Practice Makes Perfect #3 – Eyebrows

Filling in your eyebrows is probably one of the most difficult skills to master when improving your makeup artistry skills, so it’s a given that even the best makeup artists started off with badly drawn/filled in eyebrows in the beginning. NikkieTutorials with her “sperm” shape brows is a shining example that always makes me laugh whilst also reminding me that improvement is always possible.

My eyebrows have never been horrible; they are naturally thick and never necessarily needed any makeup over them. (They still don’t, to be honest). But I wanted to learn how to do eyebrow makeup anyway if I ever pursue some sort of side career as a makeup artist. So I practiced on myself. And the results were…well…

Way too thick.

I filled them in entirely too thick, and this is how it turned out compared to the photo on this post (featuring me singing and looking goofy). Looking at brown blobs on my forehead that I almost can’t differentiate between caterpillars or turds pains me. Wrong color, wrong technique, wrong size…WRONG. Oh man. It could always be so much worse, but it’s still so painful. Product comparison comes right now:

  • Then: NYX Auto Eyebrow Pencil in “05 Dark Brown” basically just smeared over my brows to make them way too thick and flat
  • Now: NYX Micro Brow Pencil in “Black” paired filled in just right paired with Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel in “Dark Brown” cleaned up either with a makeup wipe or concealer before any other makeup application

What kinds of eyebrow horror stories do you beauty ghouls have to share? Post them in the comments, and let’s have a few giggles together!

Practice Makes Perfect: Eyeshadow Application

This week’s “Practice Makes Perfect” post is kind of going hand-in-hand with Monday’s post about my teenage makeup routine. Since I primarily focused on my eyes then, I had more eye makeup than anything else in my little (at the time) makeup carrier. Did I really know how to apply the makeup with tact, though? Absolutely not. As I also mentioned in my last post, I had no tools other than my trashy little foam applicators to use before I finally invested in some brushes.

Have a comparison:

Then: Nothing. Just the foam applicator rubbed over my eyelids. (They were, obviously, never rubbed far enough up or out now that I can barely see a hint of eyeshadow in the older photo from 2010.)

Now: While this photo on the right is from this past June, it’s still a recent example of a much better eyeshadow job, which also happens to be a super well-blended smoky eye look! Color schemes always vary, but I always use the same brushes and techniques…

  1. My finger to blend out my eyeshadow primers
  2. L.A.B. Squared “Just Blending In” Brush for base shades and most transition shades
  3. Makeup Academy #315 Crease Brush for deeper crease and outer edge shades as well as finer blending
  4. e.l.f. Cosmetics Eyeshadow “C” Brush for lid shades
  5. Makeup Academy #311 Smudger/Detailer Brush to apply thin lines of shadow on lashlines (about 1/2 to 3/4 of the bottom line)
  6. e.l.f. Cosmetics Concealer Brush for any loose pigments such as glitter/shimmer
  7. Sonia Kashuk #31 Precision Pencil Brush to apply inner corner color/highlight (though it can also be used to smudge liner and lower lashline shades)

Shitty foam applicator vs. six brushes that I use most of (if not all of) the time. Sure, it takes a lot more time, but it is so worth it.

What should my next “Practice Makes Perfect” be for you guys? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll see you for some music on Friday!

Practice Makes Perfect: Winged Liner

“The formula for success is simple: practice and then concentration, then more practice and more concentration.”

When you scroll through beauty videos on Instagram (as I often do using that “Explore” tab), sometimes they make you think that those makeup artists with the perfect looks were always that talented from the beginning. However, I always find it to be a good thing when you can look back through older photos and realize just how much work you had to put in in order to enhance your skills. This is why I wanted to create this new category for myself. (Pay no mind to the awful brows on the photo on the right, since it was just one of THOSE days.)

I could begin with the “smokey” eye (more like the muddy eye) going awry, but that’s for another post. I just have to laugh and cringe a little at my eyeliner, since I’d recently began experimenting with winged liner at that time. I never quite steadied my hand then, so holy wobbly lid line that didn’t even make it down to the upper lash line!

It’s been about two years in between those pictures, and it feels really rewarding looking at the crisp, sharp liner on the right hand photo. I never thought I would be one of those people who would be talented at makeup (especially as a tomboy girl growing up), but it feels amazing knowing that I have found a skill that I feel talented at and that I enjoy so much aside from writing, which I’ve known for a long time.

Everyone takes these steps to get better, regardless of what you practice. Stay in touch, since I will definitely have more photos to share soon!

My Makeup Evolution

As I mentioned in a previous post, I played with makeup at an early age just as many other little girls do, and then I grew out of it. For years I thought I would be the last person who would have any interest in beauty. Now look at me; I’m running my own fashion and beauty blog, and I’m even contemplating going to cosmetology school. Since I recognized this shift, I wanted to explore just how I transitioned into a makeup geek over the years.

My earliest recollection is that picture of little me my has where I’m applying a tiny lipstick with a hat and big sunglasses on. (I was a really cute kid. Just saying.) Then there was this roll-on eyeshadow that was shimmery gold I found in my house that I’d put on and then put my glasses on. (I think there was a time when I took my glasses off and walked around blind for the sake of looking good, too.) Otherwise, I mainly used those old-school Lip Smackers balms.

As I got older, I turned into a frumpy, tough tomboy. It would have taken a miracle to get me to do something to my hair other than brush it or pull it back into a messy ponytail, so it’s easy to assume that makeup didn’t exist in my world anymore until early in high school. But, even then, it wasn’t like I really had any application skills.

15 years old vs. 22 years old

The way I applied my eyeliner was, pretty much, draw around the shape of my eye and pray I didn’t look like a raccoon when I finished. (I also remember trying some terrible “Egyptian” look, which was an absolute failure.) Eyeshadow got slapped on with the crappy little sponge applicator that came with it. I didn’t know about primer, so my purple shadow was very faint. And, for whatever reason, the first lip color I ever worked with was red (the Revlon Colorstay Overtime “Stay Currant” stuff that takes a jackhammer to remove, at that).

As time went on, my eyeliner looked a little better, and my red lips looked less wobbly than before. But college was when my makeup started getting serious. I splurged on Kat Von D’s “Chrysalis” eyeshadow palette and got some small brushes for better application. My lipstick shades expanded to nudes, purples, and even black. I found eyeshadow primer and liquid liner. Putting on makeup became an art more than a laborious task.

My makeup skills and interests, today, are even better than only two months ago, and I feel proud about that. I’ve started exploring the world of face makeup (foundation, concealer, blush, and bronzer) and different techniques in which to apply them. I’ve come pretty close to mastering winged eyeliner and want to practice a gel liner cat eye. I finally bought a blending brush a couple weeks ago for my eyeshadow. And I never knew the importance of lip liner until I finally got one…and four more after that. When I’m not doing my makeup, I’m always learning by watching YouTube videos or reading.

Makeup has not only boosted my belief in myself, but it’s also been saving my life, in a way. Whenever I start feeling worthless or useless, I can do my makeup and realize the talents I have to make myself feel beautiful. It brings up passion inside of me, giving me a vague sense of direction and also igniting my passion for writing that I lost. I get that feeling of worth back and maybe, just maybe, feel hopeful for my future.