For me wearing makeup is always something I’ve had fun with. Some of my favourite memories as a kid were sitting in front of the mirror in my sister’s room trying on makeup (which probably looked ridiculous at the time!) while we listened to music together and she got ready to go out.
As I got older, makeup did end up being a bit of a security blanket / mask for a while but I managed to get over that and now it’s just fun again. But you can read all about that here.
Today I want to talk about a couple of basic rules I found it really useful to follow when I was first starting to really figure out what makeup works best on me.
Of course, you might not want to follow all of these or you might want to adapt a couple, you might even have some better ideas, but that’s the fun thing about makeup. It’s all about figuring out what works for you and your face – everyone has a different skin type, face shape, shapes of facial features and type of personality they want to express through how they look.
The best thing to do is have fun, play around and figure out what makes you feel good.
But if you’re struggling to figure out what makeup look makes you you, why not try following these 5 basic rules for now and see if they help?
1) Look After Your Skin
Like seriously. It’s easy to forget but having a good, healthy base is the key to having great looking makeup and, of course, feeling fantastic without makeup. A couple of basic bit of advice include:
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water – you’d be surprised how much of a noticeable effect this has
- Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise. Don’t put it off.
- Don’t forget suncream whenever you head out – if you don’t like how it feels for everyday use try grabbing a moisturiser with around SPF15
- Go makeup free at least a couple of days a week – I like doing this so I don’t feel too reliant on makeup but I also feel like it lets my skin breathe a bit. Not sure how scientific that is… but it does make my skin look better and reduces spots so there’s probably some correlation.
- Realise you don’t need foundation everyday, especially during the day time – your skin probably isn’t as in need of foundation as you think it is. When you look after you skin you won’t need to cover it up every day. Plus, a full coverage of foundation in daylight can look cakey and a bit silly so, often, you’ll look better by skipping it.
2) Think About What You Actually Want To Achieve
So a cut-crease look in on-trend? Doesn’t mean it’ll look right with your eye shape. Your best friend wear red lipstick and you want to look like her? Don’t just go out and buy the exact same shade because it definitely won’t look the same on you.
Blindly following trends or copying others is never going to end well. Every time you apply makeup you need to ask yourself: What do you want to achieve? And will this help me achieve it?
Take red lipstick as an example. Now, ignoring the gross origins of what it was meant to make our lips look like thanks to the over-sexualisation of women in the entertainment industry, today red lips are more associated with being ‘classically beautiful’ like Marilyn Monroe for example. It’s about traditional femininity.
Today big names like Taylor Swift are known for their trademark red lips. But if that’s the look you want to go for, you shouldn’t just go out and buy whatever lipstick you heard Taylor Swift wears. You need to think about a couple of things:
- What’s your colouring / skin tone – how light or dark is your skin and do you have warm or cool undertones? This will determine which shade of red you want – do you want a bright scarlet, something slightly more orange or a deep burgundy?
- What kind of finish do you want? Glossy, matte, satin? Do you want a deep opaque colour or a more translucent gloss? This will determine whether you want a lipstick / lip gloss / lip stain / etc.
- In a similar vain, where are you going to be wearing this and how likely is it to rub off / need reapplying / etc?
I’m a big believer that every woman has a perfect red lipstick out there for them. But I also believe that there’s no one red lipstick for every woman. Finding yours might take a while but once you get it your life will change.
In a similar vein, take something as simple as applying eyeliner. Do you want to make your eyes look bigger or smaller? Do you want to look more awake and healthy? Or do you want to look darker and grungier? Do you want to make a big, modern statement or do you want to a subtle yet classic look? All this will determine what colour / type and shape of eyeliner you opt for.
As with all things, figure out the end result you want before you pick the product or process.
3) Understand Your Face
This one follows on closely from the last point but it’s a really important one which took me far too long to figure out properly.
There’s a couple of things you need to know about your face which are going to be real game changers:
- What is your face shape? Oval, heart, round, square, etc.? This will determine which hair cuts look good on you and makeup application
- What shape are your eyebrows naturally and what shape do you want them to be? Find a shape that works with your face shape and eye shape.
- What shape are your eyes? Are they almond, are they up- or down-turned? What about your eye lids? Are they hooded, do you have monolids? All this is going to determine how you approach eye makeup
- What’s your skin type? Dry, normal or oily? Do you have any allergies? This will determine what kids of products you can and should use. Do you need specific brands? Should you go for powders, liquids or creams, for example?
- What colouring do you have? How light or dark is your skin? Do you have cool or warm undertones? What about your eyes and hair, what colour are they? All these will work together to determine which colours look good on you and which don’t
If you don’t understand these things about your face, you risk making some big mistakes…
4) Don’t Try Everything At Once
Take it slow, master one or 2 products at a time before you move on to anything more complex. I mean there’s no point trying for an awesome smokey eye if you can’t even apply mascara without smearing it all over your eyelids.
Start with the basics like mascara and concealer and build up in small steps.
Similarly, even when you’re confident applying a bunch of makeup don’t feel you always have to wear everything at once. Usually you just want to pick one stand out feature and work your look around highlighting that – maybe a bold, dark lip or graphic eyeliner.
5) Practice At Home and Have Fun
I talk about do this and don’t do this… but seriously if you want to try something out, then go for it! Why not?
Having fun with makeup, practicing different techniques and trying out new things is half the fun! So what if you look silly sometimes? As long as you can identify what does and doesn’t work for you, it’s all part of the learning process. Trying things out at home and asking friends for a little feedback can really help.
It might sound silly but if I try something new I like to ask a guy friend what he thinks because if it’s nice, chances are he won’t notice that there’s anything different. But if he tells you it looks silly you know he’s being honest and it’s probably not the look for you.