I got a question from Zola (just-an-artist on TUMBLR) about a routine for doing a strong brow.
The thing about doing a strong brow for daily looks is not to alter your natural brows completely and draw in completely new ones. I’m also assuming you are reading this…
Featured Lip Shade: NYX Haute Melon!
I love hot blue-based pinks for summer because they look so striking, but I do occasionally stray towards the corals.
And one of the most beautiful corals I have found recently is NYX’s Haute Melon, a bright pink-hued coral which is more flattering than the usual yellow-based shades.
The camera picks up more red than there is in real life, so the actual shade is slightly more coral than the product shot above. The texture is slightly sheer and extremely creamy, with no shimmer.
L-to-R: Revlon Kiss Me Coral, NYX Haute Melon, Nyx Matte Indie Flick
As you can see, Haute Melon is softer, glossier, sheerer, and will also go on more pink over your natural lip color (below). It’s extremely wearable and forgiving if you’re afraid of corals, and it’s also REALLY affordable. (Of course, if you want a REALLY fiery coral that is going to pop when you take pictures, get NYX’s Indie Flick Matte Lipstick.)
Best thing is, it’s under US$2. An easy, perfect summer splurge.
Other products used:
- Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation #52
- I Nuovi Undercover Concealer 3Y
- NYX Cinnamon Blush
- Bourjois Liner Pinceur 16 Hour Liquid Eyeliner #32 Noir Beaux-Arts
- MAC Melon Pigment (lids)
- Make Up Store Matt Vanilla pencil (waterline)
- No 7 Extreme Length Mascara in #01 Black
- POP Beauty Lip Magnet Primer (this helps keep lip products in place without the heaviness that comes with layering over a pencil)
Makeup Brushes 101: Eye Brushes
My most-used eye brushes from L-to-R: Fine gel liner brush, flat angled brush, smudger brush, blender (oval), flat shader, pencil brush, small blender, and regular tapered blender.
I used to be a fan of “finger-painting”. I.e. applying most of my eye shadows with my fingers. Part of it was laziness, and part of it was just ignorance about how the heat, moisture and oils from your fingers can destroy your shadows by sealing the surface over, and/or breeding and re-applying bacteria to your face.
If you’ve ever seen the surface of your shadow going darker, shinier, or sort of bumpy like tarmac after a few uses, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Unfortunately, this usually means the color pay-off (intensity) of the shadow is gone.
Now, I only use my fingers for loose pigments because those do not contain absorbent fillers like titanium dioxide and talc, which are the main reasons eye shadows “seal over” when touched with your fingers. For pressed shadows, there are plenty of good brushes you can find that will not break the bank or make a mess on your face.
The trick is getting familiar with how each shape and type of bristle works. The rule of thumb is you get more precision with firm, tightly packed brushes (smudgers, flat angled liner brushes, gel liner brushes), but you need looser, softer brushes for blending and smoking out colors. Brushes with a combination of these (soft bristles packed tight in a flattened/oval ferrule) is a great multi-tasker. More on this below.
If you’re starting out in makeup or want to keep things simple and fuss-free, these are the essentials:
- Small pointed liner brush (synthetic hair)
- Smudger brush (natural)
- Soft shader (natural/synthetic)
- If you’re starting out in makeup, gel liners are the easiest way to get very strong and controlled lines without a whole lot of skill. Pencils tend to be less long-wearing and don’t always give as strong a line.
- A good gel liner brush should have a small, tapered tip with a flattened ferrule (point of the barrel that holds the brushes) so you can use it flat for a thick line or side-ways for a thin one. Of course, this is only applicable if you use gel liners. For a good sense of relative size, look at the left-most brush (in a cap) in the top image.
- These are more versatile than the long ultra-fine brushes sold by many makeup brands, because those are harder to handle in general.
- My ALL-TIME favorite is the one that comes with the Maybelline Lasting Drama gel liners. Good as the high-end brands, and so much cheaper because you’re getting 2 products for one!
TIP: These are FANTASTIC as concealer brushes for hiding spots and blemishes because they are firm enough to pack on product, but small enough for precision.
- This type of brush deserves a whole lot more love than it does. The name “smudger” is slightly misleading because I find it much more useful as a tool for applying dark shadows close to your lash line as a smoky liner. They usually have a flat, wide ferrule (barrel) and firm, natural bristles.
- I feel that defining your lash line is very important when you’re wearing lots of colors or shimmer on your lids, because all that makeup can really overwhelm your lashes and make your eyes less defined.
- A good one should be firm when you press down on the tips, and the bristles should not bend easily, or you will get a mess when you try to apply shadow to small areas.
TIP: You can use this to apply a cut crease in your socket line.
- Shader brushes are an all-rounder because they are not just a staple for packing on intense color, but can double-up as blending brushes. These are usually flattened and cut in a rounded paddle-shape, and I’ve found the fluffier, natural bristles to work better than synthetic ones at picking up and applying intense color.
- The most famous shader around is probably MAC 217, but you can find similar shapes from most brands and price ranges, although I love the ones with these cottony-white bristles because they feel sooo nice and work so well.
- Take note that the size can vary from brand to brand, and I’d suggest something no wider than your thumb nail as the really huge ones can mess up your eye look by muddying every color together.
TIP: Some makeup artists like to use these brushes to apply concealer for a very natural finish.
OPTIONAL BRUSHES DEPENDING ON YOUR NEEDS:
- Flat angled brush
- Flat shader brush
- Fine detail brush
- Tapered blending brush
- Used similarly to the smudger brush, this gives a more precise line, but the short, stiff fibers tend not to grab as much pigment, so it works better (in my opinion) as a brow brush when I want to avoid overdoing my brows.
- These also tend to hurt a lot more than the rounded tops of smudge brushes when you accidentally slip and jab yourself in the eye!
- The big, flat older-cousin of the soft shader, this stiff, flat brush is good for packing on softer shadows and loose pigments because the firm flat surface helps to press and adhere loose pigments.
- Unlike the softer version above, the flat shader is not good for blending out colors and harsh lines because the bristles don’t have a lot of “give”.
- Can be used to apply cream/gel/fluid shadows if you don’t want to use your fingers.
- A small pointed tip shaped like a doe-tail is great for applying color to the crease. To see just how small it is, check the top image again! Just dip the tip into shadow, then into the hollow of your socket and then sweep left and right along your socket line, in a windshield wiper motion.
- Also good for applying highlight to the inner corners of eyes.
- A staple for many people, the longer, tapered blender brush is very soft, and better for smoothing and blending out color after applying because the super-soft bristles will not grab much pigment.
- My favorite alternate use for this is applying mineral powder concealer onto spots by lightly stippling down with the very tips of the brush (don’t buff or blend!!). Smaller blemishes will do a disappearing trick and larger ones will be less obvious than when you cake on a whole lot of concealer.
Do note that I collected my brushes from a whole mix of places, including Sigma and Sephora, and these are the ones that I consider to have good brushes for good value, although Coastal Scents has a good range of smaller detail brushes and smudgers.
- Eye brushes that are used for powder shadows don’t really need to be washed daily unless you need to apply a different color each time, but they are generally small enough to dry within a couple of hours so it’s no big deal for me.
- TIP: I use a residue-removing shampoo to clean these (baby shampoo is not strong enough and detergent is too strong) and then lay them with bristles hanging over the edge of a table to dry. If you keep them in a case, pouch, or brush roll, do make sure they are completely dry first.
- Gel liner brushes and anything I use to apply creams or to cover up spots should be cleaned after EVERY use. To get everything squeaky clean when a brush is used for cream products, I actually use a bit of oil makeup remover to break down all the product in the brushes first, then wash once more with a residue removing shampoo.
How to Get the Perfect Cat-Eye with Powder Liner
This is a tutorial for getting a softer, simpler cat eye liner look using powder rather than gel, pencil or liquid.
The benefits are that:
- powder is easier to control, especially if you’re new to eye liner
- if you make any mistakes you can rub it away easily
- you can go on light, and then build up intensity when you like the shape/angle
- you can use it dry for a softer look, or damp for something that looks more like liquid liner (be careful which shadows you use though. Not all work wet.)
- you can use pretty much ANY eye shadow or pigment of your choice, which means the color options are endless
The application technique is actually the same as when you apply gel or cake liner with an angled brush.
The easiest brushes to use for this look are flat angled brushes. Wider/larger brush heads are actually easier for getting extended wings. Natural hair brushes also tend to work better than synthetic ones as they pick up more pigment.
Step 1: After applying the rest of your eye makeup, dab the tip of your angled brush into black shadow or cake liner. I’m using it dry for a softer smokier line. You can dampen your brush to get an intense line if you’re using cake liners or loose pigments.
Step 2: Use the LOWER LASHLINE AS THE GUIDING LINE for the angle of the brush. I simply place the brush along the outer corners of the bottom lash line and then gently stroke the brush along that line. Extend inwards along the lower lash line.
This step is key because it:
- helps you to make the angle of the flick more balanced on both eyes
- gives that gorgeous sweeping arc of liner when you close your eyes, as this follows your natural eye contour.
Step 2: Next, line your upper lash line. All you do is pick up more powder with your brush and tap off excess before placing it right at the base of the lashes and wiggling gently to “push” the pigment onto your skin. Then remove your brush, pick up more powder, and then place it along the next section of your lash line. Don’t try to stroke the brush all the way from one end of your eye to the other. This is MUCH easier and much more precise.
Step 3: To get rid of a harsh angle between the flick and your upper lash line, place your brush along the flick and then stroke it inwards diagonally towards the center of your lid. This thickens up the line at the outer corners without ruining that beautiful angle.
On rest of face:
Base: Dior Nude Foundation “021”
Setting Powder: MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in “Medium”
Brow pencil: MAC “Taupe” Brow Pencil
Brow gel: MAC “Mink” Brow Set
Shadow Highlight: MAC “Young Venus” Extra Dimension Shadow on inner corners
Shadow: MAC “Sable” from outer corners in
Liner: Wet n Wild ColorIcon “Greed” Palette (matte black) as liner
Mascara: L’oreal Voluminous Carbon Black mascara
Blush: MAC “Da Bling” shadow
Lipstick: MAC “Up The Amp” Amplified Creme
can you give a small (or large!) tutorial on the liquid liner cat eye? not the runway super wild one, just something real and wearable but that will still make an impact. i’m going to a wedding tonight and i’d love to wear my make up that way. thanks so much!!
Liquid liner is usually considered the most difficult liner to work with, compared to pencils, powders and gels. But it does give the most intense, opaque and dramatic lines, so if that’s what you’re going for, the below might help make things just slightly easier.
Step 1: If you have oily lids, then no matter whether you’re wearing shadow or not, it’s best to apply primer and some powder onto the lids to keep them dry so your liner does not smudge or break down over the day.
(Shadow used: Grey/gold shade in the Wet n Wild Greed palette)
Step 2: This is the cheater’s way of doing it.
I use a black shadow and a small flat angled brush to draw in a guiding line first. This line should be parallel to the curve of your lower lash line, and almost look like an extension of it. This is where you adjust the angle and length of both eyes until you’re more or less satisfied that they’re even. A powder is easier to rub off and correct than a pencil.
DUMMIES’ TIP: Always draw THE EYE YOU ARE LESS COMFORTABLE WITH first (if you’re right handed, start with your left eye) as you can match the angle on your main-hand side much easier than if you did it the other way round.
Step 4: Clean off your liquid liner brush so that you have a minimal amount of liquid on your brush (or felt tip) and then go over the black powder flick carefully.
CHEATER’S TIP: Don’t worry about going all the way to the end. Just use a finger nail to scrape the base of the liquid liner and pull it outwards for that razor-sharp flick.
Step 5: Finish by drawing a very thin band of liquid liner from the inner corners outward in short strokes until it reaches the wing. If you make any mess, just quickly wipe it away with a finger before it dries.
Step 6: Slowly thicken the outer half of the line (from center of eye outwards) if you want a more dramatic, slanted wing. If you want a simple kitten flick, you only need to thicken it very slightly.
Last tip: Practise makes perfect! If you get comfortable using a felt tip, stick with felt tips. Brush tips are generally better for thinner and more precise lines, and felt tips better for overall control, but not as much precision.
Chocolate Cherry Smoke: Wet n Wild Coloricon “Knock on Wood” Look
This is the second of my Wet n Wild Coloricon Palettes, and it’s a warm trio of a soft medium pink, a chocolate brown, and a wine.
Step 1: First, apply the chocolate-brown crease shade over the outer 2/3 of the lids.
Step 2: Apply the soft pink in the inner 1/3 of the lids for a gradation.
Step 3: Apply the deep burgundy/wine Eyelid shade to the socket line and smoke it upwards and out. Then run it along the lower lash line as well.
Step 4: Apply black pencil to the water line and upper lash line, then a pair of dramatic false lashes to play up the look. (Use more natural looking wispy lashes or just mascara if you want to keep the look for day.)
Then finish with mascara on the lower lashes.
And that’s the final look!
A TOUCH OF CORAL! (Just a few of my favorite lip products.)
Alene Dawson with coral-orange lips, above
I’m not all that big on corals, to be honest. I spent years avoiding anything orange with a vengeance, and only recently started to experiment with it again. That’s largely why the corals I own are mainly drugstore products.
The mistake many people make is assuming that coral = orange. A lot of times, the corals we find around can range from a pink undertone to a red one.
Here are the few favorites of mine.
Sephora #25 Hot Coral Reflex gloss (neutral)
Lovely sheer gloss that looks like a fine-grained Dazzleglass, and shifts between coral, gold, and pink. It’s also subtle enough for those who are just a little scared of coral.
I think this one isn’t always easy to find in the stores (I don’t understand why they don’t stock more of these great shades), so grab it online if you can’t get hold of it.
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss #170 Coral Reef (pink-based)
This was one of the hits of 2010, but you really need to put this over lip liner or another lipstick in order for it to not look streaky up close. (And I guarantee it will look streaky/patchy on its own.)
I like this with Rimmel Exaggerate Liner #004 Pure, which is a similar pink-based coral.
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick #750 Kiss Me Coral (true-coral)
Hot, bright, and VERY eye-catching. If you want to get Adele Dawson’s lip color, this is the closest drugstore coral I’ve found. (The other really acidic orange-coral is from Lime Crime.)
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick #654 Ravish Me Red (red-based)
A re-release of an old classic, Ravish Me Red is a flattering tomato-red which is more of an evening shade than the other corals featured here.
Instead of crimson, wear this with your little black dress for a bit of a fiery twist.
Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick #640 Coral Chic (neutral)
Highly-recommend this for medium-deep to light skins. More subdued and wearable than the others, this is the one I’d suggest for work, school, grocery-shopping, etc. Still I wouldn’t pick this if it was not OBVIOUSLY coral. For medium-deep skins and darker, this would be more like an orange-nude.
If you’re deeper-skinned and curious about Lime Crime’s Cosmopop, but find it way too pale/chalky (or expensive), try Coral Chic!
Lip Mix: Sunday Glow (Barry M Sunset Lip Paint + Barry M Peachy Pink Lip Paint)
How’s your weekend been? Mine has - like all weekends - been too short, and am not looking forward to Monday.
But to perk myself up for the next few days, I’ve painted my nails a bright peachy pink, and for dinner tonight, I’ve painted my lips to match.
Barry M 151 Sunset Lip Paint + Barry M 147 Peachy Pink = a bright, pastel peachy pink.
(If you think it’s troublesome to reapply a mixture when you’re out, let me assure you it’s not rocket science. I just apply the paler peach-pink shade, then run the coral shade over it, both directly from the tube. No brushes, no fingers, nada. It takes me the same amount of time to touch up a single shade.)
For nails, I used something from the local drugstore’s bargain bin, and it’s un-numbered, so I think it would be more helpful for me to just tell you Barry M’s Pink Flamingo Nail Paint would be a lovely alternative.
Barry M Lip Paint 147 Peachy Pink: Review and Swatches!
Barry M Peachy Pink Lip Paint is a lipstick that seems to have caused equal amounts of joy and disgruntlement among makeup aficionados. For one, it’s one of the most beautiful peach-nude lip colors around. At the same time, it’s one of the hardest to apply evenly due to the dry, slightly-cakey texture.
Swatches (L-to-R): Barry M Peachy Pink, Lime Crime Cosmopop, Revlon Soft Nude, NYX Orange Soda
For orange-nude lovers, Barry M Peachy Pink is a perfect salmon orange tone as compared to Lime Crime Cosmopop (true pastel orange) and NYX Orange Soda (pale beige-orange). It’s easier to wear the either of the other 2, and has the opacity to really pop on the lips when applied heavily.
However (here’s the kicker), getting it to apply evenly requires a number of conditions to be met first:
- Your lips must be in perfect condition; i.e. not flaky, patchy, rashed, etc.
- Your lip surface must be moisturized evenly.
That’s because the lipstick is quite high in pigments, but a little lacking in emollients that will allow it to “slip” and adhere to lips in an even layer. The patchiness is often caused by the lipstick particles clinging to each other more than they do your lip surface.
- Applying a touch of lip balm (potted ones work a bit better than stick ones as they have a higher oil content) to your lips, rub it around to remove any loose flakes, and then kiss the back of your hand a couple of times so you are left with a thin, even layer.
- Then apply Barry M Peachy Pink generously. Better to get it too opaque and then kiss the back of your hand to even it out and remove the extra product.
LIP MIX SUGGESTION: Add a touch of similar-toned gloss.
(From Top): Barry M Peachy Pink + Revlon Coral Reef Lipgloss = Pretty peach-stained lips.
Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipgloss in Coral Reef has very similar base tones as Barry M Peachy Pink, although it has less beige pigments. As the gloss tends to sink into lines on its own, wearing it with the Barry M Lip Paint evens both products out and gives you a creamy, opaque finish. Just don’t overdo the lip gloss or you could end up with a mess.
Silver and Olive Eye with Barry M Peachy Pink Lip Paint on cheeks and lips
If you want to wear greens in the day but want it to look neutral and work appropriate, a soft, shimmery shade of olive or khaki is the perfect option. I didn’t want to do a flat shade of olive as that can get very dull and unflattering if you’re not careful.
So I paired it with a touch of pale silver, and a fresh peachy-pink flush. on the cheeks.
Step 1: Pack a pale silver shade in the center of the lids.
Step 2: Apply a soft khaki or olive-bronze shade along the lower lash line and at the inner and outer corners. I used TheBalm shadow in All About Alex, which is more of a muted smoky olive. MAC Sumptuous Olive is much more metallic and golden.
Step 3: To add a bit more olive intensity, I lined my top and bottom lash lines with L’oreal Infallible Retractable Eyeliner in Timeless Khaki.
Step 4: Just to make sure the lash line is totally dark, I applied black liquid liner to the tide line, under my lashes. Make sure you use a very waterproof formula. If your eyes are very watery, or if you don’t have a steady hand, just stick to black pencil.
Step 5: Finish by curling lashes and applying lots of black mascara.
Step 6: I’ve been very tempted to wear Barry M’s beautiful Peachy Pink Lip Paint as a blush for awhile (since the texture is a bit rubbish as a lipstick). I’m happy to say it works fantastic. Its extremely dry texture means you don’t get a greasy, creamy feel.
To apply it evenly, rub a couple of fingers in the lipstick, press gently on the back of your hand to even out the color on your finger tips and avoid dark streaks, and then lightly pat along the cheek bones lightly instead of rubbing.
Step 7: For the lips, I didn’t want to have to spend too much time trying to even out Peachy Pink, so I applied a rosy brown (MAC Pro Longwear Lipcreme in Till Tomorrow), and then used my fingers to dab Barry M Peachy Pink gently from the center of the lips outward so the lipstick takes on a matching glow.