"The most beautiful makeup for a woman is passion, but cosmetics are easier to buy."
                                                                                              —Yves Saint Laurent

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Beauty Notes: What Works For Me
by The Kindly One



Just as Dain has worked out her theory of coloring, I have a theory of facial structure, in that facial structure determines what type of makeup best suits women, as well as how to best wear it. Women with strong bone structure, such as Angelina Jolie, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Sarah Jessica Parker, look their best highlighting and defining what they have, in this case literally, using highlighters and contouring to bring out their features. Typically, women with strong features need to avoid wearing too much color, as this can easily make them look overdone, hard, or, in the vein of Angelina and Megan Fox, a mix of sexy and astoundingly beautiful to the point of aggressiveness.*

Conversely, women with weaker bone structure (think Nicole Richie, Britney Spears, and Drew Barrymore) can acheive a greater effect with blush than with simply highlighting and contouring, as their strength is in being able to work with (or change) their bone structure through color (and makeup in general) rather than light. These women can wear more color than those with stronger bone structure without overwhelming their features.

This is not to say that women with weaker bone structure can't contour and women with strong bone structure can't wear blush. This is simply a guide to maximize the effect of makeup. Women who have strong bone structure have more facial planes to play with light and shadow than women who don't. Likewise, women with weaker bone structure can play with more overall color without being overwhelmed by it than women with a stronger structure. Think of it this way: Gwen Stefani can wear a ton of makeup, basically carving her face structure out of it, and look great. Were Angelina Jolie to wear that much makeup, she would look very hard, overdone, and mannish. The more defined your features are, the more easily they can be overwhelmed. The less defined they are, the more room you have to use color and makeup in general to define them without overwhelming.

All this to say that I can go from zero to drag queen in a second. I really don't take makeup well beyond very minimal amounts. Too much foundation and I look like I'm wearing spackle, too much lipstick and you'd have to ask, "Who is she trying to fool?" I am definitely of the strong bone structure camp and rely on making the most of my good skin and bone structure rather than on color. When I wear foundation, I rely on powders rather over other formulas, specifically MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Light. I like the sheer coverage, the hint of color, the lasting power, and best of all, that it only takes three swipes and ten seconds in the morning. This feature alone has kept me from returning to liquids. For highlighting, I either use Nars The Multiple in Copacabana or MAC Studio Stick Foundation in NC15 on cheekbones, the center of my forehead, my nose, and chin. Copacabana is more of a traditional highlighter, in that it has a bit of shimmer and brings light directly to where I apply it. Studio Stick acts like light itself radiating from my skin, adding radiance, brightness, and a softer light that looks like it comes from within. Both layer well under the Skinfinish. If I want to further contour, I use the lightest shade in Cover Girl's Trucheeks blush palette in number 1 (I think the color is Snow Plum). It's so light that it doesn't really add color, just shadow. On the rare occasions that I wear blush, the only color that consistently performs is the middle color in this palette, a mid-tone plummy pink. Every other blush color fails me: pinks are too pink and either look like a rash or too jarring against my yellow undertones, pinky-peaches look good until they oxidize and turn orange, and brown tones absolutely don't work.

(I could have probably just scanned this picture, since this is essentially the look I wear every day.)

As I have a mix of warm and cool undertones, as well as hazel eyes, it's perhaps no surprise that my eyes can take the warm tones that my skin can't. In fact, I prefer my eyes in warm tones, though they can take cool, as well. Again, I have to be careful with coloring. Anything too warm looks great against my eyes, but looks jarring against my skin, and anything too cool just looks awful overall. Generally, warm sunset colors (golds, oranges, reds, warm browns) best suit my eyes, so long as they aren't very bright, which is harsh against pale skin. On the cool end of the spectrum, violets such as MAC's Parfait Amour make my eyes green (which is a pity, because I hate violet). I can also wear both warm and cool blues, which again bring out their contrasting color, orange. I've had success wearing both MAC's Technakohl liner in Auto-de-Blu, a warm, bright blue, and MAC's Pearlglide liner in Black Russian, which is a deep cool blue with silvery highlights. Auto-de-Blu makes my eyes pop, bringing out the warmth and slightly blurring it with the other colors to create a slightly muddy, sultry intensity (sounds paradoxical, but really works). When sheered out slightly, the silver and light blue in Black Russian brings light to my eyes and makes their hazel hue stand out.

Generally, my eye routine consists of tightlining my eyes with either a warm brown (MAC Technakohl in Brownborder) or carbon black. The warm brown brings out the warm topaz in my eyes and brings soft definition to the shape, while black brings out the shape itself and brings intensity and light to my eyes. It can be a harsher color against my skin, but sultrier. Other than that, I wear liner on my top lid and mascara. Typically, I wear warm, red-based brown liners, such as Jane's Browny Points, Stila's Twig or NARS's Galapagos. These colors work well to further define and shape my eyes, as well as to bring out the orange and gold in them. Since my lashes are very long, occasionally I curl them to get more pop out of my eye makeup, but usually I'm too lazy and just swipe mascara on them as is. I'm not loyal to any particular mascara, although I really like Cover Girl Lash Blast Luxe (the brush deposits mascara perfectly). Were I to wear shadow washes, I'd exclusively wear Stila's Summer, an orangey-bronze, and Tarte's dusky golden shade in the Kalalua duo, as these both make my eye color warmer and more intense. I've given up shadow washes, though, because I think I look better just wearing liner.



I absolutely rely on sheer colors on my lips. Opaque colors overpower them and make them look smaller, which creates an imbalance in the proportions of my face. I avoid dark colors for the same reasons, and brights are, again, too jarring against my skin. There are basically three colors I return to repeatedly: sheer plum, pinky-peach, and neutral. Sheer plum with a touch of pink (no red, no brown) is probably the best color for me. Not only is it the blush color I use, it adds a touch of depth and color to my makeup without being overwhelming, and the cool tone flatters my cool lips. Pinky-peach, when heavier on the pink side, also does a great job of flattering my skin by adding brightness and color, but I have to be careful of the peach tones. Too much peach turns orange against my skin.

Since my lips have a lot of pigment (depending on if I'm cold, if I've just eaten, etc., they're a cool light-to-medium cool pink), my best bet for an understated look is neutral lips. This is not the same as nude lips, which really only look good on women of medium skin tones. My version of neutral lips is to basically neutralize the coolness of them so that they're just pink. I can do this by using a gold gloss on top or by filling them in with a brown-based neutral liner and using a pale pink gloss on top. Either way, I maintain my essential lip shape and facial proportions.

I'm in a state of flux with my lip products. I had used MAC Tendertones exclusively as my gloss, but using them so much aggravated my fragrance allergy and I've had to discontinue their use. This isn't too much of a shame, because I'm mostly over the stickiness and general goopy mess of glosses. I loved Clinique's Colour Surge Bare Brilliance lipsticks in Waterviolet and Pink Beach for plum and peachy-pink lip colors, respectively, but they're now only offered in the more opaque, drying Butter Shine formula, which I hate. I'm going to have to shop around for lip products that suit my needs and will stay on the shelves more than two minutes.

*(I have often wondered to myself, If I were a man waking up next to either them, would it not be too much to see that day in, day out? I think rather than being a male sexual fantasy, it would be rather harsh and intimidating, a blunt beauty that's blatently, boldly there that leaves no room for gazing and slowly taking it all in. Really, that leaves no room at all for a relationship with it, because it the end, beauty is partly what we something we interact with and stake claim to ourselves, whether it's our beauty to claim or not.

I still haven't found an answer to the question in terms of being a woman waking up with them. Somehow, I think it would be easier to bear.)

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