We love hearing from you girls, either when you come into the salon, or via email. So we were thrilled when friend of the store Erin got in touch recently, saying she was having trouble with her foundation. Although I’ve blogged before about the importance of primer – in this post, I just wanted to concentrate on the top five mistakes we see trans women making when they’re applying foundation.
1. Choosing the wrong nuance
All makeup artists are of the opinion that foundation should be in the same tone as your natural complexion. To determine the perfect tone for your skin apply a line of each of the 3 or 4 colors that seem closest to your complexion to your jawline and choose the one that blends most invisibly.
2. Applying foundation with force
If you enforce too much pressure on your sponge or applicator you will not get a better coverage. All you will accomplish by rubbing too hard is reddening of the skin and an uneven distribution of the foundation. For a better effect use your fingertips and apply the foundation with light circular motions.
3. Applying foundation with insufficient light
If the room is too bright or too dark you will not be able to see properly and cover all of your face evenly. When you go outside, the daylight will make your mistakes visible. Our advice is to create your makeup in the same light in which you will be wearing it.
4. You are applying more than is needed
If you are trying to cover up some defect, you should know that masking it over with foundation has the reverse effect. Spread the foundation in an even layer over your whole face; do not pile it in one area, because this will attract attention to this area. Your skin needs air, so in this case “the less, the better” is the rule to go by. Otherwise you may be mistaken for a clown.
5.You have not prepared the skin before applying foundation
Primer is so important – so so important !! YOU HAVE TO PREP YOUR SKIN ladies !!. Then you have to hydrate it with a moisturizing lotion. You can begin applying foundation once the moisturizer is completely absorbed.
Would love to know what your top tips are for foundation – do you have a favourite ? Or maybe a brush you like to use for a flawless finish – why not pop me a line ?
In my makeup group, I get asked all sorts of questions, which are a great way for myself and the members to share and learn. I really love these chances to interact with the women and appreciate them taking the time to join in.
One such lady this week was the lovely Aeryn, who asked what the best way to shape her eyebrows was and also what the best eyebrow shape was for her face. (Didn’t I tell you we get great questions ?) So, I thought I would take the time to write a little note to help you make the most of this makeup essential – let me know what you think !
I did an earlier blog about face shapes here and a blog how to choose right shape for your face so I’m going to assume that you know which one of the six basic shapes (Round, Square, Long, Oblong, Diamond or Heart) that you are and you know what shape you’re aiming for.
So on with the shaping !!
If you’ve tried shaping your eyebrows before and it hasn’t worked for you, then. I recommend that you leave them for about 6 weeks before you have another go. The reason for this is that after this period of time, your natural shape should haver, the goal of shaping is to enhance, not redefine. Otherwise you will look unnatural. Yukky !!
Mark the shape (so you can see what you’re aiming at) If you’re not going to use stencils then you’ll need to work out the basic shape. When I’m doing this for clients, I use an eyebrow pencil and showgirls the three points I’m aiming for. Imagine a vertical line going straight up the side of your nose. Where it intersects your eyebrow is point (1). (It’s where your eyebrow should start from) Next for point (2) imagine a line from the end of your nose that touches your iris. Where this intersects the upper edge of your eyebrow is point (2). Its where we want the highest point of your arch or curve to be. Lastly, for point (3) we want to imagine a line from the edge of your nose to the edge of your eye. Where this intersects your eyebrow is where we want your eyebrow to end. Take a look at the graphic below to see what I’m talking about. A good tip here is make sure that point (1) is at the same height as point (3)
4. Prepare for plucking operations !!! We’re getting close now !! Brace for plucking !!! To take the edge of some of the pain, it really helps to massage a drop of face primer into the eyebrow area (not too much, otherwise you wont be able to grip the brow)
5. It’s time to pluck !! Good plucking begins with good tweezers. I personally use these tweezers from Younique. But if they’re not for you, tweezerman tweezers are a really good alternate. The most important attribute for the tweezer is a sharp angled (slant) edge to the tweezers which helps pick the right hair and shear it cleanly. Start at the inside edge of the eyebrow and remove any baby hairs, long stragglers or ones that go against the main “grain” of the brow. Don’t be afraid to stop every now and again and look in the mirror. Not only does it help to gain some perspective, but it also helps with the pain management !!! Once you have done the inside edge, move to the lower arch, then the outside edge and finally the top edge. Easy. Remember, if you aren’t confident “freestyling” it, you can use a brow stencil, which you hold in place with one hand on the face and you tweeze with the other hand.
6. You should be able to leave your face to calm down a little after the plucking (I know, it hurts, but its not forever) and you should be able to leave it for about siz weeks before you need to do it again. Plenty of time to build up the courage !!!
In my earlier article, I explained one of the most important concepts in makeup and styling, the Face Shape and why it is so important for getting your look right. In this article, I’ll be talking about selecting the best eyebrow shape for your face. I(f you’re nervous about using tweezers, or its your first time, you can get some stencils here, which help you get an even shape.) First things first
When we shape our eyebrows, we’re looking for the eyebrow has to complement the eye. Remember, they’re the frame to your eye, which is the main feature. You also can’t work with what isn’t there, so don’t be tempted to overpluck. Your eyebrows know what shape they should be, plucking should complement your natural shape and features. Oval face Shape.
Generally, most Makeup Artists and stylists consider the oval face shape to the ideal face shape (Lucky you !!) and most of the eyebrow shapes that we discuss for the other shapes will try to make the face to look more oval in appearance.
Because the oval face is considered to be the ideal, most artists agree that that you only need a soft arch which goes straight up and then gently curves round at the top and down.
Long Face Shape.
With the Long face shape, because its longer than it is wider, we’re looking to create the illusion of width.
We do this by using a flatter eyebrow shape, with a minimal to no arch which tends to draw attention up, away from the face, emphasising the length.
I’m not a huge personal fan of blocking in eyebrows (ie drawing a rectangular shape and colouring in, creating sharp corners at the nose edge. I personally find it a bit artificial and more for cosplay or younger ladies) But, this is one face shape which suits “blocking in” if you want to try it.
Round Face shape.
Thinking about the difference between the round face shape and the oval, you can see that what we want to do is create the illusion of length.
We do this by creating as high an arch as we can within the natural brow shape.
If you’re not using a stencil. Start by creating as high an arch as you can that follows a straight line to the peak of the brow, and creates a more vertical line.
You want some really good lines and angles here, so stay away from a rounded brow shape which will make your face look even more round. Oopsy !!
Square Face Shape.
Unlike the round shaped face I’ve just discussed, because it’s more angular, we’re looking to create a softer arch than with the round face shape.
The softer curve will help offset the angles of the lower jaw line. Some makeup artists will also recommend you go for an angle line like for the round face, but I tried this on a client once and we both agreed it wasn’t a good look – it made her face look angular and artificial.
Heart Face Shape.
With the heart shape, because the hair line dominates the forehead, rather than use a defined or soft arch, we’re looking to create the same shape in our eyebrow line.
My preference is to use a more rounded eyebrow. A low rounded brow creates a natural look, which is soft, feminine and attractive.
Some makeup artists will suggest using a high angular arch for a more dramatic look, but my preference is to go for softer more rounded one, purely because I don’t want to appear dramatic every day !!!
Diamond Face Shape
In the unlikely event that you have a diamond shaped face, what we want to do is create the illusion that the face is narrower across the temple line and take away some of the angles of the jawline and forehead.
We do this by shortening the length of our eyebrow slightly (not too much as you will make your eyes look wider apart than they really are). What you are trying to do is to take out any thinned areas at the ear edge of the eyebrow to keep it tight and tidy with the edge of the eye.
To soften the angles of your face, use a soft rounded eyebrow, which will help soften the face and offset the angles.
So, there you have it in a nutshell, the six basic face types and the eyebrows that suit them !! As I said right at the start, if you are unsure of your shaping abilities, the best thing to do is to get some eyebrow stencils, or, if you are feeling more confident, go to a professional eyebrow threader. They’re quick, painless and really effective !!!
You’ve probably read a few blogs on here by now (hopefully !!) and noticed I tend to refer to tones of skin, and face shapes when I talk about makeup, or looks to try, so in this article, I thought I would try to explain the importance of face shape, the different types and how to work out which one you are. Why is face shape important ?
Well, quite simply, the shape of your face strongly influences which hairstyles, glasses, or makeup effects are going to suit you. It also helps makeup artists like myself to explain looks and styles using a common language and also allow you to look and compare yourself to others for looks to try. In particular photos of celebrities at events, which are a great way of seeing which shapes and looks will suit you. In particular hair styles ! What types of face shape are there ?
Generally, you’ll find that makeup artists will refer to one of six shapes when referring to faces.
Oval. The oval face type gracefully tapers from the forehead to the chin. The forehead is wider and often you’ll have more prominent cheekbones and a rounded chin. Celebrities with an oval face shape include Kylie Minogue, Blake Lively and Jessica Alba.
Long. The long face type is similar to the oval face type, but the length from forehead to chin is just a little longer, maybe by a couple of centimetres. The cheekbones won’t be a pronounced with this shape though and sometimes the chin will be a little more pronounced. Celebrities with this face shape include Teri Hatcher, Sarah Jessica-Parker and Mila Jovovich.
Round. No surprises here ! The shape of your face from forehead to chin compared to the width across the cheekbones to your ears is the same, or at least very close ! Celebrities with this face shape include Kirsten Dunst, Kelly Osborne and Drew Barrymore.
Square. In one respect, the square face shape is similar to the round one in that the forehead to chin and width across the cheekbones is pretty much the same. The principle difference is that the jaw line is much more angular and prominent to the chin. Celebrities with this type of face shape include Jennifer Anniston, Sandra Bullock and Natalie Portman.
Heart. With the heart face shape, you’ll notice that the forehead and chin are more prominent. Usually the shape of the forehead is influenced by the hair line, in there will be a peak in the middle of the forehead which divides it into two, like a heart shape ! Celebrities with this type of face shape include Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson and Reece Witherspoon.
Diamond. The diamond face type is more of an unusual one. For this shape the width across the cheekbones or temples is wider than the forehead or chin. You’ll probably also notice that your cheekbones are higher on your face too. The main difference between this face shape and the heart face shape is the hairline at the forehead. You won’t have that peak which divides the forehead in two. Celebrities with Diamond face shapes include Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Greene (Told you it was rarer !!)
How to work out which type you are
Now you know the 6 basic types, you need to work out which one you are ! It really couldn’t be simpler !! You only need two measurements and then three observations………
Measurement one. From the top of your forehead at the hairline to the bottom of your chin, right down the middle. Doesn’t have to be to exact, near enough will do
Measurement two. Straight across the cheekbones, just below the temples. Again, doesn’t have to be too exact.
If measurement one equals measurement two. You’ve got a round or square face. If measurement one is longer, then you have an long, oval, or oblong. If measurement two is longer, you’ve probably got a diamond shape face. Next look at your hair line. Have you got a peak in the middle of your hairline ? You’ve got a heart shaped face. Next look at your jawline. If its angular, you’ve got a square or diamond face. If you have a more pronounced chin, you’ve probably got a oblong or long face. If you don’t see a pronounced jawline, its round
And it’s as easy as that !! If you get pickled, you can always send a photo to us and ask – we’ll be only to pleased to help.
Love and hugs
Do you remember those days when you were first experimenting with makeup ? I certainly do !!! Because I was living on my own, I didn’t have a stash I could “borrow” on the sly, so I had to buy my own. I can still remember those first few frantic “smash and grab” style runs into the drug store, grabbing whatever looked right and then racing out before anyone could give me a funny look. (Other than the checkout girl !!!)
In those days (about the mid 90s) the internet wasn’t as an advanced respository of information as it is now. Girls like me used to gather on usenet forums and taking pictures wasn’t as straightforward as it is now, with smartphones and filters and sharing. I remember posting my first picture on forum and getting some honest, raw feedback about it. Devastating as it was at time, I persevered (add a few more perseveres here) and here I am now !! Little old me (a little less of the old though. If you don’t mind)
As trans women, we have a complicated relationship with makeup. Although there is no single, defining way to express ourselves as women, makeup is among the first that we’ll experiment with. For me personally, its only second to wearing a bra as a symbol of my femininity. Who would have thought a quick flick of a mascara wand could do so much to affirm our identities ?
Makeup can help improve the self esteem of the woman in the mirror staring back at us. It can help make the process of “passing” a little bit easier and for some women, it can make them feel more confident in themselves when going out in public. Someone even told me once that it made them feel safer and more congruent in their surroundings, which was something they were afraid off after hearing about a murder through TDOR. It’s particularly useful in the early days of transition when the effects of hormone replacement therapy and electrolysis haven’t yet kicked in.
As these more permanent treatments start to take effect, our skin softens and our facial hair thins out, we can be more selective with our use of makeup. Our expectations change from wanting to hide our “maleness” to wanting to accentuate our femininity. Our application becomes less heavy and our skills and knowledge increase, we may even visit a makeup artist at a department store to learn techniques like contouring and highlighting. These help soften our face, accentuate features like cheekbones, brow and jaw lines. We may even try a bolder shade of lip colour to emphasise our lips, which are usually paler than genetic women.
As our transition progresses, our relationship with makeup continues to change, we move from it being a necessary stress, to a pleasure. We don’t feel like we are trying to hide anything more, our use becomes more free flowing and creative. Liberating. We’re no longer consumed by finding that perfect look, it’s a form of self expression and mood, which can vary from wearing none at all, to a ton of it. The best thing about makeup is there are no rules, just guidelines and as for those, well, they’re just guidelines ! It’s about accentuating the look you most feel comfortable in as an expression of your female identity.
That’s where groups and pages like ours are so valuable and useful. There are literally thousands of girls within them, all friendly, all going through the same process, the same fears, the same feelings. We KNOW its a huge first step, but we promise, all the girls are really friendly and so genuine with their feedback, you can also message or call us directly if you want some help. We’re always keen to share and help you develop on your journey. If nothing else, we can help you avoid those makeup disasters like “Panda Eyes”, “Slut lips” and the perils of green eyeshadow !! Now THAT has to be worth something !
After all, your relationship will be a lasting one that won’t just end with your transition. And we want to help you make the most of it ❤
We had the lovely Parvinder in the salon today who bless her, had become completely pickled and confused about Make-up brushes. And who can blame her ? With so many on the market, it’s hard to know which one does what, what ones to choose and even the simple things like how to care for them.
If this sounds like you – Dang girl !!! Put that brush down right now and pay attention, because it’s time to give you the top 10 things you need to know when it comes to makeup brushes.
You DON’T need every different kind !!!! (We don’t even do that in the salon) Although it can seem like you’re missing out if you don’t have every brush, applicator or sponge, because there’s endless different makeup brushes that come in all different shapes and sizes YOU’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO BUY THEM ALL !!! (GEMMA, WE ARE TALKING TO YOU, YES YOU !!!) In our opinion you only really need six brushes in your kit. A foundation/concealer brush (its ok, we give you permission to have one of each) , a powder brush, a contour brush, a crease brush, a blending brush, and an angle brush. With these in your collection you’re more than ready to create any look you want.
Cleaning brushes often is an absolute ESSENTIAL: We wrote a note last year about the effects of dirty makeup brushes, which you can catch here. Suffice it to say “Icky, Icky, Icky” and leave it at that. !!! Get into the habit of cleaning your makeup brushes once a week will help keep your skin clear, your makeup looking flawless, and your brushes lasting longer.
To clean your brushes you don’t need a fancy cleaner: In fact, in the salon, we mostly use a gentle baby shampoo. Just rinse the brushes in water, swirl them into the soap so it lathers up, massage it thoroughly so you’re cleaning all of the brush (not just the tips), and rinse them out until the water runs clear.
Please, don’t Soak them when you’re cleaning them: They’re not paint brushes girl !!! (we’re not exactly sure, but we don’t think you do that with them either) Soaking brushes causes liquid to seep into the handle, which can then loosen the glue that holds the bristles together in place, making the brush fall apart. Although it’s a bit more labour intensive, just clean the brush face down in running water over a bowl made up with some baby shampoo.
Once they’re clean, lay them flat to dry out: Once nice and clean, use some kitchen towelling to gently squeeze around the bristles so they’re not soaking wet. Lay the brushes on some more towelling on a flat surface and allow the bristles to hang off the edge of the table. Placing them so that they’re not laying flat against the table will protect their shape. Remember to always lay brushes out to dry closer to windows or fresh air. If you leave them to dry in places with no sunlight, like the bathroom, they’ll grab onto a funny odour, similar to damp laundry.
Synthetic versus Natural : There are two different kinds of bristles — natural and synthetic. Natural makeup brushes are typically made out of various animal hair, while synthetic brushes are made up of manmade bristles, usually from nylon or other synthetic fibres. Natural brushes tend to be more expensive than their synthetic counterparts, many of which are now so fine, there really isn’t a lot to choose between them. In the salon, most of the brushes we use are synthetic, with the only exception being blending brushes, which most of the girls prefer to be natural.
Use Natural fibre brushes with powder products: If you’re desperate or have a preference to use natural fibre brushes, you’ll find they tend to work best with powder products. Everything from bronzers and blushes to eyeshadows and everything in between. Natural fibres move freely, allowing you to not only pick up enough product in one swipe, but also to blend it out beautifully.
Synthetic brushes are best for liquid and cream products: Unlike natural brushes, synthetic makeup brushes don’t have a cuticle, which makes them great to use with liquid or cream products because they won’t trap makeup. Synthetic fibres also tend to stick better to one another, making them ideal for precision application.
Size matters: (Without wishing to be too rude) The longer the brush the better in our opinion. The longer the brush fibre, the softer the application and coverage. Shorter fibres are best for getting a fuller application and coverage. We also prefer to have long handle brushes too, it gives more space to see what’s happening as you apply product, by keeping your hand away from the face.
Nothing lasts forever !!! Even if you take great care your brushes, they won’t last forever. Look for the signs. If your brush is shedding, or the handle breaks, or you can’t get a brush clean anymore, it’s time to toss the brush in the trash. Hell girl – what’s wrong with you – its time to do more shopping !!! WOOHOO !!!
That’s all from us on the subject of brushes, would love to know what you think though – do you have any preferences ? Natural or Synthetic for example ?
This weekend, the lovely Holly Willis reacted to a post we shared on our Facebook page about how to do a Smokey eye look. So what else could I do when I got to the shop today but prepare a little tutorial ? Hope you like it Holly, Kate, Alyssa, Sara, Marijke and everyone else !!!
Step one – PRIME !!!
Even though step one on all my makeup tutorials is to prime, it’s worth while repeating it here. Every great artist starts with a properly primed and prepared canvass and you should too !!! As well as drinking lots of water, adopting a good skincare regime and staying out of sunlight, an absolute essential for good makeup application is to use primer.
It won’t surprise you to learn that I personally use Younique primer, which you can get from my main site here, primarily because it’s a great mid price range product which gives a nice finish, but there are a number out there to suit all budgets – just be sure to choose one and use it. OK ?
Step two – choose your shade
Today I’m going to be working on Denise who has the most lovely shade of green eyes. Green (and brown eyes) are great to work on as a makeup artist as they suit a number of colour pallettes that makeup companies produce.
I’m using a mix of Palletes 1 and 2 from Youniques range of eye-shadows here today as they’re the backbone of my kit, but in general, you’ll find a single palette is ideal for creating your look. The only reason I’m using two pallettes on Denise today is that I wanted to use the mid shade of palette 2 to generate more of a contrast around her eye, which you’ll see later.
Step three – lets get started !!
To start with, I’m going to use shade 1 of palette 1 to apply the first base layer, using a shadow brush (I prefer to use this brush to start with, moving to a blending brush for the final stages). The reason for using this neutral colour today is to emphasise the eye definition which I’ll be applying in stage fourThe reason for using this neutral colour today is to emphasise the eye definition which I’ll be applying in stage four. The key point is that you don’t apply too much powder and to get it reasonably even (Don’t worry too much about it as we’ll be blending later). You want to let the colours do the work for you, rather than layer on layer upon layer after colour. This can cause flecks of shadow to drop of the eye onto the upper cheek area and make you look a little speckly. In general I apply two layers of each colour and certainly no more than three. If you find you’re using more, you’re probably using a low pigment colour content powder and it might be time to reconsider the brand that you’re using. I say this because lots of layers of makeup tend to drag the eye down. make you look older (sounds weird but it’s true) and make it look as if you are trying to hide something with your makeup. Ideally you want to keep it nice and light.
Stage four – eye definition
So, I’ve got a nice coloured even base, the next thing to do is to start defining the eyes. In order to match palette 1, I’m going to be using the prim chocolate shade of the Moodstruck precision pencil eyeliner below the area for the lower eyeliner, and the proper, dark chocolate shade of the Moodstruck Liquid eyeliner for the upper and lower eye edge definition. Two things to note here are that you want your pencil to be a soft “kohl” style one, because you’re going to be smudging this out later and the eyeliner itself needs to be capable of generating a really hard line, in order to get the edge definition to blend into. As you’ll see in the picture on the left, I’ve given Denise a little bit of a “cat eye” ( eyeliner which extends past the outer edge of the eye)
The reason I’ve done this is to give a edge to blend the main part of the eyeshadow into, past the eye, which will extend it and make the look more dramatic. You’ll also see that I accidentally went a bit wonky with the pencil in the corner of the eye. If the same happens to you, don’t worry about it, the smudging will cover all later !!!! Although some makeup tutorials suggest applying the eyeliner first and then the pencil, I personally prefer the other way around, as I find the edge definition holds a little better. But that’s just personal preference.
Step five – Little bit of smudging !!
Now that we’ve got the eye defined, we just need to smudge the lower pencil line. Taking a clean brush (this bits really important, you don’t want to drag in colour from other areas of the eye) lightly brush over the pencil line that you applied in stage four. You might need to add another layer of pencil at this stage to build up a little bit of colour as you’ll probably find that the brush will pull some colour off. Another good reason for using a clean brush (or a ear bud) at this stage is that it allows you to correct any mistakes that you may have made (remember that wonky edge ? – GONE !!!)
The shape you’re aiming to create blends out to nothing at either edge and about 3-4mm depth in the middle. I personally find it easier to blend from the inner eye to the outer edge in a smooth gentle motion, adding the odd spot of pencil in the middle to get the shape in the picture. Don’t be afraid to take it to the edge of the cats eye that you created earlier to extend the eye. It will all make sense in a bit !!!
Step six – bring the colour !!
Edges done, its time to add the colour which is the signature of the smokey eye look. Going back to palette 1, I’m using shades 5 and 6 from the pallete and shade 4 off palette 2 for Denise’s look today. The trick here is that I’m applying the darker shade first and then the lighter shades over the top of it. Again, some tutorials that you see will show a transition from light to dark, but I prefer to apply the other way around. The reason being that it adds depth to the lighter colours and makes the blending that we’ll be doing later really shine. You’ll see in the picture that to start with, I’m only applying the darker colour from the middle of the eyelid out to the edge of the cats eye that I created in stage four. You should also notice that I’ve applied it in a taper on the front edge.
The reason for this is that it opens the inner eye up and creates a more natural shape for the eyelid. Next, I’m using shades five from palette 2 and shade four from palette 1 on the inner edge of the eye. Although I’m using three colours here for my colours, most Smokey eye looks are a blend of two colours directly from a single palette. If you’d prefer, leave out shade four from palette 1 (You’ll save yourself a little blending later) Again, a couple of key points of this stage are, use a clean brush and don’t take the lighter colours all the way to the inside of the eye. Remember, you’re not looking for smooth transitions at this point, as you’re going to be blending later.
Step seven – Blend girl blend !!! Get the look !!!
Edges defined, colour applied, its time for the most fun bit, blending !!! This is where you bland and smudge (carefully) in a range of stokes across the eyelid. You can also be a little daring and take it up into the eyebrow area as you can see here. The nice thing about using shades four and five as I did here is that it creates the “shimmer” that you can see in the picture, which lightens the whole overall eye. For blending, I recommend you use a specialist brush, like the one in the link, but I also use blending buds occasionally, depending on the consistency of the powder that I’m blending.
You’ll get to work out which one works best for you with practice and depending on which makeup brand you use.
Finish the look with some of Younique’s epic lash mascara to really add to the look – you wont regret it !!!
There really isn’t a product like this on the market at the moment – it’s just that Younique !!!!