Makeup FAQs

There are a few things I always love to talk about–soft serve, Biggie Smalls, owning a business and makeup. Being that I am a makeup artist, I get asked a lot of beauty questions. And I am happy to answer them! I’ve noticed that I get many of the same questions, so I thought I would compile them into one neat little blog post. These are my personal opinions from my experience in the field, but in makeup, there are a lot of different “right” answers. These are just the the ones that make sense to me.

What is the best mascara?

For volumizing, I don’t think Dior Diorshow (the original) can be beat. For length, I love Clinique High Lengths, Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash and Diorshow Extase. When using regular mascara, I always layer one of those over the Diorshow. For waterproof, Maybelline The Falsies Volum’ Express is my jam. And if watery eyes are a problem, but you don’t want to wear waterproof every day (which I wouldn’t recommend anyway), Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara is amazing. When you are just talking watery eyes (not tears), typically the smudging is coming from the bottom lashes only. That smudging doesn’t happen with Clinique Bottom Lash because it is a beauty tubes mascara, so it encapsulates the lashes and does not come off until you remove it.

What do you think of airbrush makeup?

For an event or a long day, I think airbrush is great if you are someone who has very oily skin, acne, acne scarring, or wrinkles. Otherwise, I think there is a good traditional (non-airbrush) foundation out there for everyone. I think airbrush gets hyped up, and although I have seen and experienced beautiful results with it, at this time, I am still partial to traditional foundation.

What are your thoughts on mineral makeup?

I think it’s okay for everyday use, but for photography, I have yet to find one that doesn’t flash back. I think it can get too easily caked up, so I wouldn’t use it for anything being filmed either. There are some mineral makeups that look gorgeous on normal to oily skin, but I would stay away from them in general if your skin is very oily, very dry, or mature. On very oily skin, I have seen mineral makeup get discolored or streaky once the natural oils come through. On dry skin, I have seen it catch on patchy areas, making them more obvious. It also seems to sit on top of the skin even if there are not patchy areas. On mature skin, it has a tendency to settle into fine lines, making them more obvious. Some makeup artists swear by mineral makeup, but I’m just not one of them!

Should I apply my liquid foundation with my hands or a brush?

It depends on the foundation you are using and the coverage you want. A flat foundation brush will give you more of a full coverage finish, and a buffing brush will give you something closer to an airbrush finish. I like using my hands for a lighter coverage foundation or tinted moisturizer and for when I want a more natural look.

How can I make my lipstick stay on longer?

A lip primer, like MAC Prep & Prime Lip, is a good start. Once that has absorbed, line your lips and–this is the key–completely fill them in with a lip liner that matches your natural lip color, or the color of the lipstick you will be using. Aqua Lip Liners by Make Up For Ever are great for this because they are waterproof.

Where do I apply bronzer?

Bronzer, as opposed to contour products, should be applied where the sun naturally hits (sometimes referred to as the “high planes of the face”). So temples, hairline, tops of cheekbones, bridge of nose and a dot on the chin. Don’t apply it on your entire face, unless you are going for the Jersey Shore look.

How do I make my eyes look bigger?

This is going to have a lot to do with your eye shape, but in general, an off-white eyeliner on the lower waterline will make eyes look larger. Any liner at the lower lashline should be thin, soft (I prefer a shadow to a pencil) and not too dark. Mascara will open up the eyes, but don’t be too heavy-handed, as that can just draw attention to the size of your eyes. Unless eyes are wide-set, a shimmery light color at the inner corners will help too. I also suggest having well-groomed eyebrows. If your brows are too thick, they may overpower small eyes, but brows that are too thin may look disproportionate in relation to the rest of the face. If you are not sure about your brows, get them shaped professionally.

What’s the trick to making my eyeliner the same on both eyes?

Oh darling, don’t stress yourself out too much here.  No one’s eyes are exactly the same, so eyeliner is never going to be 100% the same on both eyes. Just have some patience (and maybe a cocktail, if that will make you care less). It’s a lot about practice, so cut yourself some slack. My fellow makeup artist friend, Jennie Kay, once suggested to me that when I was struggling with my own eyeliner even-ness (I find it easier to get it almost perfect on others), start with the “tough” eye first. You know, the one that makes you swear and want to start over completely. Starting with the tough eye definitely takes some of the frustration out of it.

How do I conceal dark undereye circles?

First off, stop staying up until midnight to watch the Millionaire Matchmaker marathons. Sleep, as anyone with dark circles knows, does help the circles diminish. As far as makeup goes, if the circles are very dark, you will need to correct them with a color corrector first (peach, salmon, or orange, depending on how light or dark your skin is). Follow that with a concealer in a shade lighter than your skintone. You can use one with brightening qualities, like Clinique Airbrush Concealer, but if you are going to be photographed, take a test picture first. Some brightening concealers will flashback in photography, making the undereye area look super light and obvious.

Those are the most common makeup questions I get asked, but I will add to this post if more new ones start cropping up. If you have makeup questions for me, please feel free to comment on this post or on my Allison Barbera Makeup Artistry Facebook page.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

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