Last Saturday, I went to my doctor because her receptionist told me she couldn’t refill a prescription (for iron pills, which I haaate) over the phone. When I got there, the doctor said I only needed blood tests every three months so I actually didn’t need to be there at all. She kindly didn’t charge me a co-pay but I’d taken a $15 cab to get there so I was pretty bummed that I’d wasted half the morning making my way to the east side. So I did what I do almost every time I’m feeling down: I looked to my 101 in 1001 list to find a way to make myself feel accomplished and in charge. There are plenty of goals I couldn’t cross off in a single day (as much as I’d have liked to board a flight to visit my brother in London right then and there) so I scanned my options until I landed on no. 90: have my makeup professionally done.
I’ve admitted this before but just in case you’re new around here: I am a total beauty novice. I have a few products I swear by (you can read about those here) but I literally never go outside my comfort zone when it comes to makeup and I’ve had a hard time finding online resources on makeup for redheads. You won’t find me rocking a smoky eye or reading up on the latest and greatest BB cream (mostly because I still don’t know what that is). Truthfully, I’ve never really had a great experience with makeup artists (a very orange-y senior prom look comes to mind) but I was determined to find someone who could impart her knowledge on skincare and an everyday beauty look that would enhance my natural look (read: no violet eyeshadow that would “complement my red hair” — no really, I’m good).
So I grabbed an iced coffee and walked ten blocks from the doctor’s office to Sephora and booked an appointment with a personal beauty expert (free with a minimum purchase of $125, which I learned is extremely easy to spend there). I killed time before my appointment by picking out a few books in the Strand at Club Monaco across the street, which is really the best pick-me-up there is. By the time I was settled into the makeup chair, I was caffeinated, in better spirits, and ready to learn from the best.
As you read, it was a pretty spontaneous decision and I didn’t have crazy high expectations going into it. But can I just tell you? My mind was BLOWN. We spent the next 90 minutes remedying my skincare concerns (dry complexion, under eye circles) and reviewing makeup techniques (this little guy is a game-changer). After every step, she’d spin me around to the mirror and I’d marvel at how much better I looked: still totally like myself, but like I’d just come back from a tropical vacation or woken up from twelve hours of sleep. Youthful, fresh, awake, alive… I looked like the best possible version of me.
(Is now a good time to confess that I will never feel comfortable taking a selfie? Here’s all the evidence you need.) If I haven’t already lost you and you’d like to know which products were my favorites, here’s what my “personal beauty expert” used on me. This is her recommended skincare regimen for dry sensitive skin and well as makeup for redheads!
The cleanser and toner both smelled incredible and left my skin feeling clean but still hydrated (I told her I hated that tight skin feeling that more drying cleansers give you and somehow she knew exactly what I was talking about). And I love that the anti-wrinkle serum also protects skin against environmental factors like UV rays, secondhand smoke, and city pollution — definitely a good weapon to have in my NYC arsenal.
The next step was to create an even foundation for makeup. My skin looked so radiant after this phase that I would have felt totally comfortable leaving my apartment after just these four steps (and maybe a swipe of mascara). Sephora has an awesome tool that takes a picture of your exact skin tone and it turns out I’ve been using the wrong shade of my favorite NARS tinted moisturizer. She tried to sway me with Bobbi Brown foundation (which was gorgeous) but I liked that you can still see my freckles through a more sheer tinted moisturizer so NARS it is. Three application tips: apply your foundation or tinted moisturizer with a moist Beauty Blender, your corrector with a brush, and your under eye concealer with your ring finger (your pointer finger is too much pressure).
I was a little skeptical of finding a bronzer for pale skin but I really liked the way this accented my cheekbones. A new-to-me lesson on applying bronzer: start at your ear, applying in the shape of a 3 (or an E, depending on which side of your face you start on). Then use the angled side of the brush to add blush above the bronzer in a figure 8 motion to blend and sculpt.
This is the part where I noticed the biggest difference: my eyes. The makeup artist used this eyelid primer and the corrector above to mask redness around my eyes and the slightly purple undertones above my eyelids. It took probably ten seconds and made me look instantly more awake. I’ve tried to do the same thing with regular concealer before but it tends to cake into fine lines, which the eyelid primer totally prevents. Bingo! Not pictured but equally magical: this mascara. Whoa.
She also created this face map (which really puts the “art” in “makeup artist”) to help me remember what goes where (I told you I’m a rookie at this). I definitely didn’t buy everything she recommended but I had no problem spending $125+ on the primer serum, corrector, eye stick, and eyelid primer, among others. It was such a fun way to turn my morning around and I really learned a ton. I will be sure to report back on the products that become part of my everyday routine! Have you had your makeup professionally done? What did you think? Does makeup come naturally to you or is it something you’ve had to learn about? Do tell!
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