4 Ways To Handle Flaky Foundation

Winter is coming. And it’s bringing with it holiday cheer, delicious warm foods, and… harsh temperatures and cold winds that suck all the moisture out of your skin! And dry skin = flaky foundation.

That happens to me every winter. As my cheeks and the area around my nose get drier, foundation starts clinging to these flaky patches and looks awful! The solution? As foundation needs a smooth canvas to adhere to, we need to take better care of our skin, ensuring it always remains well-hydrated, even in winter.

Here’s how:

1. Opt for a gentle creamy cleanser

You don’t want to strip too much oil from your skin. Oil is the skin’s natural moisturizer and dry skin badly needs it! So, stay away from harsh or gel cleansers and opt instead for creamy formulas that contain gentle surfactants to remove dirt and makeup and emollients that leave skin soft and smooth.

My favourite is Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. Other good options are Yes To Cucumber Gentle Milk Cleanser and Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm.

2. Switch to a richer moisturizer (and apply it on wet skin)

The lightweight moisturizer you used in the summer will probably not be moisturizing enough to keep skin attacked by harsh weather outside and hot temperatures inside in top shape. Switch to a heavier duty formula that contains humectants, such as Hyaluronic Acid and Glycerin, that attract water from the environment into the skin, and emollients, such as petrolatum and shea butter, that prevent water loss.

Apply the moisturizer on damp skin. That way, it will seal in the moisture on the surface of your skin. The result? Hydrated, and smoother, skin.

Some of my favourite moisturizers for dry skin are Paula’s Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer, Skin Remodeling Complex, Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer, for Very Dry to Dry Skin, and Bioderma Sensibio AR.

3. Exfoliate

Dry skin needs to be exfoliated too, but gently. Scrubs are too harsh. Instead opt for a AHAs exfoliant. AHAs, such as Glycolic Acid, don’t just remove dead skin cells and flakes, but also boost collagen production, reduce small wrinkles, and act as humectants, attractingmuch needed moisture into the skin. Use it only two or three times a week. Only if your skin can take it, increase frequency gradually.

Some wonderful AHAs exfoliants are Olay Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir, Olay Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% Alpha Hydroxy Acid, and Acne.org AHA+.

4. Choose a moisturizing foundation

The type of foundations you use matters too. Avoid powders, which can be drying, and opt instead for liquid formulas that hydrate skin while hiding imperfections. If you hardly have any, choose instead a tinted moisturizer. Enriched with hydrated and moisturizing agents, tinted moisturizers even out the complexion and ensure skin stays soft and smooth for hours.

Some hydrating foundations to consider are Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Reveal Lift Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 25, Josie Maran Argan Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30, and Clinique Supermoisture Makeup.

Does your foundation flake too in winter? How do you deal with it?

9 Concealer Tips For Flawless Skin

concealer tips flawless skin

I can live without foundation, but don’t dare take away my concealer! Just a dab of this little versatile product can hide imperfections, dark circles, and signs of fatigue, making you look awake, well-rested, and flawless. When applied properly, that is. Too often, concealer has the opposite effect, and seems to emphasise our imperfections rather than hiding them. Argh!

How can you avoid that, and make concealer work for you? Here are a few tips to help you:

1. You need more than one concealer

Dark circles, sun spots, pimples, redness… All these flaws can be hidden with concealer. But if you use the same product on all of them, you’ll notice that some imperfections are covered better than others. We’re told to use concealer that’s one shade lighter than our skintone, but while that, in some cases, can work ok for the under eye area (just don’t go too light or you’ll emphasize those dark circles even more), it just makes other blemishes stand out. That zit will still attract attention if it is lighter than the rest of your face! Instead, use a shade that matches your skintone exactly. Consistency matters too. If the imperfection you’re trying to cover is on a dry area, you’ll need a moisturiszing formula, while if it is on an oilier area, a dryer texture will work better.

green concealer

2. For serious imperfections, apply a color corrector first

Sometimes, concealer alone is not enough. In that case, apply a colour corrector first. If you want to hide redness, try a green shade. Purple can brighten sallow skin, while blue can reduce fake tan disasters. My favourite colour corrector is Make Up For Ever 5 Camouflage Cream Palette, which is available in three shade (for light, medium, and dark skintones).

3. Prep your skin

Does your concealer always settle into fine lines or wrinkles? Or maybe it accentuates, rather than hide, your dry patches? Both problems can be solved by applying moisturizer first. It’ll plump up skin and give the concealer a nicer, smoother base to glide on and adhere to. Just don’t apply too much or the concealer won’t be able to settle.

4. Apply concealer on top of foundation

Foundation helps even out the skintone and minimize imperfections. Sometimes, alone, it is enough to conceal everything you want to conceal. If not, you can always apply a layer of concealer on top. Because the imperfection has already been partially hidden, you’ll need less product. If, instead, you do it the other way around and apply concealer first, you’ll be wasting product. That’s because when you apply foundation on top, some of the concealer will be removed.

5. Pat, don’t spread

A lot of women apply concealer using sweeping motions, spreading it around all over the area they want to cover. Doing this just removes product, reducing the pigmentation of the concealer and forcing you to apply a higher amount than necessary. Instead, tap it or pat it gently on the area you’d like to cover.

concealer triangle method

6. Dark circles? Use the triangle method

This is my favourite technique to hide dark circles. Basically, you apply concealer in a triangular shape, starting under your eye, then down your nose and up to the outer corner of the eye again. Blend well. This will give you a more natural result.

7. Warm it up

Benefit Erase Paste is one of my favourite concealers. Its salmon hue and excellent pigmentation can cover even the most stubborn dark circles. But its texture is so thick and hard to apply! The solution? Warm it up between your fingers before application. It’ll allow it to spread more easily on the skin.

8. Set it

I rarely use powders. That’s because my makeup usually stays put for hours even if I don’t set it. The only exception is concealer. I need to settle that, or, during the day, it’ll travel around, settle into fine lines, and then disappear. A thin layer of powder prevents all that. I use Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit in Porcelain, which contains both a concealer and a translucent powder to set it. But you can use whatever works best for you.

9. Concealer isn’t just for concealing

Concealers are very versatile. You can use them to hide imperfections, but also for contouring. If you’re struggling to find a matte bronzer that doesn’t look orange or muddy on you, use a concealer that’s slightly darker than your skintone. Concealers that are too light instead can be used for highlighting. Applying some concealer underneath your brows, for instance, will clean up the area and highlight it, giving the illusion of a brow lift. You can also use it around your mouth, for a cleaner, more defined, look.

Do you follow these tips? Do you have more that you can share?

7 Makeup Myths Busted

makeup myths busted

Match foundation to your wrist, they say. And don’t forget, concealer should be one or two shades lighter than your skintone!

Well, I followed that advice for years and now I’ve come to bitterly regret it. Looking back at old photos, I looked a right mess! And these are just two of the many beauty myths we commonly hear. There are many more, and they prevent us from looking our best and having fun with makeup. Let’s debunk a few, shall we?

1. You should match your foundation to your wrist

Every magazine was recommending this when I was a teenager and it is such terrible advice! Because of sun exposure, genetics, environmental factors, and other causes, the skin on your face is usually a different colour than the rest of your body. The perfect foundation shade must match exactly those areas of your body that don’t have makeup on, thus giving your skin a seamless look. In winter, matching your foundation to your neck may be enough. But in summer, or whenever you’re wearing a low-cut top, you should match your foundation to your chest. And then, blend, blend, blend!

2. Darker foundations make you look tanned

Absolutely not! Please don’t do this. That telltale line on your jaw line where your foundation ends will just makes you look like you’ve used the wrong shade. To use dark foundation to achieve that tanned look, you should apply it on all the exposed areas of your body. But then, a self-tanner applied all over your body would usually do a much better job. If you want to give that sunkissed glow to the face, apply bronzer to those areas where the sun would hit first, such as the top of your cheeks, the bridge of your nose, your chin, and along the hairline.

bobbi brown creamy concealer kit 02

3. Concealer goes before foundation

I used to do this all the time when I was younger (those crappy magazines again), but once I switched I never looked back! Foundation helps cover up some of the blemishes and discolourations, allowing you to use concealer only on those stubborn areas that need some extra help. This won’t just save you quite a bit of product, but will make blending makeup easier and give you a more natural look.

4. Concealer should be one or two shades lighter than your skintone

I believed this for years, until I tried Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer in Porcelain. It matches my skin so well and boy, what a difference that makes! It just hides everything in such a natural-looking way. A lighter shade, instead, can make the darkness and flaws you’re trying to hide even worse! If your dark circles are really stubborn, then you should opt for a colour corrector that will neutralize the discolouration. To correct violet or blue tones, choose a yellow or orange colour corrector. To neutralize redness, opt for green. I love Make Up For Ever 5 Camouflage Cream Palette, which is available in three versions: light, medium, and dark skintones.

5. Spray water on your makeup to refresh it

I’m very tempted to do this during the hot Italian summer months, more to refresh myself than my makeup! lol. But I don’t. Spraying water onto your face will just make your makeup cake, streak, and run. And then you will have to take it all off and do it all over again. It’s much better to just bring your makeup products with you and retouch them as needed throughout the day.

kryolan lipstick 01

6. Red lipstick is not for everyone

Of course it is! Everyone can pull off red lipstick. It’s just a matter of finding the right shade for your colouring. Orange-based reds look better on warm skintones, while blue-based reds are more flattering on those with cooler skin. True reds usually look good on everyone. It’s not just the undertone of the lipstick that matters, but how intense the shade is too. If you have fair, cool skin, you can pull off an orangey red, just as long as it isn’t too dark or too bright. In that case, the lips will stand out too much against your skintone and make you look a bit off.

7. Never use the same colour eyeshadow as your eyes

It is true that wearing the same eyeshadow colour as your eyes won’t make them stand out much, but that doesn’t mean you should never wear it. If you like the colour, go ahead and use it. I have green eyes, and I wear green eyeshadow all the time. It’s my favourite eyeshadow colour. It doesn’t make my eyes pop as much as purple does, but it doesn’t make them look flat and ugly either. Most importantly, makeup is supposed to be fun. So if you like something, try it!

Do you believe in these myths? Do you know of others that need to be busted?

Why You Should Never Use Lipgloss On Your Eyes

lipgloss as eyeshadow

I learned a lot of useful beauty tips by watching Youtube. If you have oily lids and don’t want to see your just-finished eye look destroyed within minutes, apply primer first. You can save a lot of storage space by depotting eyeshadows and blushes into one palette. Don’t ignore paint brushes. Sometimes, they work just as well as makeup brushes and can cost considerably less.

But there’s also a lot of advice on there that is, at best, questionable and, at worst, dangerous. One such tip is the use of lipgloss as eyeshadow. It’s an old trick used by many makeup artists to achieve a glossy look for editorial photoshoots, and one you shouldn’t copy. Why? Lipgloss, which is harmless on the lips, can cause quite a lot of damage on the eyes.

Why you shouldn’t use lipgloss on your eyes

Lipglosses are usually scented. Sometimes, quite strongly too. While this enhances our pleasure in applying them, the strong fragrance can irritate and sting your eyes really bad. Ouch! But that’s not all. Not all ingredients, and especially colourants such as Red 6 and Red 28 Lake, that are approved for the lips are safe for the eye area too. So, by using lipgloss on the eyes, you don’t just risk an irritation. You could also get an infection, which, in the worst case scenario, can lead to blindness! That gorgeous, glossy wet look has lost a lot of its appeal now, hasn’t it?

The Bottom Line

The wet, glossy eye makeup look is beautiful, but achieving it with lipgloss can be quite dangerous! Better stick to the use products were formulated for and use lipgloss only on the lips.

Have you ever used lipgloss on your eyes?

Is Using Private Label Products Unethical?

private label cosmetics

Have you ever wondered why so many beauty products are identical in everything – colour, texture, finish, performance, etc – bar the packaging and the price? That’s because they are the same product, but sold by different brands. How is that possible? Private label.

I first found out about private label a few years ago, when lots of small mineral makeup brands kept popping up left, right, and center. There was a new one every week, all offering big, but identical, ranges of products. But even traditional cosmetic brands often use private label. And the pratice is by no way limited to the beauty industry. Food, fashion, and technology brands, to name a few examples, repackage and resell private label products too.

So, what is private label?

Private label beauty companies, such as Lady Burd and Grafton Cosmetics, create their own range of cosmetics, which they then sell to third parties who slap their logos on them and resell them as their own. Private label is very popular because it allows anyone to create their own beauty brands at an affordable price, while keeping the costs down and maintaining good profit margins.

But if brands love private labels, consumers don’t. Customers like buying from people who put thought, effort, and creativity into developing their own line. When they use private label, instead, brands have no control over the formula or the ingredients, but only on the packaging and the final price of the product. A lot of people think that’s dishonest.

My thoughts

Personally, I believe that it is unethical and dishonest for a company to sell private label cosmetics without admitting to it. Or worse, even claiming they have created the products themselves. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t buy from Lime Crime. It’s not cool.

On the other hand, though, starting a cosmetic company is very expensive, and most people simply don’t have that kind of capital at their disposal to make their dreams come true. Susan Chyi certainly didn’t when, at 19, she started Jelly Pong Pong. So, she used private label stuff for a while, focusing all her creativity on the packaging instead, until her company grew enough to allow her to formulate her own products.

I don’t have a problem with that. On the contrary, Jelly Pong Pong is not the only brand that started this way, so image what the beauty world would have missed if private label didn’t exist! But if you’re thinking of starting your business and going down this route, then you must a) be honest with your customers about it, b) not charge too much for them, and c) start formulating your own products as soon as you are able to do so. Otherwise, it’s just cheating.

What are your thoughts on private label cosmetics?

7 Tips To Build Your Makeup Stash Without Breaking The Bank

how to build your makeup stash

So, you’ve just fallen in love with makeup, and now wish you could buy any new shiny (or matte) thing that catches your eye but don’t want to waste money on something that may not work for you? The amount of products available out there, in every colour you could possibly think of, and in so many different finishes and textures, can be overwhelming. How do you figure out what you need or what’s best left on the shelves?

I did it the hard way, wasting a lot of money in the process. But you don’t have to. Here’s what I learned along the way:

1. Do your research

When I first started getting into makeup, blogs didn’t exist. I had to rely on magazines for info on all the latest releases, and of course they raved about everything. I wasted so much cash on cheap Deborah makeup products that looked amazing on those glossy pages but ended up being sheer, chalky, and hard to blend, or on mascaras that did nothing for my lashes (Maybelline Great Lash, anyone?).

Luckily, nowadays things have changed. There are millions of beauty blogs out there (and more are popping up every day) that let you see and know how a product performs on a real person rather than on a model who’s been heavily airbrushed. Beauty bloggers dissect every aspect of a product, from its texture to its pigmentation to its staying power, and a lot of them are pretty good with a camera, taking clear and accurate photos of the shades and the looks they have created with them.

Don’t like to read reviews? Watch video reviews on youtube then. But do your research. I’ve never been disappointed with a product I thoroughly researched beforehand. Most of the stuff that I impulse bought, instead, made me regret having spent my hard-earned cash on them. *sighs*

sleek au naturel eyeshadow palette 03

2. Don’t hoard similar shades

This is one instance when I should really take my own advice. I’ve been known to hoard pink lipglosses and peachy pink blushes. I justify this by pointing out the subtle differences in colour and finish, but the truth is, I don’t need so many and most of them end up lying in my stash for ages before I donate them to friends.

That doesn’t mean that you should only buy one pink lipgloss or one taupe eyeshadow, of course. It’s ok to own more shades in the same colour family, especially when they have different textures and finishes, but you want to make sure they don’t look too similar, and that you’re gonna use them regularly. It doesn’t matter how cheap or pretty something is, if it’s gonna lie at the bottom of a drawer unused, it’s a waste of good money that could have been used for something you really needed or enjoyed more.

3. Return what doesn’t work for you

There will be times when you end up with a dud, especially when you impulse buy. Or maybe you like the product, but you bought it while doing some shopping therapy after a bad day and now realise that you already have something similar or just don’t need it. If the store you bought it from allows it, then return it. Don’t feel guilty about it. You worked hard for that money and you shouldn’t waste it on something that doesn’t work for you or doesn’t make you feel good.

Chanel inimitable intense mascara 03

4. Sample first

If you have the chance, always test the product yourself before buying it. When you visit a counter, play around with the shades to see how they suit your colouring (especially face products such as foundations and concealers that must exactly match, or be slightly lighter than, your skintone). Then, if you like something but are still unsure if you can afford it, look for deals online. Many online stores have frequent deals and coupon codes that allow you to save quite a bit of money.

Before splurging on skincare products, always ask for a sample at your counter. But don’t accept satchels. To know if a cream will work for you or will make you break out horribly instead, you need to use it for at least three weeks. What if the brand sells only online? Most of them sell samples that will last for several uses at a cheap price. Some brands are quite generous with their samples too, so even if you like them, you won’t have to purchase the full sizes that soon.

5. Quality over quantity

Truth be told, if brands didn’t send me products for consideration, my stash would be a lot smaller. No, I still love beauty products, but, let’s face it, I have only one face and there is a limit to the amount of products I can ever finish. I didn’t always feel that way, though. When I was younger, I hoarded eyeshadows, blushes, mascaras, and anything else I felt I needed to try, only to give most of them to friends or throw them in the bin because they had gone bad. And they had barely been used!

These days, I prefer to invest money in products that I truly love and that I know I’ll use regularly. I don’t need more than one foundation or one mascara at a time, I stick to staples for skincare, and when I feel like trying something new, I do my research so that I won’t waste my money on something I won’t use often. Remember, quality is always better than quantity.

6. When experimenting, go cheap

So you want to experiment with a red lip, or try the latest textured nail polish, but are not sure you’ll like them? Go drugstore. Gone are the days when everything you found in the drugstore aisle was chalky and sheer. These days, most drugstore brands have upped their games and are now making great quality products that will make you look great without hurting your wallet. A red ELF lipstick, for instance, will set you back only $1.00! Even if turns out you can’t rock a blue-based red, you’ll have at least discovered so without wasting too much money.

benefit go tropicoral set

7. Opt for palettes and sets

I love the holiday makeup season. During that time of the year, pretty much every brand comes up with several sets that allow you to try their best-selling products at a fraction of the price. But a lot of brands sell similar sets all year round too. The products inside may not always be full size, but so what? When was the last time you finished a full size lipstick or blush, after all? Palettes are another great way to stock up on eyeshadow/blush/lip shades without splurging too much money. Just make sure you love all (or almost) all the shades in it!

How are you building your stash?