The Importance of Using Products Effectively, Part II

Sometimes we try products that we have only heard marvelous things about and we hate them. Sometimes products that work well on others don’t work for us, but before you through away that high end foundation, try putting it on a different way. This is a troubleshooting post for everyone out there that just can’t get their facial products to work for them.

Skincare
People go for power, power, power in their products. But for skin care it is not about power, it is about balance. I see a lot of people that over exfoliate and have issues with redness, and others who under exfoliate and their skin is dry, dull and lifeless. You don’t need salicylic acid in your face wash if you only occasionally breakout, or for one or two pimples. Be kind to your skin! A lot of issues people have with their foundation is due to over or under exfoliating. Healthy skin is always the first step.

Similarly, a lot of people over or under moisturize. Plump skin is all about a healthy balance of oil and water. Drink lots of water and use a moisturizer that is appropriate for your skin. Even people with oily skin should moisturize.

With moisturizer, it is also important to know when to use it. Some will work better at night but might be too slick under makeup. Most are more effective on slightly damp skin, but will be diluted if your face is too wet or won’t soak in if your skin is too dry. If you haven’t exfoliated, the roughed up surface skin can keep the moisturizer from penetrating your skin.

Foundation
There are so many ways to apply foundation. Before returning or throwing out a nice foundation, always experiment with application. Some foundations can appear too heavy if you use too much. Dotting the foundation onto your forehead, nose and a few dots on your cheeks can be enough and then blend. A lot of people only need foundation on certain parts of their face, so on some people I just focus around eyes, on cheeks and over nose then blend outward. Sometimes blending with your hands can push the product around without much control, in which case a brush or sponge my work better. A makeup sponge will give maximum coverage. Always tap the product on rather than wiping. On some people a brush will cause microexfoliation (flaking).

Also, know whether a foundation needs a primer. Most are designed to work best with a primer these days, but through reviews and research you can sometimes see how necessary it is. Sometimes moisturizer and primer under foundation is just too much. Also, not all primers are equal. So a primer that works well with one foundation might not work with another. They can literally separate like oil and water.

If your foundation is oxidizing (turning orange over the course of the day) sometimes primer or setting powder will help. Some just do and if so, toss it.

Concealer
As I said before with primer, when you mix brands sometimes products don’t sit well together. For example a water based foundation and an oil based concealer might separate, so watch out. Some concealers are better for the undereye area and others are more focused on blemishes and dark spots. Always think about your goal for your concealer, as some will be heavier with more of a makeup feel.

A good brush can make all the difference with concealer. A good rule of thumb is to have the brush be a similar size to what you are trying to conceal, so a tiny brush for pimples and a more small/medium size one for undereyes. Make sure you aren’t getting reverse circles by painting too far outside the lines, especially if you out concealer on after foundation.

Make sure not to use too much, as it can cause flaking or creasing, make sure the undertone is right. I know some people recommend two shades lighter but that isn’t necessarily what you want, depending on your skill set and intention.

A lot of creamier concealers work better if they are first warmed on the back of your hand.

Dabbing concealer with a sponge or tissue after application can help keep it from moving, but removing excess oil.

Powder
Not all powders are the same. Some can be made to have as much coverage of a foundation, others are merely for setting. Also know that some you can use a lot and others must be used sparingly. Also remember that some foundations are meant to set without powder.

Some powders can be used alone or to set foundation, in which case the brush is very important. To get coverage out of a powder foundation you want an extremely dense brush. I have a small mineral brush from Sephora that looks kinda like a little kabuki brush with a long handle. I love it and I can get so much coverage. It is very soft and I can just buff and buff and with my Smashbox powder, it looks like skin. Sometimes I use my powder to set instead or to add just a touch more coverage and I use a fluffy powder brush. With setting, be careful not to wipe the foundation around, use a soft, dabbing motion and a light hand. Sometimes dabbing foundation and concealer with a tissue first will help remove excess oil before powder to prevent clumpy looking powder.

Eyeshadow, Brow Products, Liner
Experiment with primer and brushes if your eyeshadow isn’t “working.” For brows, experiment with brushes. Even if it is more of a pencil type product, you will probably want to smudge it with a brush. Most eyeliners will have better staying power if you set them with black or brown (or whatever) eyeshadow after applying. Some look better when smudged with a brush.

8 Makeup and Skincare Tips for Dealing with Redness

Today I want to talk about skincare and makeup solutions to redness. I have compiled a list of tricks and not all of them will apply to each person with redness issues. There are many reasons for redness, some are based internally and some are related to what you are putting on your skin. These ideas should be experimented with, none of them are magical cures, just things to try. Even if you do your makeup in a dark bathroom, make sure you are experimenting with natural light to see if these tricks will work for you!

1. Drink more water. Take your vitamins. Watch for food triggers for redness. Be good to yourself, that is always the first step.

2. Reassess your skincare. I see a lot of women that had troubled skin as teenagers but have never stopped using acne products. A lot of times this is because their skin is not clear when they look in the mirror, but sometimes it is more from redness and irritation than from pimples. Products with a lot of salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can cause splotchiness and uneven skin tone if they aren’t needed. Also, some people exfoliate with products that are very harsh, or too frequently. I, personally, exfoliate every morning with a gentle exfoliant (Microdelivery from the Philosophy skincare line), but many skincare professionals would say that is too often. I would discourage exfoliating more than once a day. Experiment, see what works for you, but please, at least try using a gentle cleanser, and give it a fair chance (a month or longer).

3. Experiment with different moisturizers. Your skin might not be getting enough nourishment. Please moisturize every night, at the very least.

4. Wash your face/body with cooler water. You don’t need to torture yourself, but sometimes the difference between hot and scalding can be huge, and the difference between warm and hot can be enormous.

5. Watch out for oxidizing foundation. If you have ever put on your foundation, felt it was a perfect match, then got to work and felt like it had darkened and turned orange, you’ve been a victim of oxidation! Many popular mineral foundations are horrible for oxidation. I can’t give out a list, because something may oxidize on you, but not on me, but bear this in mind when you are trying something new and take a foundation back if it isn’t working. This is the enemy of fair, sensitive skinned individuals! Liquid foundations can be culprits, too. Sometimes a primer will completely fix this problem, or at least hold it off for awhile.

6. Speaking of primers... Look for green primers such as Smashbox and Make Up For Ever. They look much greener in the bottle than they are on the skin. Stila also has a one step corrector that brightens and reduces redness. These work wonders.

7. Green correctors are another option. These are great for pimples or more extreme redness and come in a variety of consistencies. They are often part of palettes with a peachy tone for brightening (undereyes!) and a yellow to take away darkness.

8. Try a yellow based foundation or tinted moisturizer. This is my preferred method of correcting the problem with makeup, but use caution! I mainly only use liquid foundation around my nose and cheeks, my areas or redness, and then I blend outward and cover my whole face with a fair, neutral powder. If I use liquid foundation on my whole face I use a custom blend. Always make sure you check yourself in natural light when you are experimenting with undertones.

Smashbox HD Powder

Hello everyone! Today’s post is about my FAVORITE powder. I have extremely dry, sensitive and fair skin and all three of these issues make it extremely difficult to find makeup. I apply the powder with a kabuki brush after moisturizing and then applying OCC Tinted Moisturizer. The coverage is wonderful for a powder and on my better skin days I am comfortable wearing this powder without tinted moisturizer underneath. When my skin flares up with a rash or dry, itchy patches this powder is light enough it doesn’t irritate my skin. It is long wearing and has a great finish. It looks like skin and doesn’t get too cakey.

I love the packaging on this product!

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The compact comes with a mirror and a grinder, so it is a pressed powder underneath and then you grind a little bit out as you need, which avoids a lot of mess and keeps the mirror clean. It is also a great compact for professionals because you can just grind off some powder which eliminates the need to dip into a compact with your brush. It also makes it easier to mix powder colors for professional use. I, personally, don’t use it in my kit because I prefer a heavy liquid foundation with a lighter setting powder, but it is a great product for people that do more wedding and event work. For photo work I prefer other products. I don’t really take makeup around with me but it would be a great compact to take around in your purse.

Let’s talk about price! If you have ever thought about using this product, you probably saw the price and yelped. I have also sought out other, cheaper products. This product runs for just under $60, which is no small price. But if you love this product it is worth it. You get .75 ounces of product, which is more than double virtually all other comparable, high quality brands (such as Laura Mercier, Make Up For Ever, etc.) which run for around $35. And as I said the coverage is great so you don’t need to use a ton. Compare that to Bare Minerals where you get under .3 ounces and you need to use more to get the same coverage and can’t really get proper coverage without approaching cakey-ness.

But the biggest reason I love this powder is that I don’t need to worry about oxidation! Maybe others have experienced oxidation with Smashbox, but it truly wears better than any other powder I have tried, staying true to color and not settling into fine lines or pores. What is oxidation? It is a fair lady’s worst nightmare! Have you ever tried on a foundation, loved it, then looked in the mirror an hour later and your makeup has turned darker? Sometimes there is a bit if an orange tinge, too. Smashbox works well on my fair skin and really blends in and STAYS that way.

Smashbox does not have nearly the color selection of many other brands. I generally use a very yellow based tinted moisturizer layered over the red parts of face to get my ideal color. But even on my days off where I just wear powder, Smashbox does a great job really blending in with my skin tone, which is surprising to me since I am usually hard to match.

As for the claims that it reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, I am not sure. I have fairly youthful skin. I do know that it wears well under my eyes where other powders sometimes settle into fine lines.

All in all, this is my preferred powder foundation. It is gentle and looks great and I really feel like my skin looks and feels better when I wear it regularly.