Beautiful for Spring
by Guine White, GirlPaint.com
Spring is all about bare-looking skin with healthy color. For some of us, this can be a challenging. Because of oily skin and the side effects of over-active oil glands, like breakouts and shiny oil slicks and the resulting cake-y makeup, we tend to over compensate by using harsh cleansers, alcohol-laden toners and ultra-drying treatments that contain skin-damaging ingredients like benzoyl peroxide. Well, it's time to stop the insanity!
Achieving that easy, natural-looking bare-skinned look is not as hard as it may seem. An absolute ‘must' is starting with balanced, healthy skin. The first step is to cleanse your skin with a gentle, no-nonsense, oil-free cleanser. Next, exfoliate…gently. And the best way to achieve gentle exfoliation is to stay away from physical exfoliants. As much fun as ‘microdermabrasion' and scrubs sound, for skin with overactive sebaceous glands, these scrubs are too harsh and often contain oily bases that counteract any benefits you might gain. The secret to gentle exfoliation is to use a skin treatment or toner containing no more than 5% salicylic acid (and NO alcohol). As counterintuitive as it may seem, using an ‘acid' with a scary name like salicylic actually ‘punches up' the cleaning power of your cleanser (salicylic acid specializes in cleaning inside your pores, and it's the only one proven to do this!) while enhancing the effectiveness of the next step: moisturizer.
Many people with oily skin do not use a moisturizer because they mistakenly think it will cause more breakouts. But in actuality, the right moisturizer will balance your skin and keep breakouts under control. The trick is choosing the right one. Choose an oil-free, lightly textured moisturizer. Try one made with glycerin, aloe or hyaluronic acid (a special ‘acid' that holds 100 times its weight in water). Important: it is imperative that you protect your skin, so please, please, please if you take one thing from this article, make sure to choose a moisturizer containing sun protection with at least SPF 15. For best results, let your moisturizer ‘set' for about 10 minutes (time to do your hair and brush your teeth!) before you apply your makeup. This ‘set time' is one of the secrets to natural, healthy-looking skin, so don't skip it.
Next comes the fun part….makeup! But first, use makeup primer. You've worked this hard to achieve the perfect base for your makeup, and using a makeup primer will help to ensure that your skin stays soft, smooth and protected all day. Try Bloom's Makeup Base ; its gentle formulation is both light and protective and will give your foundation a good base on which to sit (notice I said ‘sit' and not ‘settle' because the last thing you want is your makeup settling into your pores and wreaking havoc on your skin). Plus, most primers contain silicones that help to absorb excess oil on the surface of your skin. The secret to applying primer is using as little as possible (think pea-sized amount or less) and just skimming the surface of your skin— do not rub it in.
Next comes foundation. Makeup foundation can be tricky, and makeup made-easy is my favorite kind of makeup. Many wonderful (and easy-to-apply), natural-looking mineral foundations are now available. Reasons to use (and love) mineral foundation are 1) because it's applied with a brush, it tends to be far more hygienic than its liquid cousins and hence, far less likely to cause breakouts, 2) it contains health-promoting minerals like titanium dioxide and mica which impart protection, stability, silky texture and are naturally anti-bacterial, and 3) it offers controllable coverage so that you can achieve the perfect finish for your skin.
Important points to remember when choosing your mineral foundation are to look for one that is the right color (match the color on your jawline—it should blend perfectly with your natural color, with perhaps just a hint of yellow to neutralize any redness) and one that does not contain talc, aka talcum powder, which can settle into your pores, encourage the growth of icky bacteria, cause breakouts and actually enlarge the size of your pores over time—who needs that?! Recommended: Splash Mineral Powder
Sheer Mineral Powder from Splash is the lines best selling product. Contains SPF15. Cover and protect your face at one brush.
Applying mineral foundation to achieve the perfect finish requires just a little practice, and you know what they say…practice makes perfect! First, shake just a little bit of the powder into lid of the container. Next, lightly rub a medium-sized face brush or Kabuki brush into the powder and tap off the excess powder into the container. You should see almost no product left on the brush. Now, starting with your cheeks, use light, circular strokes to ‘buff' the powder onto your face. Do not worry about covering dark circles, blemishes or red spots during this step. Just buff a layer or two of mineral powder onto your skin to even out the overall color and tone of your skin.
Next comes the ‘concealing' step. Using a smaller brush--a medium eye shadow brush works perfectly—dip the bristles into the mineral powder. Again, tap of the excess. Now buff out any circles under your eyes and any red spots or blemishes on your face—remember to use a light touch and keep the brush moving. Repeat this step as necessary to ‘erase' any imperfections around your nose and on your chin and cheeks. You may need to switch to a smaller brush to hide smaller blemishes and freckles.
Now that you have neutralized the color of your face and achieved a soft, natural base, it's time to add some definition and healthy color. Always apply makeup, in particular powdered colors, from the top down. The reason is that many powdered colors, like eye shadow, brow powders and even some eye liners tend to ‘tumble' down onto your cheeks. You will want to sweep these little flecks of color away, and if you've already applied blush or highlighter to your cheeks, you'll end up having to reapply, resulting in a cake-y, heavy look that is decidedly unnatural—and a Big No-No.
Enhancing your eyebrows, even just a little, can have an amazing and dramatic affect on your entire face (in a very positive way, no less!). Brow powders are best because of the soft, natural look they impart. And the best brow powder kit is NYX's Eyebrow Kit. Their colors are very natural, the quality is remarkable; plus the price is incredibly reasonable. Be sure to select the correct color kit to enhance your natural eyebrow and hair color. NYX Eyebrow Kit-- Long lasting eyebrow cake powder has two shades to blend and the perfect natural eyebrow. To fill and define eyebrows, apply with slanted eyebrow brush and then shape and style with round brush, aka spoolie-- Start by brushing your brows upward and outward, using either a brow brush or ‘spoolie' like the one you'll find in NYX's Eyebrow Kit. Next, using a stiff-bristled angled brush (there's one included in NYX's Eyebrow Kit!), tap the end of the bristles in the lighter of the two shades and, using short strokes, lightly brush the color into the end of your brows closest to your nose. To maintain as natural of a look as possible, do not brush the color all the way up to the edge of your brow. Stand back and look at your results. If you need to deepen the color a little bit, use a little bit of the darker brow powder and brush lightly into your brows. Follow the natural shape of your brows as you apply. As a last step to ensure the color coverage is even, lightly brush through your brows with your brow brush or spoolie tool. Voila!
If you like to use eyeliner, now is the time to apply it. Just use a soft, smudgy color, like chocolate or dark gray, and apply it only to the top lash line, making sure to ‘hug' the lash-line as you apply it.
Keeping with the natural, healthy look we want to achieve, sweep a layer of eyeshadow in a color one shade lighter than your eyelids over the entire lid area. Pick a shadow with a hint of shimmer if you like…yes, just a hint (no glitter, please). The Amuse makeup line features some beautiful shadows in a range of ‘natural' skin-tone colors, from pearly white and shimmery pink to soft olive and rich bronze.
To further contour and define the face, it's time to add a touch of bronzer. Now I know what you're thinking, ‘Bronzer makes me look orange…and I won't wear it.' Believe me, I used to say the same thing. Well, let me tell you a thing or two about today's bronzers. Gone are the days of streaky, garish bronzer…bronzers of the new millennium are soft and natural…and perfect for our spring look. The best new bronzer I've found is Jelly Pong Pong's Omnibronze -- Packaged in a chic, hot, Cognac compact, the formula contains no shimmer, so your bronze looks & feels real. Its silky texture ensures a sublime application and gives a hedonistic, matte finish. *Comes in a faux leather pouchette. Brush included. Bonus: Formulated in a Universal shade to compliment all skin tones. Use to bronze & contour.-- To apply, tap the bristles of your blusher brush on the surface of Omnibronze, shake out the excess and then brush onto the ‘apples' of your cheeks (the fleshy part of your cheek that pops up when you smile), temples, forehead, tip of your chin, edge of your jaw (just below your earlobe) and your nose. These are the spots on your face that naturally collect color when you go out into the sun (without sunscreen—we don't do that anymore, do we?). Deepen the color where you need to by repeating the application process. The ‘secret' to perfect bronzer: remove any traces of color on your blusher brush by rubbing the bristles on a Kleenex and then softly ‘buff' your entire face with the ‘clean' brush to blend and soften.
Next, apply a light dusting of loose, translucent powder—but please don't ‘sweep; your face. Instead, dip your face brush into the powder, shake or tap to remove the excess and then ‘dot' your face with the powder (in other words, do not ‘sweep' the powder onto your face). If you apply too much, use a makeup sponge to lift off the excess. Applying loose powder like this will ensure you do not remove the makeup you just applied.
Next, using a fine mist spray bottle containing distilled water, your favorite alcohol-free toner or a floral water, spritz lightly about 6-8” away from your face to lightly moisten and ‘set' your makeup. Allow your face to dry, then apply a coat or two of your favorite mascara and lastly, coat your lips in a clear or nude-berry lipgloss. You're done!