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How Cosmetics Work – The Make Up of Makeup
by Arden Mellor

The world of cosmetics – enhancing your beauty, or covering up a small weakness. That’s what cosmetics are for. There’s a cosmetic product for every need. That’s basically how cosmetics work – they allow you to enhance, cover up, camouflage, illuminate, emphasize or minimize – whatever you feel necessary to create a picture of beauty. So let’s explore the methods you can use to do just that.

Cosmetics basics

Before you apply any kind of cosmetics, you need to have a clear idea in your mind of what you’re trying to achieve. As we just mentioned, cosmetics can do many things, and there are many different products designed to do just those things. But you need to be sure before you start that you know what you’re applying and what kind of effect it’s going to produce.

If you’re going for the natural look, then you need to use cosmetics that match your skin color and type. If you want to go “glam”, then, of course, you want everything to be in contrast to your natural look.

And consider, too, how much makeup you need. Some women are blessed with great complexions that don’t need much makeup, while others need a bit of help.

When you’re shopping for makeup, find a store that has qualified professionals who can answer all your questions. Most cosmetics departments and stores do have them. And the ones that are there know their stuff, so don’t hesitate if you have any doubts.

You’ll also need to know your budget before you shop for cosmetics. They range from the drugstore discount cosmetics to the more expensive department store cosmetics. One advantage to shopping at the department store for your cosmetics is that the staff are very well trained – many of them estheticians, who can guide you to achieving the look you want.

Also, you can choose from all the brands – Colosé, Christian Dior, Clinique, Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, Shiseido, Biotherm, Iman, and more. They all have their own separate counters and beauty advisors. Many will give you a free consultation, including a full makeup application – or a complete makeover, if you want.

So take your time and you’ll end up with the look that’s just perfect for you.

Cosmetics combine to make a perfect picture

Since most cosmetics are applied to the face, we’ll look at the basic products and their purposes. First of all, the base is, of course, the foundation, just as it sounds. Anything that’s built well has a solid foundation, and that applies to your face, too.

It’s important to use a foundation that matches your natural skin color as closely as possible. So try it out. All cosmetics stores have samples. And don’t try it on your wrist – the skin on your arms isn’t quite the same color as that on your face. Try it on your jaw line. If you have time, it’s a good idea to go outside because the foundation will look a bit different in natural light as opposed to the store lights.

When you apply your foundation, you should use a makeup sponge, for more even coverage. That’s, of course, if you’re using a liquid foundation; if you’re using cream-to-powder, there’ll be an applicator with it.

Many women like to use concealers. They do a great job of hiding blemishes, covering up dark eye circles, or just helping keep their makeup in place, especially if they have oily skin. Just as with foundation, you need to make sure that you get a concealer that matches your skin color. And concealer works best when it’s dabbed on, not rubbed in.

A quick application of blush can be a great way to “wake up” the color in your cheeks. It’ll also help to blend the colors of your makeup. But make sure you use one that suits your skin tone; that is, whether you’re a warm or cool skin tone.

There are three types of blush – powder, gel, and cream. Powder is the most popular – probably because it’s the easiest to apply. Cream blushes are great if you have dry skin. Gel blushes are really good, too, but they’re hard to apply evenly, so it’s recommended that they’re only applied by professionals. The key word to remember when using blush, or any makeup, for that matter, is “blend, blend, blend”. Use it to create an all-over natural look.

There are two kinds of powder – loose and pressed. Pressed powder usually comes in a compact, allowing you to do a quick application any time you need to throughout the day. Loose powder serves as a good replacement for foundation in the summer heat. They’re both good at taking away the shine on your face. Whichever you prefer, you need to make sure it matches your skin color.

Another convenient cosmetics product is blotting paper. You can use it throughout the day, instead of applying more makeup, which could eventually cause a caked-on look.

Makeup application tips

We’ll cover just a few of the more common makeup application tips here. With all the different products, there are bound to be many different procedures to go along with them. So let’s just look at some of the products that will help you get the maximum benefit out of your cosmetics use.

One of the biggest complaints from women about cosmetics is that their makeup tends to slip and slide, and gather in cracks. The best way to combat this annoying problem is to use a good toner before you apply your makeup. Let it dry, then use an oil-free foundation. If your skin gets too oily during the day, just use blotting paper to soak up the oil. Toner

Many women have trouble accentuating their beautiful eyes. For example, they might apply a dark liner under them, but that’ll only make them look smaller. To make your eyes look bigger, use a lighter color eyeliner. And if you really want them to stand out, use a matte pastel eye shadow, then some mascara. You could even curl your eyelashes if you want.

If you’re one of those women who don’t have very well-defined lips, then it can be frustrating when you’re applying your lipstick because you’re not sure where the lips end and the skin begins. The easiest way to figure it out is to line your lips with a pencil that matches your natural lip color, keeping inside your lip line, then fill it in with your lip color. Some women like to put some foundation on a Q-tip to fill in any doubtful spots.

If you want your lipstick to last all day, here’s a simple tip. Use a lipstick sealant under your lipstick, instead of over it. Put the sealant on first, then the lip color. Then do a quick blot with a Kleenex, and apply your lip color. Your lipstick should then last you pretty well all day.

How many women use a magnifying mirror to apply their makeup, so they can get it just right? Consider this: do you have people examining you that closely all day? For the most part, you probably don’t come into that close a contact with people so, although you want to do a good job on your makeup, you don’t have to go to extremes.

Using the right cosmetics for your skin type

It’s important to use cosmetics that are made specifically for your skin type, whether it be dry, oily, or a combination of both. If you’re not sure what your skin type is, all you need to do is wash your face with regular facial soap. Then, about an hour later, feel your skin. If it’s tight, then you have dry skin. If it’s shiny, then you have oily skin. If one part, like your cheeks, are tight, while your forehead is shiny, then you have combination skin.

Dry skin is good for the most part. But you need to care for it properly because it’s more likely to wrinkle. That means using a good creamy moisturizer twice a day, and probably a weekly moisturizing mask.

Oily skin is more susceptible to breaking out than dry skin, but then it tends not to wrinkle so much. (Where’s that happy medium?!) So to keep your skin healthy, you’ll need to wash it with a gel cleanser, three times a day if you can. And a mud mask would be good about once a week.

If you have combination skin, you don’t have to buy both types of cleanser and moisturizer. There are special products designed for your type of skin, so don’t worry.

This may sound a bit silly, but it’s important for you to remember that your skin covers your whole body. Of course it does, but the point here is that you need to care for the skin on your whole body, not just your face.

The skin around your neck and chest is similar to your facial skin so, although you don’t need the cleansing systems you use for your face, you do need to use proper cleansers, like a gentle body wash or shower gel. And the rest of the body needs attention, too. So after you bathe, use a soothing body lotion. One thing to note here is that it’s beneficial to think ahead when you use a lotion – is it going to clash with your favorite fragrance?

Cosmetics for Acne

One of the most bothersome skin problems is acne. Basically, acne is plugged pores, and appears as pimples – either whiteheads or blackheads – referred to by cosmeticians as comedones. What the pores are plugged with is an oily substance called sebum. Acne can be caused by hormonal changes, too, since the production of sebum is controlled by hormones. Contrary to some old beliefs, acne is not caused by chocolate, sweets, fat or soda.

There are many treatments for acne, but the best cosmetics are those that have a vitamin A base, called retinoids. Retinoids help to increase the creation of new skin cells, which pushes any foreign matter out faster. Some examples of retinoids are A vita, Retin-A, Renova, and Tretinoin. Gels are usually a little stronger than creams, but they’ll both help the cause. Bren New York Retinol Cream

While you’re using these products, you’ll need to start slowly and work up, or they can irritate the skin. And since they make your skin more sensitive to the sun, you’ll need to wear a sunblock with a minimum SPF of 15. Colosé Suncare Products

Acne can’t be cured instantly or permanently, so don’t be impatient with your treatment. Follow the directions carefully and carry the program out all the way to the end. If you do this, you should see positive results in a few weeks.

Online cosmetics are a great way to go

When you first start buying makeup, it’s a good idea to get a consultation to find out what the best products are for the look you want. But when you know exactly what you want, and what you like, and what works best for you, then you can just go online and order it. There are many discount cosmetics sites that carry all the top lines.

So don’t spend hours going shopping when you can spend minutes at your computer and get the same results. You can get your favorite cosmetics, at a reasonable price, delivered to your door. And then you’ll have more time to spend preparing for that perfect evening out, with your hair and your makeup all in place, to give you that total perfect package that your loved one is going to appreciate so much. Have fun!

About the Author:

Arden Mellor is a successful home based freelance writer, one of experience and diversity. The knowledge brought to you through Arden's articles has been designed for simplicity. The world is much too complicated, and Arden’s contribution to the world is to bring the complexities of life into a simpler arena, one that anyone and everyone can understand and use. Arden writes many informative articles

This "Glossary of Cosmetics Terms & Definitions" reprinted with permission.