The art of adorning our faces with make-up goes back a long way. The Egyptians used pigmented minerals to provide colour and definition, and the Greeks painted faces for ceremonies. For many centuries and into the nineteenth century, the whitening of the face was considered the look of beauty, and ingredients such as lead oxide and hydroxide were used. Mercuric sulphide was the main ingredient used to redden the lips and to make your eyes sparkle belladonna or deadly nightshade was used. Even though women knew the dangers of using these products the call of beauty was stronger. However after many cases of physical problems and sometimes death, alternatives were sought. Thank goodness!
We may look back with horror at the astounding things our ancestors did for beauty, but don’t be too smug, as the ingredients in most of today’s products are still just as toxic if not more. Foundations, blushers, liners, mascaras and lipsticks are all a chemical mixture which can cause irritations to the skin and add to problems within the body.
Now we are not saying give up wearing make-up. Heaven forbid! Make-up is fun and an exciting part of being a woman. But we are saying choose healthier and natural options. Yes, they are out there. Natural mineral makeup is the exciting new technology in the cosmetics industry. Pure micronised minerals are used instead of chemical colours and they are used in safe natural base formulations. Inika, Living Nature and Dr Hauschka are a few favourites of ours.
Also remember that even if we are stay at home mum’s or women who don’t have to go into a corporate office everyday taking a little bit of time each morning to look your best is a wonderful feel good ritual to embrace. Even a little lip gloss and mascara can change the way you feel and look at yourself, even if no one else is there to see it!
So what are the basics to achieving a great make-up?
1. Have good light, ideally natural daylight. Make sure your face is not half shadowed and that your have a good large mirror.
2. Use brushes, these will make your make-up well blended and give you a more professional look.
3. Prepare the canvas: A skin that is well looked after and hydrated will help your make-up to look natural and stunning at the same time. Use natural high quality products that also avoid the chemical nasites. Rosehip oil is one of the most affordable amazing skin moisturisers you will find.
4. Apply your foundation starting from the middle of your face and blending out, so that the edges of your face have only a very fine application.This achieves a natural look and prevents the ‘mask’ look.
5. Apply a concealer if necessary to conceal dark shadows under the eye or any blemishes. This should be a shade lighter than your foundation. Push into your foundation so it blends well.
6. Define those brows. Your eyebrows frame the most important expressive part of your face, make sure they are well shaped and have colour definition. See a good beauty therapist for advice on shaping and tinting if you are unsure.
7. Define your eyes. Here is the main rule: LIGHT shades bring out and DARK shades push back. It is that simple. So look at your eyes and think which areas you want to lift and bring out and which you want to push back. Using your brush, subtly begin blending and working up the intensity of colour till you have it right. When it comes to eyeliners, work on the outside edge of the eye; do not put eyeliner inside the rim of the eye as this can irritate the eye, and it also pulls the eye in and makes it look smaller. Use mascara to finish. Keeping mascara mainly to the top lashes will create the illusion of lifting the eye.
8. Blusher. Suck in your cheeks so you can see where your cheekbones are. With a large brush sweep on the underside of the cheekbone up towards the temple area and blend well.
9. Line the lips using a lip pencil. Rather than just following your natural line, look to achieve balance in the upper and lower lips. This may mean applying it right on the outer edge of one and on the inside edge of the other. This is very effective, just don’t go right over the outer line or you will look like Crunchy the Clown!! You may wish to fill the lips right in as this will hold your lipstick on longer. Play around with application, as you can create many colour variations just by mixing different pencils and lipsticks together.
Play and have fun. Make-up is all about feeling and looking good. Just remember, the art of make-up is to highlight your best features and make you look great. You want people to notice you, not your make-up. You want them to say, ‘You look fabulous today,’ and they will if your make-up blends with your face rather than jumping off it!
Kim Morrison & Fleur Whelligan