We women can be very hard on ourselves, and I wonder whether that doesn’t somehow result in the need to over-process our naturally beautiful features. The Dove Real Beauty Sketches campaign is a perfect visual for those of us who need to be reminded that we should be kinder and much less critical of ourselves. Coco Chanel once said, “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” I think she was onto something; each of us has an entirely unique face, and all of us have at least one fantastic feature, whether it’s lips, eyes or cheekbones. Each of us needs to know our best feature in order to accentuate it with makeup and accessories.
Read Related: Loving Your Body Just the Way It Is
FIND YOUR BEST FEATURE
We have all seen her; the adorable 80-plus woman wearing powder blue eye shadow, tarantula-leg mascara, hot pink cheeks and red lips. We can only hope to be blessed to reach her age and still have the energy to put on makeup. This woman is an extreme example of a very common habit: overdoing makeup and looking like a mannequin. Instead of playing up her best feature, the Grande Dame does what she’s probably done all her life—paints her whole canvas in bright, garish colors instead of highlighting her best feature.
If you’re not sure of your best feature, think about the compliments you receive. (C’mon, you know you get them!) Do friends and coworkers complement your big, dark eyes? Maybe the arch of your eyebrows? How about your full lips? The facial feature that people notice and comment on the most is surely your best. So take it and run with it!
START WITH A CLEAN CANVAS
Before we even consider putting on makeup, we have to think about the canvas. Van Gogh started each painting with a clean, blank canvas, and that’s how we have to start with our faces. Keeping your face clean, exfoliated (lips too) and hydrated is essential for natural, glowing beauty. These steps, plus removing all makeup at the end of the day will help keep the signs of age at bay. Cleansers, exfoliators and moisturizers don’t have to be $300 per container to be effective. Everything you need for a healthy-looking face can be found at your neighborhood pharmacy. If you want to keep it really simple, just mix a tablespoon of baking soda with enough warm water to create a paste and use this as an exfoliant.
THAT ONE FEATURE
Remember, when you accentuate one feature, you need to let the others take a back seat. That means bright lips or lots of eye-shadow and liner, but not both. Once you pinpoint your fab feature, play it up and leave the rest alone.
- Eyes: Use shadow that enhances your eye color. Go for the smoky eyes or bombshell cat eyes and finish with incredible mascara. Don’t be afraid to try a new technique. Look for a tutorial on YouTube or stop by a cosmetic counter for a free makeup application and take notes on their process.
- Cheeks: Find the perfect color for your skin and hair. Apply that tone with a kabuki brush for flawless application.
- Lips: Moisturize your lips before applying any lip product. Test out different looks from high-gloss to matte, and a wide range of colors to find what suits you best. The lips are a great place for variety.
- Skin: Moisturize before applying foundation or BB cream. Select the same exact color as your face. Its purpose is to mask slight imperfections, not to change your face color. Choose a product that works best with your skin type to balance dryness or oily skin. A drop of foundation under the eyes is a great dark circle concealer, too.
A FEW OF MY FAVORITE BEAUTY ITEMS
After 20 years of buying beauty products I have found a handful that I always use. None of these companies have paid me to promote them—these are my tried and true favorites:
- Foundation: Chanel VITALUMIÈRE with broad spectrum SPF 15 leaves my skin with a little extra luminosity.
- Mascara: Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes does wonders for my not-so-long lashes, and the product doesn’t flake.
- Blush: the Balm Hot Mama shadow/blush product has just the right amount of iridescence to accentuate my cheekbones.
- Lip Gloss: Rosebud Salve Balm is a must-have in my handbag at all times. This gloss provides is the perfect blend of moisture, shine and a touch of color without stickiness or residue.
The key: Start with clean, moisturized skin and choose One Feature to showcase your beauty that is an extension of your spirit.