Nov 202016

Okay, I’ve been waiting for a long time to write this post. It is one of the main reasons why I started this blog in the first place. This article is for all women (and men, if you happen to visit this makeup blog) who have deep, dark skin tones. Especially, Indian women.

If there’s one thing that really puzzles me (and quite frankly, irritates me), it’s the way women in India keep wanting to make their skin fairer through the use of either makeup or skin care products. Why on earth would you want to do away with that beautiful, dark brown skin tone?!! Where did we get this idea that fair skin is beautiful while dark skin needs to be corrected in some way or other?

I really have no idea where this prejudice against dark skin started. But I know what perpetuates it: advertisements showing only fair women when they want to depict beauty, a mind-boggling number of skin care products to achieve fair skin, discriminatory comments from the people around you and so on. Sound familiar?

For me it was any number of jibes at my skin colour when I was very young. I used to wish that I’d wake up one morning with fair skin, foolishly thinking that the jibes would stop and I would be termed as beautiful.

Thankfully, I had an extremely sensible mother who consistently made sure that I felt proud of my skin colour. She’d keep telling me to respond to people who called me ‘black’ by agreeing with them and replying that I was a ‘black beauty’. She’d look at me when I’d just entered my teens and keep telling me that I looked great or that she’d seen some boy admiring me. Who cares whether it was true or not? The fact is that, by using subtle and constant positive messages, she was helping to battle the widespread prejudice against dark skin in our country. She was also helping me to deal with all the insecurity and awkwardness that came with being a teenager.

And I am ever grateful to her for that because today, I am proud of my skin colour. I love it and have no wish to change it to any shade besides the actual shade of my skin. I scorn fairness creams and I now wish to pass on some of the confidence in dark skin that my mum instilled in me.

My dear dark-skinned beauties out there, instead of trying to make your features and your skin colour fit in with somebody else’s notion of beauty, look at your face every day and tell yourself that you are beautiful. You will be beautiful because YOU believe that you are beautiful.

When you go shopping for clothes and cosmetics, look for shades that celebrate your skin tone. One of the things I have noticed about makeup brands sold in India is that, for some reason, they never keep foundation shades that suit the darker skin tones even if that brand has darker foundation shades in other parts of the world. Even the so-called ‘deep’ shades are really meant for those with a medium skin tone and are very limited in shade range. So our dark-skinned beauties often end up buying foundation that is too light for them because darker shades are simply not available!! Honestly, until our makeup brands in India come to their senses and start stocking a wider range of darker shades, it would be best to avoid using foundation altogether rather than using one that is too light. Your natural skin colour will look any day better than that strange greyish tinge that too-light-foundation gives dark skin. Care for your skin instead so that you have no need to cover any unevenness with foundation. That is what I do, and I still declare that I love the way my naked skin looks much more than the way it looks with foundation and/or compact powder.

I believe that we are all born with the skin colour that looks best for our particular features and personality. The fire of beauty is there in all of us; covering our true colour will only serve to dampen that fire. Love your skin colour, celebrate your skin colour, let your fire burn!

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 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 . It gives a simple and useful categorization of mascara wands to help you choose the right one for you.

Jun 282012

Ever wondered what kind of makeup and how much makeup to wear? Sometimes this can be a bit confusing, especially if you’re not used to wearing makeup regularly. The kind of makeup you can wear differs depending on the time of day and the occasion. I’ve given a few tips below to clarify things a bit.

For day wear, keep the makeup as natural as possible. Pale eyeshadow is better for day wear than liner. Eyeliner must be lightly applied in thin lines. Lipcolour can be in pale shades such as sand pink, coral pink, baby pink, mauve, pinkish red, beige, caramel, copper. It must be matte or creamy in finish. Avoid high gloss for day wear.

For night wear, it depends on the occasion. For office I suggest neatly lined eyes with a medium to dark shade in a matte or creamy finish. For casual evenings out, I’d say natural eye makeup using eyeshadow rather than liner to liven up the eyes. And for the lips, a medium-toned colour (dull pink, light chocolate brown, light purple, light coffee brown, a dull red applied as a stain) in a gloss or dewy finish like that which you get with liquid lipsticks. For parties or clubbing, I suggest heavy eye makeup and nude, glossy lips, or minimal eye makeup with dark, full-bodied lip colour.

General guidelines

  • Do not wear heavy makeup on both your eyes and lips.
  • If you do want to wear dark eyes and lips, do so at night. Don’t make it too heavy and see that the eyes and lips do not overpower each other.
  • Light colours are usually worn in the day and early evening while dark colours are worn at night.
  • Heavy eye makeup especially with eyeliner is best kept for the night. Keep eyeliner lines thin for day wear.
  • Mascara is best worn in just one coat for the day and 2 or 3 coats for the night.
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:

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 232012

I am very fond of optimising a few makeup products to do quick makeup and create different looks. One of my hobbies is experimenting with just pencil eyeliner and lipstick. These 2 products came to my rescue at a time when I didn’t own any other makeup. I would change my look to suit the occasion just by tweaking these 2 products.

Natural day wear look

  1. Use the eyeliner pencil to draw a short thin line on the upper lid from the outer corner. Do not extend the line all the way but just about one third or halfway.
  2. Smudge the line using your finger from the outer corner inwards.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 below the lower lash line but with a thinner line.
  4. Apply a dark red or purple lipstick using your fingertip. Rub the lipstick onto your finger and spread the colour onto your lips. Make sure the colour is evenly spread. This should leave a coloured ‘stain’ on your lips. This gives your lips a ‘just kissed’ look ;-).

Office: day or evening wear look

  1. Use the eyeliner pencil to draw a line just above the upper lashes from corner to corner.
  2. Draw a thin line below your lower lashes as close to the lash line as possible. To make it easier to do this, look upwards into your mirror and tug gently at the outer corner of your eye.
  3. Line the inner rim (waterline) of your lower lash line with the eyeliner pencil.
  4. Apply a dark red or purple lipstick using your fingertip. Rub the lipstick onto your finger and spread the colour onto your lips. Make sure the colour is evenly spread. This should leave a coloured ‘stain’ on your lips.

Casual night wear look

  1. Use the eyeliner pencil to draw a short thin line on the upper lid from the outer corner. Do not extend the line all the way but just about one third or halfway.
  2. Smudge the line using your finger from the outer corner inwards.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 below the lower lash line but with a thinner line.
  4. Apply a dark lipstick in 2 coats. Blot with a tissue or spread the colour with your finger after applying the first coat.

Formal night wear look

  1. Rub the tip of your finger onto the lipstick (must be a dark one in maroon, plum, grape, purple or deep, dull pink). Take only a small spot of colour.
  2. Lightly dab onto the outer corner of the upper lid of your eye.
  3. Smudge it with your finger in one smooth stroke first along the lash line from the outer corner inwards.
  4. Then smudge it in the same way along the crease line (the groove that you feel at the top of your eyelid where the eyeball appears to end).
  5. The colour should now be darker towards the outer corner and should fade inwards. If you feel that the colour is not visible, repeat steps 1, 2, 3 and 4. Just make sure that the colour is much lighter than it appears in the lipstick.
  6. Use the eyeliner pencil to draw a line just above the upper lashes from corner to corner.
  7. Apply the same lipstick in 2 coats. Blot with a tissue or spread the colour with your finger after applying the first coat.

Clubbing or party night wear look


  1. Use the eyeliner pencil to draw a line just above the upper lashes from corner to corner.
  2. Keeping the eye closed, hold the lid taut with your finger by placing it at the outer corner of the lid and tugging gently. Tilt your chin up so that you’re kind of looking down into your mirror.
  3. Hold the pencil at an angle to the outer corner of your eye and the other end of the pencil is pointing towards your temple.
  4. Now extend the line just a little (about 1 cm) beyond the eye by lightly dragging the pencil point towards the end of your eyebrow thus creating an outward flick. If the flick is not even or dark enough, repeat this method. (Do not try to put the point of the pencil directly to the flick to fill it in.) Hint: If you draw lightly with the pencil, you get a nice wispy tip to the flick which prevents the line from looking too artificial. Don’t try to define the tip of the flick.
  5. Draw a thin line below your lower lashes as close to the lash line as possible. To make it easier to do this, look upwards into your mirror and tug gently at the outer corner of your eye.
  6. Define the inner corner by tracing its border with the liner. Keep the line thin.
  7. If drawing a line below your lower lashes seems too difficult, just line your lower waterline (inner rim) with the eyeliner pencil by rubbing the pencil point along it.
  8. Apply a nude or slightly pink lip gloss or lip balm to your lips. If you are very dark, first line your lips with purple liner if you have one, smudge the line with your finger and then apply the gloss. The liner will give more definition to nude lip colours on a very dark skin.

For darker eye makeup, look up my smokey eye makeup tutorial which uses only one more product, mascara.

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 212012

This is another 5-minute look with eyeliner and lipstick for beginners. (If you have large eyes, don’t do this look.)
Note: Before applying any makeup you must wash your face with a soap-free cleanser, pat dry and apply a moisturiser suited to your skin type followed by a sunscreen.

You will need:
1 eyeliner pencil (black or brown)
1 lip balm
1 tissue
1 lipstick


  1. Make sure the eyeliner pencil is sharpened. Gently pull the lower lid of your eye slightly down. Place the side of your eyeliner point on the lower waterline that is now exposed (inner rim of your eye) and rub it along the entire lower waterline from corner to corner.
  2. Apply lip balm to your lips. Invest in a good one. I use Nivea Fruity Shine. The balm helps the lipstick to glide on smoothly. Press the tissue against your lips to blot off any excess balm.
  3. Apply the lipstick to your bottom lip from the outer corners to the centre. Wait a few seconds and press your lips together very gently (DO NOT rub them together). This will leave an impression on your upper lip that you can use as a guide for filling in the lipstick there (the Cupid’s bow on that lip can be tricky).
  4. Apply lipstick on the upper lip from the centre dip of your lip to the outer corners. Wait a few seconds and gently press your lips together again.
  5. Gently massage the colour into your lips with your finger. This will even out the lipstick helping it reach all the folds of your lips as well as help the colour to last longer. If you don’t like getting your fingers messy then use a tissue to blot your lips by folding it in half and closing your lips over the tissue as though you’re chomping down on it.
  6. Reapply the lipstick on both lips as described before.

Let’s do a quick recap

Step 1: Eyeliner
Step 2: Lip balm
Step 3: Lipstick

* If you want a very light stain on your lips, simply spread the colour on your lips with a finger.

Jun 172012

Here are few lipstick ideas that you can use to make the most of your lipstick.

A) Varying tints of the same lipstick

Dark lipsticks are especially suitable for creating tints of varying colour intensity. You can wear the same lipstick in different ways.

Apply a lip balm before applying the lipstick. Make sure it is a thin layer or else, blot it with a tissue.

Apply lip balm in a thin layer before applying lipstick.

Option 1:Dab on with your finger to give your lips a light flush of colour. This creates a more natural look.

Dab on a little and spread over your lips for a light stain.

Option 2:Follow the step given above and apply a coat of clear gloss or lip balm to create a new lip gloss for yourself.

Add a layer of lip balm or lip gloss over the stain.

Option 3:Apply the lipstick in 2 layers and blot your lips after each layer with a tissue to get a subtle, matte effect. Alternatively, skip the tissue and spread the colour evenly over your lips using your finger after applying each layer of lipstick.

Apply in 2 layers and blot each layer for a matte finish.

Option 4:Apply the lipstick in 3 layers and blot your lips (or spread with your finger) only after the first 2 layers to get a full-bodied, dark colour.

Apply in 3 coats without blotting the last one for a rich, dark colour.

 Product used in the above pictures:
Lipstick: Maybelline Colorsensational 926, Pure Passion

B) Refreshing your faded lipstick at the end of a long day without reapplying it

Sometimes you find that your lipstick has faded from the middle of your lips at the end of a long day. You may find that it has settled into the creases of your lips or has left an ungainly ring of colour all along the rim of your lips. And you don’t have the time or patience to carefully reapply the lipstick. Here’s what you can do:

  • Spread whatever colour is left on your lips with your finger so that it’s now distributed evenly across your lips.
  • Whip out your lip balm or clear lip gloss and apply a coat of it.
  • You’re now ready to go with a new shade of lip gloss on your lips!

C) Benefits of investing in a lip brush

Using a lip brush to apply lipstick

  • allows you to reach all the folds and corners of your lips easily,
  • makes it easier to apply the lipstick accurately and within the boundaries of your lips,
  • helps you to use the minimum amount of lipstick for the maximum coverage,
  • helps the lipstick last longer on your lips (especially if you blot it between 2 or 3 coats with a tissue), and
  • helps you to use your lipstick right to the very bottom of the stick.

D) Using lipstick as eyeshadow

Lipstick can also be used as an eyeshadow if it is of a lighter hue. Obviously you are better off not using bold reds as eyeshadow unless you want to look like you have a rash. But colours like pale or muted pinks, mauve, purple, coral, shades of brown etc. can be used as eyeshadow. Use cream lipsticks rather than metallic finish or glossy ones. Just rub the lipstick onto your ring finger and dab onto your upper eyelid from the outer corner inwards. Always spread on from the outer corner towards the inner corner so that the colour seems to fade in that direction. Apply the colour lightly.

Using lipsticks as eyeshadow gives you a few advantages over the usual powder eyeshadow:

  • you have as many colours at your disposal as you have lipsticks
  • cream lipsticks give a lovely sheer, satiny finish to the eyeshadow
  • they are easy to apply
  • you don’t need a special applicator or brush

E) Using lipstick as a blush

I have heard that lipstick can be used in this fashion. I prefer to avoid it since my skin is oily and prone to breakouts. However, if you have rather dry skin, you can dab a little lipstick on the apples of your cheeks to give them a slight stain. You could use pink, peach or cherry shades depending on your skin tone. Apply in light, circular, upward strokes blending towards your temples. Keep the colour as light or sheer as possible.

Jun 062012

Before you start with makeup, it is better to understand the way in which different kinds of makeup act to enhance your features. That way you’ll know how to tweak the application to suit your own taste.

To add colour to the lips or to accentuate them.
Lipsticks are available in cream, glossy, matte (no shine, no sheen), sheer or metallic finishes. If your lips are your best feature or if you are sort of happy with them, you can play around with light or dark shades according to your mood. If they are not your best feature and you don’t really like them, it is best to keep them as subtle as possible and use colours that are close to your skin tone with just a hint of colour. Even if you don’t have gorgeous, full lips, you can still liven them up with rosy or plummy shades and a little gloss.

Lip liner
To line the lips before applying lipstick.
It provides a guiding boundary for the lips much like that in children’s drawing books so that you don’t go outside the lines and make a mess. In addition to that, it prevents the lipstick from bleeding. It can also be used to correct or slightly alter the apparent shape of your lips to make them more symmetrical or thicker or thinner etc. Lip liner is also used to colour in the lips so that it acts either as a base for your lipstick or as a lipstick on its own. The colour you choose should be a shade darker than your lipstick colour. Nude colours can be used to even out the colour of your lips before applying pale shades of lipstick.

Eyeliner Pencil
To give the eyes the appearance of a darker rim and thicker lashes.
It can prevent you from looking tired. If you have small eyes, it is better to line the outer rims of your eyes rather than the inner ones. Lining the inner rims will create a sharp boundary around the whites of your eyes thereby making them appear smaller. Lining the outer rims opens up the eyes. If you have big eyes you can line the outer as well as inner rims. Line both if you want an intense look (knock em dead with one look).
Note: You also get eyeliner liquid, gel eyeliner and eyeliner pens (a bit like sketch pens) but these are only suitable for those who are pros at applying eyeliner with a steady hand.

To make lashes appear longer and thicker.
Mascara opens up the eyes just like eyeliner. It is a bit fussy and I would not recommend it for those who are new to makeup. Best to wait until you’re confident about applying eyeliner.

To add perspective and depth to eyes.
The shades of an eyeshadow palette (you must have noticed that they tend to come in sets of 2, 3 or 4  shades of the same colour family) are used on different portions of the eyelid to create the illusion of depth and to highlight or brighten certain surfaces. The darker colours are used to create depth while the lighter ones are used to highlight. Eyeshadow also adds colour to the eyes and dresses them up.

Compact or Pressed Powder
To even out your skin tone.
It can help to mattify (reduce the oily appearance of) the skin, or give it a sheer, translucent finish depending on the kind of powder you buy. It is also used to set foundation (keep it from melting off your face). Powder comes in a compact case with a thin puff for application. You get it in various skin-toned shades ranging from those for fair skins to those for very dark skins. It is more advanced makeup in my opinion. This is for those makeup virgins who don’t mind the extra work of applying powder.

To even out the skin tone and act as a base for the rest of your makeup.
It provides more coverage for skin imperfections than powder. Foundations are available as liquid, powder or stick foundation. Again, I consider this component of makeup to be unnecessary unless you really want to cover up blemishes. If you don’t really mind any dark spots or blemishes you may have on your face, then it is better for beginners to skip this product.

Tinted moisturiser
To lightly camouflage skin imperfections and give a better finish to the skin.
It is a mild and lighter alternative to foundation. If you wish to avoid heavy makeup but still want something to even out your skin tone a bit, then this is a good option.

To give concentrated coverage for specific blemishes like dark circles under the eyes, acne scars, budding pimples and dark spots.
It is used only on specific problem areas of the face and not all over like a foundation.

To give a flushed look to your cheeks.
Blush comes in powder or cream form and is applied to the apples of the cheeks. Since it is meant to mimic the colour of skin when the blood rushes to its surface, it usually comes in shades of pink and red. Very little needs to be applied or else you may end up looking like a clown. Blush is especially useful for those with cool undertones.

To give the skin a bronzed, sun-kissed look.
If you have warm undertones, this makeup product enhances your natural yellow or gold glow. It is applied to the cheeks, temples, forehead to give a tanned look.

Please check out my posts for information on easy, non-fussy 5 min makeup.