Women are always attracted to shiny, shimmery, sparkling, glamorous, and all such similar things. Makeup is one of them. Some are born with an innate flair for choosing the right products, and then there are the rest who find it tough to decide which is the best.
To catch the latest trend, they run bonkers from one cosmetic store to another. In the hope of transforming their look with a single brush flick, they end up buying junk that they either don’t use or don’t know how it’s used.
But it’s not the fault of women! Our cursory society gives so much importance to physical appearance that it becomes necessary to don a made-up look. That being said, it can be declared that makeup is cardinal. It packs our confidence and happiness in smart covers and makes it easily available at multiple beauty counters.
These beauty counter encounters are, most of the time, painful and downright confusing. The staff at the counters are eager to take you through a humble demo of almost everything. To stop them and tell your preferences, you need some real guts.
Here, you will find some tips on how to test makeup products before buying, so that the next time you approach that department store beauty counter, you will do it with aplomb.
Checking for Suitability: Do a Patch Test
It is the most important step before purchasing any kind of makeup products, especially if you have sensitive skin. Doing a patch test is very easy. It should be done on the inside of the wrist or elbow. The patch should be cleaned thoroughly, and the product that you want to check should be applied on it. For at least 24 hours, the area should not be wetted or washed. After 24 hours, you should check for any redness, irritation, rashes, itching, burning sensation, swelling, or soreness. If there are no visible cues that would suggest an allergy, then you can safely use the product.
Checking for Skin Tone
Before I move ahead to tell you about the correct way of choosing cosmetics, everyone should keep in mind the following points:
For fairer skin, the colors chosen for cosmetics should range from soft pink to beige. Anything pastel with pink undertones would enhance your features without becoming overwhelming.
For medium-fair and medium-dark skin, the colors chosen should be neutrals that are spiced up with hues of gold. Anything that reads ivory, honey, caramel, or buff is the one for you. Well-known makeup artists say that these type of skin colors can handle a wide range of colors.
For dark skin, colors like tan, coffee, copper, bronze, or chocolate are the ones for you. A little care should be taken while choosing foundation. Choose as close a shade as possible to your natural skin color. For lips, anything in red, brown, raisin, or plum will work.
Dab a small amount of it on your neck (not at the back of the palm, for heaven’s sake!), and rub it till it dissolves away into your skin. Choose the most natural-looking color. Those with oily to combination skin, should prefer a non-shiny or matte variant, and those with normal to dry skin should opt for satin, creamy, and glossy variants. It is a safe bet to select variants with yellow undertones than that which have pink undertones.
It is recommended that you should invest in two good quality concealers – one with yellow and one with a pinkish shade. Why? Because the yellow-tinted one works well on dark spots as well as pimple spots on the face, while the pink one works on the under eye area. You should find the perfect color by swiping it on the inner side of the wrist. Concealers that have words, like illuminating, lightening, brightening, or highlighting can be chosen.
There is one thing that needs to be remembered about color cosmetics – never be afraid of the brightness of the color because it spreads and sheers out on the skin. When choosing a blusher, you should first try it on the back of your palm. Now, be careful with this one, because a blusher will show different shades when applied with and without foundation. It is seen that cream blushers give a more natural look than powder variants.
They are meant to mimic the tan that you get after a sunbath. If it has shimmer, then don’t opt for it. Also, too dark a shade will look artificial. The trick to test a bronzer is to apply it on the inner side of the arm. Now check if you are able to see the speckles on the skin through it. If not, then better not to go with it.
“Translucent” is the word for powder. Dab some on the back of your palm, and it should disappear after a little rubbing. Ideally, it should not have any color. A powder can have multiple benefits. If you apply it under an eyeshadow, you can make the eyeshadow last longer. Even while applying mascara or eyeliner, you can apply it on the under eye area to avoid the fallen mascara droplets from smudging.
It is a type of foundation but without the mess. An ideal pressed powder is tinted but still translucent. It should reduce the shine on the skin and give it a natural matte look. Just like foundation, a pressed powder should be tried by applying it on the neck. It should blend seamlessly and should be lightweight. The idea behind applying pressed powder is to even out the skin and reduce the shine, and not for getting a fair look.
While choosing a mascara, it is advised to stick to black. It is the safest option and suits almost all eye colors. If you want to experiment a bit, then you can go for blue, green, or purple. These colors look great on brown and blue eyes. But those with black eyes need not be disappointed. With a little care, even black eyes can be made to look gorgeous. Make sure that the wand you select is thin because only then it will be able to reach the roots of the lashes easily. Mascara with the words, like volumizing and lengthening should be picked.
While selecting an eyeliner, try to pick the waterproof version so that you can apply it and forget about it. But if you have sensitive skin, try to stay away from waterproof eyeliners. If you are opting for a pencil, then an oily tip would not be a good choice. Oily tips tend to smudge easily, but if you still want to go for it, then make sure it has words, such as ‘firm’ or ‘lasts 10 hours’ written on the package. One advantage of oily tips is that they draw easily. When compared to a pencil, a liquid eyeliner is always the better option. They can be tested by applying a stroke on the back of the palm, waiting for it to dry, and then trying to smudge it. It is fine if it smudges a little, but too much smudging is a sign that it would run out under your eyes.
Eyelids have creases; therefore, a good eyeshadow should have the capacity to resist creasing after applying. To test it, you should apply a little of it on the backside of the palm and also on the inner side of the wrist. You should bend the wrist a few times to see if it creases. A little creasing is fine, but it should not cake inside the crease. For an everyday natural look, you should opt for colors that are pinkish to beige and have a little shimmer. People with fairer skin tones should opt for more translucent and sheer variants.
This is a cosmetic that is every woman’s favorite. Over a period of time, it has gained the reputation of being a “handbag essential”. So, how do we choose the perfect color? First, make sure you are standing in a well-lit area. If you have a tester, you should apply a little on the pad of your fingertips (not at the back of the hand) and check how the color comes out by tilting your hand back and forth a few times. It is seen that matte finishes give a heavy color payoff as compared to glossy finishes, but they dry the lips. In today’s fast-paced life, I can say that it is better to stick to glossy or satin finishes that serve both the purposes – color and shine.
Again a “handbag essential”, lip glosses come in various types to choose from. The current trend is flavored lip gloss. To test a lip gloss, you should test it in the same way as a lipstick. Apply a little on the fingertip and join the two fingertips to feel the consistency of the lip gloss. Check if it is too sticky or runny. If you want a heavily pigmented lip gloss that would also serve as a lipstick, you should pick up the one that has the word “lacquer” written on it.
I feel the quote “A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting” by Christian Dior speaks volumes about the importance of perfumes. To select a good-quality perfume, you need to follow certain steps. Always test the perfume after taking a bath and without applying any scent or moisturizer. You need to spray the perfume on the wrist as well as paper strip.
On your wrist, the perfume will get absorbed fast, and the smell will stay on your skin. In this way, you will be able to judge if the perfume is long-lasting or not. When testing on a paper strip, you need to spray the perfume on it and smell the strip after about 30 seconds.
It is essential to sniff coffee beans between each testing. They neutralize the smell and keep you away from getting a headache.
Check your drawers, and if you find some old business or visiting cards, take them along. According to expert perfumers, they are thick enough and have the texture to absorb a scent to give out the real notes as well as the subtle base notes.
While you have gone shopping for cosmetics, in all that enthusiasm, do not forget to check the makeup expiration dates as it could have harmful effects, like acne patches or blemishes, which you obviously do not want to encounter.
Here’s one last thing to be mentioned before I sum it up – never apply any makeup tester directly on your face, especially the lips and eyes. They may be contaminated due to frequent use. As far as possible, try to test it on your hands. If you are testing liquid products from a tube, then just squeeze out a bit of it on a tissue and throw it away, and then squeeze again. The reason being that bacteria always thrive on the topmost layer. Also, make it a point to ask the sales staff for disposable testers or at least wands and sticks. I’m sure with these tips in your kitty, you will pick up the most suitable product for yourself.