There are thousands, literally thousands of cosmetic products on the market. Making up your mind about what to spend your hard-earned money on is a nightmare. In fact, I do believe that having so many choices in life drives many of us, especially women, to insanity. I know as a bride, I spent the entire wedding process torturing myself if I'd made the right choice in dress, shoes, meal, venue, invitations, theme and on and on it went. Fortunately for me, I made the right choice in the groom, and never once second-guessed that.
My skin has always been a mess. I've got large pores, sun spots and am prone to those nasty underground blemishes that make your eyes water in pain. Like the uncomfortable and gross looking cold sores that rear their ugly head during stressful times in my life, I do believe that a good skincare regime undoubtedly comes from the inside out. When your body is feeling run down, the cold sore appears as a warning sign, and likewise, when you put constant garbage into your system such as junk food, cigarettes, alcohol and sun exposure, the first place it starts to show is your face.
My mom had a best friend growing up that I used to adore. Her name was Diane Lang and they lost touch over the years, but I saw her on E.T. Canada one night and she was an Executive at Ford Models. I called her up and asked if she remembered me and we had a great conversation at lunch. I certainly wasn't in the market in my 30's to start a modelling career however she did refer me to Mercedes at Sutherland Models where I took a few courses, and a couple included skin care and make-up artistry. I remember feeling I was so in the wrong place when these 19 year olds were asking me how it felt to be the oldest in the class. HA!
What I learned from the class and through my own experimentation was that great looking and feeling skin starts with nutrition. Your face is not going to look fresh and vibrant if you've been out partying and drinking all night long (believe me, I know.) I feel my skin looks it's best if I've got a great night's sleep, have been exercising and sit in the steam room for a bit to open my pores, drink a tonne of water and eat healthy. Don't get me wrong, when it's that time of the month (now), nothing can help my PMS victimized skin. I've been a sun worshipper all my life but have come to realize that tanning with baby oil and even better/worse vegetable oil, may not be the best idea for my overall health. I do however love a bit of warm sunshine on my face.
Unless you're born with amazing genes and some women are (they could use a bar of soap, or even better as my Great Aunt Olga says "nothing but water" as their skin care regime and have a gorgeous glow without spending a dime on product their whole life) you're bound to be puzzled at some point over what products to purchase.
I suppose the great thing about being "the eldest" in my class, was that every time the instructor asked about a particular product, I raised my hand that I owned it, while the 19 year olds looked on in amazement. Hey, there's got to be something said for being "older" and earning somewhat of a substantial income.
I've spent a pretty penny on testing cosmetics and there is even a book out there to help indecisive people like me more readily make a choice. It's called "Don't go to the cosmetics counter without me" and is full of researched products that will help you in your purchases, without wasting your money in the process of indecision and lack of knowledge.
I've attached a photo of myself today, with bad and acne prone skin, sans any make-up and am going to share with you what's in my makeup bag. People have often asked me how I have such glowing skin and it's truly more about how I cover it up, than what I am born with, as you can see from the before and after photos I've included.
I've fallen in love with a skin care line called Dermalogica which is in my opinion a fresh, clean and gentle skin care regime. My grandmother used to be a sales lady for Mary Kay cosmetics, and gave me my first skin care set including cleanser, masque, toner and moisturizer. My current routine is not much different, other than I use a daily exfoliator made of rice powder from Dermalogica, which sloughs off the dead skin. When I didn't have mortgage payments to think about, I bought the Chanel Precision skin care line and loved it. The anti-aging serums for lip and eye wrinkles were magic and wealthy women fighting the aging process purchase it monthly. I was one of those women who scraped the bottom of the jar, and sheepishly asked for more samples. A fabulous moisturizer I bought from friends who were starting out as aestheticians, was called Dr. Temt and was reasonably priced, but difficult to find. They made amazing, nourishing creams and serums helpful for aging skin.
I discovered from a lady I work with how she gets her daily glow. Purchased from Sephora, was a two step products called MD Skin Care and it contained packets of a gentle daily face peel that you rub on your face and moisturize after. It certainly gives your skin a refreshed look and I used them around the time of planning my wedding (when I was feeling less-than refreshed almost daily).
Once your skin is clean and moisturized, I use a great wrinkle filler by La Roche-Posay called Redermic. I'm starting to get deep set lines in my furrowed brow and when I'm happy, I get smile lines and crows feet on my eyes so you can't win in that department!
I then use a skin primer which allows your skin a porcelain like canvas for applying your makeup. Reviews about Smashbox Photo Finish Primer have been fantastic however I found one that I love by Clarins (Instant Smoothing Perfecting Touch)
Once I discovered MAC makeup back in highschool, I was completely sold and never bought drug store makeup again. It was originally invented for the purpose of theatrical coverage, but has gone mainstream to even tweens who can't or shouldn't be able to afford it at that age!
I use a fairly new product called Studio Sculpt in NW20 when I'm lighter skinned and NW35 when I'm more into the summer months and more bronzed. This stuff is magic and in my opinion, works best for my skin. I prefer the more healthy glowing look of skin, versus flat and matted so if you love to use Studio Fix, you probably wouldn't love this product. The other thing that I should mention is if you want to invest in great makeup, you should also invest in it's brushes. MAC offers a great set usually around Christmas for a better price that you would get individually. I use a foundation brush #190 (*Note, I did not purchase these individually. I'm crazy, but not stupid!) I then use Studio Sculpt Concealer with a #194 brush.
These products allow you as much coverage as you need. You can continue to layer the product to cover up blemishes, scars, marks without it looking too caked on. I use a Mineralize powder in Medium Plus with brush #187 and then a pressed Blot Powder in Medium Dark to take away shine. My forehead tends to get very shiny throughout the day so this was great to have during my wedding in the heat of Mexico.
Phew! Sounds like a lot doesn't it? It really isn't, and my makeup regime takes me about five minutes a day and longer if I'm going for a night on the town, and want to take my time.
I start my makeup with my skin already prepped, however I've been told by a MAC makeup artist that she prefers to start with the eyes, then do the skin because the pigment from the shadow can fall onto your freshly primed skin. Next, I curl my eyelashes. I use a cheap $3 eyelash curler from any drug store, however have recently read that Laura Mercier's Eyelash Curler is unbelievable and gives the look of false lashes, without a drop of mascara.
I then use MAC's Cream Colour Base in Shell with my foundation brush, and lightly dust it over my cheeks, eyes and bridge of my nose. It gives an overall glow and allows my eyeshadow to set easier. I use brush #252 and sweep on a neutral eyeshadow like MAC's All That Glitters or Jest over the entire eye right up to just under the brow. I then use brush #213 with a purple toned eyeshadow (brown eyeshadow brings out blue eyes and purple enhances green eyes). I use Folie or Trax and for a smokey sultry Saturday night eye, I use a darker shade like Satin Taupe. I put the darker shadow just on the brow bone of my eye and create a sideways sort of "V" to get a cat eye.
As an aside, do you know that you can find ANYTHING on Youtube? For any makeup questions, you can type it in and see full demonstrations. For example, I typed in Smokey Eye Tutorial for example and this is what I found.
I then blend the two colours together so it's not such a harsh look, and line the inside of my lower and upper lid with any type of black eyeliner. I have a cream based one by MAC, but it's waterproof and very hard to get off. I use a cheap white eyeshadow by Maybelline and close my eyes, and line right above my lashes with white to make my eyes pop. I then use brush # 219 for the inner corners of my eyes to add dimension and sparkle, with a sheer light eyeshadow such as Jest. Next I use Loreal's Voluminous mascara in Blackest Black. No expensive mascara in my opinion works as good as this bargain. False lashes are always fun for a special occasion as well and you can get them as full or dramatic as you wish.
I saw an episode of Oprah which discussed the one feature of your face that could change your look instantly; your eyebrows. I purchased Anastasia's eyebrow kit and love it. If you're ever confused about how to shape your eyebrows, it comes with stencils, amazingly precise tweezers (good for plucking those pesky hairs from your chinny chin chin also) as well as a brush and colour. I brush my eyebrows towards their upwards natural growth and use the brush and brow powder to shape my eyebrows however I desire. I've overplucked throughout the years so I often joke that when I wash my face, my expressions disappear.
Depending on my mood, I'll either use a cream blush or a mineralize blush by MAC. For an overall glow, I use a fluffy #129 brush on the apples of my cheeks, or to define cheekbones for a more 1980's throwback feel, I use a more sculpted brush #168. For a more dewy glow, I use my fingers and blend a cream blush called Uncommon by MAC.
My final step in my daily regime is lips. If I want a pale nude lip, I use MAC lipstick in Hue (my wedding lipstick) and line the outside of my lips with a soft cream liner named Beurre. You don't want to create harsh looking lips by using a rough unsharpened or too sharp wood pencil. Bark is for the forest and fireplace, not your face. I use a dollar store lipbrush to blend lipstick around fine lines and then finish with either a MAC dazzleglass lipgloss in Baby Sparks or Smile and then I'm done. For a more dramatic evening, I'll sometimes tone down the colour of my eyes, and pair with a bold red lip, or use a liquid eyeliner in a charcoal grey colour to give a winged type of look.
Wow, just writing all that and looking through my makeup bag took an effort but it really isn't that high-maintenance once you have all the products and there are some basics I could recommend that I couldn't live without. I've collected all this stuff over time and for fun but truly if you take care of your skin both inside and out, invest in a few good key brushes and buy one foundation, two eyeshadows, a lipstick and blush of superior quality, I would say that's enough for an average day and the rest could be purchased at Wal-mart.
Cosmetics are a multi-billion dollar industry and I guess judging by my make-up bag, I've helped to contribute to those profits....but I must not be alone. Did you know when I googled "MAC" that MAC Cosmetics came up first amongst the search and then the MAC by Apple site?
My Bare Skin (I'm feeling brave)
My Covered Skin