Jem, a Pinay in California wrote me an interesting question/comment based on a post I wrote ages ago on my vanity and make up (The Colors on My Face, 20 May 2005):
hey there. interesting blog. i was wondering if you could help me out with picking the right make-up color. i’ve that brown yellowish tone , and been experimenting on make-up for a while. it’s not very easy to find the right colors for my skin tone. help !! you seem to really know what you’re talking about , he he. i use a lot of neutrogena products, and so do you, right? what shade do you have? tysvm. hope to hear from ya ! take care !!
pinay in California =)
Now before I go any further, I would like to state here for the record that I don’t claim to be an expert on this, but I would be very happy to share with you the tips and tricks that work for me. Make up, like dressing up, is both basic and personal. Basic in the sense that it’s something everybody does — we all put on clothes, so we all put on tops and bottoms. It’s personal because it depends on our own fashion sense — I go business casual during the weekdays but go casual and comfy on the weekends.
At this point in my life (now that I am just weeks shy of hitting 40), there are things that I do with my face that are no longer options but rather necessities, given that my skin is no longer the same tone and texture as it was 20 years ago, and I need to give myself extra attention to help myself age gracefully.
So I work on the basic premise that I am not trying to reverse aging — growing old is something I’m embracing with grace as the years have been kind to me. I also try to work with my best features without overextending myself. We Asians are lucky because of the high melanin content on our skins which gives us the brownish tones that give us that special glow. Our skin is also not that susceptible to wrinkles like the caucasians are. Notice how they have crows feet and laugh lines and wrinkles around their mouth which we, Asians do not have? I attribute it to diet and skin composition — we look different from them and it has its benefits.
I’ll talk about my non-make up rituals another time but I felt the best way to tell you about what works for me is to enumerate here my make up basics. These are the things I always have in my purse which I whip out depending on my mood and what color scheme I’m wearing.
The yellow brown tint you are referring to is what make up artists refer to as sallow skinned. I found this out after I got a salon make over as a valentine gift from Alan three years ago. Being that that was my skin tone, the make up artist suggested I would do well with pinks that I already did anyway. I am fair skinned and not morena so I tend to go for the medium tints, ivory-shades, pinks and browns.
So what’s my make up loot?
1. FACE POWDER: I use LANCOME’S MATTE AMANDE III Dual Makeup Finishcompact as my basic make up foundation. The color and shade was prescribed by the make up consultant when I bought it around a year ago. (And yes, it needs replacing.) It’s dual finish because you can apply it dry or wet, patted or wiped on. It’s rather pricey but well worth the purchase to me because it comes off nicely and doesn’t look like it was plastered on my face. Very natural looking for my skintone. It also lets my natural blush shine through. The only downside is it’s scented. I am inclined to try a new CLINIQUE product recently released but I need to get the correct shade. Tip: Do not hesitate to do a makeup consultation. They will try the best shade for you and you don’t necessarily have to buy it when you go. They will list it down just in case you decide to come back another day or buy it from another store.
If you’re iffy about which shade works best, use a transluscent powder. Revlon has a powder compact in that color, and most other brands have an equivalent. Transluscent is as nude as it gets so this is a good back up. Your face powder should not look like you just blew powder on your face. It should eliminate the shine but not blot out your natural colors.
2. EYES: I always have a black kohl eyeliner because I line my upper and lower lid. Back in Manila, I always used ANGELIQUE but here, I use whatever is handy. The only important thing is that it doesn’t smear or get cakey on my eyes — most drugstore eyeliners will do the trick. I do use Clinique’s Eye Defining Liquid Eyeliner for evenings and special occasions, or in the summer when I feel like being a little more daring in make up because then my eyes don’t water because of the cold wind. The only thing is that I find that I need to put on mascarra when I put on liquid eyeliner to complete the effect. After trying several brands, I find that Lancome’s Definicilsand The Body Shop’s Black Mascarra are the best.
As far as colors are concerned, I carry three different eye shadow pallettes in my bag. If I’m wearing blues, purples or pinks, I stick to my pink/lavander pallette. If I’m wearing reds or browns, I pull out my browns. If I’m in black and/or white, it’s a toss up between the two.
You should check out the eye shadow duos or threes or quads because those are complementing shades. Use the lightest on the upper lid (closest to the brow), the medium shade closes to the lid where you line, and the darker shade in the middle. If you are doubtful about successfully blending the color, use your regular eyeshadow applicator to apply the lightest shade on the upper lid, then take your blush brush and use it to sweep the medium shade onto the whole eyelid. It’s not as dramatic an effect as the three shades, but it does the trick. These days, I carry the following in my bag: ESTEE LAUDER PURE COLOR Eyeshadow Duo in VENUS 2 (which is a light pink and a dark plum duo), ELIZABETH ARDEN Duo in Ember and Vanilla. (Unfortunately when I checked, they don’t have eye shadow duos available right now.)
If you must put concealer, (I use Maybelline’s MEDIUM if I have to) do not commit the mistake of putting it only beneath the eyes where our eye bags or dark circles are. Besides that area, you have to put on the lid itself and above the brow to even out the tone. Otherwise you will look like a ghost with white undereyes, sometimes calling attention to a sore spot you’re actually trying to hide. Tip: If you’re putting on some concealer anyway, dab some by the nose creases where our skin tone is darker.
I personally don’t put concealer anymore unless I’m going full make up. On a day-to-day basis, I no longer put concealer, but if I must, I use my regular foundation which I don’t put all over the face. That will even out any dark tones on my skin without the face looking like a bland canvas. Right now I’m using NEUTROGENA’s HEALTHY DEFENSE SHEER MAKE UP in Classic Porcelain 20 because they have an SPF30. In the spring and summer months, I get CLINIQUE’S TINTED MOISTURIZER in Medium 3 which has a good SPF as well to keep my skin protected.
I was going to list down my lipsticks here (half a dozen in my purse right now including 2 lip glosses) but I want to write about that separately. I hope this helps and you find it useful.