Jan 262013

You know, in the days when I’d first started applying makeup, I didn’t know where to get my makeup from, which were the good places, how to figure out if it was good and so on. I ended up buying eyeliner pencils that exfoliated my eyes :-) or made them burn, lipsticks that made my lips break out because they were old and foundation that I never used once I’d bought because it just looked so awful! Needless to say, I wasted a fair amount of money in those initial trials. I wish that I’d had someone to guide me at the time. So here’s a little advice for all of you who are experimenting with makeup for the first time. This article is written keeping in mind those who live in India.

Tips for choosing makeup

Learning how to choose makeup is one of the makeup basics for beginners that is quite essential. Those who have never worn makeup before or who don’t want to use too much of it usually won’t have the patience to go through a lot of trial and error before finding the right makeup. Landing up with unsuitable makeup can be very discouraging. You want to make sure that you buy a few, very suitable and very versatile products.

The most important thing you need to remember when shopping for makeup, is to decide what you want in terms of type of makeup and colour BEFORE you enter the store.
The reason I’m saying this is because the store assistants or makeup counter girls will pull out twenty items and shades before you can explain anything to them, and you will get confused. They are not wrong; they are just showing you all your options. But that is the problem – there are loads of options available. You can’t buy all of them. They will try to make you feel that you really need a whole bunch of things that you could really do without.

So, calmly decide what you want to buy before setting out for the store and then ask for those specific items and colours at the makeup counter.

It is also a good idea to go makeup-shopping when you have enough time and you’re not in a big hurry.
Shopping with your mind on the time often leads to purchases that you regret later on.

Do figure out your undertone before choosing makeup.
Matching the colours to your undertone is one of the most important factors in getting makeup right. You will find helpful information and a reference link in the following article: Makeup For Dark-Skinned Women: Determining Your Undertone.

And finally, go with your instinct, not what the store girl tells you to do.
The shade you are buying must make you feel all happy inside. Unfortunately, most makeup counter assistants in India are not trained well enough to help you choose the best product for yourself.

Where can you buy your makeup from?

Any mall or shopping complex in your locality should have a few makeup counters. Avoid buying your makeup from a chemist or any stationery shop because the turnover of these items in such shops tends to be low. You may end up buying a really old product. When choosing makeup it is best to invest in a few good products that may cost a little more rather than buying many products that are of poor quality. After all, all this stuff goes on your face and you want to avoid skin reactions. Brands that I recommend for your first makeup kit are Revlon, Maybelline, L’Oreal, Lakme (for eyeliner). I like Avon as well but the problem is that the shade card doesn’t give an accurate idea of the actual colour. This makes things difficult since you can only buy Avon from Avon representatives and not from makeup counters.
Now for a look at the makeup itself and what to buy……..


If you are on the fairer side, brown eyeliner will suit you better as a daily liner. Black may look too stark and unnatural. It’s nice to keep the made-up look as close to your non-made-up look as possible with just a few perks here and there.
Those with a medium skin tone can wear both brown and black eyeliner.
Those with a dark skin tone can use black.

*What are the characteristics of a good eyeliner?
Buy your eyeliner from a known brand. You will be given a tester to try out on your hand. It must glide on smoothly and the colour of the line you’ve drawn must be even. Also, you should need just one swipe to get a clear line on your hand. If you need to keep going over the line to get the colour, then avoid it. It will be a pain to apply on the eyes.

*Waterproof, smudge-proof?
Since you’re trying makeup for the first time, go for the pencil type that can be smudged. I think the pen types are usually smudge-proof. The ones that can be smudged are easy to remove, correct and experiment with. Don’t worry about eyeliner spreading all over your eyelid by the end of the day. There are ways to avoid that like dusting a little powder onto the lid before applying the liner and checking your liner regularly for smudges which can then be wiped away with a cotton bud.
Avoid liquid or gel liner until you become comfortable with eye pencils.


This is a very subjective one because ultimately, it depends on taste. However, I can provide a few pointers on choosing a fool-proof colour for those who are completely new to lipstick.

*Shade and texture?
Whenever you’re choosing a lipstick, don’t decide on the basis of a shade card. Often the shades in the shade card are not the same as the actual shades of the lipsticks. You can use the shade card to narrow down your options but always test the lipstick on your hand before buying it.

If your skin is fair to medium in tone, a pale pink shade or a light brown shade in a cream-finish lipstick   is a safe bet. Make sure it has hints of gold, bronze or orange in it if you have a warm undertone (you’ll know if you are a warm-toned person if warm colours like golden yellow, orange, brick or light brown make you positively glow).

For fair skin tones: Pink shade for those with a warm undertone

For medium skin tones: Brown shade for those with a warm undertone

Make sure it has hints of blue, plum, purple or cherry if you have a cool undertone (you are cool-toned person if you find that cool colours like cool blues, purples and pinkish/purplish reds make you look radiant).

For fair skin tones: Pink shade for those with a cool undertone

For medium skin tones: Brown shade for those with a cool undertone

As mentioned before, you will find information on undertones in Makeup For Dark-Skinned Women: Determining Your Undertone.

If your skin is darker in tone as is the case with many Indian women, the same rules of undertone apply to you. Do not assume that just because you are dark-skinned, you have a warm undertone. It may be either way. You should use a dark cream-finish lipstick for a start. Make sure it has hints of gold, bronze, brick or orange in it if you have a warm undertone. A great shade for dark skin with warm undertones is deep wine. Maroon looks good too.

For dark skin tones: Maroon for those with a warm undertone

Make sure it has hints of pink, plum, purple or cherry if you have a cool undertone. A great shade for dark skin with cool undertones is grape.

For dark skin tones: Grape shade for those with a cool undertone

Maroons can suit both warm and cool undertones in dark skin. Avoid deep brown for now as it is a neutral shade and needs colour in other aspects of your appearance to balance it out.

Remember that the above suggestions are only for choosing your first ever lipstick shade. You can use these guidelines until you become comfortable enough to try out other shades. This is strictly for those who enter a makeup shop and don’t know where to start. Don’t worry about the darker shades. If you feel they are too bold or loud, you can always use them as lighter stains by dabbing just a little onto your lips with your finger.

*What are the characteristics of a good lipstick?
The assistant at any makeup counter will apply strokes of lipstick shades onto the back of your hand. A good lipstick must glide on smoothly. It must feel like a caress as it is applied onto your hand. The colour must be even and preferably, intense.
Unlike cream and matte lipsticks, sheer lipsticks or lip-glosses will not appear intense. But they too must glide smoothly onto your hand.
The ease with which the lipstick or lip-gloss glides onto your skin, usually indicates the moisturising level of the lipstick. Choose a lipstick with moisturisers in it. Most brands will have a range of highly moisturising lipsticks.
Remember, cream-finish lipstick is a safe bet for your first experiments with lipstick as opposed to any of the other finishes.

These were just makeup basics for beginners. Once you become comfortable using these few products, you can read the many other websites on makeup for more information on the other makeup products not described here.

Note on products for evening out your skin tone:

If you want to use makeup to even out blemishes or uneven skin tone, try a BB cream. BB creams or Blemish Balm creams are creams that do the work of a moisturiser, foundation and sunscreen. There are many more benefits which these creams offer. But since we’re talking about makeup I’ll just tell you why they are useful as makeup.

They are lighter in texture than foundations and provide a more translucent coverage than most foundation formulas. Maybelline counters in India have one called Clear Glow. However, it comes in a limited number of shades which are all too light for those women who are medium dark to dark. Garnier has also finally launched their BB cream here. I’ve not checked out the shades as yet. The Body Shop has one as well but there are no shades to choose from: at least there weren’t any when I checked it out. Unfortunately, the Body Shop one is too light for most medium to deep skin tones in India and leaves a whitish cast on the skin.

You could also try a primer. Primer is worn under foundation to even out the surface of the skin and provide a base for the foundation. It is a very light-textured product. Since it evens out the surface of your face it makes the face appear smoother. A smoother face reflects more light and therefore looks brighter and reduces the appearance of any acne pitting. You also get some primers which are colour-correcting ones. I have one by Revlon. It’s the Photoready Color Correcting primer. It provides the added benefit of blurring any blemishes or imperfections in skin tone. I have blemishes and uneven skin tone yet I don’t feel the need for foundation when I use this. It seems to take care of any dullness or redness in my face.

The other option (and the best in my opinion) is to just follow a good skin care routine which will allow you to make the most of your skin’s natural beauty.

All the best for your first experience of makeup! I hope this article helps you to embark on your makeup journey with a little more confidence than I started out with :-).

For tips on how to use your new eyeliner pencil and lipstick, take a look at my post on Quick Makeup: Using only pencil eyeliner and lipstick to create different looks. You may also find Non-Fussy Makeup: Quick & Easy Look no. 2 and Makeup Application For Beginners:Non-Fussy Makeup in 5 min useful.

Jul 112012

How do you know if you’re getting a good facial on those monthly trips to the beauty parlour?

When you go for a facial, you usually find out about a week later whether it was a good one or the type that left your face looking worse than it did pre-facial. Most of the time the bad effects of a facial show up in the form of bumpy skin, more breakouts, blemishes, hyperpigmentation and scarring which all appear a few days after the facial. Unfortunately, then it’s too late because you can’t go back in time and undo the facial. When it comes to ensuring that you get a good facial, prevention is best.

After getting my face damaged by a few facials, I have learnt to watch out for signs of a bad facial or more specifically, a bad beautician. It is the person who is doing the facial for you who’s important when you are assessing a facial. The facial itself is fairly easy to choose and is hardly actually designed to ruin your skin. By definition, they are all good in some way. It is, as I said, the beautician or the one who’s doing your facial whom you have to observe and question.The best way is to rule out a bad beautician at the very start.

The advice in this post is particularly meant for women in India; I don’t know how things are elsewhere.

Tip 1: Avoid going to those tiny beauty parlours that you see mushrooming all over the place. Aim for the known names or chains in the salon business. You may think, “But my face looks so clean and smooth after the facial, she really gets all the gunk out.” A facial is not supposed to be like that. It’s not like pouring Drainex down the sink to unclog the drain. Anyone who scrapes vigorously and hard at your face is actually damaging your skin in the long run. Such scraping damages the top layer of the skin and causes your skin to defend itself by producing more skin cells to cover up the sore areas. This makes your skin dull, hyperpigmented and full of blemishes and scars.

Also, the instruments used in such places are less likely to be properly cleaned than those in the salon of a higher-priced beauty salon chain. I’m not saying that the instruments in the chain salons are 100% clean; I’m just saying that there’s a higher chance of them being cleaner than in the other kind of parlours. Pay a little more so that you avoid having unwanted bacteria entering the skin  during a facial that’s meant to heal and clean it.

Another point to consider, is that the beauticians in the salon chains usually have standard in-house  training. Those who work in the tiny miscellaneous parlours often have no formal training and if they do, it is from a motley assortment of beauty academies.

Tip 2: After choosing a clean salon in which to do your facial, you will need to pay close attention to what the beautician is doing. When the scrub is being massaged onto the face, the pressure needs to be very light or else you can get grooves or minuscule cuts in the skin. So if you find the beautician scrubbing very hard (meaning that it feels like the scrubber meant for washing utensils is being used on your skin), then immediately ask her to reduce the pressure. Do not assume that she must know what she’s doing because a scary number of these beauticians actually don’t know what they’re doing. I have recently received an account of what really goes on in beauty salon courses that has put me on my guard about such beauticians.

Tip 3: Also, scrubs must never be used over the eyes. I know that that happens as well in some beauty parlours.

Tip 4: Pay attention to how the beautician is removing the whiteheads and blackheads. Is she scraping your entire face in rough strokes with the removal instrument? Or is she carefully nudging each one out? She should be gently nudging each one out at least in the problem areas like the nose, chin and forehead. If she isn’t, immediately ask her to go slowly.
As I’ve said before, excessive and vigorous scraping does more damage than good. It is better to repeat the facial 2 or 3 times at intervals of 2 weeks to get rid of all the whiteheads and blackheads, than to try and get them all out in one go.

Tip 5: Lastly, the beautician should remove the mask applied at the end of most facials by gently rubbing the skin with a wet sponge or washcloth. She must not scrub at your face. If she does, stop her and tell her how to do it or just do it yourself. It’s better than having damaged skin.

Other tips:

  • If you do find a beautician who’s good at her job, make a note of her name and stick to her the next time around. Otherwise you’ll have to go through another session of trial and error with a new person.
  • Mention any specific problems that you have with your skin before starting a facial.
  • Also mention your skin type if you know it. I suggest that you find out your skin type before going to the salon because beauticians are not always good at determining the skin type correctly.

All the tips given above have helped me to finally start getting a good facial every single time. These tips will help you ensure that your facials actually help your skin rather than making you go back to repair damage caused by  the facial itself.

Jul 012012
  • When applying mascara, open your eye and tilt your head back so that you’re looking downwards into the mirror. This ensures that the mascara does not get onto your browbone. If it does, keep a cotton-bud ready to wipe it off immediately before it dries.
  • Hold the mascara wand at the base of the upper lashes,  wiggle it a little from side to side to get between them and pull it upwards along the lashes.
  • To apply more than one coat of mascara, DO NOT wait for the first coat to dry. Follow the first coat immediately with the second coat, third coat and so on. If the mascara is allowed to dry, it becomes difficult to apply the subsequent coats and they get clumped up.
  • If you are using mascara for the first time, buy one that is not waterproof. Waterproof mascara tends to dry quicker. If it’s your first time with mascara, chances are that you’ll be a bit slow with the application and you don’t want your mascara clumping because it is drying so quickly.

For further information on how to choose a mascara wand when buying mascara that will suit you, read http://pixiwoo.blogspot.in/2012/04/which-mascara-wand.html . It gives a simple and useful categorization of mascara wands to help you choose the right one for you.

Jun 282012

Choosing makeup for dark-skinned women can be confusing. For instance, most cosmetics that we find in Indian stores seem to be geared towards the Caucasian skin tones thus making it rather difficult for Indian women with dusky to dark skin tones to find colours that suit them. Not that it’s always easy for the ones with fair to medium skin tones to find suitable shades.

The key to finding suitable makeup for your skin tone lies in determining your undertone. Both sets of women often make the mistake of thinking that they have a warm skin undertone and have bronzers and gold or yellow-tinted shades recommended to them by store assistants. The problem is that if you wear warm colours when you have a cool undertone or if you wear cool colours when you have a warm undertone, you look tired or unnatural. So it is important to determine your undertone before choosing your makeup shades (this goes for clothes too) as you will look best when you wear colours suited to your undertone.

How to figure out what your undertone is:

First of all, let’s differentiate between skin colour/tone and undertone. Skin colour or tone is the most apparent colour of your skin: fair, medium, dark. Undertone is the underlying hue of your skin. Your skin colour can change shades through tanning or less exposure to sun but your undertone remains the same. Undertones are pink, yellow, greenish/olive and neutral which is a mix of pink and yellow.

I have read a few articles on this and finally came across the article that I have given as a reference link below. It confirmed what I had suspected after a few experiments of my own: that you instinctively know which hues suit your skin. I had so many people advising me to wear bronzer or orange-tinted red and brown lipsticks because, being a brown-skinned Indian, I must have warm undertones. All the while it just didn’t feel right. It was always the cool colours that suited me. So thank you, Musicalhouses! There are warm, cool, neutral and olive undertones. You can be between categories too. Read the reference article for the explanation.

An easy way to quickly determine your undertone:

For now I’ll tell you how I simplified it for myself: take a closer look at the colours you favour when choosing clothes. You’ll know if you are a warm-toned person if warm colours like golden yellow, orange, brick or light brown usually look good on you and you are cool-toned person if you find that cool colours like cool blues, purples and pinkish/purplish reds look good on you.

While I did write this post primarily for the benefit of dark-skinned women, I must emphasize the fact that correctly determining your undertone can be useful to women of other skin tones as well. Just because you’re fair or medium toned does not mean that you automatically fall into the cool undertone bracket.

For a detailed explanation and illustration of the complexities of Asian undertones visit: http://musicalhouses.blogspot.in/2010/01/undertones-for-asians-how-to-tell-if.html

Note: If you are one of those people who like to follow trends or at least try them out, refrain from wearing a shade just because you saw it in a magazine or on TV. Always adjust the colour to suit your skin tone.

For more suggestions on lipstick shades to suit your skin tone, do keep an eye on my blog for future posts :-).

Jun 212012

A good daily routine for skin care can allow you to do your makeup without foundation. There are a few basic steps that you can follow to ensure that your skin looks as good as it can without foundation.


  • Do not use regular soap on your face. Always use a facewash. These are made keeping in mind the special needs of the skin on your face which is quite different from that on the rest of your body.
  • Choose a face wash suited to your skin type. A creamy facewash or cleansing milk would be more suitable for dry skin or normal skin. A gel facewash is better for oily skin. If you have acne-prone skin, look for a facewash with salicylic acid in the list of ingredients.
  • Wet the face sufficiently; this helps the cleanser to work on your skin.
  • Be sure to spend a couple of minutes gently massaging the cleanser all over your face. Do not just slap it on, give your face a quick scrub and then wash it off. Also do not be rough on the skin of your face.
  • After massaging the cleanser onto your face, rinse it off thoroughly. Pay special attention to the grooves between the nostrils and the cheeks and the jaw-line while rinsing as these areas tend to get overlooked.
  • After you’re done, PAT your face dry; do not rub it. Rubbing with a towel will not make your skin cleaner, it will only damage it.

Proper care of your facial skin while cleansing as described above will reduce the occurrence of blemishes or pigmentation. Cleanse a maximum of 2 times a day, usually in the morning and at night before bed. According to me, the night cleansing is especially important because it removes the grime and pollution of the day which would otherwise enter the pores when they open up while you sleep. If you use any mode of transport that exposes your face to the wind, dust and pollution, make sure that you wash your face as soon as you get home. As far as possible, use a soap-free face wash.

A note on the use of Toners and Astringents:
I recommend skipping these products as they can over-dry the skin. Toners and astringents are used to remove any traces of oil or makeup after cleansing, and to tighten or close the pores that open up during cleansing. If you use a cleanser, the oil or makeup will be removed by it because that is what cleansers are meant to do. As for the pore-tightening quality of toners and astringents, I can only say this: I had a habit of using toner for a while thinking that it would help reduce the large pores on my cheeks. It didn’t help at all even though I used more than one recommended toner. Finally I cut it out of my skin-care routine and focused on using the correct facewash and moisturiser. Now I find that my pores have actually reduced in size. If you do want to tighten your pores, just rub an ice-cube over your skin or wipe your face with a cotton ball moistened with rose water. They are cheaper alternatives and are much gentler on your skin.

The skin on your face needs to be moisturised after washing. Again make sure that you choose a moisturiser suited to your skin type. There seem to be enough of highly moisturising face creams on the Indian market for normal to dry skin. However, those with oily skin may have to hunt a bit. Your skin should feel soft and supple after applying the cream. If you experience dryness or oiliness within a couple of hours of application, then you need to switch to another more suitable cream. You may need two different moisturisers for summer and winter depending on whether the climate of your state is dry or humid.
For all those with oily skin, there are two things that you need to know.

  • You too, need to wear moisturiser. Cleansing can dry out your skin a little and the moisturiser helps to replenish what is lost in that process. If you do not moisturise your face, the dryness may cause the oil glands of your face to overcompensate for it and you may end up aggravating your oily skin.
  • You don’t need heavy moisturisers. A very light, water-based lotion should do (look for ‘aqua’ or ‘water’ as one of the first ingredients). If not, pure aloe vera gel will do just as well especially if you have extremely oily skin.

There are a few advantages to having smooth, soft lips. Lipsticks glide on well and look delicious as they are supposed to. Lipstick on rough, flaky lips doesn’t look alluring at all. Smooth lips also feel more comfortable than chapped ones. I’ve seen so many women complain about their chapped lips and about being unable to find a solution. So here’s my take on caring for your lips:

  • Every once in a while (once or twice a week) gently exfoliate your lips while washing your face at night. This exfoliation can be done with a face towel or a ball of cotton. You can also use an extra soft toothbrush but some may find it too harsh while others may find it icky. Massage the lips very gently in circular motions to remove all the dead skin.
  • Pat lips dry and apply a thin coat of Vaseline. Leave it on overnight. If your lips are really bad, then apply a little Nivea Soft cream (I have a soft corner for this cream; you can use any face cream instead) before applying the Vaseline.
  • For daily care, apply Vaseline on your lips every time you wash your face. Do this while the lips are still moist.

Exfoliate your face with a gentle face scrub at least once in 2 weeks. Find one that suits your skin type. Never rub hard. Use gentle, circular motions to massage the scrub onto the face. A scrub removes the dead skin cells on your face which make it look dull. Always follow up with moisturiser.

Including these tips in your daily routine for skin care will improve the overall texture and appearance of your skin. You should start seeing results within 2 weeks of following these tips.

Jun 212012

So you’ve decided to have fun shopping for makeup. But before you go and splurge, there are a few things you need to watch out for so you don’t get conned into buying a whole lot of stuff you don’t really need.

1) Sales people
They will flutter around you like moths pushing any number of products and shades under your nose. I don’t know whether this is a tactic they use to bamboozle you into buying a lot of stuff. All I know is that it can make you quite confused and disoriented and before you know it, you’ve bought shades you don’t care for and products that you could have done without, and you’ve spent way more than you intended to.
To avoid this,

  • Narrow down your requirements before heading to the shops. Even if you’ve not decided on a particular brand and product name, think about the qualities you desire in the makeup you want to buy. For example, if buying lipstick, think about which colour family you want, what kind of finish you need and of course, a maximum spending limit.
  • Once you reach the makeup counter, stick to your guns and only look at the product you’ve come there to buy.
  • If you do want to browse, plan one trip to the makeup shops just for browsing. Use a separate trip for purchases.

2) Billing
Recently, I noticed that every time I went to a makeup counter (especially the ones that are grouped together in bigger shopping centres like Central, Westside and others) the store assistants would write out the bill for a product before I had finalised my choices. The reason for this became apparent to me when I cancelled a product I had set aside as an option. It was a lip pencil and after browsing through a few other brands and colours, I’d realised that I didn’t need that one. The assistants looked a little disturbed at this and when I asked them what was wrong, they told me that the girl at that counter had already written out a bill. They were worried that she’d be unhappy now that it was cancelled. Why are they writing out bills for products that have not been finalised?! I realised then (silly me!) that they are not focused on helping you find the product that best suits you. They are focused on getting the bill from their counter paid for and listed in the system so they can get their commission. This is totally understandable from the store assistant’s point of view.
However, this situation is likely to cause you to feel kind of obliged to buy the product anyway because the bill’s been made already. This billing tactic is also part of the problem I’ve discussed  in point 1 above. You see, they flutter around you shoving 5 to 6 shades in your face all at once and then, as soon as you show a preference for any of the shades, they run to make the bill. And if you’re not careful to do a recap of the products and shades you’ve chosen, you end up paying for stuff you didn’t really want.
To avoid this,

  • Make sure that only one assistant is helping you
  • State clearly to the assistant that nothing is to be billed until you clearly ask for the bill
  • Do not allow them to keep aside the product that you’ve chosen but set it aside yourself
  • Go through the products you’ve set aside one last time before asking for the bill
  • Make sure that the bill is given into your hand and not carried to the cashier by the assistant.

3) Discounts and Schemes
These are sneaky little hooks that somehow make you end up spending double of what you had originally intended. Discounts can be a great way to save money or get more for what you’ve paid but they can also give you temporary blindness. Suddenly, shades look prettier, you discover that you just have to buy a product you didn’t even know about 2 minutes ago, you find yourself thinking that it’s now or never. IT ISN’T!
To avoid this,

  • First choose your stuff and make a note of the details of the products you’ve chosen.
  • Then tell the assistant you’ll be back in a couple of minutes and go out of sight of the makeup counter. Spend 5 minutes with yourself and then ask yourself whether you still really want all that stuff.
  • Go back and complete the purchase.

Most of the time you will prevent yourself from spending too much. Don’t worry about the discount ending. There are discounts throughout the year :-).

Jun 052012

It is accepted as a general rule that ALL makeup must be removed before sleeping. Skipping makeup removal can ruin your skin. A few balls of cotton and a bottle of cleanser are required for this purpose.

However, this section is meant to cater to those women who don’t bother with foundation, concealer, powder and blush so I shall not elaborate on how to remove these items of makeup. I shall only explain how to remove lipstick, eyeliner, eyeshadow and mascara.

You may wonder why you can’t just wash the makeup off, especially if it’s not waterproof. The fact is that traces of the makeup remain behind in the creases of your skin even after washing. It may not be visible to you in the mirror but if you clean up again with a cotton ball, you’ll see the makeup that remains behind on it. It is simpler then to first do spot cleaning as described below, and then to wash your face, put your moisturiser and so on.

The removal for all of these together will take no longer than 5 minutes. These are methods for makeup removal that I use to remove my own makeup quickly. I like to use either moisturiser or cleansing milk to remove makeup because I find that they are gentle on delicate areas like the lips and eyes and do not leave them dry. Baby oil works just as well especially for long-stay makeup.

Lipstick: Use a cotton ball and any moisturiser, baby oil or cream-based cleanser to remove lipstick. Pour a drop or two of the cleanser onto the cotton ball and rub gently over the lips. If you’ve used a cleanser, rinse with water afterwards.

Mascara: Use a cotton ball and cleansing milk or baby oil. Mascara can be difficult to remove properly, especially the waterproof type. If it is a waterproof mascara, it is better to use baby oil or any light oil like almond oil to loosen it up.
Option 1: To remove mascara efficiently, take very little (1 or 2 drops) of the cleanser onto the cotton ball as using too much can cause the cleanser to leak into your eye and cause a burning sensation. Close one eye, tilt your head up and hold the cotton under your upper lashes. Move the cotton firmly upwards and sideways along the length of your lashes from base to tip in the same movement you use when applying mascara. You need to wiggle the cotton ball a little from side to side. Do not pull along the lashes. Once you’ve finished removing the mascara, you may need to go over your eyelids with another ball of cotton to remove any smudges left by the mascara.
Option 2: Another way to remove mascara if it’s not too heavy, is by wetting a cotton bud or Q-tip with cleanser and moving it from the base of the lashes to the tips. Again, wiggle the Q-tip from side to side. This way is far less messy but takes a little more time and about 2 Q-tips per eye.

Eyeshadow: Use a cotton ball and cleansing milk to remove eyeshadow. Follow the same directions as those given for lipstick above. If you are wearing mascara, remove the eyeshadow after removing the mascara.

Eyeliner: Use a cotton bud and a cleanser. If your eyeliner is one of those long-stay, smudge-proof, waterproof types, then use baby oil as suggested for removal of mascara. Remove eyeliner after all other eye makeup because it is easier to see what you need to remove then. Place a drop of cleanser in your palm and roll tone end of the cotton bud in it so that it becomes wet with it. Gently pull the eyelid with one finger placed at the outer corner of your ey to make it taut. Draw over the eyeliner with the cotton bud to ‘erase’ the line. Do it firmly and in a smooth motion. This ensures that it comes off in one swipe and doesn’t get spread all over the place.
This method can be followed for eyeliner drawn on both, the inside (waterline) and outer rim of the eye. As when removing mascara, do not use too much cleanser. Use just enough to moisten the bud.

Tip: Always keep cotton buds or Q-tips handy in your dresser or your purse for quick makeup removal.