My introduction to makeup was a dive into the deep end of the pool at the age of twelve. No, it was not because my mother taught it was okay but because I had a dance performance that required me to purchase my own makeup kit in addition to my outfit and hair extension and the whole nine.
I had been learning Bharathanatyam since the age of five and I had finally gotten to the point where I could perform. Yes, I was an embarrassment. I hated dance lessons back then, now I would sell my soul to go back to my dance school.
Anyway, I digress. I started off with a huge makeup collection. I had everything you could possibly want and need. Foundation, powder, eyeliner, eyeshadow in three different shades of pink, red lipstick, pencil liner, eyebrow pencil and more. But I feel like nothing in that kit matched me even in the slightest bit, I walked around the world and the stage grey and sad. Color correcting was unheard of. Foundation shades for my skin were impossible (at least close to) to find ten years ago. And I didn’t care because I wanted to fit in with the fairer and I thought a lighter foundation will make look lighter right, is that not how this works?
I had no clue how to use any of the makeup I owned. My mother and her friend helped me to get dolled up for performances. About a year later I decided to take a dip in that pool. Not a good idea. I showed up to family friend’s birthday party looking like a clown. Too much blush. A failed attempt at eyeliner. And to top it off, I think I tried to curl my hair that night. My mom was not pleased with my choices.
However, my skills have grown so much since that night. Much to mother’s disapproval makeup is now essential to my daily routine. I have learnt slowly, from my errors and with the guidance found on the internet. Now I feel like I need to give back to the universe.
When I started to wear makeup back in the day, contouring was not what it is now. I think highlighting was sort of a thing, but it is not the glow we get today. I am so grateful for how maekup has evolved and how the industry has changed.
A flawless and even base is necessary for your makeup to look good. Even if you have perfect skin a good foundation will still everything look better because makeup products blend better with a proper base.
The key to choosing the right neutral palate is that it can double as a highlighter and even a contour if needed.
Yes, these are important. Once you apply foundation your face will look very two dimensional. Ideally your contour should be a couple of shades darker than your skin tone and the color should be on the cooler side. You are creating shadows here and it is essential to seamlessly blend the product into the hollows of your cheek your jawline anywhere you think you think you need to add shadows, (think nip/tuck).
I know when you have darker skin and do not visibly blush you don’t see the need for a blush, I have been there. A blush just awakens your wake, it creates the illusion of blood flow and brightness. Be strategic with the blush, do not just pile it on the apples of your cheeks. That will lead to a killer clown aesthetic. Blend the blush with your contour and remember to blend upwards to your temples to lift your face.
You need a variety. Bold, nude, and extravagant. The right lip color can totally make a look. Choosing the right lip color is not easy. Especially when it comes to nudes for melanin rich girls. There are a ton of pretty-pink nudes out there that will look ashy on us. Then there are rich browns that if you chose a shade too light it will wash you out. It is about balancing out the depth of your skin to that you want in your lips. Experiment, always try new things.
5. Primer and Setting spray
These are self-explanatory. The primer primes and prepares your skin for makeup. The setting spray sets it and increases the longevity of the look.
Color Corrector is the most important thing for a Brown Girl. To even out hyper pigmentation and prevent ashy-ness. I intent to make another post on this very soon because once I learned how much better it made look I’ve been hooked.
Being an amateur in the beauty world is not simple, it is an incredible journey that I do not have the compass for. However, I have discovered a couple tricks to surviving a makeup addiction and being broke. Admittedly I do want to try every new product in the market, but I have learned to make the most of everything I own.
One thing I have learned is to avoid buying complexion products online. It is more likely to be a fail compared to any other type of product. It is a no-brainer but seriously resist the temptation. There is only so much you can figure out based of description and the swatch provided. Complexion products like foundation and concealer are the base of your makeup and it must be a perfect match.
Undertones are really the toughest part of purchasing a foundation and you cannot determine it without truly looking at it against your skin. Yes, you might know that you have a yellow or an olive undertone but there is such a thing as the foundation being too yellow.
You also must take into account if the product might oxidize and darken upon application. Or that product might cause a reaction from your skin.
I have a five-step system to buying the perfect product for you
Scour the internet for products that might just work, so you know what you are looking for at the store. – Look at site like LiveTinted
Get someone to help you pick out items that are of the same shade but different undertones because you need to find the closest match. – Thats what they are there for.
Apply it to your jawline, so you find the foundation that matched both your face as closely as possible.
At the store you obviously are going to look at other items, so I recommend trying the foundation first, so you know it blends and adapts to your skin.
And then of course buy the one that works the best.
It might be difficult to find a product that matches your entire face, and this is where you will need a color corrector. We will talk about that in the next post. For now it important that your foundation matches your neck so that yo udon have a floating head when you apply makeup.
Makeup and beauty is a large part of many women’s lives. It is no longer just about looking good and simply fitting in. Makeup has given many women a voice of their own. Makeup allows women to come together and yet be their own individual. It is art and a statement.
As an art, makeup creates an avenue for self-expression. It allows adults to play with colors, make statements with color; to stand out or blend in. Makeup for many is a coping mechanism, part of a self-care routine.
What Makeup means to me!
I know for me personally, makeup is a part of my self-care routine. I do it because I like spending time with myself and reminding myself that I am a priority despite my busy schedule. When everything else is by the books makeup allows me to be me, to experiment and break the rules. I have a found a community through this hobby. I love talking about cosmetics and bonding over likes and dislikes. There is something about makeup that allows for an easy conversation. It can vary and range from talking about ethics to discussing the market.
Speaking of the market, makeup has also created the need to promote diversity and inclusivity. The minorities constantly struggle with the makeup industry. It is simply like everything else in life. The lesser you are in numbers the fewer people care about your needs. If your kind is not spending as much you are not that important. That is what the current state of the market is telling us women of color.
For decades women tried to simply make things work and adapt but no more. Makeup users who are not all shades of beige have decided to rise and demand that their needs are fulfilled. Or many have begun to build their own brands one that caters to certain shades and covers a niche market.
Makeup may have simply been a hobby for many people but now it is had grown enough to make statements and create changes. The growth in the industry is reflecting the diversity in the world and the acceptance of beauty in every form. Colorism, discrimination, and ignorance are all being questioned simply by questioning the beauty industry. Cultural norms are slowly being morphed to welcome everyone of all shapes and sizes.