Makeup Inspirations

Archive for the ‘How to…’ Category

How to Blend Eyeshadows

In How to... on June 18, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Choose three eye-shadow shades (you can do more but that’s an advanced technique) which really compliment each other, and use an eye shadow Blending Brush (see the different types below), that is to subtly blend and merge the colours into each other.

Use circular blending motion (see diagram below) with the blending brush to soften the eye shadow intensity too, particularly at the outer corners of the eye and at the crease area of the eye.


The more you blend the more the colours merge, and you might have to re-apply the eye shadow colour again if you’ve gotten carried away with blending, so if you reach a point and it looks like what you’re after — Stop Right There — because you will have to make sure you do exactly the same blending for the other eye to ensure their balanced with each other.

So this is when mastering blending techniques is practiced for certain eye makeup looks and essential to cosmetic artistry.


Cool and Warm Skin-tone Overview

In How to... on June 18, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Reshaping your Lips: the Art of Lip-lining

In How to... on June 18, 2010 at 8:54 am


The Method of Applying Eyeshadow

In How to... on June 18, 2010 at 7:41 am


Choosing the Right Mascara

In How to... on June 17, 2010 at 10:24 pm


Mascara is perhaps the most important but difficult type of makeup to use. Mascara is extremely useful because there are not many other products that can produce as stunning an effect as this type of makeup.

The time and effort needed to achieve this look is another matter altogether. Applying mascara perfectly can be a tricky process, but with the right mascara brush you will be on track to achieving the look you want.

Many people think that choosing the right mascara (one that will produce beautiful, thick, long, and well-separated lashes) is all about choosing the right brand, but this is not necessarily true. The mascara brush is at least as important as the brand of makeup. The mascara brush is so important that rather than patenting their mascara formulations, many top cosmetic companies actually patent their brushes, instead.

The Mascara Types

When it comes to buying makeup, figuring out which type of the best mascara to buy can be one of the most confusing tasks. Each type has a specific set of ingredients or some fancy wand or brush to help “improve” the look of your lashes. It almost seems redundant, doesn’t it? Before you get sucked into the confusion, stop and ask yourself “What do I want to accomplish?” Keep it short and simple.

Do you want longer lashes, thicker lashes, waterproof or curly? There is a difference between these types of lashes. There are various types on the market because every person’s set of lashes are unique, so the result of a particular mascara will be different depending on that person’s eyelashes.

Whether your were born with long lashes or have short, thin lashes, everyone can benefit from mascara. It’s important to choose the right product in order to maximize the effect on your lashes. Read on to learn about different types of mascara that will work wonders for your eyes:

High-volume mascara. If you have thin lashes, volumising mascara will define each lash, rather than causing a clumping effect.

Lash-lengthening mascara. If you weren’t born with super long lashes, don’t worry. This is good for adding incredible length to lashes. The perfect option if you want long and luscious lashes. The mascara wand contains dense bristles, which distributes product along the entire length of the lash, especially the tips. For longer lashes choose a brush with longer bristles. The extra length will help you extend the tips of your lashes, for a luscious, long-lash look.

Smudge-proof mascara. It’s hard to find a truly smudge-proof mascara, but these type of products try provide smudge-proof formulas that make lashes super thick and long. To help you cover all your lashes including those hard-to-reach lashes at the corner of your eyes, choose a straight brush.

Thickening mascara: When you want dense thick lashes, this is the one to go with. Thickening mascaras contain a thicker formula of silicone polymers and waxes that coat lashes and make them look fuller. Consider using this one if you have thin and  sparse lashes. To achieve the thick lashed-look your ideal brush has bristles that are fairly close together. If you have sparse-looking lashes and want to thicken them up, this brush is for you, because if it is more important to you to thicken your lashes, for example, use a brush with close bristles, and pay special attention to the application process to reduce the possibility of clumping.

Waterproof mascara: Contains unique synthetic formulas that are designed to repel moisture and are non-smudging. This type can be hard on your lashes, making them very fragile over time. One special tip is to apply Vaseline on your lashes at night time before you go to bed to maintain flexibility. This is a must-have for athletes and weddings.

Non-clumping: Includes ingredients like silk extract and glycerin. The wand/brush has longer bristles that promote even distribution of product. Use this for a more natural look. To reduce lash clumping your mascara brush should have bristles that are spaced quite widely-apart. Note that this is the exact opposite of the type of brush that thickens your lashes. For even coverage across your entire lash line, go for a curved mascara brush. These help you achieve more even coverage because they can coat more of your lashes at the same time. If you prefer to use a clump-reducing brush, apply two or three coats of mascara to help thicken your lashes.

Different Types of Mascara Wands

More important than a mascara formula, the mascara brush types you use to apply them are actually what define the shape and contour that your lashes will take. Top makeup companies even go to the lengths of patenting their mascara brush types. There are various shapes and sizes for different mascara brush types, and it is important to know the characteristics of your own eyelashes so it will be easier to find the mascara brush types that suit you best.

Another important point is that you really do not need to have all your bases covered when it comes to mascara brushes. It’s all about personal preferences. You have the ability to choose from a wide range of different brushes, so there is no reason why you couldn’t buy a small stock of several different brush types, and then use whichever type will help you achieve the look you want for any particular purpose.

What type of brush do you need?

When you apply your mascara, the type of brush you use, the length of the bristles and the space between the bristles are a few important factors that determine how your lashes will look when you are done. In choosing brush types of mascaras, remember that long bristles achieve a better lash definition, while shorter ones are good for thick applications.

The shape of the brush is important too. You get a different effect with a curved mascara brush than you do with a straight one. So what type of brush do you need when you are hoping to recreate a particular effect? For example:

Spinning Mascara Brush

This is a type of mascara brush which is operated with a battery. It can be carried easily and can have extensions if necessary. Choosing the longer bristled brushes give a full definition to the eyes.

Vibrating Mascara Brush

This is a new trend in eye make-up and will provide an increased stroking to the eyelashes instantly to look stunning. It is good to choose short bristled mascara brushes to make the eyelashes thick.

Curved Mascara Brush Types

Allows the easy lifting and curling on the eye lashes. This type of brush is best used by moving it from outer lash to inner lash slowly. It makes the lashes stunning and try to be free from smudging. It causes the eye lash to curl and lift. Proper application is done by moving the brush with the mascara from the outer lash to the inner lash, while sweeping the curved brush slowly from the root to the tip of the lashes. The curved mascara brush types strive for smudge-proof lashes that are visually stunning.

Lash Comb Mascara Brush Types

It help to separate each eye lashes to give a thick look to the roots and a rays’ effect towards the edges. This can be applied by keeping your eyes opened. Causes a defined separation for your lashes that look thick at the base and have sun-like rays toward the end. Using the lash comb types of mascara brushes, comb your lashes from root to tip. By doing this, this will create a very daring look to the eyes and open-eyed lash curl is then achieved through these types of mascara brushes.

Mascara Brush Types with Rubber Bristles

Aims to layer individual lashes evenly, even the areas of your eyes that are hard to reach by normal brush types of mascaras. These types of mascara brushes are useful for giving an even look for the eyelashes. The rubber bristles are beneficial to separate the lashes which are difficult to separate with normal mascara brushes. It can be applied only once from root to the end to avoid overdose. The rubber bristles create eyelashes that look as if each one is uniformly separated from the other without having clumps, smudges or smears. When using mascara brush types with rubber bristles, the coat should be applied only once, from root to tip.

Flexible Mascara Brush Types

Allow the brush to move freely and reach the root of the lashes deeper than conventional mascara brush types.  As the name shows these are helpful to move freely and to reach deeper than the ordinary brushes.

Round Sphere Ball Bristles.

It has a high-tech, round sphere at the tip of the precision wand that reaches every lash and adapts to all eye shapes that was designed to grip at lashes starting at the roots.  It supposed to give a beautifully fanned-out panoramic effect, holding the curve of your lashes perfectly in place.

Other Mascara Tips

Use a lash comb to remove clumps and separate lashes. These are becoming popular, so you can find them anywhere.

When applying your best mascara, wiggle the wand at the base of the lashes. Because you are depositing more product at the base, this simple act provides an illusion of length.

Thin, short brushes are great for applying the formula in the corner of the eye and maintaining control.

To give the ends an extra coat, try blinking your lashes onto the brush. You might have to practice this move a couple of times before you get it right, but it’s totally worth it.

Use an eyelash curler for a wider and brighter appearance. You’ll love your look afterwards! But if your eyelashes are naturally curled you don’t need to use an eyelash curler, as it will just curl them so much that the mascara will transfer onto your eyelids very easily.

Do not pump the wand in and out of the tube. By doing this, you are pushing air into the tube which will cause your product to dry out before it should.

If you want an extra coat without the clumps, apply it before the first coat dries. This helps maintain a natural and fresh look.

If you want to separate your lashes, use a mascara primer before applying the first coat. Makeup artists love this product, but you may find it to be inconvenient unless you consider your lashes important.

Do you have trouble getting those bottom lashes? Try placing a tissue underneath them before applying. This prevents smudging on the lower lid.

Guide to Colour Correctors

In How to... on June 16, 2010 at 12:00 am

Alabaster (White): Use to highlight and cover dark circles on pale warm skin tones. And a perfect cover up for very fair skin tones. Lightens darker foundations and is used to enhance features and highlight cheekbones. Use as a spot treatment for blemishes on pale skins.

Lavender (Violet or Lilac): Neutralizes yellow skin under-tones and sallow complexions for a healthy glow. Hides bruises and is used to cover the after effects of Plastic Surgery. Also will brighten up dull skin and olive skin tones. It corrects yellow bruising. May also be used as a finishing powder to brighten your complexion or as an eyeshadow or blush.

Mauve (Purple): Used to even out blue and black tones found in bruises, veins and under eye circles.

Mint (Green): for those with tanned and orange skins (covering acne scarring) and neutralizes redness, broken capillaries, acne and rosacea. Also used after laser and chemical peels to cover redness and covers redness from sunburn.

Pink: Highlights all skin tones. Perks up all yellow skin under-tones, sallow skin tones and tired complexions. Covers dark under eye circles and imperfections. Also covers up yellow bruising. And smoothes away fine lines, and covers blue veins. May also be used as a beautiful blush, highlighter shade or as an eyeshadow.

Apricot: Brightens dull and tired complexions. Also used to warm up olive or yellow complexions and their skin under-tones when used as a highlighter. May also be used as a finishing powder to brighten your complexion or as an eyeshadow or blush.

Blue: Corrects orange tones from sunless tanning products. Also works well as a finishing powder. Neutralizes under eye circles for ebony and dark brown complexions. May also be used as a finishing powder for a fresh look or as an eyeshadow.

Orange: Used to cover blue tones such as veins, dark circles and bruises on dark skin.

Yellow: Hides under eye circles, dark spots, bruising and purple blotches. Also adds warmer tones when mixed with cool toned foundations. Balances out the orange/red tones in light complexions.

Peach: Hides blue under eye circles. Also used to liven up overall skin tone and add a healthy glow. Balances out any slight discolorations to the skin.

Recommended for different skin tones:

Green for those with tanned and orange skins
(for covering scarring and bruises caused by acne
and patchiness to even out the skin tone.)

Blue for dark brown and ebony skins
(and those with the grey ashy appearance
of some Asian skins).

Lavender for those with yellow
undertones (apply to dark undereye circles).

Orange and Coral for applying to dark shadows
under the eyes on women from India and Pakistan.


NOTE: I’ve orange/honey beige skin (Mac Studio Fix NC45/NC50), and I apply my correctors: green and lavender. 

And to stop the green having that shallow yellow appearance, although it does work for me to cover my acne quite well on my type of skin complexion, I use a bronzing face gel to counteract the loss of orange hue to my skin tone and I use the below method:


1. Put on a thin layer of foundation to the face (I use NC5o during the summer and NC45 during the winter season) to give the corrector a base to work from.

2. Then use the corrector shade in: green (acne coverage) and lavender (for under-eye circles coverage).

3. Then I apply over the corrector, directly on those areas, my regular concealer stick for my shade colouring. Although optional, some use a face powder to set this all before going on to next stage. 

4. I then put on that final layer of foundation, as I would usually do to get the coverage that it provides to my face as a flawless finish.  Blending it at this stage only with a foundation sponge/brush gently by patting it on, that’s instead of swiping it on, so as not to take off much of the corrector and concealer products from underneath.

(At this stage, what is optional if using a liquid foundation; some prefer to to mix a liquid tan bronzer with the liquid foundation, to save time and an added step in the method.)

5. Now to stop my facial skin looking a shallow yellow and to put back some colour into my face, as the green corrector took out that natural orange hue and gave it more of the yellow, hence the shallow look.  Therein I use a Bronzing Face Gel, again by patting it on with a sponge so as not to remove any product from the facial area, then once its set, I blend with a foundation brush to buff it all together.  And i do this to put back that orange and which also acts as a seal to it all so the makeup doesn’t do a melt-down during the day.

6. Then continue with the rest of my makeup application for my facial skin of: blusher, contouring, and finishing powder with my makeup brushes.  


Further Information: The Science of Colour Correction

In Essence…Glam

In How to... on June 15, 2010 at 7:53 pm


Highlighting and Contouring your face


In highlighting and contouring your face, *start with loose powder one shade lighter than the one used to set your foundation. Apply it with a wedge sponge to the T-zone, the area that’s always lighter; this is a guide for contouring other parts of your face as well.

With your contour brush, sweep deeper shades of pressed powder under your cheekbones, down the sides of your nose, and near your hairline, for soft yet subtle shading. If you feel you’ve gone too far, and you look like a character in Cats, dust loose powder over any of these areas to soften the effect.”


Sculpt Your Nose by Contouring

Few women are perfectly happy with the shape and size of their nose, for some women feel their nose is too big, some too wide and some, believe it or not, too small. Fortunately, make-up can be used to help improve the appearance of noses of all shapes and sizes.

When applying formal full makeup, particularly for evening, contouring the nose helps achieve colour balance for the whole face. Imagine what happens if you ignore the nose: colours everywhere on your face except for a blank spot in the centre.

Nose contouring is also a nifty trick worth mastering if you wish to sculpt your nose using highlighting and contouring techniques as given below.

Pooch & Nose are protruding fatty deposits between the eyelid and nose. Darkening recedes the pooch, creating an instant eye-lift. Dab directly on top of pooch 3 or 4 times avoiding contact with Sheer Concealer applied earlier. (Try eyebrow brush for hard to reach pooches!)

Flat Nose. Apply highlight down the centre of the nose, avoiding the sides. Smooth and blend down the centre.

Broad Nose. Slim down a broad nose with a foundation that is one shade darker than your natural skin tone. Sweep along the sides of the nose with a small, firm makeup brush. Start just below the inner corners of the eyebrows, and end at the sides of the nostrils. Stroke a lighter shade of foundation down the bridge of the nose. Blend well.

To slim down a wide nose at the bottom, apply a little dark foundation just above each nostril and blend it into your regular colour.

Narrow Nose. Sweep concealer that’s slightly darker than your natural skin tone down the centre of your nose. Then use a lighter shade on the sides of your nose and nostrils. To narrow your nose at the bridge, dot a little dark base at the top of the nose and at either side of the bridge.

Long Nose. Apply a foundation or concealer that is a few shades darker than your natural skin tone onto the tip, between and around the nostrils. For a long nose, use a lighter shade on the lower half and a dark foundation on the nostrils, both at the front and underneath.

Also you can also use a lip brush to extend the corners of your mouth to give your face more favourable proportions.

For uneven noses, apply the dark foundation to the bump to disguise the flaw. Applying a line of foundation right down the centre of a nose can also make the nose look straighter.

Avoiding a shiny nose?

Skip Moisturizer. Skip the nose when you’re applying moisturizer before makeup.

Mattify. Look for makeup primers or moisturizers that have mattifying property to keep shine off for longer hours.

Powder Power. Powder helps to soak up excess sebum. Put on more powder around the nose, but making sure the finish still looks natural.


(* As seen in Fine Beauty: Beauty Basics and Beyond
  for African - American Women)


Essential Brushes for Glamourous Eyes

In How to... on June 14, 2010 at 11:05 am

NOTE: Don’t use any sponge tip applicators for putting on powdered eye-shadows, as it makes the eyelids sore because of the dragging action on the delicate skin of the eyelids and near the tear duct, particularly if its done daily as part of your makeup routine. Only use eye sponge tip applicators for cream, mousse and liquid eyeshadows or eye bases/primers for good results. Wash after each use or use disposals.

Glam Eyesbrows are a Vital Factor

In How to... on June 7, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Beautifully shaped eyebrows act as a frame to set off your eyes, just as your hairstyle sets off your face and a picture frame sets off a beautiful painting. It’s no exaggeration to say that brow shape can make – or break – your glamorous look.


Eyebrow Terms:

The eyebrow has three major points. The first one is the beginning (Begin Brow) which of course starts where eye starts. The second point is the arch (Point of Arch) which starts where the iris ends. And the third point is the end (End Brow) which is where the eye ends.



The Different Eyebrow Shapes

The eyebrows compliment the face and can drastically change your appearance.


However, the best I’ve found for the naturally round shaped eyebrow, to groom them into an appealing form, is to reshaped them without over plucking them or doing anything extreme to their natural roundness is by using a soft-angled arch in conjunction with a curved bottom arch.

For this specific eyebrow shape has a soft angled arch of the brow, with a sleek inner corner at the start of the brow, followed by a curved bottom and short tail end (see picture on left) which is most suited for a round face and/or someone with almond-shaped eyes, which I have naturally both, so I now do this method for eyebrow shaping and grooming and it works rather well with eyeglasses too.

And this eyebrow shape is so suitable, as it gives that ‘Mysterious’ look to a round face female as in “I know something you don’t know’ look that’s intriguing and super sexy (see picture on the right) as well as being feminine. As this shape of brow will also lift the whole eye area, making it look much larger, especially when counter balanced with smokey eyeliner smudged along the lower eyelids.

Eyebrow Pencil Colour Chart

Always choose a brow colour that matches or flatters your hair colour and skin tone.

In general, one can use natural-looking brows for day by filling in lightly, and stronger, more dramatic brows for evening by applying the pencil more intensely.

If you make a dramatic change in your hair colour, or you turn grey in hair, then  lighten or darken your brows accordingly.

In general, you’ll find more colour choices in powder brow colours by using eyeshadow instead of eyebrow pencils, but both do the job.

Experiment with a few shades to find your best look – perfectionists can even blend 1-2 colours together for a custom effect.

Sharpen pencils before every use for precise shaping, but then soften the end for a feathered application. If you use powder formulas, wash the brush and air-dry after every 2-3 uses. The brush will drag, skip, and spill too much color if it’s overloaded with powder.

Hair Colour Eye Brow Colour
Ashy, cool tones, brown or blonde Ashy, cool tones, light-to-medium brown
Red or with reddish highlights Auburn or brownish-red
Platinum Blonde Taupe, light brown, medium brown
Golden /Dark Blonde Medium brown or golden brown
Brunettes Dark brown
Black Dark brown or charcoal black
Grey or White Medium brown or slate grey

How to Apply Blush

In How to... on June 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm

You’re unsure of where exactly to apply blusher best to the cheek area? You can’t go wrong if you smile at the mirror, and then put the left middle and left index fingers (see below in figure 1: finger-hand diagram).

(figure 1)

And lay these fingers sideways on nearest to your nostrils; at the base of them (see diagram below figure 2) and not from the top-side tip of your nose, that’s a different area altogether.  As this technique indicates and practices the ‘two finger width away from your nose’ rule of applying blusher to the cheek areas of the face. 

(figure 2)

As by doing this you locating that high-point of the cheek bone by feeling for it.  And that left index finger furthest away from the nostrils is the highest point of the cheeks and the bone of cheeks.  And if you tap, in an up and down motion, with that specific left index finger, you should therefore inevitably feel that bone of the cheek structure of the face.

That is in laymen’s term ‘the apple of the cheeks’, and it corresponds the same to the right cheek area using your right index finger and right middle finger on that side of the cheeks.

Thereof, even when you’re smiling or not, that cheek bone remains true and doesn’t move, although the flesh does, it makes no difference just as long as you’ve placed the blusher shade on the high-point of the cheek bone. 

Thereat that high point of your cheeks, the so-called apples, this is where you should brush on the colour: delicate rose, strawberry or soft apricot blusher shades flatter every woman.


Apple cheeks make you appear innocent and sensual. We all have cheek, but suits oval face shapes best.   Shading your temples will bring out your forehead, making your expression a little more angular and more elegant. This is for the heart shaped faces to adopt.   If you sweep the rouge right down to your jaw, you will seem stronger and more assertive and for a round shaped face its needed!

(and the separate blusher colours
which can be used for different skin tones)

Pink shade blush for pale skin tones only.

Rose Blush shade from pale skin to lightly tanned skin.

Strawberry shade blush from medium tan to
orange skin with warm skin undertones only.

Raspberry shade blush for dark brown and
ebony skin with warm/neutral skin undertones.

Terracotta blusher shade for light tan and
dark brown with cool/neutral skin undertones.

Purple blusher shade for ebony skin tones
with cool undertones.

And a blush duo (a mixed shade compact) gives you the versatility to mix and match shades, to define cheeks with the use of colour or switch from the lighter to deeper blush of that same shade family according to the season, evening or day-time or your mood by the use of how heavily or lightly its applied to the cheek area from the brush technique. And to make combinations work well one would need both a cool and warm toned blusher to act as a duet with different skin undertones which gives the best results for example:

Recommended Combo:
(Strawberry shade blush from medium tan to
orange skin with warm skin undertones only.)


Apple of Cheeks: Barry M Blusher in Strawberry
(Also available from 
Contour Cheek Hollows with: NYC Cheek Glow Westside Wine
(Available from Superdrug)
Highlight Cheekbones: Maybelline Dream Mousse Blush No.7 (Peach Satin)
(Available from

Vivo Elizabeth French Definition
Blusher Powder
(Strawberry & Peach Compact)
(Available from Ebay:
Vibrant Blusher No.3 (Full Sized 7g)

NYC Color Wheel Mosaic Face Powder
No. 727 Mocha Glow
(Available from Superdrug)