Make up, she wrote – Part I

It’s hardly a secret here that I love love love make up and skin care, playing with powders and paints and ever-so-pretty colours [am such a kid].   Conversely, I have zero interest in fashion or clothing beyond adequate coverage of my cute self, which is kinda weird.  And as for hair – well, I’m a wash n wear girl, no product overload and flat-ironing or what-have-you for me.  Just the make up and lotions and potions, please and thank you.

I was a late developer in the area of make up as in many others [puberty at 16?] which meant I bypassed some of the less fortunate aspects of the 1980s, heavy stripes of unblended blue and pink eye shadow, white lipstick and goopy cheap lip gloss.  When I was ready to get into make up and skin care, I went straight for the good stuff and learnt how to apply it correctly.

My tastes and preferences have changed over the years, but my basic policy remains the same.  I spend my money carefully regardless of brand name and hype;  I keep my “collection” minimal;  and I am beyond sceptical when it comes to outrageous advertorial claims by cosmetic companies.  I’m loyal to lines that deserve it by being tops in quality.  I don’t mind the spend so long as I get good bang for my buck.  So to speak. 

My favourite line of all is MAC, and whenever I “stray” I always limp back to the MAC counter, tail between my legs.


Foundation Primer 

Foundation primer is silicon based gunk designed to be applied after your moisturiser / sunscreen and before your foundation to put a film of product over your face that fills in lines and gives a good base for your make up to adhere to.  You know, like spak-filla or Dulux Primer.  Mmm yum.

It may come as a huge surprise then to hear that I don’t use primer, and find the entire premise completely spurious.  Translation; what a load of crap.  It’s totally pointless and has been hyped up so girlies think they have to spend more money on another step in an already complicated routine.  Regardless of your skin type, it’s a kerzillion times better to invest in really excellent and appropriate skin care that actually, you know, works and results in clear, fine textured and even toned skin.

If, however, you simply must use a foundation primer, or are a make up artist or something, there are a few good ones out there.  As well as the cult Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, I have heard great things about BECCA Mineral Primer SPF 30+ [both are available online at Adore Beauty].

Concealer:  MAC Select MoistureCover SPF 15 Concealer [NW 15 / 20]

I came rather late to the concealer party, especially considering the severe case of red-blotchies on my forehead, upper lip and chin, as well as dark circles.  After a bit of trial and error I discovered MAC’s MoistureCover and have become a total convert to it’s light creamy texture and effective non-chalky coverage.  I use it whether I’m doing the full-face war paint, or just going light by using concealer on the key areas with powder buffed over the entire face.

Application is where most girlies go horribly wrong.  Blend-blend-blend is the key of course, but there are extra tricks.  For the under-eye area I dab three dots about 1.5 cm apart in an inverted [upside-down] triangle underneath the eye and blend in a patting motion getting right into the inner and outer corners of the eye.  This gives a luminous and natural effect to the area and is a much more natural effect than the very obvious big round pale circles around the eye you see many women sporting.  Similar application – pat and blend – works well on other areas too such as the chin and forehead, and down the centre line of my nose.

For brush choice, see below under Tools.

Fluid Foundation:  MAC Mineralise SatinFinish Fluid Foundation SPF 15  [NW 15 / 20]

For the first time ever I am totally content with a liquid foundation.  This baby is truly DIVINE, dahlingks.  It has a gorgeous light, satin-smooth texture, excellent build-able coverage, does not look or feel heavy or caked, and it applies evenly, like a dream.  The end result is smooth perfect skin, not matte nor too dewy, just very natural looking – and you KNOW that’s a tricky thing to pull off!  I use my fingers to apply, followed by a good buffing with the MAC # 187 Fibre-Duo Brush AKA the Skunk Brush to give a nice smooth finish. 

As with all MAC face products, the colour match couldn’t be better.  I have major difficulty finding a match for my skin as I’m extremely fair but rather than the English smooth porcelain look I have ruddy Irish undertones – it looks like rosacea although it’s not.  My skin is translucent and super-fragile so the capillaries tend to glow through.  I require a shade that’s pale but with warm yellow undertones and MAC do the different variations of shade and undertone thing very well indeed.

Compact Foundation :  MAC Select MoistureBlend SPF 15 Compact Foundation  [NW 15 / 20]

I always like to have a creamy compact foundation on hand.  I find that in general the application is quicker, involves less fuss and mess, and the finish is even and not as heavy without losing on coverage.  But then I’m a slacker.  Compact foundations are also incredibly handy to chuck in your handbag for any necessary touch ups throughout the day, and for travelling when you don’t want bottles of thick goopy liquid shattering all over the contents of your carefully packed suitcase. 

MAC has a a large range of compact foundations / powders.  I’ve found the MoistureBlend is the best for my dry sensitive skin as it feels incredibly lush and creamy soft.  It applies smoothly either with the sponge provided or a foundation brush, gives excellent buildable coverage, looks and feels soft, natural and, well, moisturising.   The design of the compact is brilliant; the compact splits into two with the cream in one pan and the sponge underneath.  This keeps the sponge dry and there’s less chance of bacteria having an orgy.

A good additional shortcut is to use that small fluffy tapered brush I keep yapping about to swipe up a little more of the creamy foundation, and blend into any red/splotchy areas, under eyes, around the nose etc, just as you would a REAL concealer – told you I was a slack artist – for a bit more coverage in those areas or even just focus on those areas, blending well, and leave the rest of the face make up free.  Ditto with a stick foundation.

Mineral Foundation:  Ultraceuticals Ultra Active Mineral Colour  [Ivory / Honey]

I was late to the mineral foundation party too, which is a shame ‘cause they are brilliant.  Mineral foundations in powder form suit all different skin types from oily-combination to sensitive dry skin like mine.  I love them especially in the hot, humid summer months when all those layers of moisturiser + sunscreen + fluid foundations make your face feel overloaded, greasy and gross.

Ultraceuticals is an Aussie brand that makes sensational skin care [see previous posts] and the mineral foundation is a nice addition to the line.  It’s ultra-light, gives great natural coverage and is simple to apply – and it has a SPF of 30+.  Touch ups are a breeze as it’s in pressed-powder compact form.  Most mineral foundations are packaged in loose form, in pots with sifters etc, which are messy to use, impossible to take with you on-the-go, and a positive danger in my hands when I’m in a hurry – eye liners and mascaras are safe enough but not pots of loose expensive powder.

I apply the mineral make up “in the usual manner”;  translation, by swirling a kabuki-type brush [eg MAC # 187 Skunk Brush or # 182 Buffer Brush] in the powder, tapping off the excess then buffing gently but thoroughly over the entire face.  You can use fluid concealer prior to the minerals but I prefer to use a small fluffy tapered brush and touch up the “problem” areas with an extra bit of minerals after general application.

Important tip:  Make sure your moisturiser and sunscreen have had plenty of time to soak in and your face to dry off before applying the powder otherwise you will – if you remember your kindy chemistry – make mud.  Muddy clumped up splodges of wet powder is not the effect you’re going for . . .  But a smooth, even and refined visage is always a good look.


I don’t do bronzer.  I have very pale skin and intend it to stay that way and avoid melanoma by wearing SPF 30+, enormous-brimmed hats and long sleeve shirts, so even in the highs of summer bronzer looks fake and orange and muddy on me;  mask-like and basically disgusting.  Regardless of what the beauty mags say in just about every issue [and sheeeeeesh this pisses me off – I mean every issue?!] about ANYONE can and SHOULD wear bronzer ALL YEAR ROUND – well that’s CRAPPITY CRAP CRAP. 

If it doesn’t suit you, it doesn’t, and that’s that.  What you might like instead if you have fair skin and don’t do the self-tanning / bronzing thing is use a light shimmer or highlighter powder which gives the skin a pretty lit-up look.  For example, see the following.

Highlighter:   Napoleon Perdis Mosaic Powder  [Gleamer]

I call this product is “The Anti-Bronzer” and I simply adore it.  I looked around at various brands and application-types of highlighter and shimmer powders, from Bobbi Brown’s Shimmer Bricks [tempting but in general too bronze] to MAC Iridescent Powders but nothing really grabbed me until I found this one.  Napoleon Perdis is an Australian line too, so that’s pretty cool.

Mosaic Powder in “Gleamer” is packaged in a pretty white compact with a decent size mirror, with a girly pink retro fluffy powder puff that is definitely not my thing – ewww pink – and the puff isn’t much good for application anyway.  However the highlighter is heavenly.  The pressed powder is made up of squares of different colours;  ivory, peach, and a light bronze-gold.  You swish a phoofy brush eg MAC # 129 Powder / Blush Brush over the squares to pick up a mix of all the colours, tap off the excess and apply. 

I use this as highlighter on a fully made up face, or with a minimal make up of eye liner, mascara, brows, and maybe a touch of concealer.  You can either pat the highlighter on specific areas eg across the tops of the cheekbones, the temples and brow bones, or dust around the sides of the face.  Imagine two big C’s with the first C curving out from the temples back into the cheekbones, then the second C from cheekbone to jaw, with a little at the hairline and a dusting down the nose.

Gleamer Mosaic Powder gives me that luminous glow thing, with a touch of colour from the mix of shades.  It makes me look bright eyed and bushy tailed and generally perked-up, just as bronzers work for other people.  In fact the first day I tested it out I was feeling rather blah, however I met my brother for lunch and he commented that I looked very bright-eyed and healthy and chirpy, and big brothers don’t do shallow compliments.  So major score!

Blush:  MAC Sheertone Powder Blush  [Blushbaby]

Given my highly coloured yet pale Irish skin I’ve mostly avoided blush, I already look flushed and blotchy and after I’ve gone to all the effort of evening everything out why would I slap on some rouge?  However there’s no denying a bit of a pop of colour can brighten up a grey pasty morning-after face.

I don’t like cream cheek colours as they look too way hectic on me and can be hard to blend on dry skin [this may be due to user error of course].   So a subtle powder blush is the one for me – and just this last year or so I’ve found one or two with which I’ve fallen in love.   MAC Sheertone Powder Blushes are lovely powder blushes, sheer yet buildable with a huge selection of colours – some shimmery ones too.  I use Blushbaby which is the perfect tawny peachy rose, not too hectic on a very fair, pinkish complexion nor too dark or dull, It’s Juuust Right, and adds a very pretty *pop* of colour.

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  • jewel and abu  On Sunday 9 November 2008 at 10:19 am

    OH sooo you would be soo proud of me!! as I have confessed here I am the worst about make up, I use the mantra “well people will think I wanted it to look like that”

    So a few weeks ago–I went to the HUGE dept store and plopped down at what looked like the least scary counter. I had my colors done and bought the foundation, conclear, powder, blush, eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara and lipstick they suggested and I made them show me how to apply it all. I also upgraded my skin care line- I guess anything is a forward step from Ivory soap and Oil of Olay moisture cream!! So now every day I follow the very easy steps and I have gotten a few compliments on how FRESH I look. hmmm. SO the counter was Clinique, now I know they are not super fancy but frankly the “Harlots” at the other counters kind of scared me off and Clinique looked very clean and minimal. So what do you think darling am I on the road to recovery??? Is 40 to old to start wearing make up?? Remember all I did before was lushey black masacara and Mineral stuff. I will say I feel very girly and the counter lady loaded me with a ton of freebies to try!!!

  • otterkat  On Wednesday 12 November 2008 at 4:26 pm

    Gosh Jewel, I think 40 is WAY too old to be behaving like such a floozy! You tramp you! And what’s the point in wanting to try something new and look attractive when you’re SO OLD? ::roflmao:: I’m v impressed actually, sounds like you had great fun and got some good stuff. Clinique’s a v g brand for good quality basics and like you say – clean and minimal. I know EXACTLY what you mean about the counter ho’s – the MAC girls in particular scare the pants off me and I’m positive they look me up and down in utter disgust at my non-coolness but I don’t give a shite! It’s fun and that’s all that matters. So what shades did you get? I reckon you’d look sensational with a sexy smoky eye. Hope you got some good brushes too – I’m a total klutz but with a few of my fave MAC brushes even I can get a fairly complicated “look” right! [MAC brushes #’s 129, 187, 219, 239, 266 and 318 are my must-haves]

  • Rosacea Guy  On Saturday 27 June 2009 at 12:12 am

    Very interesting post. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • Spootbago  On Friday 11 December 2009 at 1:40 am

    True words, some truthful words dude. Totally made my day!!

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