Okay, so let me start by saying that I’m part of the over forty
crowd. Girls don’t tell, so I won’t go into
details, but let’s just say, the texture of my eyelids has
changed over the last ten years, I have radically altered how I
wear my makeup, and my oldest son is a preteen.
When I first started selling and making mineral makeup,
I, like many first-time mineral make up users, refused to wear
shimmery makeup on my eyes. Occasionally, I would apply
some shimmer to my shoulders or décolleté, but never on the
face. Then one day, I finally took the plunge, and allowed
a makeup artist working at my kiosk here in Baltimore to ‘do’ my
eyes. She was young-ish, so naturally reached for some
pretty sparkly powders that I assumed were only appropriate for
the 30 an under crowd. Well, boy was I wrong!
My eyes looked fabulous: alluring, bright, and sexy.
My normally dark, sculpted, matte look (very eighties I’ll
admit) had been replaced by a look that was so refreshing, that
I immediately began receiving compliments from people who had
known me for years. They said things like, “wow, what did
you do, get some sleep?”, or “did you do something to your
skin?”, or “ you look beautiful”…..etc…..mmmm, didn’t that feel
So, of course, I delved right into the whys and hows of
this new, quite encouraging phenomenon in my life; the instant
face lift in a little jar of powder.
Some of you may already understand this, and I’ll try
not to get too technical: Minerals, depending upon how they are
cut, can change how you see light, as well as the mineral
itself. Good example: diamonds. A rough diamond is
not at all attractive, but a well-cut one has multitudes of
sparkles, with light literally bouncing off of it in delicate
and constantly moving points of rainbow colors. Well, the
minerals used in makeup are no different. In fact, one of
the main minerals used in the sparkly, shimmery, and shiny
(three different things but I’ll get to that later) powders that
are all the rage now, is Titanium Dioxide. It has a very
high refractive index, (refraction is the bending of light
displayed by the example of diamonds), so in a cosmetic lab,
milling of minerals includes carefully cutting minerals to
accentuate and amplify their capability to ‘bend’ light as it
meets the eye.
The result can be anything from a simple shimmering
effect to an actual layering of color whereby the eye sees
rainbow hues. So what does this mean to your face, your
eyes, and your mirror? It means that when you apply makeup
that has a decent content of finely, carefully milled refractive
pigments, that your face and eyes gain a certain ‘glow’, or dewy
effect. This can serve to brighten up the eye area,
deflect light away from blemishes and skin imperfections, and
create a more refreshed and youthful appearance.
Now, if you are like I was, you’re probably digging in
your proverbial heals even right now as we speak. Here’s
what I’ve heard women say about this topic.
“ Not me, I have crepey eyelids, I can’t wear mineral cosmetics
“ Not me, I have very dry skin on my face, I can’t wear powdered
“ Oh, shimmers are so inappropriate for my age-group ”
“ Only teenagers should wear that stuff”
“ I’ll stick to my Lancome ”
“ I hate that glow that mineral makeup gives to the face “
I’ve heard it all, and I’ve seen it all. What I’m
here to tell you in the article, is that you CAN wear mineral
makeup that has pearlescent effects as long as you know HOW!
I’ve successfully applied mineral makeup to many, many women
over the years, and they all walk away very pleased. So,
in the next section of the article, I will break down for you in
detail, exactly how to pick age and complexion-appropriate
mineral shadows and face makeup, and also how to apply it for
the optimal effect.
Choosing the correct Mineral Shadows and Face Makeup
To start, let me clarify that ‘mature skin’ is a designation of
skin condition, not of the age of the person applying the
makeup. Skin health and appearance varies wildly from one
person to the next. The type of issues that appear as we
grow older are: crepey skin around the lids, more recessed eyes,
lines under the eyes and on the forehead, sagging skin around
the jaw line, and ‘fuzzy’ lips that tend to bleed lip colors.
So if your skin is smooth, wrinkle free and firm….well….you must
be well-preserved! For the rest of us, I’m going to first
outline some basic guidelines to follow when choosing products
1. Lighter shades are optimal: My mother used to
say that I had bedroom eyes. I loved to accentuate this
with dark shades in my crease that would recess my eyes.
Now my eyes seem to be recessing just fine on their own. I
used to scoff at light shades on the lid! Now I adore
them. The lighter shades brighten up the eye area,
especially when using mineral pigments, due to the silky sheen
that catches and plays with light.
2. Choose semi matte
vs. matte: Contrary to what many women believe, mattes are
not the best option for mature skin. Mattes are ideal for
the 25 and under crowd who want a more dramatic and ‘made-up’
look. Mattes tend not to look as natural as semi-mattes.
The reason for this lies in the formulation itself. Mattes
are made with heavier, more opaque pigments that don’t allow
your skin to shine through the makeup. Semi-mattes on the
other hand (this will vary from line to line, but basically you
are looking for a finely ground powder that the vendor
advertises has a soft silken texture) are quite sheer.
This may seem like the wrong product choice, since the question
is, “Why would we want someone to see our skin with all of these
blemishes, wrinkles and age spots?”. But actually, while
deflecting the eye from skin problems, the sheerness of them
creates a more natural looking finish. This is a really
important point to make. At all ages, natural looking is
more beautiful. All we are really trying to do is
accentuate our finer points, not cover up our skin and face in
3. Avoid shimmers or
sparkles on “crepey” lids: Some customers will really
disagree with me on this point, so I’d better present their
point of view first. First of all, women in the medium to
dark skin tone range generally benefit from wearing shimmers.
The effervescence of the minerals looks wonderful, whereas on
lighter skin, it accentuates the skin’s aging. The choice
of whether to wear shimmers has somewhat to do with lifestyle.
When I worked at my store in Fells Point in Baltimore, a
‘mature’ movie star who was starring in a feature film being
locally produced, used to visit my store at the end of each day.
She would slather green shimmery eye-shadow all over her lids, (
# 63 lime versatile powder if anyone wants to see the shade I’m
referring to) and the pinkest blush that I had on her cheeks.
I tried to steer her to more sedate colors and application, but
she looked at me and said, “Honey, at my age, and being an
actor, I can do anything that I want! I don’t care if
people think I’m a kooky old lady, so don’t try to talk me out
of sparkly eye-shadows, that’s what I like!” Well, didn’t
I learn my lesson! Who was I to decide what was
‘appropriate’ for someone else?! But for the purposes of
reaching out to the majority of women in this age range that I
speak to, and from my own expression on my face in the mirror
after having tried some sparkly shadows on my lids, I simply
don’t recommend it.
4. Less is more:
Cut your makeup in half. If you wear three colors on your
eyes, wear one instead. If you wear a deep, or bright
lipstick, try a popping sheer gloss instead. If you wear
foundation, plus powder, give up on the powder (I know it’s
hard!), and just wear a sheer layer of foundation; enough to
cover the areas that need it….let your skin shine through!
5. Forget about
contouring the crease area: We all learned the three step
process: lighter color on the lid, darker contour color in the
crease, and a mid-tone color in the ‘corner’ of the eyes.
I now do almost the opposite. I pick a multi-purpose
semi-matte or low voltage versatile powder and apply it from lid
to brow bone. The mineral shadows that I use (my absolute
favorites are café latte from the Earth Collection, and Mermaid
from the Sultry Collection) catch the light, and sparkle on my
lid, and continue to brighten all the up to my brow. Now I
only use dark colors very sparingly for a nighttime event.
Otherwise, I end up achieving the opposite effect from what I
6. Go for dew not
glow on face and cheeks: So, we talked about not using
mattes. Well on the other end of the spectrum, there are
brands of mineral foundation that are quite shiny. I find
that this accentuates lines and blemishes. Instead, a
product with a nice dewey effect is ideal for bringing a
youthful appearance to the face. We’ll get into
application in the next section, but for now, to choose a
mineral foundation that is not glowy, just look for vendors’
descriptions of the texture of their foundations. Try
samples first, and make sure to order the proper brush, since
this is imperative for mineral makeup application to look
7. Use the right
color choices: If you don’t hide your grey, complement it by
using cool tones, and peaches. If you had brunette, red,
or black hair and brown eyes as a younger version of yourself,
consider changing the makeup that you wear to lighter shades
such as silver based pinks and beiges, cool greens and heathers.
These will blend well with the silver tones in your hair.
This also requires examining your wardrobe and culling out the
darker, warmer shades such as brown, russet, and maroon, as
these will tend to drag down your overall look.
Now that you have some basic guidelines under your
belt, this section will provide a sample makeover with some
detailed application techniques. I’m using as default a
light-skinned woman with brown hair streaked with grey.
The techniques still apply, but for medium to dark skins, a
different palette with deeper tones would be apropos.
Step 1. First, cleanse, and moisturize the face
(preferably with a creamy cleanser, such as a lotion, so as not
to dehydrate the skin.
Step 2. Next, decide if you prefer to use the mineral
makeup dry with a brush, or mixed into your moisturizer.
If your skin is very dry, and you need minimal
coverage, I would recommend mixing the powdered mineral makeup
into your moisturizer, or purchasing it premixed into a natural
cream formula. This will offer you a more natural-looking
dewey effect, and will provide extra moisture for your skin.
To mix mineral foundation into a cream, simply put a dollop of
cream into the palm of your hand, and then tap a little bit of
powder into your palm as well. Mix the two together and
then apply a small amount to your face with your finger, or if
you prefer, a sponge. If the coverage is not heavy enough,
tap a little bit more powder into your palm until you have your
own preferred ratio of powder to cream. This may seem
tedious, but is wonderful in that you can control your coverage,
while a pre-mixed cream would have it’s own coverage level built
into the product.
If you have normal to oily skin, need heavier coverage,
or need all day wear because you are very active, then I would
recommend using a powdered loose mineral foundation. Once
your moisturizer has settled, use a flat top foundation brush,
or kabuki, to firmly brush a small amount of the foundation over
one cheek until the coverage is achieved, then repeat on other
cheek, chin, nose (great on spider veins) and forehead. A
flat top does not need a small concealer brush to get around the
nose, just twist the brush around a bit, and it will catch those
corners. If you have red, purple or dark colors around your
lids, or under your eyes, keep brushing around those areas too.
The foundation will lighten, and diminish these tones.
Step3. Choose a light-medium semi-matte pearlescent
shade. It could be a peach, a taupe, a silver-beige, a
pink, or for darker skin tones, a lighte silver brown or mauve.
Using a brush with very short, thick hair (in the Monave line,
it is called a firm shadow brush), sparingly apply the semi
matte all over the lid and up into the brow line. If your
eyelids sag, thus diminishing your lid size, be sure to use that
shade all the way up to the brow bone (not to the brow itself,
but to the bottom and a little bit over the brow bone).
Remember, this color will ‘wake up’ your eyes, so be generous
with the area in which you apply it.
Step 4. Eyeliner. If you are comfortable using a
brush to apply liquid liner, follow this step, if not,
substitute with a pencil liner. Pick a smokey blue, smokey
grey, light brown or purple powder in the medium (dark for
darker skin tones) range. I would recommend a matte powder
for your liner. If you liquefy a pearlescent powder, it
will create a shiny line over your eye, which isn’t necessarily
the look you are going for. Use an angled liner brush, and
starting at the outer corner, gently walk your line toward the
inner corner with short steps. If you are already adept at
using liquid liners, simply follow your own process. Once
the powder has dried, correct any boo-boos with a Q-tip, rolled
downward toward your inner corner. Buff out the line until
it is soft. You may need to do this more than once until
you get the line to the desired thickness, but remember,
soft-focus works better to amplify the eye area. If your
eyes do well with under-eye color, do the same, but make sure to
keep the line thicker at the outer corner, and continue it half
way to the corner, not the whole way.
Step 5. Use a white semi-matte shadow under the brow to
provide one more ‘pop’ to the eyes. With a firm shadow
brush, brush the powder directly under the brow, and watch your
eyes open up even more!
Step 6. Finish off your eyes with brown or black mascara.
Don’t use black mascara if your hair is blond, light brown, or
silver, use brown, or dark brown instead. Dramatic works
when we are younger, ease up a little!
Step 7. Brush a light peach, neutral, or mauve/brown
blush on your cheeks. Again, I recommend semi-matte not
matte, or shimmery. It’s nice to see a little glow on the
cheeks. I prefer using a bronzer brush with semi matte
blushes, because it gives more control over the application and
creates a soft – glow effect.
Step 8. If your lipstick tends to bleed, try using a lip
liner in a shade darker than your skin tone. It doesn’t
have to be pink, red, or another color that will be glaring when
the lip product fades away. Rather look for neutrals that
will help contain without leaving a harsh line. To pick a
lip color, go for soft shades with less punch. Why?
Because our lips tend to get smaller as we age, and dark colors
will make lips look smaller. A little shine, and gloss
will actually bring out the beauty of your lips. Try some.
You may think ‘gloss’ is for girls, and ‘lipstick’ for women,
but this is not always the case. I introduced my mother to
gloss a few years ago, and she loves it! She gets
compliments whenever she wears her gloss, and the shine brings
out the silver in her beautiful hair.
Finally, look in the mirror, and say, “ I’m beautiful”.
Cancel out the constant harangue about the railroad tracks
between your eyes, the wrinkles around your lips, and everything
else that shows the passing of time. Recognize that you
are only as beautiful as you carry yourself. I hope your
makeover will help add a special glow and lift to your face!
President, Monave Mineral Cosmetics
(this picture has not been touched up! )
copyright 2007 Deborah Bilezikian
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