I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis because (1) I’d rather spend 15 more minutes sleeping than putting gunk on my face in the morning, (2) I have sensitive skin and eczema so I’m wary of what I use on my face, and (3) I’m in denial about my age and think I’m far too young for foundation. The only time I put on makeup is for special occasions, which are usually nighttime events. Thus, my “looks” are limited to dark smoky eyes or a hot red lip.
When we scheduled our engagement photo session, I panicked a little bit. Firstly, everything I read about doing your own makeup seemed to focus on the base—foundation, cover up, flawless skin. I knew absolutely nothing about those things. My makeup bag contained only bronzer, dark eye shadows, and lots of eyeliner. That was my second problem—I didn’t want to look like I was going out for the night in our engagement pictures. Since I only know how to do the two extremes—no makeup at all or makeup to match a sequined mini-dress—I never developed a daytime look for myself.
Enter my makeup fairy godmother: Marvin at Sephora. The 5th Avenue Sephora store is around the block from where I work, so I stopped in one night for some advice. I only meant to ask someone what products they would recommend to someone who was DIY’ing her own makeup for engagement pictures. What I got instead was a two hour lesson on prepping my face, applying a base, and a push to try brighter, bolder colors on myself that I’d normally shy away from.
Sephora on 5th Ave and 48th Street. The building is an old bank, and I got to admire the beautiful ceilings while Marvin was applying my eyeliner. “Look up. Look up to the left. Look up to the right. Keep looking up.”
Image via Collegefashion
Aside from being hilarious and fabulous, Marvin was extremely patient with me and politely answered all my remedial questions. When we got to step three of skin prep, I asked in disbelief, “People do this every day?!?” I mean, I was already sitting in that chair for over 20 minutes and we had yet to put on anything besides lotion. Marvin chuckled and assured me that after some practice, I’d be out the door in 10 minutes (he himself was able to put on his entire face in five minutes).
Here’s what I learned and some of the products I purchased:
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. I stopped using under eye concealer because I was unhappy with the way it would start to crack. Marvin told me the cracking was due to lack of moisture and I should always start my routine with a healthy helping of face moisturizer, especially because I have dry skin. He recommended First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream, which I now use religiously every day. I’ve noticed that my skin is smoother and softer, and I haven’t had any outbreaks of eczema since I started using it.
Image via Sephora
Primer. When he heard I was preparing for engagement pictures, Marvin immediately exclaimed, “You need radiance!! You want to radiate!! See, look at me, am I not radiating??” I nodded my head, although I wasn’t really sure where I was supposed to be looking. He was talking about Laura Mercier’s foundation primer in “Radiance.” The primer has a bit of shimmer and he instructed me to use it in a triangle shape on my forehead, down my nose, around the sides of my eyes, and down to the tops of my cheeks. “Like a figure 3, but without the bottom curve,” he said. That was easy enough. This stuff is a hot seller—it was sold out at three different Sephoras, and I ended up buying it online. The Sephora stores did give me samples of the Radiance primer, so I had some to practice with.
Image via Sephora
Tinted Moisturizer. Sephora has this new technology toy at their stores called Color IQ which uses a camera to scientifically color match you to foundations across all the brands in their store. My Color IQ suggested NARS tinted moisturizer in Alaska. Marvin assured me that tinted moisturizer is foolproof and won’t look caked on (that was my biggest fear and deterrent to using foundation). I like how weightless it feels on my skin, and I can still be in denial about my age since I’m not wearing foundation, I’m just wearing a tint.
Image via Sephora
The Daytime Smoky Eye. When I told Marvin about my lack of daytime makeup skills, he suggested a daytime smoky look. Since I already knew the mechanics of creating a smoky eye, he steered me toward a lighter color palette that was more appropriate for stepping out in sunlight. I balked a little bit when he reached for the purple eye shadow, but it actually looked very natural on me. I also picked up this pro tip: press eye shadow on, don’t sweep. You get more pigment on the eyelid and therefore a richer color when you press it on. Marvin told me to sweep only when blending it all together. I ended up purchasing and then returning that purple eye shadow because when I got home I found that I already had a color very similar to it—I just never used it. He finished off my eyes with dark brown eyeliner from Urban Decay as a less intense alternative to my usual heavily applied black eyeliner.
Go for the bold lip! When stepping out for the night, I either do a bold lip or a bold eye. Usually it’s the bold eye, so I’m used to wearing a nude or very subtle lip color. Sometimes I skip the lip color altogether and just throw on some Chapstick. When I told him that, Marvin was not happy. He brought me an array of colors ranging from dark plum to bright pink. I thought the dark plum was too drastic when I couldn’t recognize myself in the mirror. I did like the pink, but I wasn’t sure if it was right for the engagement pictures. I bought it anyway just because it would be a nice addition to my makeup bag.
BITE High Pigment Pencil in Tart
I practiced my application of primer and tinted moisturizer for two weeks leading up to our engagement pictures, and eventually I was able to get the whole process done within 10 minutes. A swipe of blush and some mascara finished off my new daytime office look. For the engagement pictures, I did the daytime smoky eye with no problem and toned down the pink lipstick with a swipe of nude lip gloss. Overall, I was really happy with how it all came together, and I’m no longer afraid to put a full face of makeup on while the sun is out. The question now is whether or not I want to sacrifice that extra 15 minutes of sleep to get it done.
Yeaahhh…I should definitely wake up earlier.
(The “after” shot is me wearing all my new Sephora purchases.)
Would you add anything to the list of must-haves for DIY’ing your own makeup for engagement pictures? Can I still be in denial about my age or is it time for me to start stocking up on anti-aging serums?