Dressed Like A Lady: It's Not Just Clothes
Parts of this post are a repeat post from July 2015. I thought it appropriate to our theme this week of 'Dressed Like A Lady'. I do not currently use all the brand specific products shown within the original post. Often it is about the TYPE of product used rather than the brand used, so please note that. I've also added more information to the material to round out the post for our purposes here this week.
While this is hardly a fashion blog and not likely to turn into one, it has certainly been my focus of late about how to look my best on a budget. That being said, it's understandable that as I put on my makeup today I couldn't help but note some basic items that I consider my 'go to' items. I do have other make up items but they don't stay in my cosmetic bag. They move in or out depending upon my mood/season/desire for change. My basics stay pretty much the same. I thought you might be interested to know what I use and why/how.
I start with a concealer stick. I prefer one that is in crayon form. I have some sun damage to my skin from years of time spent in the sun without sunhats or sunscreen. While the damage is not horrid, there are some dark spots I like to tone in a bit. I also have dark outer corners on my eyes which make my eyes appear droopy. I put this on first before I use foundation.
I like the coverage it gives me for dark spots, but I do blend it into the skin. I don't want to look patchy. You can also use as a highlighting tool (though I don't) by putting it on over the top of your makeup. I prefer to use it just as a concealer.
I really like using a primer to smooth and moisturize the skin. There are many types: some made for a 'glowing' look, some meant to appear more matte. I generally just look for a good all purpose primer. While in hospital, I had no face care items with me and it was too tedious to even think of telling John where it was all located. I did have my makeup bag (eventually) and I used the primer as my sole skin care item for nearly a week. My skin improved during that time, after almost a week of neglect, and I'm even more sold on using that face item than I ever have been.
Currently I am using a primer product Katie gifted me for Christmas. Primer also comes in tinted and un-tinted formulas. I prefer the un-tinted.
I tend to mix a dab (and it takes a very small amount) of the primer with a small amount of foundation for a sheer coverage that is just right for most skin. Mixing a small amount of primer and foundation gives me just the amount of coverage I want and need without looking made up.
The foundation I'm currently using is a liquid, though I've used aerosol types and mousses. I apply with my fingers because a sponge type applicator tends to absorb it and I have to use more. My fingers don't soak it up. I often swap foundation (and powders) about summer each year for something a shade or two darker.
I then use a blush. I liked the cream one pictured above but couldn't find it anymore. Currently I'm using a pretty pink powder blush. I am at an age where I just don't want a glittery blush on my cheeks. It's not flattering for older skin.
I finish off my face by using a powder foundation. I use a big brush to lightly powder my face and neck and set the makeup I've just put on. Then I use a contoured soft eyeshadow brush to apply the powder to my full eyelid/brow bone area. It is the base for eye makeup for me. I really like that 1950's sort of look and copied this from the magazines of that era.
At this point I generally use a powder eye shadow in a dark brown and apply with an angled liner brush to line my eyelashes. This product is truly a multi-purpose one for me. I will use this shadow as a liner for my eyes, and on dressier occasions I'll use in the crease for a smoky look. I sometimes use a wet fine liner brush to add a fine line near the lashes (over the dry liner) to create a cat eye look. I can also use another firm angled brush to fill in my brows and give them definition. In a pinch, a light smudge can be used as a contour shadow under my foundation. I get a lot of mileage from this one shade! However, any powdered shadow with a little depth of color can be used as eyeliner. I love to use a deep gray or eggplant color as well.
While I will use brown shadow at times, I prefer a good brow pencil with a brow brush attached so I can soften the look a little. I find that as we age, brows tend to fade or gray. Eyes need the definition of a brow framing them, just like a picture requires a frame. I will say it's better to err on the side of going a shade light than to pencil on harsh heavy looking brows in a too dark color, so experiment with color and see what best suits your coloring.
Finally I finish off with mascara. I love the L'Oreal line of mascaras. I typically purchase Voluminous because I can buy it just about anywhere, even locally, so when I am out of mascara it's just a matter of running into town. I much prefer black and even the Blackest Black colors though I am a soft brunette. It just really gives my eyes the extra definition they need behind my glasses.
I do wear lipstick when I make up but the colors vary. In summer I lean on corals and a color from Rimmel that is a rich coral brown called Kasbah, which tends to be my go to color.
In winter I like to use berry colors and occasionally a softer red. This is one area where I am fickle and not at all set on one color. I generally have five or six lipsticks in use at all times!
I'll replace items as they are used up throughout the year. I will suggest you get a good set of make up brushes. I have a set from ELF that includes a blush brush, eyebrow brush, two liner (thick and thin) and a soft contoured shadow brush. I am pretty sure I paid under $10 for those brushes and they have been in use for a couple of years.
Further products I like to use: A face wash and good all purpose moisturizer. I loved using the Mary Kay Botanical products but my representative stopped selling. I went back to what I've used for years upon years: a generic knock off of Cetaphil cleanser and moisturizer. I use the moisturizer to remove makeup and wipe away with a tissue then wash with the cleanser and rinse repeatedly. Then I apply a light coat of the moisturizer which I leave on. I also make sure to use a little on my ears (with short hair it's necessary to treat that skin area as well), my neck and chest. Nothing ages a woman half so much as dry crepey looking skin in the neck and chest area in my opinion and moisturizing is really key in keeping that skin looking plump and fresh.
I think it's just as important to shave routinely even if you're not exposing your legs to view. When my arms and legs are slightly damp from the shower, I often run a razor over them just to catch any stray growth. I will use a very small amount of the moisturizer on them after every shower, whether or not I shaved, but that is just for touch-ups. I try to shave properly at least once every two weeks with moist legs spread with hair conditioner or shaving cream and shaved fully.
I have recently stopped coloring my hair and find with surprise that while I do still have 'spots' (two patches in two different areas that are fully gray), I have a nice 'sprinkling' of gray over all that act almost as highlights. I have also discovered my hair is slightly darker than I was aware. Hair color always made it appear dark but the ammonia in the dye soon lightened the hair so it appeared to have faded out due to the grey. Not true. Now it's a nicer balance of dark and gray, not quite salt and pepper but getting there!
Keep in mind if you do color your hair to cover gray to use a color that is as near natural as possible. I am strictly speaking to those ladies who just want to enhance their natural color! Anyone who chooses to go with a color she was not born with which flatters her knows more than I about how well it suits you and which shades to choose. The main thing is to never go so dark that it looks heavy and unnatural.
What shampoo and conditioner you use and how often is strictly up to you and your hair type. I've shampooed daily for years upon years but find now that I'm a little older my hair is less oily and I can usually shampoo every other day. I prefer not to use a conditioner because my hair is very fine and conditioner tends to be heavy on hair even when well rinsed. I blow dry my hair daily. On the days when I have plans to go out, I use a volumizer at the roots on top only which adds fullness when I blow my hair dry.
I do not use deodorant daily because for me it's not necessary. I do pay attention and check myself to be sure I don't have body odor. Typically I use deodorant more often in summer than winter. Most deodorants these days are so strong that really a daily application is not at all necessary unless you happen to be the type who does have an issue with a very strong body odor.
Don't forget to care for your hands and feet. It doesn't matter if you choose to wear polish or not but taking care of cuticles, shaping nails nicely and moisturizing go a long way to improve your overall appearance. I confess with my hands I tend to be an all or nothing sort of woman and this going to change this year. It takes just moments to push back cuticles after you've washed dishes or showered. It takes moments to file dry nails and it can be done quickly. It takes no time at all to smooth on lotion after washing dishes or showering. Katie gave me a very nice healing lotion for Christmas this year and it's done wonders for the overall appearance of my nails and cuticles. It's a Jenna Hippa lotion that she said came from Ross for Less stores.
Last I would like to mention scent. This is one area where I knew both of my grandmothers to splurge. They bought real perfumes by well known makers. Granny had several scents that she chose to use, Grandmama stuck to one particular scent. I tend to use one scent in winter and another much lighter one in summer. I dislike mightily to have a loud or sharp perfume announce a person to me long before she (or he!) has come into view or to have the scent envelop me long after she has passed. In our area where summers tend to be humid and very hot, an aroma can overwhelm in no time, so I choose to go with a lighter scent in the summer. No matter how lovely an aroma too much is still too much!
I currently am wearing a new to me scent I found in autumn and I really do enjoy it. I keep a cotton ball with a drop or two in my nightie and underwear drawers. I use scent on my wrists and at the base of my throat. That generally is just enough to catch someone's attention without overwhelming them.
I think one of the nicest things a woman can do is find a signature scent and wear it daily. Perfume is really not meant to be saved but to be savored, so enjoy it!
I do realize that makeup and hair and scent is not something every single woman does, but I'll warrant that EVERY woman most certainly should be caring for her hands and skin. It was one of the first things I remember Granny telling me when I was 12: "Baby, get some cream and use it on your skin every day..." She was so right. I think I look my age but I've seen many a woman I attended school with or once knew who was younger and they've not taken care of their skin. It shows. Good grooming is worth while!
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