This has been quite the trying 7 days.
I made the mistake of getting what I consider a horrible haircut. In order to cope with my fugly locks, I did what any girl would do....
I invested in some fabulous Smashbox makeup from Sephora, but returned it when I realized it was oxidizing too orange for my ghostly complexion....in addition to making me break out.
The SA recommended I try the Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation (liquid, not powder). She put it on for me, but the 'wow' factor I had when I put on the Smashbox was definitely not there. Still, I figured that I should check out my face in natural light to see if it really did look better.
It took me 5 minutes to get home.
And then it took me 10 minutes to feel like my face was on fire.
Two face washes, a 30 minute sit with raw honey slathered on my face, and several hours later, my face finally began to stop burning.
Spot test your makeup, people!
I will admit- I have never, ever spot tested a single product in my life. That's about to change.
Here's what I've learned about the skincare, makeup buying process:
1. Good looking skin starts with good skin care.
I'm not talking about products for small pores and a blemish free face here. Good skin is all about nourishing your face/neck as a whole- not focusing on treating imperfections. Use gentle face washes (I personally use raw honey!) and a moisturizer (with or in addition to sunscreen!).
2. Kill with Kindness.
It might be tempting to squeeze, exfoliate, or otherwise chemically treat all of our little imperfections. Heck- I know better and I still can't help myself sometimes. However, it's important to realize that if your skin is bothered, the last thing it needs is to be irritated even more by harsh treatments. Continue to moisturize and gently cleanse. Spot treat sparingly and leave the rest up to the makeup.
3. Know your skin.
Turning steps 1 and 2 into a regular routine will help you understand your skin. Pay attention to how your skin retains moisture, how oily/where your skin seems most oily, if there is a pattern to break outs (certain times of the month, areas of the face) and how your skin responds to powders, liquids, etc.
4. Research different brands to see what the common Rant/Rave seems to be.
Take any review with a grain of salt- something that made someone break out in cystic acne might be just fine for you because everybody's skin is different. Makeup Alley and /r/MakeUpAddiction are my common go-to spots.
5. Drugstore or Specialty Store?
There are great drugstore brands out there, so if you're willing to experiment and possibly end up with a few duds there's no better place to do it then the drugstore! However, I love the professional attention and amazing return policy of Sephora. Additionally, Sephora stores are happy to provide samples and even apply the makeup for you. They understand that finding the right shade/texture takes a lot of work for some people. I appreciate that.
6. Samples, Spot Testing and Experimenting
If you go to Sephora- get samples. If you're interested in a certain brand, I would recommend asking for samples in two shades so you can see what looks best. You can also compare coverages by getting samples of BB/CC creams, foundations, and liquid vs powder.
Make sure to look at your makeup outside in natural light! I never realized how orange one of my former foundations make me look in natural light until my mother was riding in a car with me and pointed it out. I was so used to how it looked indoors that I ignored the oompa-loompa staring back at me in the rear view mirror.
And like I said up top: Spot test your makeup! See how it looks on your jaw. If that seems fine, give it a go on a larger area of your face. If there's any irritation, itching, redness, or if something just doesn't feel right....stop. No point in destroying your skin with something meant to make it look better.
If you've found a sample you like and the spot test went well, go ahead and try out the makeup at full force. Try it without a primer, with a primer, applied with fingers/sponge/brush, set with a powder/spray or left alone....you want a good idea as to how the makeup will wear and if you have to change anything about how you usually apply.
7. Love it or Leave it
If everything looks and feels great, then go ahead and invest! Be sure to monitor your skin for the next 2-4 weeks just to make sure that everything is okay.
Most importantly- if your makeup doesn't make you feel better/prettier/confident, then don't wear it! Try something else. There are thousands of makeup options out there. It might take time to find the one that's best for you and that's just fine.