The Pursuit of Beauty

Creating your Canvas: 
You don’t have to be flawless to be beautiful
 
Vibrant, glowing skin is the symbol of beauty, youth & good health.  For a few lucky ones, this occurs naturally, for the rest of us we have to work at it.  Proper caring of the skin is important.  Before we even start talking about make-up we have to realize that cosmetics are just a quick fix and bring us no long-term results.   Cleaning, exfoliating, moisturizing and applying sunscreen daily are key to the vitality of our skin. These steps combined with a healthy, balanced diet and plenty of water is essential to achieving a healthy complexion.   The “good skin vitamins” A, C, E and Zinc which are abundant in many fruits and vegetables, lean meat and fish and are considered fundamental in order to maintain healthy skin.  Not drinking enough water causes your skin to behave “confused” dry or rough patches in some areas and oily breakouts or scaliness in other areas.  Insufficient water intake also contributes to dark circles under the eyes and will leave just about anyone’s complexion dull and lackluster.  Of course one of the best secrets to vibrant skin is to always be sure to get adequate rest. Eat right, sleep right and spend a few moments each day caring for your skin, the body’s largest organ, and you have created the perfect canvas in spite of any imperfections.  
 
Make-Up, What’s The Point?
 
Make-up is best when it is minimal.  Remember the goal in make up application is to achieve a look that is natural, clean and fresh but never bare.  The purpose of make-up, regardless of skin-type or color, when it is done simply and done well is to enhance a woman’s best features (and of course hide any flaws).  The plan is to instill in her a more polished appearance, by giving her a look that is finished and chic and to inspire her with a feeling of confidence and style.
 
Sometimes when we are feeling down or just not feeling well, getting out of bed can be a hard enough task.  When we live with a chronic illness and already have so many duties and responsibilities to tend to in our lives, applying make-up can really seem an insignificant and trivial task, but more often than not it is just the “pick-me-up” we crave.  As a make-up artist I can’t tell you how many times I saw attitudes transformed.  Women, who just expected to have a makeover, some for the first time, saw themselves made beautiful and said “well now I have to go somewhere” or “my husband better take me out” and sometimes, “I was going to just go home, but I think I’ll catch a movie or maybe go by and visit a friend.”  This mind set does not have to be reserved for a “once in a while” but can and should be a part of a daily regimen. It may require a little extra effort.  There may be days when a woman suffering with lupus just does not have the extra effort to give, that‘s okay; but it is nice to know that you at least have the tools and the know how for those days when you do find yourself with a little extra “get-up-and-go”.   Taking care of one’s whole self is never a trivial task; on the contrary, it is an extremely vital and important one.
 
Getting Started
 
In order to keep up with our appearance it is best to develop a routine. The hope here is that it will be so simple it will become second nature. 
 
 Skincare
 
A good skincare routine needs to be simple, fast and effective.  A good cleanser, toner and moisturizer and sunscreen are your basic needs.  If you desire a little more “glow” an exfoliator, to slough off dead skin cells and help speed up skin cell renewal, can be added one or two days a week. I highly recommend this added step.  A facial scrub can be used in the shower, requiring the least amount of effort and practically no extra time, you’re in the shower anyway and it feels fabulous.  Exfoliating also creates a better canvas because your make-up will go on much smoother, requiring less product, and stay on much longer.  No more mid-day “fade aways”.   Ever wonder where your blush went?  You know, put some on this morning and it is only lunchtime and it has disappeared.  This definitely goes for camouflage make-up used on scars and discoloration. The cover up will appear much more natural after you exfoliate, making flaws easier to cover and stay covered throughout the day.  Exfoliation will actually aid in providing skin tone and color that appears more even and unified.    
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*Never use a scrub or exfoliant of any kind on skin that is irritated, inflamed or sunburned.   When taking medication or experiencing any type of skin irritation, always consult your doctor before using any type of abrasive product or any product you are unsure of.  Make-up that is all natural and fragrance free can irritate your skin.  The natural ingredients may not react well with your skin type; you may be allergic to one of them.  In that case you may have to try several different products before you find a match for your skin.
 
Once your daily skin care routine is in place it is easy to add make-up, or “color” as I like to refer to it.  Your make-up regimen is the same as your skin care regimen, simple, short and effective.    Make- up is just make-up, it is meant to be fun not scary.  There should never be any complicated techniques or procedures.  It is about getting the results you want without spending a lot of time or money.
 
FIVE-MINUTE MAKEOVER:
The essentials
 
Foundation:
Choose the right color to match your skin, blend well. Pay attention to jaw and hairline when blending.  If it helps, you can moisten your fingertips with a little water or moisturizer to help blend.  Blending is the single most important step in make-up application and it is the one area that most women neglect.  Usually any botched make-up job could have been avoided if the components were blended properly, it hardly takes any time and you cannot achieve a look that is polished and clean without taking a minute, really looking in the mirror and blending. (Another reason why applying make-up while driving is never a good idea.) Use fingertips, not palms when applying and blending in your foundation. (Palms are OK with powder, and blush.)  
There is no need for make-up sponges.  They can actually breed bacteria and cause breakouts.  Clean hands and fingertips are your best make-up tools.  Always use a light touch, you can add a little more after, if needed.  Most likely, you will be more than satisfied with your original application, even if at first glance it seems like you might benefit from a little extra.  A small amount is all you need, because the goal of this step is to unify and even out.  The extra coverage will come into play with the concealer. So don’t expect your foundation to give you a perfect flawless complexion, foundation is not a mask and make-up application is a process of steps in which you will not see your desired results until the very last step is in place, so try to not get hung up in (over focus on) a single phase of the make-over.  Once your face is “on” you can go back and add a little color here or a little sparkle there, maybe add a touch more concealer.   Trust the process and follow the steps and you will look and feel totally pulled together, beautiful and confident.
 
Professional Foundation Application Tip # I: 
Make-up artists never apply foundation from a bottle/tube/compact directly to face.  The technology used in creating foundation make-up is a series of tiny fragments of color pigments.  Always “warm” the foundation, by rubbing a little in the clean palm of your hand.  This is called “stretching” (think of painting the walls in your house, the coverage and overall look is far superior if the paint that has been stirred or mixed well).  Then apply from hand to face, this breaks up the color pigments and the result is much more natural, yet your coverage will be better because breaking up the pigments increases the light reflectors in the make-up, which diminishes facial flaws.  Your make-up will also look fresher, not like a “mask” and it will stay on longer.  This method can be applied to concealer application as well but since most concealer are used in only concentrated areas vs. the whole face it is not usually necessary.    
 
Professional Foundation Application Tip # 2: 
When choosing the perfect color to match your skin, often we find ourselves stuck between two shades that are a so similar, both look good and we can’t decide.  “Hmmm.should I pick this one or that one.”  If you happen to find yourself in this situation, it may be helpful to know that the lighter choice would be the pick of the make-up artist if he or she intended to create a more youthful appearance.  So when stuck between the two shades the lighter one is probably the best choice. 
 
Concealer 
Apply only on trouble spots; if maximum coverage is desired apply with a thin brush (lip brush works well) blend outside edges only.  Never rub or blend the spot you want to hide.  If you apply with fingertip, just lightly tap—then blend edges.  If applying with a thin brush just paint on one “coat” and then use the brush to “feather” out the edges and blend slightly with the brush or ring finger. Resist the urge to go back over with a second coat, this could lead to going back over again and again don’t do it.  It is completely unnecessary and pointless.  Good concealer should only take one application, especially using the brush method.  Remember, wait until all steps are applied, then if you want you can make adjustments, chances are you will like the results once your makover is complete, even if your scar or blemish has not been made entirely “invisible”.  Applying too much can actually draw attention to the very things we are trying to hide; this goes for dark circles under the eyes as well.  One application of concealer over your foundation will diminish the discoloration enough so that when others see you they are not noticing them; even if they are noticeable to you (we are our own worst critics).
 
Powder
 Use translucent loose powder and apply with a full soft brush or a puff, using a light touch.  Then buff gently & quickly with clean palms of both hands.  The motion is as if you are washing you’re face.  The natural body heat from your hands produces a natural finish, so your face is never not chalky or heavy looking, it also leaves a weightless feeling as if you are wearing no make-up at all, and this is a much desired effect. 
 
Professional Tips: 
A. This step can be skipped altogether, but it is nice to have a little translucent powder on hand to “set” any camouflage that has been done.  Some of the heavier coverage concealers tend to leave a shine and the powder will keep it in place.  A tiny amount is all that is needed. 
 
B. Never apply loose powder once mascara has been applied, it will leave you with sticky stuck together lashes.  
 
C. Never apply any powder on the delicate skin under the eyes, we have no oil glands here so powder is not absorbed and this can really accentuate fine lines.  
 
Eyes: 
Sweep a natural, flesh-toned shade from lash to brow with a nice full eye shadow brush.  A soft full eye shadow brush makes the process fun and super fast.  Sponge tipped eye shadow applicators can take too long. The shade should unify the entire lid so it appears one even shade while at the same time providing just a hint of healthy color. There are many beautiful neutral shades to choose from, vary the intensity according to your skin tone.  Generally the easiest to work with are warm peaches and apricots for a darker skin, a buff or champagne for lighter skin.  However, all are completely interchangeable and you find different variants to complement any complexion.
 
Rosy shades, golden hues and pale silvers are wonderful for a little extra kiss of color and glamour.   Don’t restrict yourself too much.  You can wear any color, as long as it is considered soft and neutral.  Line your lash line with pencil.  Good color choices are various shades of browns and smoky grays because they go with everything and are never harsh, even a nice navy or deepest plum are fun once in a while.   If you’re not a steady hand, don’t worry, just place a series of little dots right on your lash line then blend them together with your fingertip, Q Tip, or sponge eye shadow applicator (have a use for them after all). This creates a soft easy look, if you want to darken a bit; for a sultrier look, simply repeat the steps…dot and blend until you reach your desired effect.  Wearing eye pencil does not mean you have to apply the dramatic straight line that once was popular.  Now sweep on some mascara, this definitely finishes off your look. 
 
Professional Mascara Tip:  Never pump your mascara.  This forces air into the tube and dries it out.  If you desire to get more product on the brush, twirl the wand around, or back and forth, but not up and down.
 
Professional Eyeshade Tips For The Make-Up Savvy:
If you want to create some depth, a second color that is about two shades darker can be added in the crease above the eye.  All you do is put a dab of color on a thinner brush, or the tip of a cotton swab and with eye open press the color directly into the center of the crease of your eye and sweep back and forth several times following the natural shape of your eye.  The effect we are going for is more depth and definition, not more make-up.  If you blend gently enough times it should appear completely natural.
 
If you prefer more color, that is wonderful, but where you want eye shadow color to actually stand out is on the lid itself or in the tiniest space directly above the crease but not quite on the brow bone.  Your lightest shade should be in the tiny space directly beneath the eyebrow itself.  This is where I like to put a little glimmer.  This makes eyes stand out and is a simple technique that can be used by anyone.  Even more mature eyelids benefit from this if the placement is light, only beneath the eyebrow, and the shimmer or iridescence is ever so subtle. Remember when you are experimenting with varying degrees of 2 or 3 shades of the same color; your look will still be natural and easy to work with. That is why sticking to neutral shades is a good rule.  However, on some occasions the rules are meant to be broken or at least bent once in awhile; as long as you are willing, go ahead and be daring, experiment with different shades and textures.  It is only make-up, not permanent marker.
Special Tip: Groom your brows they frame your face.
 
Cheeks:  
You want to look as if you are just slightly naturally blushing, so a rose shade is best for all skin tones, since most of us blush in some form of pink.  Vary the depth of color according to your skin tone.   Rose can be anywhere from pale pink to burgundy wine. Talc free powder blushes are the best.  They are not too dry for mature complexions or skin that is on the drier side, yet they are also wonderful for an oily or breakout prone skin.  The color comes on truer and clearer without the chalky undertone, so they are the perfect choice for women of color.  If your skin is dry and you prefer a cream blush, that is fine, but powder is certainly easier and faster. 
 
Note: If certain medications or being outdoors has made your make-up feel too light, or if you are simply in the mood for a summery glow, this is easily remedied with a light sweep of bronze or brown toned (never orange!) powder blusher, this is in addition to your pink blush. It only requires about an extra 30 seconds and the results are well worth it.  Here is how it works: the brown or bronze is adding extra “color” and together with your rose toned blush it is now providing you with a healthy glow and a touch of pink, which is much more natural looking than just wearing the bronzer alone.  So if you decide to go for a suntanned look, don’t forget to still apply your blush.  This is great way to add a little shimmer to your look for evening or special occasion.  A little dusted on the shou lders create a subtle glamour.  
 
Lips
 Line and fill lips with pencil, nudes with a hint of plum or pink in them are best for a pencil and suitable for every day (think of the color of your lips when you were very young, that’s what you should look for in a lip pencil) and the softer the texture the better.  I find the automatic (twist up) type lip pencils to be very soft. The result is not a severe line, just more body and fullness to the lips.  Can you completely skip a lip pencil?  Sure, but not before you at least try it.  Most women who never tried one, then did, say they will never go without one again, it just makes such a difference and it gives you an impeccable look.  After lining and filling with a lip pencil, simply slick on whatever lipstick you feel best in from a sheer clear to a deep burgundy and all the colors in between.  Be sure to blot with a tissue and smile.   This is one area where you don’t have to follow any rules; you have a lot of room to play with lipstick because the rest of your face is made-up soft and neutral. So even if you are a person who likes to wear bright red, you can, and still look neat and polished because you have the balance.  
If your cheeks were bright and your eyes heavily lined with lots of color the dark or bright lipstick would be too much but with a clean unified skin tone, soft eyes and cheeks your mouth can wear any shade you like and feel comfortable.  *Note: This tip works great the other way around, and helps if you want to play up eyes:  any time you increase the color, depth and definition to the eyes, by increasing the darkness of color, liner and mascara, you want to decrease the color, depth and definition on the lips.  The eyes will really stand out this way, yet you won’t appear heavily made up.    In other words, play up the eyes, play down the lips, play up the mouth, play down the eyes.  The results will be beautiful.  The balance is great.
 
 Powerful eyes or a powerful pout, but only one at a time.  Lipsticks are a fun way experiment with make-up.  Foundations, concealer eye makeup and blush are best kept to a standard—find what works and stick with it, but lipsticks are a great and easy way to change or update your entire look, bring sparkle to your smile, and even uplift your mood. So remember to pick yourself up a new tube, pot or stick next time your out, you can find some good ones for only a couple of dollars.  Keep in mind lip pencil and lipstick/gloss application should always be quick and simple.  It is not the vision of years ago of women slowly and painstakingly lining their mouths ever so slowly then very gingerly and deliberately painting on lips.  This can be intimidating to women who are active and busy or want to look better but are feeling bad perhaps due to a flare.  Lipsticks have definitely been liberated, most have no funny smells or tastes like they use too, unless you purchase a “flavored” gloss, which can be quite a pleasant surprise, and they are not just for kids.  The more sophisticated cosmetic companies have a few flavors, some exotic like passion fruit or mango.  I like the mochas, or vanillas and cherry is not too bad. 
 
This is all it takes for an everyday look.  For special occasions, evenings out or simply because you happen to have a little extra time, plan to spend 10 minutes and achieve a look that is a little more sophisticated and glamorous, just by keeping your same routine but adding in a few simple extras that will add a whole new dimension to your look.
Remember to remove all make-up at the end of the day so you can start all over with a clean slate in the morning.
 
AN IMPORTANT NOTE ON SUNSCREEN
As a make-up artist living and working in Southern California, not a single day went by where I didn’t see the ravaging effects of the sun.  I worked with women who have had varying degrees of facial surgery due to exposure to the sun and they all considered themselves lucky to be alive, because Melanoma is one of the most life threatening forms of cancer.  Before I ever discussed make-up or skincare with anybody I always found out if they remembered their sunscreen today.
Sometimes I would hear answers like; well I am not going to be out in the sun today. Of course to that I would quickly respond, “Oh really, so you took an underground tunnel all the way here?” Or “So, you are a mole and live under the ground.”
 Not to be disrespectful, but it is the tiny little incidental sunning that cause damage to our skin.  Driving, getting in and out of the car, even sitting in front of the window we still receive radiation.  Sunscreen is no longer a beauty issue but it is a public health issue, especially for children.  Many adults owe their skin cancer today to the playful years of childhood spent on the beach or in the pool, even playing in the yard.  It is not only sunburns that are unhealthy; tanning from the sun is just as bad.  It is important to know that our skin has the ability to tan through sunscreen.  You should use sunscreen that blocks out both UVA and UVB rays, many are only formulated to block UVB (the burning rays).  UVB’s is where we get our rating system known as SPF; to date there is no rating system for harmful UVA rays.  As consumers we need to be aware that there are quite a few sunscreens on the market with SPF ratings of 15, 30, even 50 that contain no ingredients to reflect or block UVA radiation. The FDA has placed no requirement on this, but hopefully they will in the near future.  One of the most deplorable factors is that much of sunscreens marketed for children only block UVB.  It is no longer cute to see tan little children at play.  
 
Although radiation from UVA rays is not painful like the sunburn caused by UVB rays, they penetrate much deeper below the skins surface and are extremely harmful.  The damage does not show up until years later.  UVA damage does not go away, it builds up over time and is the number one cause of premature aging of the skin, they are also known as the skin cancer rays.  When purchasing a sunscreen be sure of what you are buying.  Today many of the sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB are dubbed clearly a “TOTAL” block, so it is much easier to tell them apart from only partial protection sunscreens.
 
 Sunscreens containing Zinc Oxide also are a total block and many are available without any color in them at all (no white lifeguard nose).  Most total blocks have been developed out of necessity for the many skin cancer survivors.  They are oil free and ophthalmologist tested, formulated to be worn on the face and safe for the eye area.  As a make-up artist I have also found they make a really great primer for make-up application.