#31 – Take a Professional Make Up Lesson

I’m not overly confident with make up.  I don’t use it much at all, because I think it looks heavy and unnatural on me so I really only wear it if I’m dressing up to go out in the evening.  I never wear make up during the day because I don’t know how to ensure it doesn’t look over the top and I’m scared of creating the ‘clown’ look. I’m lucky in that I have reasonably good skin, so don’t really need to use make up to hide blemishes which is probably one of the reasons why I’ve never really learned to wear it.  So, what I wanted to achieve with this challenge was to find out a bit more about make up, what works for me, how to apply it confidently and how to create more subtle looks for daytime.

I chose to visit an independent make up artist, which was more expensive upfront, but meant that the session focused on me rather than on the products.  As the make up artist (Evie) was not working for a particular brand, it wasn’t in her interest to use lots of expensive products on me in the hope that I would buy them and she would earn commission from the sales.  I was really pleased that she used inexpensive products, easily available on the High Street, so if I want to obtain any of them it will be easy for me to do so.  I was also able to take my own make up along, so we could evaluate that and see what was working for me and what wasn’t.  Given my incredibly small existing collection, there wasn’t really anything which we decided needed to be thrown out!

The sum total of my existing make up collection

The make up artist’s make up collection

(Compare my make up collection with the huge collection that the professional make up artist has!)

The starting place for the lesson was the base.  Luckily I have a foundation that I like and that suits my skin.  (Since I have really pale skin, it took me years to find a foundation that didn’t make me look orange.)  Evie agreed that my foundation worked, so we used that, but not before she’d introduced me to primer, which I’d never heard of before.  Apparently it acts as a sort of undercoat, smoothing out your skin a bit before applying foundation.  Evie said that for a daytime look, primer could be used on its own.  After the primer and the foundation came powder.  I never use powder.  It’s one of those things which I think makes make up look heavy.  Evie explained that it helps to set the foundation and reduces shine, but also stressed that it shouldn’t be used around the corners of the eyes because it can accumulate in the laughter lines there and emphasise them, making your skin look wrinkled and therefore older.  That made a lot of sense, and perhaps suggests why it is that I think powder doesn’t work.  Clearly it’s all about careful application.

Action shot of the lesson taking place!

Next were the eyes.  Evie chose to do one eye as a subtler, daytime look with mainly browns and creams, and the other with a more evening look involving purples, which I had requested as purple is a colour I love.  Time for another product I’d never heard of – cream eyeshadow.  Evie suggested I use it as a base, because it is smoother to go on, provides good coverage and also ‘sticks’ any powder eyeshadow used on top of it so the powder lasts longer and doesn’t fall off and gather under the eye.  One eye was done in a creamy beige, the other in a purpley beige, to give a bit more depth of colour.

We then used my existing eyeshadows in browns and purples to create one subtle and one more dramatic look for the eyes.  I could see how using the cream eyeshadow gave a good even base, but also strengthened the colour meaning that you could use far less of the powder eyeshadow yet get better colour coverage than from powder alone.  Maybe cream eyeshadow will make it on to my shopping list.

Before we finished with eyes, Evie showed me a different way to put on mascara which involved moving the brush left to right over the lashes and treating the eye as two halves so that the mascara was applied in different directions.  This achieved a much more consistent result than my usual ‘dabbing at it with the wand’ approach.  A useful new technique learned (if I can remember it next time!).  Finally, Evie explained the importance of emphasising your eyebrows as a frame for your eyes – and I could see how, without enhancement, they disappeared a bit, but with some enhancement they really finished the look.  Eyebrow gel might be another addition to that shopping list.

Next was blush, and again we used my existing blusher for the evening look, but looked at some softer options for a more subtle daytime look.  Finally we played around with a number of lipsticks, trying out different colours to see how they went with the look.  It was really helpful to be able to put these on my lips and see them in the context of my full face, rather than just trying them on the back of my hand as you have to do if you’re in the shop.

We finished the session by removing the daytime eye makeup and Evie made that eye up to match the other ‘evening’ eye, as I had requested to finish on an evening look.  I was attending a Black Tie Ball that night so thought I might as well make the most of having a professional do my makeup!

Finished look at the end of the professional make up lesson

Throughout the session, as Evie was applying different make up to me she was explaining which type of brush or applicator was best to use and why, which was very helpful, and at the end of the session she created a personalised chart for me showing why products she had used on me and where I could buy them from.

The make up chart showing my recommendations

Overall, the session was helpful but not as inspiring as I had hoped it might be.  If I’m honest I was hoping to feel like I felt after having my colours done (Challenge number 15) which really was life changing.  After completing that challenge and learning which colours and styles of clothing suited me it’s now much easier and more pleasant to go shopping and I feel much more confident in how I look.  However, if I’m honest, this make up session hasn’t made me feel any more confident about using make up.  I might buy one or two extra products because I can see that they could be useful and improve my existing evening look, but I’m still not happy about make up for daytime as I feel that it is still too heavy and artificial looking on me.  Guess I’ll just have to stay ‘au naturel’!


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