I don't claim to know all there is to know about make-up. It's almost like art, really. The more you put on, the better of a painter you become. I used to wonder why some girls were so glamorous, and why I was so ordinary. Well, it wasn't because they were sooo much better looking. It's because they knew how to work with what they had, and how to accentuate it with make-up and hairstyles.
Say what you want about painted-up ladies, but the fact is they get attention. My Mary Kay director Sally used to always tell us, "Men look at women...who wear make-up." When worn well make-up can make the difference in whether you get passed by or get a second look. For those of you who've run into me on "rough" or "home improvement" days, you know I look crazy, lol. Maybe not fugly, but not exactly Glamazon either.
Last year, at Greaserama, I learned some valuable lessons on hot weather make-up. The event takes place in early September, and I had just started wearing make-up regularly in March. I still didn't wear it everyday, and especially not if I knew I was going somewhere hot. But I wanted to look good at Greaserama so I did the best I could. Oh, how far I've come with pin-up make-up and style since then. I'm so grateful for my Mary Kay skin routine as well. Say what you will about the brand, but it's done wonders for my skin. I advocate taking good care of your skin and wearing sunscreen, no matter what brands you use. You will regret it when you get older if you don't. Just saying.
I've never liked the feel of foundation on my face. No matter how expensive of a brand it is, or how thin or light, to me it always feels like a cakey mask. Sorry, I'm not going to sugar coat things for you. The only way I can stand it is to smear on a lot of extra moisturizer and then a small amount of foundation. But a flawless matte face is a big part of pin-up. It's important to have a good base for the rest of your color.
Anyways, what I'm leading up to is that thick foundation on hot days is kind of a disaster. It will melt off. I don't care who you are, if the sun is beating down, and you are sweating profusely, some of that base is going to melt off.
This is where mineral-powder foundation comes into the picture. I'm in love with the Mary Kay kind. It soaks up oil, and manages to keep your face looking great even when you're all sweaty. All you really need is some oil-blotting papers for touch ups, and maybe some pressed powder for when you finally enter cooler air. Putting pressed powder on oily skin that is still sweating can lead to a gritty look and feel. Not exactly what we're going for, lol. If you really need some coverage, try just putting liquid foundation on red areas and blending well, then applying mineral-powder foundation. It's my best tip for foundation on hot sweaty days. Believe me, I learned all this the hard way. It's whatever works for you. Make sure and stand in front of a window or go outside and check your chin line. The base should blend in. If there's a line it's too dark. Conceal under-eye dark circles and blemishes. I usually use concealer on under-eyes before liquid foundation, and then put it on blemishes before mineral-powder foundation. The mineral foundation does a great job of setting the products.
After foundation, curl your lashes (unless you are one of those lucky gals who has naturally curly lashes) and fill in the gaps of your eyebrows. You can use a brow stencil if you need to. I use a Mary Kay brow pencil in brunette for my brows, but you can also use eye-shadow that matches your brows (no shimmery ones) and fill them in with a slanted brush. Paying attention to your brows makes a big difference to your overall look, and most pin-ups you see have very defined brows.
I highlight under my eyebrows and the inner corner of my eyelids with a white NYX shadow pencil (the color is called "milk"). This helps your eyes pop. Set it with a light white or cream shadow all over the eye area, and then put a flattering brown color on your outer crease and blend. If you need your eyes to look more awake, you can use a white eyeliner pencil (mine is Wet-n-Wild) and trace your waterline and the inner corner of your eyes.
The cat eyeliner is one of the more difficult tasks. I love when people say it's easy, haha. I draw winged liner on everyday that I have the time, just to keep in practice. It's way easier to do a good winged liner on my clients. I always feel like when I do mine it's harder. I choose to use gel eyeliner from MAC, and an eyeliner brush. From what I understand, Maybelline also has gel liner, if you don't want to splurge. Also, you can use liquid liner. But be careful. Sometimes liquid eyeliner runs. It can be really thin, so you want to start small and work your way big. This is just the way I do it, there are tons of tutorials on Youtube if you need a visual. I don't line the bottom of my eyes. I'm not a big believer in it. It can close eyes off, and with my coloring it gives a "goth" look. Nothing against the goth trend, just not what I'm usually going for.
After the winged liner I put mascara on my lower and upper lashes. Then I comb them with an eyelash comb. Clumpy lashes = yikes. I once saw a girl at Park University with the clumpiest eyelashes I had ever seen. But it's not like you can tell a complete stranger that. I kept it to myself. I don't know why some ladies think clumpy lashes look better, but I'm not judging. Again, it's just usually not what we're going for.
I apply blush while the mascara dries. I put a pink color on the apples of my cheeks and then blend upward. Again, that's how I choose to do it, I'm not saying it's the only way. With blush you want to start small and work your way up. I know really rosy cheeks are part of the pin-up look, but it's still possible to look clownish. You want people to focus on the whole face, not one thing in particular.
After blush I put false lashes on. I don't know why so many women are scared of false lashes. They are one of the best inventions of all time. They kick up any look about 5 million notches. If you want natural-looking ones, buy natural-looking ones. If you want dramatic buy dramatic. There are many tutorials on Youtube about how to apply them. Basically, you put glue on them, and stick them as close to your natural upper lashline as possible. I used to put mascara on to blend my natural and fake lashes, but I don't anymore. It can get clumpy. I just take a dry mascara wand and blend them by gently combing. If you don't want to buy a mascara brush, just wash one from an old mascara and let it dry. So much of learning this stuff is just being creative. There will always be someone telling you that you're doing it wrong. Just do what works for you, whatever it is.
By now, your eyes, brows, foundation and cheeks are done. For a classic pin-up look, red lips are mandatory. Line your lips with a red lip liner. Line the outside of them if you want. Think Pam Anderson in the 90's, or Bridgette Bardot in the 60's. I usually only line outside the lip line when I wear neutral colored lipsticks, but if you have small lips go for it with reds. Accentuate the curves of your upper lip bows, and the pouty-ness of your lower lip. I fill in my lips with the same lip liner to make the lipstick last longer. Yes, it feels dry, but beauty is pain. You don't have to if you don't want to. Then fill in with red lipstick. I use Mary Kay in red. That's the color, red, lol. No fancy names. But Merle Norman just released a collection of red lipsticks called "Hussy." Anything called hussy is a must for me, so I'm going to try those soon. You can add some clear or opaque gloss to the middle of your lower lip to help with the dryness and make lips look even pouty-er. Some ladies use red gloss on top of the red lipstick. If you want to, go for it. I've found that putting gloss all over ends up with color bleeding from the lip line. "Bleeding" lip color doesn't really look good no matter how old you are, but if you're over 29 it's a downright disaster. You will see lines you didn't know you have. It's depressing, so just avoid it if you can.
This is just one pin-up look. There are many others. You can experiment with color on the lid, smokier crease colors, and different colors of lipstick and gloss. I chose this look because it's a good place to start. You can start to vary it to make it work for you. Practice makes perfect. All things being said, it's really not a ton of make-up. Apply everything with a light hand. You can always add more.
For goodness sake, don't forget your nails and toenails. You don't need an expensive pedicure and manicure. Red polish on toenails, and plain or red fingernails look nice. Pale pink is also a great color. Just keep them trimmed and clean. If they get chipped, fix 'em. I remember I went to take my senior pictures for high school, and I had all my cute clothes, my make-up and hair done. I went to meet the photographer and he looked at my fingernails and cringed. I had chipped polish on them. Really, what the hell was I thinking?! I never want that to happen to anyone again, lol. If it's an important event, or you just like to always look your best, pay attention to your nails.
Great make-up doesn't take you too far if your hair isn't done. Even long healthy hair can look blah if you just leave it to hang there. I will post another blog soon with some hair ideas. Not all styles require heat styling. I know now that my hair is long again, I have to watch the heat tools. Even with heat protection products and good shampoo and condition, your hair will eventually get damaged.
Lisa Freemont Street has some great tutorials on pin-curls and other "wet sets" on her Youtube and her blog. One of my friends and clients Heather is coming over to get her hair pin-curled the night before Greaserama. It's a good idea to sleep on them, so the curls have time to really take. Some of the best vintage hair styles came from pin-curls. Think Marilyn Monroe.
I hope this was helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions in the comment box :)
I will also take requests if there is a particular make-up look you would like to know how to do. I don't know it all, but I might be able to help.
This is me after a long day at Greaserama last year. You can see my lipstick wearing off because I didn't line the inside with liner, and the red I used faded into a pink color. Also, my face is shiny because I didn't have any oil-blotting papers and instead kept adding pressed powder to fight shine. I didn't use under-eye concealer or any liquid foundation to even skin tone out. Yikes. I also didn't have the winged liner concept down. In fact, I don't have any eye liner on. Oh well, this shows how far you can come in a year's time!
This is one of my clients, Megan. She is wearing the exact look I just explained in this blog. Yes, the photo has been retouched, but not as much as you would think. I brightened it in Adobe Lightroom, but the make-up is all the way I applied it. I didn't use Photoshop to change add more or take any away. I didn't use the program Adobe Photoshop on this photo at all, because she didn't need it!
I don't have any good photos of myself with a classic pin-up/red lip look to post. Hopefully I can take some at Greaserama this year. I don't know if I will have time though, because I will be the one taking pictures!