Monday, January 16, 2012

Talking Techniques - Part 1

Often times I get questions about "how" to apply make-up. Or someone will say, " I don't wear eyeshadow because I don't know how to put it on." So Penny thought it was time to do a more detailed post about application and techniques. But first let me share my disclaimer: "Penny is not a professional make-up artist nor do I play one on TV." LOL! Please get a consultation from a pro as I've found there are often 'many' right ways to make-up application. Most importantly...HAVE FUN with it! Don't stress over your make-up. Take your time and PRACTICE!

I feel like every time I wear make-up it's an experiment of some sort, even though I have been playing with products for years. LOL! I have had many free make-overs and consultations with professionals. And I spend lots of time online watching YouTube tutorials. I also pay attention to my own facial features and search online for tutorials that address my personal challenges (i.e. small eyes, hooded eye lids, maturing skin, dark circles, eye liner run, etc).

One way to apply foundation.
What I wanted to share here are not only techniques that have worked for me, but also advice I've come across from my numerous hours of research. Remember, this is not about choosing the right foundation for your skin tone, or the right color eye shadow to compliment your eyes. This is about application and some of the things we may not have thought to try.  I like to say "I'm putting on my face" when I'm applying make-up. Not because I'm trying to disguise myself in any way. But because I like the transformation I see when I use my make-up to enhance my natural beauty. Make-up is another accessory for is not is just what I like. Although I honestly feel more inclined to 'put on a face' the older I get since my skin has changed over time. For me it's still a fun adventure though. I hope it can be for you too.

MAC Face Brushes

First you have to make sure you have the right "tools for the job." Finger tips are some of Penny's best friends, but I also have quite a few make-up brushes and other applicators I use regularly. I have found that with the right tools it doesn't matter if you're using expensive or inexpensive cosmetics; you will get a nice look. Most of you won't like to hear this but it can be a costly adventure if you don't build your make-up brush collection slowly. Good make-up brushes can be expensive. There are duplicates out there that get the job done at a much more reasonable price, but it is all trial an error. So sometimes I try to decide it its worth me buying a $30 brush that will last me half a lifetime with proper care...or a $10 brush that I would have to replace 3 times in half a lifetime. Up to you. LOL! Also keep in mind that brushes have multiple uses, and that the best collection consists of natural hair brushes, as well as, synthetic brushes. Natural hair brushes are said to be best for powder products. Synthetic brushes are a bit more multi-functional because they can be used with both powder and cream or liquid cosmetics. Keep in mind that they are definitely not all created equal, so you might have to shop around. If you have any brush and the bristles are falling out a lot, then its probably not well made and/or hasn't been cleaned in a long time. Your brushes also should not feel scractchy or rough on the skin.

Cozzette Starter Brush Set ($161)
Learn what the brush is used for before you buy it. Ask the make-up rep or go on YouTube...someone there will tell you. LOL! Penny's personal favs are by Bobbi Brown, MAC, Sephora, Laura Mercier, and, Bdellium Tools (although I'm still building my collection). Other lines I plan to try soon are Cozzette, and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC). Check previous posts for some cheaper brands like Bdellium Tools, Sigma, and Sedona Lace. If you're looking for an inexpensive starter kit, try EcoTools found in your local drugstore and at ULTA. 

Basic tools of the trade: Cosmetic sponges (various sizes), powder puffs, all-over powder brush, blush brush, eye shadow blending brush, eyeliner brush, angled eyebrow brush, and clean hands. :-)

  • Tip #1: To improve the life of your make-up brushes you must keep them clean, and be gentle with them. Your brushes should not appear as if they were in a fight with your face. LOL! Depending on how often you use your brushes, once a week or once every 2 weeks would be good for cleaning. Use a make-up brush cleanser (Sephora Brush Shampoo, $6-$14) or regular baby shampoo.
  • Tip #2: Take baby steps. If you don't plan on spending some quality time in the mirror with your make-up, figure out what your 'go to' look is and focus on the tools you need for that look.
  • Tip #3: Also keep in mind that around the holidays you might be able to get multiple make-up brushes, often in travel sizes, at a better price than purchasing them individually. Keep in mind that some people say that the brushes in the gift sets aren't always of the same 'quality' as the regular brushes. It might be best to make the purchase in-store so you can compare for yourself. If you order online, check the return policy before you purchase.  MAC currently has a kit called the Make it Perfect Brush Kit Essentials for $49.50 which includes five (5) special edition travel size brushes; 3 for eyes and 2 for face. 

Prep & Prime:

Be sure you're starting with a clean, moisturized palette. (Leave a comment if you want to know what Penny uses to cleanse). Wash and pat dry your face. Add your moisturizer and/or sunscreen. Let that sit for one minute to make sure your skin care is absorbed before applying primer. Although make-up primer might be a new concept to some, I have found it to be a necessary part of the process. My make-up (especially eye make-up) stays on so much better when I use primer. There is usually no creasing or smudging of my make-up. I'm not one to re-apply my make-up several times a day, so staying power is important to me.

Penny's Primer Picks: For eyes - Too Faced Shadow Insurance, Urban Decay Primer Potion. For face - Smashbox Photofinish Primer, and Make Up For Ever (MUFE) HD Primer.

Since there is so much to share regarding make-up techniques and tools, I broke this post up into separate parts. More to come on applying foundation, eye shadow, etc. Keep reading...

** Please see the rest of this write up in my next post, Talking Techniques - Part 2.**

Be blessed. Be beautiful.


  1. Indeed, monique is our truest product tester. When i met her, in 1995, the first thing she said was, 'hi, i'm testing this new lipstick out'....then we all (me, Brittany and Monique) headed to the Spy Club! Those were the days!
    The advice is always on point and REALLY WORKS!!! I have to admit, you won't find a better blog about getting right and pretty! Keep up the good work, Monique!!!!

  2. Gee! Thanks for the support! Just do this all for fun. But if it helps someone else manuever through the crazy world of cosmetics...then that's a bonus! LOL!