The Essentials

I am a self confessed makeup amateur. I do fashion. I intuitively understand style and aesthetic, not the skill involved in taming my eyeliner! Beauty is a skill, and an art. I admire the hair and makeup artists I have worked with and the ease at which they work their way around so many different faces. It’s not something you can pluck out of a beauty magazine or something that the right products will solve. But there is some knowledge I will gained, to help you practice your way towards looks that will work for you. 

I understand the struggle of other women like me who stick to the same trio of beauty products for their every day wear, in fear of “doing it wrong”. For years I kept my makeup collection and habits limited to only what I knew, in order to to never reveal what I felt was an inadequacy. So, over the last year I have practiced. I experienced the good the bad and the ugly, all to bring you a few humble tips and tricks. For the average Kiwi girl who just wants to to own that ‘day wear look’ or that sexy evening ‘smokey eye’, read on as I put together four basic looks that have never done me wrong!

Before we begin, I’d like to note that it is SO worth researching the basics of both face and eye shapes before you invest in your new makeup collection. I spent a little while looking up what the differences are between different eye shapes, and bone structure of the face. Then you can see the impact that has on the best and worst ways to apply your makeup. This is particularly important for the eyes. As we all know the eyes are the window to the soul, and you don’t want your soul coming second to your uneven cat-eye flicks. For me, I have slightly hooded, closer set eyes, that tilt down slightly at the edges. This means my makeup has to be brought up to the brow bone and always angled upward to lift my eyes and widen them. My cheekbones also need to be very defined as I also have soft features. Everyone is different, but spend some time researching to find examples of makeup that match your face and eye type, and read on below for four looks to love!


A Classic Daywear Look

This look is one of my ultimate favourites. After a while of experimenting with lots of different colours and combinations I have discovered that with my blue eyes and neutral pale skin tone the deep bronze eye with a red lip is a dressy daywear classic. 

For this combination I used a palette with four eye shadows to create this look. From the diagram above, you can see there is very light shimmery pink pearl I have used on the inner-lid, and the most saturated colour I almost always put in the middle lid. This time it's a deep bronze shade. The darkest colour I put on the outer lid, blending across just a little into the crease and outer crease. Rule of thumb: Never go beyond the edge of your brows! I prime the lid with a base shade pretty similar to my natural skin tone, a non-reflective eye-shadow first. Then I go from lightest eye-shadow to darkest. Going back over the brow-bone with another light pearl shade to highlight. You can also use your highlighter across the brow-bone, just in that middle section underneath your eyebrow. For the lips I used a lip liner to create the shape, and remember unless you have super large luscious lips and don’t want to add fullness - come in slightly in your sculpting on the sides, to create the most gorgeous pout! You can see from these images the line where my natural lip line is on the sides, and I have been using this trick for months to change up my style. 


 A Classic Eveningwear Look

This look is a much stronger night-time look, great for parties and formal occasions. Remember you can switch out the neutral black for a dark brown to create the same effect but a brown smokey eye instead. Slightly less dramatic and easier to do!

The shading on the eyes is the same as the previous look, as I mentioned earlier I try to stick to the same shape that suits my eyes for most of my looks and instead alternate the colours and intensity of the shading. The differences are I blend the darkest black further up my brow bone in this look to make the smokey eye more dramatic, and I also used eye liner, and this my friends has almost been the death of me so many times! But I have not given up and struggled on, discovering that in fact the easiest way is to use sellotape to cheat! You can read all about it on this fantastic article here. I do this every time and I can always count on the perfect winged eye-liner, no stress and no fuss. I also use true white in the inner corners and inner lid of my eye. This is not going to work for everyone, it works for me as my skin is so pale. If your skin is darker you could substitute the white for a shimmery pearl shade instead. Go for a tint that matches the tint of your natural skin tone. I.e. if you have a pink undertone go for a pearly shade with a pink tint, same if you have a yellow undertone choose one with a yellow tint to match. The trick to getting the eyes right is to choose a blending shape that works for your eye-type. I can’t stress this enough. For the lips on this one, I chose another go-to, a deep bright fuchsia. Always a great one for me as I am a winter skin tone. Have a google to find yours! 


A Natural Daywear Look

This look is really easy to feel comfortable in, and it was the first combination I practiced in the beginning. Because you are using softer shades in the eyeshadow, it’s easier to get it right and less risky if you get it wrong! 

I use a combination of a pale gold shade in the inner lid, a bright copper in the middle lid and a dark brown in the outer lid for dimension. I take all the shades up to the brow bone slightly, and then highlight the brow bone with a peachy shimmery shade. I am not too fussy on brands, I use a mixture of notable ones like Bobbi Brown and MAC, along with average drugstore brands like Maybelline and even LA Girl from The Warehouse. What I’ve discovered is that brand doesn’t necessarily indicate the intensity of the pigment (how the colour will actually look on your skin compared to the box) and the quality of the product. You just have to experiment, and now that I’ve become more confident it has become quite the adventure! You hear lots of beauty gurus saying that you need to find the right products for you, and it’s true! I finished this look off with a baby-pink lip. You can go for a variety of soft shades to match the eyes, any softer or lighter pink will be great. Just don’t go too light unless you want to go for a bolder look. 


A Sparkly Eveningwear Look

This look is very bright and very bold! It can look fab with the right outfit and especially if you are going to spend the night out, but it can be too easy to go overboard with the glitter. The general rule of thumb for most makeup looks is either “Lips or Eyes” and it’s stayed pretty true. Because the eyes are so strong in this one, I have opted for a really natural nude lip, with a touch of gloss. 

To create this look I did a smokey eye, like the previous look but took the dark eye-shadow lower up on the brow bone, and used a glitter application kit I bought from Kmart to pop on some fine silver glitter in the inner corners of my eyes toward the middle of my brow bone. I kept the glitter on the lighter parts of my eyes, to widen and brighten! You can change this up though, however works for you. Treat the glitter like highlighter and apply it in similar places to create maximum effect. 

Final Notes

In all four looks I have used a MAC photo-finish foundation, which I really recommend for great coverage. I use a Thin Lizzy concealer, and Thin Lizzy eye liner, which works like a charm. I define my brows with brow powder, and concealer underneath to sharpen the line. Finally, I use soft blush and contour on my cheeks and highlighter above my lip, and the middle line of my nose. It creates that slightly ‘dewy’ effect on my skin which I really love at the moment. The way I do makeup is not wrong or right, for some people this is not the way for them so make sure you do your research, spend loads of time on pinterest, identify what you like and what you don't to find the best way that works for you. Look for people that have similar faces and features, and above all don’t be afraid to play around! These are the confessions of a makeup newbie, now a makeup lover. 

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