Essentials of Beauty

January 10, 2008

Glamour Girl definitely knows that make-up is essential to achieving perfection for any occasion. A quick dab of lip gloss can draw attention to your lips or swipe of mascara can open up the eyes. Most girls learn the benefits of make-up before the age of 13, however, many do not know how to apply, store or keep products from going bad. I have a couple of girlfriends that have kept lipstick for years. What they do not realize is that make-up has a shelf life. Once you reach the date of expiration, you cannot achieve the perfect look with that crusty lipliner. You need to know when to keep things and when to throw them away. I know, you love that lipstick you got at the department store years ago but they discontinued it so you don’t want to throw it away. TOUGH! This is the time of year to learn when to keep things and when to throw them away. Make room in your make-up bag for new products.

Here are a few basic rules for knowing when to toss out make-up:
• Toss cleansers and moisturizers after six months. These products contain fatty acids which means they can go stale quickly.
• Water-based foundations last up to a year; oil-based ones last up to 18 months. However, if your foundation dries or cakes up, it’s time to toss that sucker out. Think of it this way, this is the time to try a new formula or just get an updated version of your old one. Remember, the beauty industry is always improving on formulas for cosmetics so be adventurous.
• Replace your eyeliner every two years because bacteria can grow and thrive on your lipstick and who wants to be dabbing on bacteria everyday with the swipe of a wand?
• Replace cream eyeshadows after a year; replace powders after two years.
• Toss out nail polish after a year.
• Powder foundations should be kept for up to two years.
• Toss out powder blush after two years; replace cream blush after a year.
• Mascara should be tossed out after three months; the tube is a breeding ground for bacteria. Also remember the cardinal rule, do not pump the wand when using the mascara. It lets air into the tube, which means it dries up faster.

Okay so now that I have burst your bubble, it’s time to go shopping. The best part about make-up is that you can try so many of them. I know it can get confusing with all the different brands, formulas and terms but remember one thing: you make the decisions and you choose what works for YOU. You don’t have to buy the product on the spot. Most department stores and Sephora will make you a sample to take home and try. When it comes to make-up, there is no such thing as an impulse buy. Try Try Try before you buy. Repeat TRY TRY TRY before you buy. Here are a few of my favorite things.

I start the day with good cleanser, since I have combination skin, I use Avon 2-in-1 cleanser. I also exfoliate every other day for smoother skin. The key to makeup looking great on your face is to start with a good skin care regimen.

FOUNDATION: Make-up guru Sue Devitt has an amazing line of cosmetics that pamper your skin from the time you put it on until the time you take it off. She uses all natural ingredients, three types of organic seaweed and minerals that pampers your face. I love her Triple Seaweed Foundation. This stuff, in my opinion, is better than the Bare Escentuals powder foundation which makes my face too shiny and glassy. The Triple Seeweed powder goes on smooth and covers every imperfection on my face. It also stays put all day long. Since I started using it over a two years ago, I get nothing but compliments on how flawless my skin looks.

BLUSH: One of my favorite brands is NARS. I love everything they make, alright not everything, but almost everything they make. I love their blush; the color I use is called Outlaw. This powder blush is sheer and gives me a subtle baby glow. The pigment is smooth and blends so well. It definitely highlights and complements any complexion.

EYESHADOW: My love for NARS cosmetics brings me to my next product, their single eyeshadow. The one I am currently using is the blush color called ‘Faith’. This shimmery golden shadow takes me from day to night. For work, I use it under my brow and brow bone to just bring out my eyes, but adding more of it on the entire lid and using eyeliner vamps it up for night. The best part about this product is its versatility. I sometimes use a little to highlight my cheekbones.

HIGHLIGHTER: Divas and Glamour Girls everywhere know that the secret to looking polished is having a subtle glow. No matter where I go, I use the Bare Escentuals All Over Face Color in Trudy to hightlight my face. A little goes a long way with this formula. It gives me that sun-kissed look many strive for in the tanning salons. It illuminates my face and makes me look like a million bucks in photos. If you are ready for your close-up, use this product.

MASCARA: There are all sorts of masacaras out there. The best part is that you can try a new one every three months. My tried and true is the original Maybelline in the pink and green tube. On my recent trip to Macy’s, I discovered a new mascara duo. Shiseido makes an amazing line of mascaras that can double any siren’s lashes. The formula I am particularly fond of is The Makeup Advanced Volume Mascara. The triangular brush gives an instant volume to my lashes in one swipe. If you want more of a va-va-va-VOOM look, use their The Makeup Mascara Base. Using this combo will give you those ‘come hither eyes’.

LIPS: To top off my basic make-up arsenal, I use a lip balm with a nice sheen. My favorite is by The Balm. It’s called the Plump Your Pucker Tinted Gloss. The product claims to plum the lips with a combination on menthol, folic acid and Vitamin C. I love it because when I apply the gloss, my lips tingle a bit from the menthol, the sheen is amazing yet not over the top, and the smell is FABULOUS. My favorite in the line is ‘Melt My Chocolate’. The names says it all.

All the products mentioned above and a slew of others can be found at Sephora or DC Glam Gals can go find Sephora stores all over the area. I am particularly fond of the makeup and skincare specialists at the Georgetown store. The Sephora store in Georgetown (3065 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007) is located on M Street and Wisconsin. Alright GGs, I hope you enjoyed the new year’s make-up lesson. Remember there is nothing wrong with experimenting with make-up. You can always find products in any price range, from .99 cents to over $100. If you have any new products you swear by, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

Image Credits:, Margo Holder

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