The Cost of Being You – Cosmetics

In the second of my ongoing series about the cost of being who we are, it’s purely cosmetics. Out of the gate, we are years behind. Most of us have never had the option of working with cosmetics. Even when I was single and had the time, I was always too afraid of being caught with makeup on. I did dabble with lipstick and powder foundation. I didn’t do either correctly, like a child getting into her mother’s cosmetics, I had it everywhere and badly. These were again pilfered items; I didn’t buy them so they were the wrong type for me as well. Times have changed and you don’t have to worry about entering the pharmacy to purchase cosmetics from an old guy who gives you the frowny face. You can buy cosmetics pretty much anywhere, even the grocery store and online. With the advent of self-checkout even public stores become less judgy and more anonymous. I am not an expert, I am a novice. In girl years of doing makeup, I am 10 years old. My 14 year old daughter is expert level, even better than my wife! You will learn with practice and application. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and if possible get someone who will give you an honest opinion on your work.
The BasicsThere are so many brands and types of cosmetics, it can leave you dizzy. But there are some basics from which you can then build. Of course, having a friend or family member to help you is ideal, but it’s not always possible. Also, I have found that, like my wife, they have dealt with cosmetics so long they don’t even think about it, or they can be annoyed by the simplistic questions we may ask. It takes time and dedication, but you will get there. YouTube is a font of information for cosmetics applications and reviews.
  • The Tools
    • Cosmetic BrushesYou will need a good set of cosmetic brushes. I don’t have them all, but I have a decent set. You will need these for application of the different cosmetics. They all have a use, and the more I get into cosmetics the more brushes I tend to use. Here is a link to essential brushes and how to use them. Also, if you order my example below, the bag is bright orange and smells bad, after a while the smell will go away, but the bag will always be tragic. Get a new bag when you can.

Example: EmaxDesign 12 Pieces Makeup Brush Set $12.99

    • Blender SpongeI didn’t think this was necessary, until I got one and started using it. Now I can’t even imagine not using it. I use it for applying my foundation and it is fantastic. You can use it wet or dry, I prefer wet (damp). Application is done by “stippling” which is bouncing it along the skin, dabbing if you will. If you rub on foundation with a sponge you are going to get streaks and it will be a wreck.

Example: AmoVee Pro Makeup Sponge $5.99
    • Eyelash CurlerThis is a pretty self-explanatory tool, you use it to curl your eyelashes. [Taken from Start when your lashes are clean, dry, and mascara-free. Open the eyelash curler and, keeping your eyes open; place your upper lashes between the two sides. Starting at the inner corner of your eye, position the curler as close as possible to your eyelid without pinching your skin. When your lashes are tucked inside, gently clamp the curler together. Hold for ten seconds, then repeat as necessary, moving outward to curl the entire lash line.] It is important that you don’t use the curler with mascara on; I don’t even use it if I have eyeliner on. It gets the tool sticky with residue, which will build up and transfer to your lashes or your eyelid. Keep your tools clean and they will work properly.

Example: Walmart [Walmart #: 553103036] COVERGIRL Makeup Masters Eyelash Curler $3.94
    • Small Mirror CompactA small mirror, to keep in your purse or vehicle, is a must. I can’t count the number of times I have had to resort to using my phones selfie camera and that is just awkward. The mirror compact I have has a normal mirror on one side and a magnifying mirror on the other, which can be helpful.

Example: BEST COMPACT MIRROR – MAGNIFYING MakeUp Mirror – Perfect for Purses $10.35
    • Makeup Remover Wipes After washing my face, I use these wipes to help completely remove any residual makeup or those, like mascara, that may be waterproof. Most remover wipes say there is no need to wash your face after using these, but I still do. I haven’t actually bought any of these, as my wife has always kept an ample supply for us both, so I went online to get a pricing.

Example: Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes $6.45
  • The Cosmetics
    • Primer Much like in painting, cosmetics primer smooths the canvas (your skin) and helps keep your makeup looking fresh. They suggest applying a moisturizer beforehand, however I always shave just before the primer and the hair “slow grow” lotion I always use after a shave works fine for me. As I have found with most cosmetics, a little goes a long way. I use my fingers; some use a blender sponge, and start from the center of my face and move out. I know some avoid the eyes, but I use it on my lids as I think it holds the eyeshadow better. On the Slow Grow, it kind of works. I notice that over time it slows down the growing process, but it doesn’t stop it. You have to use it consistently.

Example: Walmart [Walmart #: 553404853] Hard Candy 12 Hour Power Long Wear Face Primer, 1.3 oz $8.00
(Slow Grow): Slow Grow Lotion- Reduces Hair Regrowth 8oz  $8.40
    • FoundationIf you are still shaving your face a great foundation is vital. This will hide the hair shadow, and give you a smooth look. Even if you aren’t shaving, a good foundation will give you a more uniform look, hiding blemishes and discoloration. I suggest getting your foundation color matched to your skin tone in a department store or cosmetics store. However, you can try to match it as closely as possible in the aisle of Walmart. Lighting will change everything from the bathroom lighting when you apply it to the natural light of the sun. This is the one place you don’t want to try to save a dollar/pound/euro, spend the money and get a good one. I have yet to heed my own advice on this because I have liquid foundation that is adequate, not superior for my face. On top of the foundation I also apply hard candy corrector, which is more to match the slightly darker tint of my skin than anything else. A common mistake is to only cover the chin area; you have to remember to also go up the cheeks a bit and down the neck as well, blending it to your skin tone. The foundation is where I use the blender sponge and it is not only great it is fast as well.

Example: Walmart [Walmart #: 551704834] COVERGIRL truBLEND Liquid Makeup Foundation $7.60
    • Corrector/Concealer PaletteUsed to fine-tune color and blend, corrector palettes can help conceal reddened areas, dark circles under the eyes and correct for color differences of skin and foundation. I find it useful especially for shading my foundation, and darkness under my eyes. I was using this initially as a foundation/concealer and it did work fairly well. I use the blender sponge with this over the foundation, after using my fingertips to apply it (dab).

Example: Walmart [Walmart #: 553404128] Hard Candy Sheer Envy Conceal & Corrector Palette $6.00
    • Setting Powder This is used to set your foundation, keeping it from cracking or rippling. Be careful, depending on the type and the brand this can be easily the most expensive item in your cosmetics tray. I use a mineral translucent powder, which is actually used as a medium-coverage foundation but also doesn’t alter the color of the foundation. Since I am still shaving, I need the extra coverage, plus it sets my liquid foundation. I am careful to use this lightly as there is a greater chance of caking. If you don’t shave or don’t need the extra coverage, I suggest using a translucent pressed powder. A pressed powder has binders so there is more sheer coverage. I use my daughters technique, using my small flat-face brush I put a light amount on the brush, and tap the brush while rotating it, against the lip of the container, depositing the powder right back into the container. This leaves a very light coating of powder, and very little is wasted.

Example: Walmart [Walmart #: 005930257] Covergirl TRUblend Minerals Loose Powder, TRANSLUCENT $16.53
    • Eye Shadow While I do have favorites, I find this is the most changeable of my cosmetics. I don’t know what most people do, but I like to match my eye shadows overall effect to my clothes. Not a direct match, I want them to be in the same tones or shades. For instance, if I have a purple cardigan, then I like to have subtle lavender shading to my eye shadow. That may make me crazy I don’t know all the rules, I just know that I like the look. I don’t have any hard fast rules either. I have been known to wear a cream cardigan and eye shadow that is tinted with peach or light pink. I still have trouble with eye shadow, I never know if I have put enough on to show, or if I am putting on too much, so I always err on the side of too light. One rule my wife attests to, if you are older (have wrinkles) stick to a matte palette, avoiding shimmery palettes. This is because shimmery colors will tend to crease, accenting the lines you are trying to avoid. For the most part I have followed that rule, but I do like to add a shimmery color under the eyebrow where I don’t have wrinkles. Do what you like and don’t be afraid to experiment. Also, I would like to add, that I use my darker eyeshadow to fill in my brows. There is makeup for brows specifically, but when on a budget, a dollar/pound/euro saved and all.

Example: W7 Natural Nudes Naked Eye Colour Palette New $4.54 /
    • Eye Liner I thought this would be the easiest section to write, as it’s just outlining your eye. It’s not and it isn’t. While currently I am only using an eyeliner stick (e.l.f.), I have several other types I just haven’t gotten profient enough to pull off with full makeup yet. I also have two liquid types, which I am really wishing I was good at putting on. For now, I use the stick, which is like an eyeliner pencil, but you don’t have to sharpen it, just rotating the tip out as you need it. I did find out with my first stick, don’t forget to retract it. Much like lipstick, it is not a solid and if you forget to retract it and put the top back on, you have just squished it into the top and ruined your eyeliner stick. So, I bought another one and I am wiser for the mistake. There are a lot of tutorials for eyeliner application on youtube, and they all mostly fall along the same basics. The type of eyelids can determine how you apply it. Heavy lidded, smaller eyes, to make them seem bigger, you will apply to the outside and against the lashes, upper and lower. If you have big, bright, beautiful eyes like my wife, you will apply the eyeliner on the insides of the lashes, that small narrow edge closest to the eye. My suggestion, regardless of which way you do this, is to take your time and use small strokes to make the line. Again, youtube is your friend for most things cosmetic. Find your style/comfort level and go with it. Practice with just the eyeliner, so if you make mistakes you can clean it off and try again.

Example: Walmart [Walmart #: 550117605] e.l.f. Cosmetics Eyeliner & Shadow Stick $2.99 / Maybelline EyeStudio Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner Ink Pen $5.69
    • Mascara For most of us, thick full lashes are not naturally present. So, we use mascara to thicken and lengthen the lashes. There are many different kinds and brands. I go with waterproof and volume adding, and I went through a couple of brands before I found the one I like. Do your research and see what you need for your daily use and you may want a different brand for use at night.

Example: Walmart [Walmart #: 551086761] L’Oreal Paris Voluminous False Fiber Lashes Waterproof Mascara $7.15
    • Lipstick/Tinted Balm Used to color your lips, making them appear fuller and distinct, lipstick is the very first cosmetic I purchased and I have several colors. I use tinted lip balm on days where I am not going out or not dressing up; there is just enough tint to bring out my lips. On days where I am putting an outfit together or I just want more distinct color, I wear lipstick. There are of course other types of cosmetics to color your lips, lip makeup, lip balm, lip color, lip gloss, lip lacquer, lip liner. I am only covering the basics as it is what I have and what I know. There are rumors that the average woman ingests 4 pounds (or 7 depending on the magazine) of lipstick in their lifetime. I have yet to find actual facts on this, no study is cited and it smacks of guesswork and wishy thinking. However, we must ingest some, so I choose to go with those lipsticks/tinted balms that are as natural as possible. I am not pushing any brand, use what you like, but I enjoy Burt’s Bee’s brand lipstick and tinted lip balm. I love the colors and that the ingredients they use are as neutral as possible. I don’t know of any lipstick that is completely safe, being 100% natural doesn’t guarantee anything. A lot of poisons are 100% natural, but you don’t want to ingest them. Go with what you like, the colors you like and avoid too many chemicals if you can. Using lipstick can seem a bit daunting, but once you get some practice it will go on quickly. I suggest having a small mirror in your purse so that you can apply lipstick when needed, as they rarely last through the day with one application. There is a Burt’s Bees area in my grocery store, which is where I usually get them. But I looked online to get the pricing and to give you links.

Example: Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm Rose $5.87 / Walmart [Walmart #: 555393244] Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lipstick, Juniper Water $7.62

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