Aug 292012
 

Hi! I know it’s been quite a while since my last post. The power adapter of my laptop decided to conk off and getting another took some time :-(.

So, now that I’m back, I have another remedy for you. I love making up remedies and sharing them.This one is a favourite of mine and, unlike the acne remedy, it’s a rather old one which I’ve used for years on myself and my loved ones. I swear by it as it’s always given great results.

This remedy is for all you people out there who wish that they didn’t have emery boards for feet. Know what I’m talking about? Feet that catch on the fabric of your bedsheet, feet that you are ashamed to show off in strappy sandals, feet that you want to cover up with socks and sneakers when you go to the beach. After using my remedy for dry, rough feet and cracked heels, you will confidently wear those strappy, sexy slingbacks that you’ve been avoiding, you will happily wear flipflops to the beach and play footsie with that special someone without giving him or her a shave in the wrong places ;-).

The key product in this remedy for dry, rough feet is an amazing Avon cream called Footworks Rough Skin Remover/Sloughing cream. I think the product exists under another name, Avon Footworks Healthy Pumice Cream, on the Avon (US) site.

Your best friend for dry, rough feet: Avon Footworks Rough Skin Remover cream

This is essentially an exfoliating cream. It has little gritty particles in it that help to slough off the dead skin.

The Avon Footworks Rough Skin Remover cream has fine, gritty particles to help smoothen dry, rough feet. But don't worry, it's not harsh on the skin at all!

However, the directions given on the tube do not help you to get the full benefit of this awesome cream. The directions tell you to use it on dry skin but I’ve found that this is not effective and can be rather harsh on the skin. My method involves softening the skin first with a foot soak and then using the Avon sloughing cream.

This remedy is very safe for your skin and is not at all harsh. However, if you already have relatively soft and smooth feet, I don’t recommend trying it out because it may be too harsh for skin that has no dead skin to slough off. This remedy is strictly for those who have really dry feet or cracked heels.

You will need:

  • 2 tubs or buckets of warm water to use for the foot soak (enough water to submerge the feet in)
  • hand towel
  • Avon Footworks Rough Skin Remover cream
  • Nail brush or foot brush
  • Nivea Creme (blue tub)
  • Optional: Vaseline petroeum jelly and a pair of cotton socks

So here it is:

  1. Soak your feet in warm water for about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove and pat with a towel so that your feet are no longer dripping, but are quite damp.
  2. Apply a generous amount of the Avon Footworks Rough Skin Remover cream onto the problem areas (dry skin, hardened heels, cracked heels, rough skin) of your feet. DO NOT massage the cream into to the skin. Just allow it to sit in a layer on your feet. Leave it on for about 5 minutes.
  3. Now start massaging the cream onto your feet in small circles. If it feels too dry, moisten your fingers and massage the feet. There should be just enough moisture to allow your fingers to slide along your feet. Moisten your fingers only initially and not later on. As you massage and the cream starts to dry, the dry skin will start to fall off your feet in little shavings. Keep massaging the feet all over the problem areas until the shavings have stopped falling. I’ve found that using the heel of my thumb is most effective for massaging the cream towards the end.
  4. Now rinse your feet in a small tub of warm water. Brush them with a nail brush to remove any remaining dead skin and particles of the Avon Footworks cream. Pay attention to the toenails and spaces between the toes if you have used the cream on the toes.
  5. Pat your feet dry and immediately slather on Nivea creme (the blue tub).
  6. If you have really, really dry feet, I suggest that you do this exercise just before bed and apply some Vaseline petroleum jelly to your feet after applying the Nivea. Put on a pair of cotton socks and go to sleep.
  7. Hello, soft and smooth feet!!

Note:

  • Those with cracked heels may need to repeat this procedure about 3 to 4 times. Wait at least a week before repeating it. If you have cracks in the heels that are so bad that they are bleeding, first treat the bleeding and allow the cut to close up before you follow this remedy. If the skin is actually broken and bleeding, the exfoliating particles from the scrub may get into the skin and irritate it.
  • Do not use a metal foot file to get rid of dry skin or cracked heels. This is especially important in the case of cracked heels. Metal files tear the surface of the skin and actually damage it. Dead skin needs to be gently and lovingly nudged off. I know that lovingly massaging dead skin off your feet is not exactly what you have in mind when you see deep, ugly cracks in your heels. But I believe that skin (or nails, hair etc.) behaves well when it is treated with love. If you wage war against it with things like metal foot files, it will wage war against you.
  • To help your feet remain soft after using this remedy, always massage Nivea Creme into your feet after a bath and use footwear of some sort when walking on dusty surfaces.
  • You could add some conditioner, almond oil or olive oil to the foot soak to further soften the skin.
  • You could also add aromatic oil to the foot soak just to enjoy the fragrance and pamper yourself.
Aug 042012
 

I have noticed that there are many people struggling with acne marks and scars and so I thought I’d share a solution for getting rid of acne and acne scars that I kind of put together for myself. I hope some of you find it helpful :-).

From the age of around 14 to 21, I suffered from acne on my face. It left me with scarred and pitted cheeks that remained with me for the next 9 years. Then at the age of 30, I suffered from another bout of acne leaving me with a few more scars.

Unfortunately, my skin does not heal very well. Most of my skin injuries leave me with a visible, dark scar. As you can imagine, I did not appreciate having a face that looked like the surface of the moon – pits, dark spots and all. I set about doing some research on the Internet about how to get rid of these vestiges of my teen and adult acne. The solution I came up with did not remove the pitting to any great extent, but it certainly stopped the pimples, almost completely cleared the dark spots and improved the overall texture of my facial skin.

I have included a couple of snaps here to show you what I looked like before and after starting my remedy. The ‘Before’ snap is the only proper snap of my face that I have from the period before starting my acne remedy. It was taken with my camera phone and so it’s not a good quality one. The ‘After’ snap was taken with an SLR camera and is, therefore, of much better quality. However, I would like to point out that the poor quality of the first snap should have blurred my scars and made me look better :-), whereas the high definition of the second snap should have made all my spots painfully obvious. In spite of this, you will see that my face in the second snap looks considerably better than that in the first snap.

Before (A): Scars before starting my acne remedy

Before (B): Scars before starting my acne remedy (scars circled)

This snap was taken when I was going through my second bout of acne or my adult acne at the beginning of this year. I’ve circled the marks in the second snap since this is not a good quality snap and you may not be able to distinguish the marks easily. They were a dark, dull brown at the time of this snap. At least if they had been black, I could have passed them off as beauty spots :-).

Update: Okay, so I managed to find another clearer snap of my acne scar face. These were taken with the SLR camera so every blemish is painfully obvious. Even so, I’ve circled the marks in case you can’t see them. Here they are:

Before (pic 2): Scars before starting my acne remedy

Before (pic 2): Scars before starting my remedy (circled)

And now here’s a snap of me after 2 months of using my acne remedy:

After: My face 2 months after starting my acne remedy

See? Loads better! The scars have either gone or faded and the texture of my skin is way better than before.

My solution:

  1. For internal skin repair (dark spots, uneven skin tone) I started taking 2 capsules of Seven Seas cod liver oil and 1 capsule of Evion Vit E (400mg) daily.
  2. I switched to a face wash that contained salicylic acid (beta-hydroxy acids or BHAs). The one I’m using now is Garnier PureActive Pore Unclogging wash. I also have Clean & Clear Morning Burst which is another face wash suitable for oily skin that contains salicylic acid. I used the facewash only twice a day.
  3. I stopped using toner. If I felt my pores needed tightening, I’d just use ice all over my face.
  4. I found a good moisturiser for my oily skin. It was an aloe vera gel by Forest Essentials. It works fine in the summer. I need a slightly heavier one for winter.

The above routine started showing results within the same week. By the end of a month, all my dark spots had faded to almost nothing. Only the really dark and stubborn ones were holding on for dear life. And now, in the 3rd month since I started this routine, even the stubborn ones are fading away. As for the pimples, they’ve disappeared altogether.

Why did this routine work?

  1. The cod liver oil provides the extra Vit A that acne-prone skin needs. This works in conjunction with the Vit E. Therefore, they have to be taken together. There is an optimal proportion of Vit A to Vit E. For details on the role of these vitamins in fighting acne and the quantities, you can read http://www.acne.org This is just my simplification of the information given in the website. Basically, these 2 vitamins reduce the scars and improve the texture and appearance of your skin. If you have issues with consuming cod liver oil capsules, the above-mentioned website suggests intake of certain quantities of butter or palm oil.
  2. The salicylic acid in the face wash is a kind of non-abrasive exfolliant which cleans out the pores. It removes the dead skin and sebum (oil secreted by the skin) which cause whiteheads and pimples. Apparently, this process happens naturally for people with normal, acne-free skin. However, those with acne-prone skin have sebum glands that work overtime and so these people need a little outside help.
  3. I found out that toner and astringents can dry out the skin more than necessary. This is especially the case if you’re already using a drying facewash like a scrub or one with salicylic acid (which is an exfolliant). More dry skin means more dead skin getting into your pores and mixing with the sebum to create whiteheads and pimples. Frankly, I found that my pores reduced in size a bit after I stopped using toner.
  4. Moisturiser is necessary for your skin even if it is oily or acne-prone because those pimples are not formed ONLY from the excess sebum. They are the result of a combination of dry or dead skin cells and sebum. The cleansers that help acne tend to be drying so you need to replenish the moisture (NOT the oil) lost during cleansing. Therefore, a good OIL-FREE moisturiser is essential. If you don’t follow this step, all the other steps in this skincare routine are rendered useless.

I also continued my routine of going for a facial once a month. However, I do recommend going at least twice a month initially until all your whiteheads and blackheads have reduced significantly. The only reason I didn’t do it was because I didn’t have the time. Perils of being a mummy :-)! Do make sure that your facial is done correctly. A bad facial can put all the scars back onto your face.

Sunscreen made its way into my skincare routine at the same time that I started the solution described above. This is because I realised that I was not really giving my skin a chance to recover if I kept exposing it to harsh sunlight that would damage it further every time I went out. Find one that has a high SPF and that is oil-free or at least light in texture. I am using Biotique’s Carrot sunscreen lotion at present.

I’m sure you all know this tip but I’ll repeat it anyway because it is so vital: don’t pick at pimples or at the scabs left after the pimple has burst. And lastly, lots of water, a good amount of sleep, limited intake (not absence) of oily food are all obvious parts of any acne-fighting routine.

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.

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 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
 

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.

Cleansing

  • 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.

Moisturising
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.

Lipcare
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.

Exfoliation
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 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.

May 312012
 

I use 2 methods to achieve long lasting lip colour on my lips. Before using either of these methods, I make sure that I’ve buffed my lips and moisturised them using either Nivea cream or balm. If I use balm, I use just enough to coat the lips with a thin layer as too much can make the lipstick slide off.

Using a tissue and lip brush

This is me without lipstick. I’ve applied a lip balm.

No colour

  1. Apply the lipstick all over your lips using a lip brush. The idea is that the less product you use, the less likely it is that it will slide off the minute you eat or drink. A lip brush helps you to apply just enough colour to cover your lips. This kind of thin layer is more likely to give you long lasting lip colour for a few hours.

    One coat of lipstick

  2. Hold a tissue folded in half between your lips and press lips together against the tissue. This will blot off any excess colour.

    After blotting the first coat

  3. Repeat step 1 and 2.
  4. Steps 1, 2 and 3 will give you a matte finish.

    2 coats of lipstick after blotting: matte, subtle finish

  5. For a more intense finish, lightly dab the lipstick directly from the tube onto your lips after steps 1, 2 and3.

    After applying 3 coats of lipstick: full-bodied finish

  6. For a glossy effect, apply a bit of gloss or balm after step 3. (See note below.)

    With gloss after the first 2 coats

Using your finger

  1. Apply a little lipstick to the centre of your lips directly from the tube.
  2. Spread all over your lips with the tip of your finger.
  3. Repeat step 1 and 2.
  4. Steps 1, 2 and 3 will give you a matte finish.
  5. For a more intense finish, lightly dab the lipstick directly from the tube onto your lips.
  6. For a glossy effect, apply a bit of gloss or balm after step 3. (See note below.)

Remember that the trick to achieving long lasting lip colour is to use as little of the lipstick to get a stain on your lips and then to build up the colour by layering the stain. This also helps you to apply as light or dark a colour as you want. Simply stop layering the colour when you achieve the concentration of colour that you desire.

Between the 2 methods described above, the tissue one is more effective. I use the finger method when I’m out or when I don’t have tissue and a lip brush at hand.

Note: Applying lip balm or gloss reduces the colour’s staying power.

Products used in this post:
Lipstick: Streetwear Moisture Rich Lipcolor 04, Wild Berry
Lip balm: Nivea Essential Care