Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Blush N Blushing

Blushes are something that I keep on buying all the time (eyeshadows and glosses too). And we have so many sites telling us how to apply a blush but doesn’t it go wrong all the time. Somehow my mom is never satisfied with the blush. When I apply it she thinks I’m trying to save the product and apply less and when she applies she goes over board. I’ll tell you the reason in the due course though. So ultimately we should think of drawing lines.

The most natural way to apply blush is follow a map called FACE MAP. You don’t have to get embarrassed for assessing yourself though. The best way is to see yourself in different types of light before you judge the perfect blush that would suit you. Lets talk about the face map first. A blush is basically the area where we flush during occasions. A flush is a gush of blood that flows through dilated capillaries under the skin. Different people blush at different places at times. Like when I get angry my cheeks flush and so do my ears and so does my brow area….Funny but true. So basically one can see how they flush after doing some cardio exercise. Most of them or rather all of them flush at the apples of the cheeks so lets consider that as the principal area. Now how do you test the colors that suit you the best? Look at yourself in three types of lights as they are the three common areas where we go viz. day light, fluorescent light and incandescent light. Day light is what you see during the day. Fluorescent light is what we have in our homes and offices while incandescent lights are seen in restaurants etc. I consider day light as the most true light and you see what is the truth. Now forget the patchy and uneven skin and just look at the areas where we have blushes. If you’re warm toned you’ll see a peachy glow to a brick red color with a golden glisten. If you’re cool toned you’ll see a pinky mauve purplish shade with a silvery white glisten. These are the colors you should try sticking to but please don’t follow this dictum all the time. You can always try various colors but see to it that you don’t end up looking like a doll or a drag.

Well in incandescent lights the situation is a bit different. Cool colors end up looking muddy and look horrible but warm colors look very flattering and beautiful. So the best way is to choose a neutral shade or something with a golden undertone to warm up the romantic mood. But this romance would spell differently in fluorescent lights which are cool and harsh. Here warm colors look terrible and if you worn something too warm like orange you’ll end up looking sad and much in despair. In these lights pinks and mauves look very attractive and cool colors like plums top the list but again one can choose a neutral shade to combat the two different lights.
So when you analyze all this you end up getting an over all idea of how a blush should be. Next thing is to think of the different areas where you could use it. Since a blush can also be used to create depth and contours in the face as well as bring out the best features in your face, its one of the most multi faceted products in makeup.

I see some beautiful girls who have amazing cheek bones and yet they try contouring it too much and look harsh and very robot like. I also see some girls who are as chubby cheeked as any one can be and apply a pink dab of blush making them look like circus clown. It’d be rude enough on my part to tell them where they are going wrong but I think through this post they’ll surely get some hints and try changing them selves.

Every one here knows the application techniques and about the different formulations so I won’t be making an extra effort there. I’m going to talk about the nuances of blush application that might prove useful the next time you buy a blush. Still for those who want to know have a look at http://www.beautybuzz.com/contrib.asp?page=zar2

Firstly never buy a single color. Always buy palettes or dual colors or if you’re lucky and rich enough then assorted palettes of 6 blushes from MAC which are custom made for you and by you. The reason is because you can create a variety of effects using a lot of blushes together. A light pink blush might look very good on the heights of cheeks and that doesn’t mean you apply it everywhere. The key is to gradually add depth to the color when moving downwards to create an illusion of healthy cheeks and a brightened complexion. A dark color is always placed in the shadowed areas of the face and that’s how we can add dimensions to our alive canvas. And I think one should make that little effort as it changes oodles of what you’d look.
Secondly it’s always better to build up color than apply everything in a single stroke. It’s more flattering to apply blush in round strokes so that there are no streaks and snail trails that could be seen. It’s the harshest way of blush application. While applying blush on my models and friends I always dab a small amount on my blush brush and then tap of the excess on my palm. In this way you can control the amount of blush that you are discarding and there is less product wastage. I always prefer using a clean brush as the blush applied yesterday shouldn’t mix with the blush applied today and ruin the look.

After seeing the amount of blush, it’s the clash between two different formulations. If you top up a crème blush over a powdered one, it’d be impossible to blend until you’re really deciding to do that and flaunt it later on. Now if you top up a powder blush on a crème one it’ll stick as if its embracing its long lost brother. It just doesn’t budge. So its better to use translucent powder as a bridge between the two blushes. The powder also ensures that the blush stays longer than it would normally do. If you apply translucent powder over a powder or a crème blush or even a cheek stain, its gives a look of flush from within which is a very flatteringly sophisticated way to use a blush.

Has anybody used a brown shimmery blush? Then I’d advice them to go and see it. It’s not a bronzer by the way. It’s a frosted brown blush with neutral shimmers i.e. pearlised silver and gold frost into it. It looks very flattering if you want to have naturally water sprayed finish. It has been used many times on the ramps and us purely for highlighting and not contouring. I feel that if it is used correctly and just a wee bit, it can really perk up any complexion except ebony ones as they’ll look as if they are wearing a wrong colored powder. It just adds a little sophistication when you have a lot of smoky eye thing going on. It’s a darker version of a muted beige blush and rather a better version. Believe me, when I saw it for the first time I was dazed and confused about who buying it and now I’ve not one but three. And surely I’d list them, MAC Sweet as a Cocoa, Shiseido Accentuating Powder blush in Glistening Brown and Chanel’s Joues Contraste in Brume D’Or (a little red undertone) I’d also recommend MAC’s powder blush in Format as its somehow a sweet brown with a pinkish tone that makes it more toward the taupe side. And of course Shu Uemura makes them too. Please be sure to use a very little bit as it might look silly at times.

This is something that I found on a Korean Site.She has used a shimmery brown blush. I wonder whether its a trend in the Oriental East. But it balances her pink mouth and lilac eyes really well.

As I said before I’d always love blush palettes. Some brands that have them in India are Christian Dior, Givenchy, Clarins and YSL and since they are all French one can understand the elegance and the French style. No wonder the best makeup came from France.
For a defined look always use an angled brush or a dome shaped brush as these brushes are literally trained by their makers to reach the area that they are meant to. I really imbibed this trick of Elke von Freudenberg of measuring the right size of a blush brush with the reference to the apples of your cheeks. And please throw the brushes that come with the blush compact. They are as useless as old tooth brushes and some are hard to cause scratches where you won’t be blushed but attacked.

I prefer powder blushes over crème ones and gel ones because there is a lot of scope in controlling the application and if you end up looking like a clown then there are quick ways and easy ways of getting rid of excess. For a natural finish it’d be advisable to use a fan brush and have p lesser product and a refined way of dusting the blush on. They are softly and a little tickly too.

On this note I think I’ve talked a lot about blushes. Please feel free to ask any questions.
Soon shall have some product reviews and looks for the season and of course some recent inspirations from my favorite makeup artist..

Till then CIAO

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Makeup Lessons by Elke von Freudenberg

Elke von Freudenberg is a celebrity makeup artist and an eyebrow specialist who according to me is a creator and inventor of one of the best techniques in the market.
I simply love her and would want everyone to have a look at the makeup tips that she gives.

She happens to be the pioneer in beauty blogging and though she hasn't added me in her blogging list I respect her and love her work.She has contributed immensely in Harper's Bazaar and her work is something that cannot be missed.


Blushes N Bronzers: - Decoding the secrets….

Today I’m going to discuss a topic which creates tension amongst public when handled. Its something that people do not know about and nobody ventures into that side while their visit to cosmetic counters. There is going to be some gossiping about this relating to the current scenario and who ever it is about please don’t mind. Sometimes gossips have to be taken in a constructive way same as criticisms. Btw today we wont be discussing the essential facts of using a blush and a bronzer. I’ll just be doing a little beating around the bush.

With that note let me highlight over a few things that I learned about blushing and bronzing as a Beauty Traveller. I had an entire day spent on discovering blushes from uber chic and beautiful brands but unfortunately the results were a little shocking.

The makeup artist at Chanel counter (who happens to have learnt makeup from a very prestigious beauty school) in Juhu couldn’t distinguish between a blush and a bronzer and fought with me when I asked questions and was really very rude. Whilst people on other counters told me some of the silliest things and showed me all the garish and clowny shades that would flatter European skins but no way would look good on Indian skins. The only good people to direct me in the situation were Jayshree from Lancôme and Neetu from MAC who are extremely knowledgeable and extremely friendly ladies who listen to all the crap that I ask very patiently and do not mind if I don’t buy something from them at times.

I think I’ve spoken too much. Anyways now lets see what do blushes and bronzers exactly do. I’ll be talking from a few excerpts from the makeup books as well.

A blush is something that gives you a “flush” of colour on the cheeks mimicking the color that you get when you are embarrassed {in a good way} and when a gush of blood rushes in to your face. If you are a normal human being then this gush happens in the apples of your cheeks and sometime the nose and eyebrows {happened to my brother when he was small}. And a bronzer does something very different. Bronzer adds warmth to the skin mimicking the glow when the sun kissed you. Isn’t that totally different from a blush? If you want to get tanned in a healthier way then your best friend to do this would be a bronzer. Generally Caucasians and Hispanics who have cool skins don’t get tanned because of the type of skin they have. Instead they get burned and that’s why they rely on bronzers to fake a tan.

So when you go in the sun a blush will make you look burnt or flushed because of heat while a bronzer would make you warm and tanned and healthy and of course ALIVE.
Robert Jones, an eminent makeup artist calls the blushes and bronzers as COSMETICS TO THE RESCUE. And I staunchly believe in him. Blush changes the appearance of a tired skin into something alive in a jiffy. Of course the key is to understand the right ways to apply blushes and bronzers. There are a million formulations which make a zillion number of ways to use a blush so why discourage ourselves from using them.

Every makeup artist has a signature way to apply blushes and that reveals their personal identity at times. Like Pat McGrath, my favorite and the most phenomenal makeup artist in the industry relies on her hands and some important tools for enhancing someone’s appearance. That’s how she could makeup you look as if you have come from Ibiza or St.Tropez in one look and instantly change it into something utterly sophisticated in the next. The magician tells us some really important things and nuances of blush application that we wouldn’t even think of. She shared certain Do’s and Don’ts of blush application in a interview of hers taken years back.

Here’s an excerpt” –

Do: "make sure your skin isn't at all greasy before you apply your blusher," says Pat. "Even if you've only applied a tinted moisturizer, tissue off any excess shine. You want to ensure that a powder blush goes on smoothly, or that a cream formula doesn't slip or slide."
Working out where to place colour can be confusing, and makes all the difference in achieving a natural-looking result. "With powder blusher, dip your brush into the powder, smile and brush a little on to the apples of the cheeks using upwards and outwards strokes. If you prefer to use a cream blush, smile and then use your fingertips to dab colour on to the cheeks, aiming to create an oval shape over the cheekbones."

Don't: "make the mistake of 'drawing' a heavy line under the cheekbones, rather than simply creating a healthy, all-over glow. Also, avoid heavy brown shades, and don't apply blush over dry skin patches. Prepare the skin before applying make-up."
Shop like a pro: always try before you buy, says Pat. "If you stick to the pink and berry shades, you can't really go wrong. The idea is to give the cheeks a natural glow, by simply blending the blusher away until you have a natural flush."
I loved the way she discussed that. Well it was in Dec 2002 and still the trend hasn’t gone. Blushes are still treated in the same way and I absolutely admire her for that. Makeup artist par excellence Mary Greenwell who has been prepping celebrity makeup artists even before I was born share the ultimate details you could get from any pro. She says. “Blush is the one piece of make-up that you’ll never have to change. Stick with a blush that adds the right healthy glow and change the colour of eyes and lips.”

Somehow Indian women have always been a bit scared of blushes and bronzers and that’s the reason we look so incomplete. Here is something to read from a beauty site and found it true to their every word.

Blusher has a reputation for being difficult to apply but, once you know what you’re doing, it can make you look your best in seconds.

Powder blusher is easier to control and blend, which is why it’s the most popular choice of all. You’ll also find the widest choice of shades comes in powder form. It should be applied over foundation - and under face powder - not on bare skin; applying powder blush to clean, fresh skin gives you too bright a flash of colour. At the very least, you should wear a veil of translucent powder underneath. It will also stay put longest if ‘sandwiched’ between foundation and powder. Make-up artists always use powder blusher.
Cream blusher is good for dry or sun-damaged skin; it slides easily over the surface and won’t settle in wrinkles. To avoid a clown effect, always put cream or liquid blusher into the palm of your hand first, then apply it to your cheek. It should be tapped on lightly with the finger and blended immediately
Gel blusher offers the sheerest form of colour, and is great for giving a natural-looking glow to bare skin on outdoorsy weekends. Because gel blushers are transparent, they’re perfect for summer. Gel should always be applied over moisturiser (not foundation), which makes it glide on more smoothly and avoids a ‘polka-dot’ effect (the stain ‘takes’ very fast when it hits the skin). Do always remember to wash your hands immediately after applying them, as the pigments can stain fingers.
Bronzing powder can be substituted for blush in summer. It’s also great dusted around the hairline, on the nose and chin, as well as across the cheekbones, for giving you a truly healthy-looking tan.

Colour Choices: -

Don’t go too bright or too dark. Aim for a natural, soft, healthy glow. Bobbi Brown says: ‘The right blusher for you is the same colour your cheeks are naturally when you’re really healthy.’Fair-skinned women should look for beige, tawny and pink tones.Olive/yellow-toned skins will find warm brown, almond and copper shades most flattering.Dark-skinned women can use plum, fuchsia, auburn and deep bronze shades.Redheads look best in orange, apricot, peach and coral shades. These also look good on anyone with a tan.

The Contour Controversy: -

Should you shape your face using darker powder to disguise chubby cheeks or double chins? Opinions vary. Bobbi Brown thinks it’s better to play up your good points rather than try to cover up your flaws. But Maggie Hunt, who every year teaches hundreds of women how to make the most of their looks, does believe in contouring: ‘I use a face shaper - a matte brown one - to help minimise double chins, chubby cheeks and high and narrow foreheads. Choose a shade of powder that’s just a darker version of your own skin tone and brush it onto the heavy areas. If your forehead is too high, put a soft brown powder around the hairline

Blusher Tips From the Pros

• ‘Invest in a proper blusher brush,’ advises Bobbi Brown. ‘The teeny ones you find in compacts just aren’t up to the job, and will give visible brush strokes.

• Don’t use blusher to give yourself instant cheekbones. The most flattering way to apply it is on the ‘apples’ of the cheeks. Locate yours by drawing an imaginary line down from your pupil to the centre of your cheek. Then lightly stroke outwards, towards the top of the ear, covering the entire cheekbone area in soft, sweeping strokes.

• Kevyn Aucoin sometimes applies blusher to the cleavage and along the hairline, too. ‘It adds warmth to powder and foundation, making the whole look more realistic and healthy-looking.’

• Carol Shaw advises applying blush when you’re smiling: ‘Add a little blush in that ball of your cheek and bring it back a little towards the bone.’

• ‘You want to look like the noon sun has hit you on - not under - your cheekbones,’ believes Mary Greenwell.

• Like many make-up artists, Maggie Hunt likes to ‘double-blush’, first applying one layer of blush, then powder, then blushing again: ‘It helps the colour stay put.’

• Shu Uemura’s resident make-up artist Andrea says that in summer, older women should avoid powder blusher: ‘It can look dusty. Instead, try rubbing some lipstick into your cheeks, which gives a much more natural result.’

• Says Kevyn Aucoin: ‘Over-blushing can always be corrected by blending in a little powder.’
This is something very precious that we could read and I’m sure its going to help many women. In the next article I’ll discuss the beat ways to apply blushes and bronzers for Indian women. I’ll also discuss the best buys in the market and what would suit various skin tones. Please read this and stay beautiful.
Till then have fun watching this video on essentials of a bronzer by another favorite makeup artist of mine, Mr.Beau Nelson.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Important news on PLACEMENTS in the Beauty Industry

This is an advertisement only for readers and not on commercial basis.
My friend cum teacher cum mentor cum ideal Lippi who is a very well known and intelligent makeup artist herself has started a placement agency for placements in the beauty industry.
To tell more about her is that she works as a makeup artist for Max Factor and Shiseido cosmetics in India and consults on perfumes for famous houses of Azzaro, Thierry Mugler and Cartier.
If you are from India and are interested in securing a job as a makeup artist or anything related to the beauty,fasihon and life style industry (which could be trainers,managers etc) please do not hesitate to email your portfolio on lippi@vision1stconsultants.com
She’ll be more than happy to place you and I’ll be more than happy to help you in this.
Thanks a lot.

PS: - Here is another useful link....http://job.123oye.com/job-disp.php?sno=72777

Introduction to my brushes....

Blame my computer and the technology for not letting me access my blog…..so sad isn’t it?
Btw I’m back again and shall be posting new things again. Let’s get over the things that I’d left last time. It’s all about brushes and they are the most important tools that you’d need to apply makeup better. They occupy an important place in my vanity case as they help me do my job in a better way.
Let me talk about them……

#1 is a tiny brush with equal amounts of natural and synthetic bristles that can be used to apply a crème or a powder eyeshadow in the inner corners of the eyes and its handy enough to fill in matte colors in the brows and of course it can be used on the lower lids to create a smoked effect with any eyeshadow.

#2 is again an unbranded brush that I grabbed from a local makeup store. I use this brush to contour small areas like the sides of the nose and the eye creases. This also helps in blending the product well and can be used to highlight the centre of the nose too. It’s quite a handy brush and does a great job in applying eyeshadows when I just want a “wash” all over the lid.

#3 that is my Body Shop Foundation brush and its one of the best foundation brushes available. Its diamond tipped end allows me to pick products in a better precision and also the amount required becomes less. The bristles help to blend the product really well and I blend concealers, liquid foundations and crème foundations with it all the time. Its an indispensable item in my brush collection and this reminds me to buy some more back ups when next time Body Shop has a sale.

#4 is a Smashbox Foundation brush which I use not only to apply liquid foundations and tinted moisturizers but also creams, moisturizers and complexion perfectors. This is an uncommon practice amongst makeup artists but I believe if we use a foundation brush, it wouldn’t alter the chemistry of the product which could happen if we used our fingers. The only problem with this brush is that after sometime the hair separate and if the foundation is not blended it might streak. The main advantage is that the shape of the brush permits me to apply product even in the hard to reach corners of the face.

#5 is my Lancôme Bronzer brush and does many more things than that. I use it for the sheerest possible applications of loose translucent powder, blushes as well as powder bronzers. The only bad thing is the storage of this brush. Its too big to stay in any brush case so I’ve to specially keep it in a big box and carry it all around but surely I’m going to figure that out too.

#6 is Smashbox Buffer brush and is a boon to the makeup world. It blends everything and you can use it to apply bronzers especially matte ones, dual powders under eyes and to blend the foundation in the hairline. I use it even to contour the face and it’s very handy when you don’t have your blush brush around.

#7 is Lancôme’s Blush brush. Since it is dome shaped it helps in applying a teeniest amount of blush at right places to mimic a healthy flush. It is super soft and super handy. I even use it to apply powder in the under eye area and contour under the cheek bones and jaw line.

#8 is an inexpensive powder brush that I had got from a local store. I somehow love it coz it’s too soft and good. Sometimes after seeing such brushes I wonder why do we buy expensive ones? But you can’t et lucky all the time.

#9 is an unbranded blush brush which fits on the apples of cheeks exactly to create a healthy flush. The reason I bought it because of its tapering shape that dispenses the product really well only on the desired area and it become natural sable hair which is very rare for such an inexpensive brush. Its made by a brand called Beauty Essentials and sold at drugstores. I’ve never used it to apply powder though.

#10 is Smashbox Cosmetics’ Angled blush brush which I use for contouring purposes only.

#11 is Christian Dior professional large eyeshadow brush and happens to be the softest eye brush I’ve seen. It does a wonderful job in highlighting the brow or when I have to apply a sheer wash of any product. Slowly after using it I’ve discovered some more uses of this brush. You could use it for powdering the hard to reach areas, apply highlighters over the heights of cheeks and even over the upper lip.

#12 is a Smashbox blender brush to blend all the harsh lines left in the makeup. It just fits everywhere and is an all purpose brush. Very useful indeed and my best friend during photo shoots.
Sorry I missed on #16 and nobody told me about it...

#13, #14, #15, #17 and #18 are small brushes from MAC’s Antiquitease collection. I’ve not liked their brushes so much coz I get better pay offs from other brands and somehow I find MAC brushes a little tacky at the price they are placed it in India. They are not all that great but I do use them at times when I’m bored with others.

#19 is Smashbox Cosmetics’ Definer brush which I use virtually for all eyeshadows. It does a very good job at blending in the crease and blending of 2 or more colors on the lid.

#20 is a flat brush from Smashbox and I use it to apply powder liners as well blend liners. I use it to define brows and draw really artistic brows at times.

#21 is Shiseido’s Small eyeshadow brush which can be used not only to do eye makeup but also apply streaks of colors in smaller segments and then blend them together in a row. It can be used to highlight the inner corners of the eyes, bridge of the nose and upper part of the upper lip too.

#22 is Smashbox Cosmetics’ Angled liner brush used to drawn lines in a greater precision in the most ergonomic way.

#23 is a Vega brush used to define crease and blend pencil liners.

I bought the Smashbox Brushes from one of their limited editions and they have been with me all the time. Since I'm an aspiring makeup artist and have just entered the trade now, I'm sure I'll be buying a lot more. The only disadvantage is that India doesnt have many brands but I'm sure most of them are on their way.
These are not only my tools but also my companions while I create some memorable looks. The magic is evoked as soon as you start using them. With makeup brushes I use them everywhere and I’d suggest everybody to think out of the box while using them.

I’m going to feature some more brushes next time and they are soon to come or be bought….till then hope you’ve the ones in my stash…



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