Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Makeup School with Sarah, Part 2

It's the second half of our Makeup School with Sarah series! Today we're talking more about the practicals -- Sarah offers tips and tricks as well as her makeup recommendations below.

All photos are of clients Sarah has made up... err... done make up for? You know what I mean.

The Twenty Ninth: Do you have any practical and simple tips for everyday makeup users?
Sarah: Whatever you are applying, make sure you are applying it COMPLETELY.  Uncertainty in technique and placement leads to women applying makeup only half-way or part-way.  Applying makeup incompletely isn’t safer, it just looks bad!  The two ways I see this happen most frequently are in foundation application and application of a bold lipstick.  It’s too often that I see women walking around with foundation missing from a 1 inch rim around the perimeter of their face.  Your foundation should be blended gently into your hairline, below the jaw line and into the neck, and even slightly behind the ears.  You can’t see those areas, but most other people can.  As for the bold lip color, do it or don’t!  If you wear the bold lip and don’t apply it fully, it will look silly anyway.  Make sure you extend the color all the way to the peaks of the cupid’s bow, all the way to the lowest part of the bottom lip line, and all the way into the outer corners of the mouth.  Using a lip liner will really help you to be purposeful about where the lipstick goes.  If there are certain makeup techniques you’re not comfortable with but you want to master (winged eyeliner, fake eyelashes, blush, etc.), just keep practicing!  The more you practice, the more comfortable you will become, and the more you will enjoy putting on makeup! 

The Twenty Ninth: What are some of your favorite techniques?
Sarah: Subtle layering and gradations.  They create quite a lot of positive change without making a person look unlike themselves.  They also help to mimic the natural shading of a healthy face.
The Twenty Ninth: What are some of your go-to colors/makeup combinations right now?
Sarah: At the moment, I’m enjoying playing around with colors that are almost inharmonious, but not quite.  They can create more pop and reaction than a bold color that is completely harmonious, yet still work.  I’ve also been interested in creating a stark contrast between intensities of different makeup elements within the same look.  For example, using a very sheer, undetectable foundation, with a strong painted-on brow and bold, opaque lips. 
The Twenty Ninth: Are there a couple of wrong ways people typically apply makeup that you can enlighten us on?
Sarah: I actually read an article recently that really hit the nail on the head concerning the most common makeup faux-pas!  I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I’ll let you read it for yourself.
The Twenty Ninth: What’s the one question you’re asked most frequently?
Sarah: “What’s the best makeup brand?”  Answer:  there isn’t one!  If there was, they would have already won and beat out the other brands.  Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is selling that brand.  Different brands are good at different things.  It would make our lives easier if you could just look for one common word on packaging to link together all worthwhile products, but as with most arenas of life, it takes a bit more work than that!  To sift through all the tricky marketing and beauty writers’ hype, read user reviews!  I can easily say I’ve gained more product knowledge through reading about products than through all the trainings I received while working in Sephora (I was trained by 40 different brands in the beginning, with many reinforcing trainings thereafter.)  Whenever I would receive a brand training at Sephora, I would go and read reviews on the products they had just told me about afterwards.  It’s much easier to get reliable information from an unbiased source.  Personally, I mostly prefer user reviews to beauty bloggers and writers when it comes to picking products, in general.  ( is a great place to find reviews!)  People whose job it is to write about the beauty industry get more money and attention saying something is amazingly wonderful or astonishingly horrible than saying something is mediocre.  Mediocrity doesn’t create interest and generate increased readership.  Regular people, however, have no problem giving a product the mediocre label it may well deserve.  I’d often rather read the opinion of 122 “uneducated” voices with a discerning eye than hearing only one “educated” voice who may or may not have ulterior motives.  Beauty bloggers can be great resources; you just need to take their endorsements and rejections with a grain of salt.  Much of life is not as extreme as entertainment sources would like it to be. 
The Twenty Ninth: That being said, what are some of your favorite brands?
Sarah: Being mostly experienced in the high-end consumer part of the industry, I’d say MAKE UP FOR EVER, NARS, Dior, Laura Mercier, Yves Saint Laurent, Guerlain, and Givenchy, from my experience.  There are many more great lines that I haven’t had the pleasure of getting to know in detail, both in high-end consumer (Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Bobbi Brown) and great pro-brands less visible to the public eye (Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Face Atelier, Graftobian, Cinema Secrets, Inglot, etc.).
The Twenty Ninth: What 1 makeup piece should be a person’s “investment” piece?
Sarah: Foundation!  You can’t fudge a good foundation.  Making a product that effectively mimics skin in color and texture is not easy.  Bad foundation is the #1 most offensive makeup piece to the general public, whether they know that was what created the adverse reaction or not.  Poor formula, especially when paired with poor color selection and application, can often lead to the general makeup descriptors of “cakey”, “orange”, “mask-like”, “unnatural”, etc.  With pretty much all other makeup pieces, you can definitely make it work with drugstore products for your every day makeup.  Some excellent foundations I like that work for most people are MAKE UP FOR EVER Face & Body makeup (sheer, lightweight, and great for all, but this will especially be the best friend of fair/freckled women!), Dior Nude Skin foundation, MAKE UP FOR EVER HD foundation (more coverage than the Face & Body), and NARS Sheer Glow or Sheer Matte foundation.  (Disclaimer: this is not a comprehensive list!  There are many more all-inclusive, beautiful foundations with which I have less experience.)
The Twenty Ninth: Which resources would you recommend to help people make sense of the cosmetic industry? 
Sarah: For (mostly) educated reviews on a wide array of brands, Sephora is a great resource.  For reviews on all brands, try Makeup Alley (but be careful, the quality of the reviews on this site can be a bit lower than Sephora’s).  To make sense of all the rumors and myths you hear about the beauty industry (ex. Parabens are going to give you cancer and kill you, horse shampoo makes your hair grow longer, etc.), check out The Beauty Brains.  They’re a group of scientists who make a variety of cosmetic products.  They know the ins and outs of how products and ingredients actually work from a factual level – no hype here!

Sarah, thanks for taking the time to share your expertise with us! Wish you all the best as you makeup your way to the top!

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