to your destination your face looks different, in a weird way. Foundations and concealers can be notorious for transforming on the skin. As the day goes on, your skin's natural oils will mix with the products on your face. How the products react can be a slight as a dewy glow, discoloration or separating in certain areas, or a completely caked and creased up mess. Only time will tell.
- You have to find techniques that work for YOUR features
I think the first major error I used to make when I started doing my makeup, was not following tutorials of people with similar features. Obviously the foundation will vary, but it's easy to forget that colors translate differently based on what color base you start with (skin tone, primers, concealers etc). In the beginning stages, mimicry is going to be your best friend as far as finding products, and how to apply your makeup, but you have to be mindful that you have to find your own color pallets. A major example of how techniques change based on features is eye shape. Makeup on hooded eye vs large lid space are two different creatures. The same is true for the location of contour and blush. Based on your bone structure, you'll need to find the best location to apply your products for the best payoff.
- Makeup looks like makeup in person
No, I don't mean so caked up you could leave a stamp on a pillow. What I mean is, to the eye, you will usually be able to tell someone has makeup on. There will be texture, creases, and slight imperfections no matter how perfect your application is, unless your skin is perfect to begin with. In photos and video, you can have a seamless vogue face, but in person there will be the micro crevices and lip wrinkles. If you end up with an unusually patchy, flaky or uneven face, then maybe it's your application. Just know that no matter how hard you bounce with a sponge or stipple with a brush, makeup typically doesn't work like lotion.
- The only way to get near perfect makeup is trial and error
This may seem like an obvious statement, but trial and error is going to be the only way to get your makeup as close to your vision as possible. Even once you have a comfort zone look, there may still be something you always struggle with inside that look. In the beginning, I found it easiest to work on one thing at a time. One week I tried the same eyeshadow look every day until I felt it was my vision of perfect. Next, I focused on finding a mascara that was perfect for me, and I kept moving down the list until I eventually had found products that I knew I could apply near perfect, consistently. And yet years later, for the life of me, I CANNOT do my eyebrows... I know they're not going to be twins, they're supposed to be sisters. When I do my brows to this day, they don't know who each other are.
Makeup application is nothing to scoff at. It can be a tedious process if you let it get the best of you. Hopefully with these things in mind, you have either found an answer to a problem you've been having or at least see that it's all part of the process.