December 26, 2010

Though it comes as a shock when you first realize it, one must remember that make-up companies are not catering to us desis at all. Surely we do not imagine Bobbi Brown or Francoise Nars sitting around thinking about what the PBCD/ABCD/BBCD girl of today really wants. In fact you can pretty much bet that if something suits you, then it is almost definitely going to be discontinued. If it works for our skin/colour/climate, then it is going to tank in the western market. This is why I tell all my students to buy 10 of anything that they love throughout their lives. I learnt to do it, especially as a professional, a long, long time ago.

However, having to come up with one’s own versions of products and techniques has kept my career very interesting.  I try to share this knowledge as comprehensively as I can through my blogs and through my classes so that you too can get inventing. That is till I start my own make-up line!

These are some of my top tips:

1.   Jeepers Peepers!

Try this: Apply mascara to all but the last few lashes in your lash line for a wide-eyed look. Contrary to what most of us believe (or what the huge fake lashes used in the mascara adverts would suggest) I find that if I apply mascara all the way to the end of the lash line, instead of elongating the eye, it makes the eye droop. This is probably because most of us desi gals have big round eyes and not the flat, long, Nordic faces that are used to sell us the product.

2.  Hot and Kohl-ed

Hold your eye pencil to a bulb or heat it up with a hair dryer till it is warm and then apply to your water line (the pink inner line that you pop kajal on).  Remember that it is IMPORTANT that you warm it but that you do notmelt it, or you will obviously burn yourself very badly. But if you exercise caution, this heating of the pencil has three results that rock. Firstly, heating it up brings the oils to the surface of the kohl, making the application easier. Secondly, as the cream cools down, the kohl sets in to a nearly immovable line. And thirdly, you will find that heating it will give you a much more intense line than you have seen before — or than the make-up company intended.

3.   Homemade Éclat

YSL’s Touche Éclat radiant highlighter is a genius under-eye concealer that is one of the top-selling products in the world. Like all good make-up innovations it combines a few functions into one. Sadly, you also end up paying a few times the price of your average-Jane ordinary concealer.  If you can afford it, then lucky you! However, if you are on a budget or if you are not travelling any time soon, then you can replicate something close to it at home. So lets break it down. What are the components that make Touche Éclat a winner?

  • A highly iridescent, highly shimmery highlighter that catches light and bounces it right back to the observer.
  • A highly rich, liquid concealer that delivers very intense coverage but comes on as a fine layer.
  • It’s rich apricot colour cancels out any green, grey or dark shadow.

So try this: take a warm concealer stick, a peach cream blush/lipstick and a strong illuminator, mix together and voila! Home-made Touche Éclat!

Colour and Highlights: This is an example of how coral tones and good highlighting make you seem fresher and healthier. Photo: Bina Khan

Colour and Highlights: This is an example of how coral tones and good highlighting make you seem fresher and healthier. Photo: Bina Khan

4.   And Now for the Highlights…

To create a really polished look, use the same highlighter throughout the face. Don’t skip a single one out: the inner corner of your eye, above your cheekbone/under your eye, brow bone, down the line of your nose, your chin, your forehead. Whether you do it with a cool peach or a warm gold, you will look clean faced or like a guilt goddess. Beware though, too shimmery a shimmer and you will look like an escapee from Boney M!

5.   In-built Make-up Tools

Your fingers are definitely great tools to apply, blend, blot, blur or swipe. But there are loads of tools that you have lying around at home that loads of pros use all the time. For example, a moistened cotton bud is a make-up artist’s best friend. Dip it in to your favourite eye shadow to create a great liner and then as the bud gets fuzzy, use that texture to help you blend edges into dreamy soft lines. A cotton bud is a great substitute lip brush as well!

6.   Healthy Skin is the Best Primer

If your skin is clogged up with loads of dead cells or sebum, then your make-up will never get absorbed uniformly or perhaps even at all. Obviously the need for a monthly facial has been discussed in this column before (seeFacing It: The Case for a Proper Skin Care Regime). But what to do in an emergency?

For boys, having a quick shave is their daily exfoliation, but obviously none of the bird brigade wants to go down that route. Well, here is a rough but effective emergency solution. In a warm bath, take a good facial scrub and work in circles over your face for one minute. Then take a make-up wipe and us the exfoliating fibre to exfoliate again. While your skin is still moist rub in your moisturizer. Spritz your face with very cold water. This will improve the roughest areas of your face, but if your skin is sensitive do be careful. Remember this is an emergency measure; if you can squeeze out the time, get thee to thy facialist! (This same treatment is the cure for crunchy, dry lips in the winter as well).

Orgasm by Nars: This is the highest selling blush of the last few years. As you can see it is a beautiful pinky coral. Photo: Bina Khan

Orgasm by Nars: This is the highest selling blush of the last few years. As you can see it is a beautiful pinky coral. Photo: Bina Khan

7.   Think Pink!

While I find desi ladies insist that this colour does not suit them until I put it on their faces myself, a coral/pink has got to be a girl’s best friend. Along with proper highlighting and good mascara application, this look was made famous on SJP in Sex And The City. I recently recommended a great, reasonable coral/pink (that I incidentally wear everyday myself) on my blog and I received vociferous rejections of the colour as unsuited to our skin tone! This, in spite of the fact that I offered advice on how to wean yourself off the brown addiction that all desi ladies suffer from. I say to all of you unbelievers, embrace the coral! It takes years off, makes you look well rested and fakes a great glow of health.

Imagine a healthy, fresh-faced, bright-lipped, flushed-cheeked natural visage. If you were to try and replicate what nature gives the fortunate few, what colour would one use? That’s right ladies: PINKY CORAL! (Not, I might add, brown….)

8.   Blush-sticks and eye-powders

In the same way that we all think that we will spontaneously combust if we use a foot cream on our hands, or a face scrub on our bodies, we often think that make-up is site specific. Well, don’t believe it for a second! Cream blush makes great lipstick, lipstick makes a great cream blush, eye shadow makes a great highlighter, face shimmers and powders make great eye shadow, and so on and so on. Look at your make-up kit; now you have tonnes more stuff that you thought you had!

9.   And Speaking of Mixing…

We are used to mixing lipsticks, but when it comes to the eyes or blush I find that people chicken out. I often use up to five or six different blushes to get just the right hue, and I love, love, LOVE to mix eye shadow tones on the eye to create just the right colour. Want to make that green more aqua? Throw on a blue! Want to make that gold dirtier? Mix in some black. Try to think of your make-up as a palette, and you can mix things together to get the desired effect!

10.   V for Victory

One of the most attractive things is a well-defined mouth. Concealing near the corners of the mouth can clean your look up by miles. Highlighting the ‘v’ in your top lip exaggerates the curves of your mouth; ad a ‘v’ of concealer and pat over with a subtle shimmer for an alluring smile. Be careful though: too heavy a hand with the concealer will make your lips look cracked.

Exfoliation: The importance of a proper skin care regime can't be stressed enough. Photo: Bina Khan

Exfoliation: The importance of a proper skin care regime can’t be stressed enough. Photo: Bina Khan

The opinions and tips expressed here are not those of Newsline Publications Pvt. Ltd. Newsline recommends the use of caution and care when applying health and beauty tips found online. Readers who follow the advice given here, follow it at their own risk.