Since I started this blog in the summer of 2013, I have built up quite a collection of make-up as a result of buying things to review and trial for you wonderful people (convenient excuse there), but I know how hard it can be to know where to start.
When I first started wearing make-up I must have been about 14, and I was really unsure what to buy first or how to go about doing it. I clearly remember buying a foundation in Boots but I didn’t really know how to pick a shade or texture, so I have no idea how good it actually was. These days of course the internet makes that a lot easier, but I wanted to share my top tips on where and how to start building up your own make-up collection.
Tip One- Research– This might seem a bit excessive but finding out a bit more about your skin type, shade and budget is really important as it should help you decide which type of foundation is best suited for you. Below is a rough idea of the different skin types and the type of products I would recommend.
- Normal- This is someone who has pretty good skin and doesn’t really suffer with any consistent problems. You might get the occasional blemish or spot, but on the whole you are pretty lucky. You can take your pick of products!
- Dry Skin- The fine lines of your skin will be really visible, your skin could be quite dull and flakey. For this type of skin you want a product that is going to brighten and add some life back in to the dry skin. I would highly recommend the YSL Touche Eclat if it is in your budget, if not then try the Bourjois Healthy MIx Serum as both of these will give you a brightening effect as they have tiny particles of shimmer. Matte foundations will further dry the skin and look cakey on any particularly dry skin. The added bonus with these products is that they have a natural dewy look, and give the skin a beautifully healthy glow. Powder should be avoided with this skin type because it just added to the flakey look!
- Oily Skin- This skin type causes the skin to look shiny because there is too much oil being produced. It can almost make your skin have a greasy look to it, but treated correctly it is no problem at all. This skin type should avoid anything that adds an extra shine to the skin because that will only add further to the problem. Therefore foundations like the above mentioned two, should be avoided. Instead you are better off sticking to matte based foundation’s as these will help the skin look less shiney and help to dry it a little. I would recommend the Rimmel Lasting Finish foundation because while it is a matte based and high coverage product, it is light and natural looking. Powder will also be a useful tool for you because it will help keep the shine at bay.
- Combination Skin- You have all of the above at different times and this is the most common skin type. You should adopt your foundation to your skin on a daily basis, and I would recommend you switch between a matte and a lighting foundation as is required.
Using the above as a rough guide, you then have to pick a shade and this can be a particularly tricky task. High-Street stores don’t offer the best lighting for testing out foundation and foundations should always be trailed on your face. In my opinion this is one of the only negative things about purchasing from the high street.
Here are my foundation rules-
- ALWAYS swatch the foundation before you try it!
- Try and find out what undertone your skin has. Is it cool, warm or neutral? Have a look at this webpage for some tips on finding this out. While this will still mean you have too look at each foundation and pick a colour, knowing the shade with help you on your way.
- Go to the high-street store of choice (drugstore) armed with a mirror and make-up removing wipe and be sure to allow yourself plenty of tme. Swatch the foundations on your jawline because that will ensure you find the best match and avoid the dreaded dark line. I suggest you then find a natural light outside the store and have a look at it there to see how close it really is. While I have to admit that Bourjois foundation’s are my favourite on the highstreet, their range is fairly limited but the L’Oreal True Match has by far the most choice. If possible I suggest you take a friend with you too and ask for their honest opinion!
- If you can afford luxury foundations then ensure you test it before you pick it up. I suggest you have the make-up artist match it and then wear it in different lights and for a few hours to really trail it out!
Tip Two- Variety- Foundation is a really touchy subject because it is something that is personal to everyone, but there are several tips that can be used for all people and all skin types. While starting up a make-up collection I would suggest you try and invest in at least two foundations because on different days different foundations will look and feel better.
- Formula. I would suggest that you purchase one matte and one lightening foundation because both of these products will be useful at different times. I like using my matte foundations on bad skin days, or on days when my skin maybe has a bit more oil than normal. However on a general day to day basis, I much prefer using my lightening one.
- Colour. While it is crucial that you ensure you have the correct colour for your skin, it’s also important to remember that throughout the year your skin will change colour. This is obviously even more true if your lucky enough to be going somewhere sunny! So I would suggest that in the summer you make an extra trip to the high-street and pick up a darker foundation for your bronzed out skin!
Tip Three- Dimensions- Foundation is one of the best inventions ever (in the make-up realm obviously) because it can give you an excellent confidence boost. Yet if used alone it can sometimes make your face look a little bit flat. Foundation makes your face relatively one colour meaning that it can often take away the natural dimensions of your face, therefore the following products are crucial for any make-up collection.
- Bronzer- Similarly to with foundation, there are two key things to bare in mind when deciding which bronzer to purchase because you can get both matte and shimmery varieties. The matte versions are better for a natural bronzed look or for creating a shaping changing contour. I personally prefer these but shimmery bronzer definitely brighten your face. My favourite matte bronzer has to be the Body Shop Honey Comb Bronzer and the best shimmery brozer is the Bourjois Bronzing Powder. I like to use these along my temple, cheeks and jawline to add definition and life back in to my skin. If your a bit nervous of using bronzer then I would highly recommend the Bourjois Bronzing Primer because this thick cream bronzer blends seamlessly and looks super natural on your skin.
- Blush– There are three different blush types to think about, I personally suggest you have a mix of all three. The first of these is the standard powder blush which you can pick from any make-up company. These are my personal favourite because they are really easy to use and they are a build-able texture. These come in both shimmery and matte, and like with bronzer and foundation, it will be personal choice. The negative thing about powder blushes is that they generally don’t last as long as some of the other textures. The second type of blush is the cream blush and this is more natural than the powder variety. Blended correctly it has a natural and dewy look. They are pretty easy to blend and they mimic the texture of your skin. These tend to last a lot longer but aren’t as build-able as powder. The last and probably the hardest to get your hands on, particularly on the highs-street, has to be the liquid variety, these are known as cheek stains. For me these are by far the most natural-looking, but they are also the hardest to blend. They come in nail varnish like pots and have to be blended in to the skin immediately or they dry in dots, but because they are stains they do last all day long.
Step Four- Application devices- Of course I am talking about brushes or sponges, vital items for any make-up collection! There are a lot of different brushes and the like out there, and it is largely a process of trial and error, but I wanted to just share with you my personal essentials.
- Sponges! These bad boys are seriously cheap but used in the right way they are definitely worth the money. I personally don’t like using these for applying foundation, but I love using them for stippling my concealer in to my skin. Stippling is basically pushing the concealer on to any areas that might need extra coverage. I acheive this by applying concealer on to the blemish using a brush or straight from the tube, and I then dab the sponge on to the concealer, pushing it to stick to my skin. It helps with coverage, but it also helps give the product staying power too!
- Foundation Brush! There are a lot of a different foundation brushes out there, and I must admit that I have tried a few of the options. Similarly to most things this is a trial and error process and it can take a while to find the one. So I must admit that I am not a fan of the flat foundation brush, it just doesn’t work for me, but instead I have fallen for the Real Techniques buffing brush. I love using this to blend my foundation all over my face, and I then use my fingers to ensure it has a natural look.
- Blusher brush! Yup this is essential, and I am a fan of the large fluffy blush brush. My all time favourite is the Eco Tools Tapered Brush because this huge brush ensures an even distribution of colour. I use the very tip and very lightly brush it along my cheekbones. It is truly delightful.
So that is my guide to starting your own make-up collection and are the first few steps I suggest. I think that foundation and bases are also the hardest. If you are interested in another post like this on lips and eye products, then let me know and I will see what I can do.