Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Beauty Q&A: Wedding Makeup

I am a 30-year-old lady living in the Midwest and I'm about to get married. Cause for celebration!

I also have never really understood makeup.

I grew up doing community theater with my family, and so I was taught stage makeup, but never real-life makeup, and as a result I just kind of always assumed that makeup was for stages (especially foundation and blush). So I don't wear makeup in real life, and I have some cheap drugstore compacts, but it all feels so piecemeal and half-assed. I don't have any kind of skin care products, either, because I thought you only needed creams and such if you were a lady who wore makeup, which I didn't consider myself to be.

I want to look phenomenal for my wedding day, which I realize is its own type of stage. However, I'd also like to learn how to wear makeup every day and incorporate it into my life so that all the world will be my stage.

I get the impression that I ought to just go to a makeup counter somewhere and ask for help. But ... which one? Sephora seems way awesome, but so do Clinique and other counters I pass on my rare visits to Macy's. A friend of mine has advised against a Mac counter visit, as that's too dramatic for me (irony!).

Where should I start? And what do I ask the lady at the counter? Do I just lay out what a novice I am and hope she doesn't sell me everything under the sun? What products do I absolutely need to start my life as a married woman who wears makeup (even though she works from home), and what products can I upgrade to later, once I've mastered the basics? Do I buy my makeup removal supplies at the same place where I buy my makeup? What various creams and elixirs should I start using right away?

I long for a beauty regimen.

Your letter is like a dream come true to me: total makeup newbie, game for whatever, not drama-averse, and also you sound like a totally normal chick. I love you? I’m sorry you’re marrying someone else, but also CONGRATULATIONS! Anyway, luckily I have a few answers for your questions. They’ll be part “general rule of thumb” things because you need wiggle room to play and figure out your very personal style, and part super-specific ideas so that you don’t feel as lost at the end of this as you might right now. OK, here’s some coincidental fun: Recently one of my besties who doesn’t wear makeup got married, so she asked me to do up her face. We did one trial run at my house and then it was on. Man, she was a real trooper and went a bit outside her comfort zone (eyebrows on a strawberry blonde!?) but looked like a fucking bombshell and everyone hit the in-person Like Button that day. The photos killed even harder. So, to answer the first part of your question, I’ll just rundown here what we did for her (again, remember, this is someone who doesn’t like makeup!):

- Eyebrows! Starting today, get your eyebrows done by a pro and practice creating a perfect brow with eyebrow pencil or powder on the regular, maybe even going out in public from time to time with this new feature. You cannot imagine what a difference a well-groomed and defined brow makes in person and in photos — they ARE instant beauty; the difference between a knock-out photo and a “meh, she looks pretty but something is weird?” one. The only hurdle is you getting used to them.

- Find a foundation or tinted moisturizer — possibly even one with illuminizers. (Did I just make that word up?) Just apply lightly and even to your whole face, making sure to blend into your neck (this is to avoid a line around your jaw, but a high quality foundation in the right shade shouldn’t show regardless).

- Blush! Everyone loves Nars Orgasm, but play around at the makeup counter (which we’ll discuss next!). Where to put blush? Smile cheekily and brush it lightly on the roundest middle parts of your cheeks. Then a dab on the forehead, temples, tip of your nose, and chin. And by “dab” I mean don’t even reload the brush with blush before doing those extra spots. Just a dab. This is so subtle but will look more like how your face looks when you naturally blush, sans the red splotches on your neck and chest. Ha.

- Find a shimmery neutral shadow that works for your coloring. Some really versatile options are Smashbox’s in Champagne or Shell. Apply this over your whole lid, then line your eyes with dark brown shadow just at the lash line (technique one here). Last, curl your top lashes and apply mascara on top and bottom. You may want to use waterproof if you catch my drift? That’s it for eyes!

- Finally, wear a glossy, shiny, light-colored but definitely colored lip gloss, no lip liner necessary. Think bee stung, flowery, sugary sweet-looking delicious fresh summer lips. I love this one in D14 and this Yves Saint Laurent one that has REAL GOLD IN IT JUST LIKE GOLDSCHLAGER (remember?) in Golden Satin. (This is the color we used for my friend, and it was purrrfect. If you’re worried about the big kiss being goopy at the altar, kiss it off on a tissue just before you walk down the aisle; this will be the only time you spend far away from most people and cameras anyway. Except him, but he’s already signed on!

That’s my idea of the perfect spring/summer wedding face for a makeup newcomer. Everything can be picked up at Sephora, BUT! If you need real guidance as to how to apply or what specific shades work for you, I’d turn to the department store professionals at Laura Mercier. (RIP Prescriptives.) I am one of those ladies who is ALWAYS asking for a makeover at the makeup counters, like after two Bloody Marys on any given weekend, and Laura Mercier is consistently the only one I leave thinking, “They really coulda put on a lot more, I totally recognize myself.” Which disappoints me, makeup ho that I am, but I think would be perfect for someone a li’l more reserved and less tipsy. Laura Mercier has pretty, muted colors, a very modern look, and they don’t even create a single product that a pageant queen could find a use for. So yes, just be honest with them. I hate this phrase most of the time but it’s helpful here: remember, they work for you.

And you don’t have to buy anything at a makeup counter ever. Aside from the stuff I listed above and the tools you’ll need to apply it — a nice eyeliner brush, eyeshadow brush, and blush brush oughta do — everything else is optional, and you can work your way up to all of this as you get more comfortable. Optional, and fun! If it will cost you your whole paycheck and you’ll never wear it, that’s not fun, so don’t feel pressure to buy it. (This goes for everything in life: Practice saying “No thanks!”) If you’re in a buying mood, setting a spending limit before you show up really helps. This can change depending on how often you go, but I’d say I do one good $200 blow-out makeup purchase per year where I replace old gunky stuff and maybe a brush or two. Other purchases are very specific little one-offs like a tube of drug store lipgloss or a $2 nail polish here and there.

Lastly, regarding cleansers and other skincare products: I use Almay eye makeup remover. I hate their makeup because it’s so “natural” which is exactly why I love their makeup remover. Ha! For moisture, try good old Oil of Olay; it comes in Sensitive Skin and SPF formulas. And I personally really love an indulgent serum at night; maybe look at Philosophy’s When Hope Is Not Enough while you’re at Sephora. That’s about as far as I’d push you right now; you’d know if you need a serious skin care regimen. Let’s talk at your one year anniversary about next steps!? Congratulations!!!

Previously: Short Cuts and Magic Tricks.

Jane Feltes produces the radio program "This American Life," and no makeup companies pay her to say any of this. Do you have a question for Jane?

82 Comments / Post A Comment


My favorite makeup counter to get makeovers is Bobbi Brown, especially for ladies of color. They do a great job with a makeup look that just makes you look pretty, but not super madeup, and I never leave there feeling like they turned me into a drag queen (which is what they do to you at MAC). And they often do a great thing with a paper picture of a face, where they make it up and put the names of the products that they used on you on it, so you can replicate it at home.


@thebestjasmine: The only time I didn't come out of MAC looking like a drag queen was when I was buying some new makeup for my wedding. And a guy was helping me.


Eyebrows are SO KEY. Jane is right - they totally transform your face. I think Laura Mercier is great for people who don't really wear a lot of make up, but I think Chanel does the amazing wedding looks. Super natural - just you but prettier.

Also, if you have any sort of "medium" level skin tone, I think Deep Throat is definitely the better NARS blush. Orgasm on me is just pinky and glittery. Deep Throat is all kinds of pinky, peachy, corally goodness.

Meredith L.

@OsGirl I accidentally purchased NARS Oasis blush instead of Orgasm last time I was at Sephora, but I love it more - it's a little duskier than either Orgasm or Deep Throat, perfect for summer-tanned skin.


@OsGirl totally with you re deep throat. i'm MAC NC30 and orgasm is barely visible on me, but DT is the shit.


@OsGirl I looove Deep Throat. I think I'm over Orgasm for good. I'm super pale and on me Deep Throat is like sweet princessy pink.


I'll let the experts give advice on makeup counters and such, but there's no better makeup remover than Pond's cold cream. Smear it on, rub it in, wipe it off with Kleenex or TP or whatever. It'll take off the heartiest of waterproof mascaras, foundations, eyeliners, the whole nine yards. It's classic, it's cheap, and it's been around for a thousand years. You do not need to buy fancy makeup removers.


@charizard Signed in to say agreed. A jar lasts forever, at least for me cause I only use it for my eye makeup. Also, if I am removing eye makeup at night in the shower I use baby shampoo.


@charizard Can I just put in a plug for vaseline? As an eye-makeup remover, not a whole face remover. I know some people will freak about putting petroleum products on your eyes or whatever, but that stuff works! And it cost like $1.25. I've never had a problem with it. Did you know that vaseline was originally developed as a sandwich spread? You just have to use it at night, you can't just sleep in your eye makeup (not that I've ever done that...ahem) and use it the next morning and then reapply makeup right after.

tea tray in the sky.

Grapeseed oil! GRAPESEED OIL. It's antibacterial and moisturizing, and takes off my waterproof mascara with one swipe. And like the Vaseline, super duper cheap, and also less messy.


I have to give a shout out to Laura Mercier. I am not a Makeup Lady either and I deemed 2011 the Year Of Learning How To Wear Lipstick And Like It Dammit. Fast forward after two hours at Sephora with the nicest saleslady in all the world and I am obsessed, OBSESSED, with Berry SPF 15 Tinted Something. It definitely does that "flowery sugary sweet" look but it SMELLS AND TASTES SO GOOD. Fierce Approved.

Lily Rowan

When I decided to start wearing makeup, I went to a makeup counter (now I forget who, but either Prescriptives or Clinique, I think?), and asked the nice lady to sell me some makeup. I told her I didn't usually wear anything, so she started me with something that was like the next step from tinted moisturizer, and gave me some blush, and told me that was plenty. Which I was psyched about -- I was worried about having to back down from a full face of whore makeup. So I kind of lucked out, but so did the saleslady, when I went up to her and literally asked her to sell me some stuff! And I'm sure I could have asked for more.

I'm reconsidering my regimen, though, so am thinking I might hit up Laura Mercier next time.

Feminist Killjoy

I AM TOTALLY WEARING THAT YSL GLOSS RIGHT NOW. it's amazing stuff. as much color as lipstick, but way easier to apply!

YSL also makes the best colored mascara, which I have in blue and purple. Best subtle funkyness.


Sephora girls are wonderful, they go through extensive training before they can do your makeup.

But honestly? GO TO A SALON. For say $40, you can get them to do your makeup professionally (go in fro a trial before the wedding so you know you like the makeup or not).

I did this for my grad photos and other professional photos and they know how to enhance your features, and make it look great for your wedding photos and generally do whatever it is that you don't know how to do.

It is SO worth the money. Seriously.

Lily Rowan

@ReginaChristina Oh yeah -- for the actual wedding, definitely hire someone!


@ReginaChristina Sephora always struck me as a place for the make up experts to go - can you really just walk up to anyone on the floor and be all "Blush me?" Someone explain make up store etiquette to me.


@heb Most of the time you'll walk it look around and at least where I'm from, they approach you and ask you if you need any help. Say you need blush, foundation lip gloss or EVERYTHING and ask if they can do your makeup. They'll do it for you and teach you tons of tricks and how to apply it as they put it on. It's fun! Ask any question you want, they are full of makeup knowledge!

It's easy, I promise :)

HRH Your Cuntness

@heb I am by no means a makeup expert, but what I like about Sephora is that the people there love to do "looks." So I'll go and be like, "I'll be honest; I'm here to buy some foundation, but also, I'd really like to learn how to do super-smoky eyes*." And they clap their hands with joy, haul me over to the chair, and smoke my eyes up, all while showing me exactly what they use and how they're doing it. Sometimes they even make me repeat a step to see if I've got it.

And, of course, I always end up buying whatever it is they used, so it all works out for them.

*or "blushing bride," or "dramatic lips" or whatever. They did my and my friend's eye makeup when we went to see Lady Gaga last year and it looked aawwwwesome.


Love all of these suggestions for the starter kit - but one tip I would have for the wedding day itself is to hire someone! Hire someone hire someone hire someone. I firmly believe the makeup artist is a non-negotiable wedding expense, particularly if you are paying your photographer exorbitant sums to photograph your made-up face. Unless you're friends with Jane, I guess, or a Jane-esque person who can do it for free. They'll have all the potions and primers and brushes under the sun to make everything perfect.

Also, have a trial run with said hired person or Jane-esque friend to test things out.


@Megoon Concur! Hire someone or have a good makeup friend do it. Be clear about what you want. A friend of mine had it done at a salon and she was made sure to say that she is NOT A MAKEUP PERSON and wanted her now-husband to recognize her at the altar. She looked lovely and natural. Plus, if you show an interest in what they're doing, it's another lesson.


@lfish @Megoon Everything you have both said is so true! But if/when you go to the makeup counter, bring a friend so she can take pictures of the process. I went to the Estee Lauder counter at Bloomies for a trial run a couple months before my wedding. My makeup artist was so friendly and amazing. She let us take pictures of the whole process, listed every color she used on a special palate that I took with me and that another make up artist referred to on my actual wedding day. You can refer back to the pictures AND the color swatch for help with makeup application technique in the future for regular, every day life. Think of it as a free lesson! I knew next to nothing about makeup before going there and now I'm much more comfortable trying new fun colors because I learned how to BLEND. Blending is huge. One final tip: it also helps to pay attention when it's your friend's turn to get her makeup done, so you can see how the whole picture comes together from the perspective of the makeup artist. OH, and get your brows shaped BEFORE your makeup consult. Have fun with it and don't stress too much!

HRH Your Cuntness

@Megoon WORD. For me, the fact that I wouldn't have to worry about shading or blending or having the right tools or whatever FAR outweighs the cost of something like that. That way, I know I'm looking as good as makeup is ever going to make me look, but all I have to do is sit there and drink champagne.

Also, fake eyelashes. I know, I know, they're so trashy maybe? (Except I love them!) But if you are having pictures made for any event, they will help so much in just making your eyes bigger and more present in your face.


hi makeup newbie! i was/am a makeup newbie, and i just learned to do "everyday" makeup over the summer so i could be ready for blah firm hiring season. :( i basically blubbered about my makeup dilemma to a nice lady at a department store, who told me: "i only sell moisturizer. go talk to that guy at the clinique counter." so i talked to him. anyway, here is what works for me:
(1) loose powder all over my face, just to even things out a little bit.
(2) blush!
(3) mascara (i don't do eyeliner/shadow because i have 1.5 asian double eyelids and just could not figure it out.)
(4) lipgloss

you probably want something fancier for your wedding (congrats!), but this is an easy routine that so far i have not been able to mess up.

that's it!


How much does it typically cost to get your eyebrows done? I never notice anyones eyebrows unless they're an eyebrow, but everyone seems to SWEAR IT MAKES SUCH A DIFFERENCE. If I try it out and still don't care, are they going to grow in all jangly and gross? Is doing them once just a sneaky spiral? If I pluck one DO TEN MORE COME TO IT'S FUNERAL?


@heb The price varies based on where you live: New york it's probably like $30, where I live (Edmonton, Alberta) it's $5-15 to get them done :)


@heb I get my eyebrows "threaded" for shaping purposes every several months for only about $7, it takes only about 5 minutes and in between it's easy to keep up with tweezers. They literally twist a piece of thread around each hair to pull it out, and it doesn't hurt any more than tweezers do. I've been plucking my eyebrows for about 10 years and they don't grow back weird!


@ReginaChristina haha "liked" my own comment instead of replying, whoops--just wanted to say I get my eyebrows done in NYC and the dedicated "eyebrow" places that have been popping up all over are only charging $7; salons are probably more though.


@heb As for the ten more grow back I have found the opposite problem, which is that for some women they don't grow back. A friend went through an extreme eyebrow plucking phase and her eyebrows did not grow back. I know it has happened to other friends of friends also. Mine did grow back but after an insane plucking time in my life but I have let them stay natural. Too scared!

elysian fields

@LRMG true story: my grandma shaved off her eyebrows in her youth (at the time it was fashionable to do so and just pencil them in, I guess), and THEY NEVER GREW BACK. She spent the remaining decades of her life with NO EYEBROWS (except for a thin pencilled line). Ahhhh!!!


@heb Your eyebrows won't get more bushy... actually if you overpluck all the time for years, they could possibly stop growing (though that's not true for everyone). I didn't start shaping mine until my mid-twenties, and I immediately found that I was spending less time on my makeup because my face already seemed more polished. If you give it a try it out and you will probably become one of those people who swear by it.


@ReginaChristina Actually, in my experience, big cities are usually cheaper for low-end beauty maintenance (eyebrows, manicures, pedicures, etc).

To other questions: yes, it makes a difference if it's well done. Yes, it is a spiral, you'll realize you can't do it that well yourself and have to go back again and again for your fix (this can be mediated by clean-ups in between). The biggest difference, though, is how much more time it buys you. I have crazy eyebrows (dark on my blonde face, would be 2 inches long by 1 inch wide if I let them) and when I get them threaded, I don't have to TOUCH them with tweezers for two weeks and they look perfect.


@heb oh my god, i got my eyebrows threaded once instead of waxed and it hurt SO. MUCH. I got them done at a mall booth where you could watch the whole process on a tv screen though, so maybe that's a factor. I don't know, but it was horrible. Is it supposed to be like this? Does it get any better? I much prefer the notion of threading over waxing, but jesus shit, it was horrible.


@heb Oh the first time is totally The Suck, but it DOES get better after that one and the more regularly you go, promise. I even get my lip and chin threaded now too. The only thing I won't get EVER AGAIN is a Brazillian. I am still whimpering.


@contrary It does get better. But there isn't a HUGE pain differential between threading and waxing if the person is doing it right, so you might not have had a good threader. (To be fair, I've never had a really good eyebrow waxer.) The one time I went to someone who did a demonstrably bad job -- technique and results -- I nearly ran out halfway through screaming in pain, and I'd been having my eyebrows threaded semi-regularly for a year at that point.

Hana Maru

@heb Yes, it makes a subtle but significant difference. If they're done right, good brows will complement your face shape and eyes, kinda like how the goal with mascara is for people to notice your eyes, not the goop encasing your lashes.

This is my new username

@ReginaChristina As a fellow Edmontonian Hairpinner can you recommend a good eyebrow place? I have been contemplating getting mine done for awhile now, but i haven't ever gotten around to finding a place to go.


Also jumping on the Laura Mercier train. I used to just buy her foundations/loose powder(really the shining star of the line, especially for people who fear foundation), but in recent years the rest of the products in the line have caught up in awesomeness. The great thing is that you cannot look like a clown/cougar/prostitute/dumpster baby/hobo in LM makeup. Impossible. The colors, shimmer level, blendability, are just right. No, I don't work for them. Bobbi Brown is a close second, but her lipsticks suck and I find the eyeshadow choices overwhelming.


Can anyone recommend a good eyebrow place in NYC for a frightened, bushy-browed newbie?


@km1312 Galleria Nail Salon on 11th between A and B. Ask for Kelly, the owner. Tell her it's your first time (hee). She'll be gentle, yet meticulous. I love my brows, but honestly, if I could start over as a newbie like yourself, I would go to a professional eyebrow sculptor like Joey Healy, or someone similar, just so you get off on the right foot. I have never been to any of them, but maybe another Lady can recommend?


@km1312 Shoba!


@km1312 Unique Threading. Love threading so much more than waxing, which irritates my skin. Eyebrows are $6 and they give you a little punch card so you get them free sometimes.


@ironhoneybee Eliza Petrescu is probably the most famous place. Though I've never been, so I'm really talking out my ass here! (Warning: that site DOES autoplay music. And the eyebrows of the model in the flash are... aggressive.)


@km1312 thanks everyone!

tea tray in the sky.

@DorothyMantooth OMG the eyebrows on the model in the flash!


Oh, Hairpin. Everything is so timely and wonderful! I've been experimenting with makeup based on Jane's columns, and here is a Lady with my exact problems (make-up novice, looming marriage, HELP NEEDED).

But, also: My intended squirms whenever I smooch him with anything on my lips! Even a very mild Burts Bees lip tint! What can I wear on my wedding day that won't be even remotely goopy? Some kind of stain? Or do I just kiss it off as Jane recommends?


@littlewren I haven't been kissing anyone lately so this comment is of no help, but I just bought that Burts Bees tinted stuff and I am in looooove with it!


@littlewren Revlon's Just Bitten lip stains are amazing and wonderful and I have three of them in different colors because I love them so much. Use just the stain for a totally goop-free experience, or you can use the super light balm that comes on the other end, too. If you have yellow undertones in your skin, I would recommend "Forbidden," which I wear as my everyday and looks like the color my lips would be if I had any natural pigment there whatsoever. You can also do multiple layers of the stain to up the intensity, if you feel like. Bon chance!


This book taught me how to do makeup properly, and also how to have fun with makeup, which is kind of the most important part:


The styles are super 90's, but the advice is fantastic.


@optical_allusion Kevyn Aucoin was definitely a makeup genius (RIP!), but I'd say that book is a bit intimidating for beginners. (Contouring!)


@DorothyMantooth The contouring page was most definitely scary! But I don't know, I knew nothing when I first got that book. I just started with the teenage no-makeup look, and when I was okay with that I moved on to Tori Amos and pretty soon I was hooked on liquid eyeliner.


@optical_allusion I LOVE Making Faces. I'd actually say it's awesome for beginners, because the tone is so encouraging, rules-free, no mistakes etc., and his explanations are so thorough.

elysian fields

so, uh ... is it weird that I've never plucked my eyebrows? They are super super pale, almost transparent, and not very hairy, so it seems like a waste of time to me. Also I'm a huge wuss who is scared of pain.

I recently got that "Brow Zing" stuff from Benefit in order to be less of an eyebrow-less freak. My brows look nicer with it ... I guess? I still feel a bit strange and clownish painting colored wax on my face, though.


@elysian fields I think as long as you feel comfortable with your face, your face is good.


@heb If you don't think you need it, you don't need it! Applies to so many things in the beauty category (although definitely not sunscreen, or probably deodorant).


I do not love Orgasm blush. It's orange sparkles on my face and looks HORRIBLE. For what it's worth, I have pale cool olivish skin, but a bright pink applied lightly looks SO MUCH BETTER on me.

Apparently though I am the exception to every "this looks good on everyone!" rule. I had to give away (to my mom, but still) the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer I bought before my wedding because it was so very yellow on me and made me look even greener than I am naturally.

(though Jane, thank you so much for the eyeliner tutorial. it changed my life, for reals)

every tomorrow@twitter

@kumquatmay I am so cool-undertoned and lavender-pink on my own that anything with even a hint of orange in it looks BRIGHT FUCKING ORANGE on me. Stuff that looks neutral pink on everyone else is coral on me. It sounds like we may have similar skintones.

I like MAC because they have a massive color selection so they can find something that doesn't make me look like an oompa loompa. (Also unlike Clinique if I tell the MAC store lady I don't wear a lot of makeup and want it to be natural and subtle she actually gives me something subtle and natural, while the Clinique counter ladies make me look like a cross between a toddler playing in mommy's makeup and a hooker, but YMMV.)

Jane Feltes

@kumquatmay yeah, i recommend orgasm for it's universal-ness, but i'm a straight up hot pink Nars Desire devotee.


Hot pink blush for the win! It scares my non cool olive friends though. But looks awesome!

@every tomorrow, i bet we do have similar skin tones. TOO MUCH ORANGE! Foundation is a bitch for me to find, everything is either way pink or way yellow on me. But I think my search for non yellow tinted moisturizer may finally have come to an end though, with chanticalle in bliss.


So up until recently I was a complete concealer novice, basically smearing whatever $9 drugstore liquid foundation I could find all over my face. My sister lives and dies by Benefit so I thought I'd try it out. The saleslady told me to try the "Confessions of a Concealaholic" box and I've been using it every morning for a month or so. I also use the "hello flawless" powder. I love the erase paste for under eyes and I have been using the boi-ing for spots where I need a little more coverage on my face but I'm not entirely sold. Any suggestions for a nice concealor that will hide the blemishes? What do you guys think about Benefit products in general? I'm getting the feeling that I could be getting more bang for my buck elsewhere.

The one thing I do love about the box though -- the Lemon Aid eye primer and the pink shimmery eye brightener. Brighter eyes make you look 10x more awake and pretty even when you feel super gross and tired. Believe me.


@jennie Ah, the Benefit Paradox! Some people swear by their stuff, others think it's basically drugstore stuff in cute packaging. I'm in-between. My first make-up counter experience was Benefit (at a freestanding store); I walked in to get one decent concealer and left having spent $100 over budget because having someone put makeup on me and tell me how gorgeous I look is INTOXICATING.

Some things I love: eyeshadows, highlighters, cheek stains, their purple mascara made my eyes look gorgeous but flaked on me (all traditional mascaras do). Also, their "Dr. Feelgood" primer/powder is a really WEIRD product but I use it to absorb oil and it definitely works.

I used a whole jar of Erase Paste but in the end can take or leave it; it creased on me like whoa. I also have their Sugarbomb blush and, while their blushes are really high quality, I'm not sure it's exactly what I wanted, but I'm hard to match. And it seems like it'll last forever; I've been wearing it daily for almost 6 months with nary a dent. I want to love Lemon Aid, but my eyelids are way too oily and it creases in seconds.


@jennie i've had puffy, dark, undereye circles since third grade. no joke. i think i've tried every concealer known to man. the one i stick with is amazing concealer by amazing cosmetics. it feels light, blends beautifully, provides amazing coverage and never creases or flakes. highly recommend!

Jane Feltes

@jennie it sounds like maybe you're using concealer-ish products in a lot of different places so you could try a higher pigmented all-over foundation instead? makeup forever hd is my saviour.

Meg Wilson@facebook

@jennie I love Boi-Ing under my eyes and Erase Paste on spots. I also use Makeup Forever HD all over, but then, I paint up like a three-dollar whore. Maybe try switching the Erase and Boing?

Lemon Aid for me sucked, as did that pink stuff in the Confessions box. I'm still not sure what the pink stuff was supposed to do. *sigh*

The other thing Erase Paste is good for? Broken veins on your legs: no lie. I wear leg makeup when I go out at night and slap (well, paint) a little EP on the big baddies that make people gasp before the leg makeup (Sally Hansen), and voila! No zombie legs!


@jennie I think Benefit is an okay, quirky brand. I love Coralista and from people who have lighter skin, I hear Hoola is a good contour, but I find some of there other products quite gimmicky.

Good coverage, BLENDABLE (key - no one wants to paint to stand out or pick up dry spots) concealers I think are 1)Amazing cosmetics concealer(covers pretty well, but I think it's overpriced), 2) Make Up Forever HD full cover concealer, or 3) Vichy Dermablend, a super full coverage foundation. I've seen people use it to cover tattoos, but I've just used it as a spot concealer.

tiny dancer

@jennie I use Benefit for my brows (two topics at once!). Their darkest brow zings were too light for me, but they make a pencil that looks gray (but not on your face). It's great because I have black hair and the "dark" pencil makes my brows look natural and not too dramatic. Sadly the brow zings were too light so they just made my brows look weird. Anyway!

And erase paste totally creases on me, too. I do like the hello flawless a lot though.


So the heats and the humidities have given me a serious case of the oilies. On my skin, I just wear moisturizer with SPF 30 in it and concealer under my eyes. This was fine in the winter but I'm "glowing" a little too much these days. Anyone have a good translucent oil-absorbing powder to recommend? I'm looking at TheBalm's Sexy Mama if anyone's used it but am open to other suggestions.


Can anyone recommend a foundation with illuminizing-things in it?

The discontinuation of the Revlon Skinlights line was the end of my drugstore-based bioluminescence era ):


@MollyculeTheory , I miss that stuff so much as well :(


@MollyculeTheory Stila Illuminating Liquid Foundation! The perfect non glittery perfect skin finish, though I'd say luminous foundations in general look best on people with zitless skin. If you have blemishes, the highliters can call attention to bumps. So for most people, like 20 days out of the a month, it's purrrrrrrrrfect!

every tomorrow@twitter

Personally I'd say AVOID AVOID AVOID the Clinique counter if you're new to makeup, because my experiences with Clinique have all ended with me running and washing makeup off my face in the mall bathroom because I looked like a hooker. I've had better luck with freestanding MAC stores in that when I say "I don't wear makeup, I don't want to spend time putting on makeup, and I don't want to look like I'm wearing a bunch of makeup," I actually come out looking cute and put-together as opposed to like I have been slathered in makeup.

Also Clinique doesn't make a tinted moisturizer light enough for my skintone but that's never stopped them trying to sell me one that makes me look like the cast of Jersey Shore.


Jane, thanks for all your tips about eyebrows - I starting doing mine (filling in with a pencil) and it really does make a huge difference. I used to look at all the pretty girls at school and wonder why their faces just looked more "complete" than mine, and finally realized it was eyebrows.

Hana Maru

If you don't want to spend on a pro (and you will end up spending more on these products, but you'll get to keep them) and you don't have a beautifully made-up friend like Jane who will help you, I recommend that you at least take pics of yourself in the makeup with natural light. You might be surprised at how some things photograph.


Dear Jane, the email you a question thing wont work so I'm just going to ask you here. How the hell do you do a red lip without looking like a hooker?


My mom's tip, which has always worked really well, is to go to a store with a lot of makeup counters and wander around looking really carefully at all the ladies behind their counters. Once you find one who is wearing makeup you really like, rock up to her and ask for help. Open by telling her you like her makeup!


Ok, I'm totally on board the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer- Nars Orgasm blush train. But I'm gonna share my best make up secrets with you. These products are fantastic, but somehow seems to be the unnoticed wallflowers of the make up world.

For mascara, try Sephora's own brand Atomic Volume mascara. It's cheap, and gives loooong, thick, separated eyelashes. I've had 3 or 4 people (including my dad) ask me if I wore fake eyelashes. Nope. Just awesome mascara.

And if you are lucky enough to live in a city that has Swedish brand Make Up Store TRY IT!
Their Cover ALl Mix is a great concealer that you can mix to your own skintone, kinda like Laura Merciers, but cheaper and lasts longer. Same for their Tri Brow Color for eyebrows. Really long lasting, high pigment products. I love all of their eyeshadows, and the brushes are good too.


@easyonthetonic YES! I looooovvvvve the sephora brand mascaras (and they are in the $12-14 price range!!!) I used to drop $25-$30 on tubes of mascara from sephora- fiberwig, diorshow, lancome hyponose (which kind of sucked, by the way), until I got the little birthday present that included a mini sephora mascara. Now since I'm only spending half the money, I can totally justify buying something else that I don't really need but want to play with.


@contrary A fellow Sephora mascara devotee! I used to spend so much money on mascara until I decided that $30 was unreasonable to spend on eyelashes and I'd never gotten "wow your eyelashes are amazing" from anyone anyway. Switched to much cheaper Sephora and the compliments keep pouring in.

Jo @twitter

I dunno if I would hire a make-up artist to do my make-up. I'm very picky. Rumour has it that Kate Middleton is doing her own make up after not being happy with what was done for her engagement photos: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/hairstyles-beauty/beauty-blog/kate-middleton-makeup-042611?src=rss


RIP Prescriptives, indeed. I started wearing their makeup in 1996 and never really deviated. They closed up shop last January... it was not a good time for me. (Happy about their online store, but it's not the same...)


Jane, a belated thank you for the eyebrow advice! I'm getting married in 6 weeks and I just had my brows waxed for the first time today. I can't believe the difference! I didn't think that I really had enough brows to work with, but they made them look great! I just stood in front of the mirror and raised them one at a time for a while because I love my new arches so much.

Chungjen Len@facebook

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