Skin priming before you apply foundation is like preparing a canvas for painting. It increases longevity of foundation, it smoothens the skin and provides a flawless finish. You can wear it on its own or under foundation. If you have oily skin, you should choose a primer that is going to help your skin stay shinefree. To that effect, I personally apply just a primer in the morning (after cleansing my skin) and no other moisturizer. While it works for me, you might want to moisturize your skin first, let it settle into your face and only then use a primer.
My skin is rather oily and hence I want to block the excess shine throughout the day. The first skin primer I ever bought was L'Oreal Magic Perfecting base. It is a bit costly, cca 15 Eur per 15ml, but in my opinion, it does the job the best. The consistency is frequently described as a mashed potatoes paste and I would agree with that. It is smell free, it settles really well into the pores and leaves your skin silky smooth. While it will not prevent your skin from shining completely during the whole day, I still rate it the highest out of anything I ever tried.
My second most favourite skin primer is Gosh Velvet Touch Foundation Primer. I bought it in Slovakia for around 20 EUR, 30 ml. This is an apricot primer with Matrixyl 3000 - a face firming peptide. It is perfume and preservative free. The texture is really light and it gets soaked into the skin quickly and you only need a tiny amount. It does not fill in the pores as well as the L'Oreal one.
So far the least favourite one for me is Covergirl Olay Simply Ageless Serum Primer. It left my skin well moisturized but extremely shiny, quite the opposite of what I wanted in a primer. In fact, it is so glossy on the face that I ended up using it as a night cream. The consistency is indeed creamy and light. It could work really well on a very dry complexion, though. I bought this on in New York for 14 $.
Lastly, I also have N°7 Shine Free Primer. It cost about 12 $ and I have not tried it yet, but I intend to review it in due course.
Do you ever feel like you are stuck in a beauty rut? For 15 years, I had the same makeup routine, foundation, eye pencil + eyeshadow, mascara, done. We buy and wear makeup but never stop to think about how to apply it the right way. Here are my beauty bibles, which showed me the way and answered my questions:
Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual - for everyone from beginner to pro.
I love this book, as it is simple, straightforward and it has beautiful pictures. It is ideal for beginners and also for proficient makeup users (it contains a section with advice for professional makeup artists, too). A step by step guide will show you how to take care of your skin, to conceal perfectly your undereye circles and plenty more (a perfect smokey eye, bridal makeup, makeup for teen, ageless beauty...). I highly recommend this book as it makes a perfect gift to any woman of any age. (hardback, http://www.play.com/, 17 EUR)
Rae Morris Makeup The Ultimate Guide
This is an excellent book, as it debunks some famous makeup applications myths, such as smiling when applying blush or where the beginning of your eyebrow should start. It teaches you how to prime your skin and your eyelids. I found the chapter on eye colour charts extremely useful. It also contains detailed information on the types of false eyelashes, their application and impact description. The pictures in the book are simply stunning and so is the content (a rare section on over 40s makeup, chapters on countouring and highlighting). The only "downside" is that the book is paperback. I bought mine on http://www.play.com/, 19 EUR.
Linda Mason Eye Candy
A small compact book concentrating on eye makeup, while providing a short makeup basics chapter. The false eyelashes and eyebrow sections are extremely handy. The book contains some 50 different eye looks. I would recommend this book for teenage girls, as some of the featured looks definitely show better on younger skin (really colourful eyeshadows) or for anyone who wants to try funky eye makeup and does not know how to start. It costs under 10 EUR on http://www.play.com/.
A while ago, I went to Ninove shopping center and I of course ended up buying some beauty stuff.
Kruidvat Essence 6 in 1 buffer filer, to file and prime your nails for varnish application, Essence Sun club shimmer for eyes, body and face (because it reminded me of a Bobbi Brown shimmer brick), Essence oil control paper (you want to blot your face after you have applied the foundation, that way your face is going to stay matte for a longer period).
Catrice allround concealer, beige for imperfections, pink for dark undereye circles and green to neutralise redness. Catrice C3 spiced red eyeshadow (unfortunately, it irritates my eyelids for some reason).
2B Cosmetics jumbo pencil - in the vain hope it would produce the same results as NYX jumbo pencil (as seen on YouTube). It is excellent for highlighting under the brow bone, in the inner eye corner and as a base for shimmery eyeshadows.
Hema Lovely Eyes false lashes - full and natural sets. They come with their own glue and a stick to facilitate glue application on the actual lash. Made of pure hair, they are super soft and super long, so I would not wear them in a day time (drag queen alert!). I found applying the eyelashes for the first time extremely hard, but practice makes perfect, so...I loved how they enhanced the look of my eyes, but I am going to trim them and apply them only at the outer end of my eyes in the future.
You find yourself drooling over other cosmetics brands that seem to be out of reach in the Belgian kingdom? Join the club! Here is my wish list: Bobbi Brown, Giorgio Armani, CK beauty, Smashbox, Urban Decay (I'd give my right arm for the Naked palette - just kidding:-)), Too faced (if I hear Too faced shadow insurance just ONE more time…), BareMinerals, NARS. I beg you, if you know of a legal way how to get to these without travelling too far, you'd make me very happy!
Our eyelids happen to be one of the oiliest parts of the face, so you may have realized that unless you do something about it, your eyeshadow is going to end up all creased already around lunchtime. And it makes no difference whether you applied a fancy DIOR ombre à paupièresor Ruby Rose quad.
If you are familiar with YouTube gurus, then you know all about Too faced Shadow Insurace and Urban Decay Primer Potion (don’t you just love that name). However, I was not ready to cough up 18 $ for a primer in New York, especially if I have already discovered a very inexpensive way to prevent my eyeshadow from creasing - HEMA EYESHADOW BASE.
It was recommended by a friend and the moment I tried it I knew I was onto something great. It makes sure your eyeshadow stays put in place, it costs under 4 EUR and will last an eternity (you will have to depot it after 6 months, to get maximum out of the product).
The product has a consistency of a stiff cream, it is slightly shimmery and comes off lightly white on the eye lids.
For the record. I bought also NYX eyeshadow base in skin colour (6,99 EUR, Boozyshop, available in skin, pearl and white). My eyeshadow creased halfway through the day, as the texture is quite creamy, but still, it is better than no primer.
Makeup brushes are my relatively recent obsession. I used to apply my whole eye makeup with the trusty sponge applicator, until I discovered the beauty universe of YouTube channels and the battle of the THE BRUSHES (MAC vs Sigma).
After meticulous research and a couple of sleepless nights, I decided to order my complete brush kit with a brush roll onhttp://www.sigmabeauty.com/, in pink, (currently only available in black, 99 $). Yes, they arrived and we are in love ever since! I am currently eyeing their new collection, Make me…did you see the amazing containers they are in?
Once you invest in your brushes, you want to make sure they stay in shape for as long as possible. Through the video posted by Michelle Phan, I found THE BRUSH GUARD - a very cheap (5,50 $ for a package) and innovative way to dry your brushes vertically (head down). I ordered directly on (http://www.thebrushguard.com/), but you can also do it via Boozyshop.
Before I splashed out on Sigma, I tried to build up my collection with anything I could put my hands on: H&M (reasonable quality foundation brush), Nature's Reserve (very handy eye brushes) and I recently saw they offer a variety of makeup brushes and tools at Ici Paris.
I admit that one of my guilty pleasures is watching makeup videos on YouTube (Tiffany D, Panacea81, Michelle Phan, EmilyNoel83). Watching them makes me want to scrub my face clean and apply new style of makeup (smokey eyes! cat eyes! graphic eyes!) about 5 times a day!
I became curious about certain brands that I thought only existed in Wonderland (a.k.a. U.S.A.) - NYX, Sonia Kashuk, NYC Cosmetics, ELF, Sigma, Wet n Wild, Covergirl (surprisingly available at your local Delhaize), Sleek-makeup, Seche vite, China glaze, Essie… ).
It did not take me long before I found a website specialized in most of these brands and that delivered to Belgium quickly. They are based in the Netherlands and reply to your e-mails within 24 hours - http://www.boozyshop.nl/. I have already received my very first NYX Jumbo pencil (milk was sold out, so I got the one in cottage cheese), NYX skin eyeshadow base and my first Metal Mania Palette :-). LOVE!
So what exactly is a girl to do in Brussels - a city full of exciting makeup but no compas to navigate her towards her favourite brands? DrogerieMarkt, where art thou? Sephora is just a dream...but rejoice - there is a light at the end of the tunnel!
Traditional shopping options
My first stop for beauty products in Brussels was Di drugstore. Situated at Merode, it was my starter point for makeup supply (L'oreal, Maybelline, Bourjois, Nivea, Une, 2B Cosmetics and recently Avenue). However, I discovered quickly that this particular shop does not store the makeup brands I was used to from back home, such as Maxfactor, Manhattan, Rimmel London, Revlon, Pupa Milano, Miss Sporty, Essence, Astor, Dermacol, Gosh. So I had to look somewhere else to get what I was after.
Which led me to a shop called Kruidvat. It may not take your fancy at first, as it sells a rather vast array of seemingly unconnected goods, but trust me, this is a crown jewel with their drugstore makeup selection. I spent there many happy hours admiring the latest of Rimmel London, Essence, 2B Cosmetics, Gosh (virtually any primer you might want - foundation, eye, lip), Catrice, 2true, Maxfactor.
If you desire a still wider option on decorative cosmetics, I would recommend Inno galerie. Check out their fantastic offer, combining both the drugstore cosmetics and high end luxury: Arcancil, Benefit, Biguine Advance, Biguine Makeup, Biotherm, Bourjois, Chanel, Clarins, Clinique, Deborah, Dior, Estee Lauder, Fashion Fair, Gemey, Guerlain, Helena Rubinstein, Isadora, Kama, Lancome, Pranarom, Revlon, Rouge Baiser, Shiseido, YSL.
Yet another opportunity presents itself in visiting (almost exclusively high end luxury brands) ICI Paris or Planet Parfume - this one stores OPI and Pupa! Oh, and of course Yves Rocher, The Body shop (really nice face brushes).