A learning curve

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I’m on a steep learning curve when it comes to makeup. Ben Nye banana

Now that the DH, some friends and I are creating short films, I’m getting more and more into my makeup. And boy, do I have a lot to learn? 

I thought I knew a little something about makeup, having worn it for nearly 40 years, but making yourself up and making up other people are completely different things. Making people up for photography and film, and making yourself up to simply walk about in the open air are also completely different things.

For instance, it’s a given that every day you yourself should wear sunblock, but an SPF is the last thing you want for flash photography because it goes white under the flash. The same applies with HD powders, which supply sparkle and life to skin – they need to be blended TO DEATH under flashlight or you get serious panda eyes.

The brands for professional makeup are also completely different, with names like Mehron, Ben Nye, Graftobian and RCMA replacing the more familiar Revlon, Chanel, No7 and Estée Lauder. And I had never stopped to consider the reasons you might choose a cream over a liquid foundation, or a mineral powder to work on different types of skin – I’ve always just chosen what I myself prefer.

All I knew of makeup until recently was my personal preferences – ie: for light coverage and neutral colours. I don’t do any contouring or colour effects, and until yesterday had never tried an eye primer either – my personal makeup is mostly confined to BB cream, neutral eye colour, mascara, blush and lippie. Days I’m going swimming, I do without mascara, and one or two days a week I don’t wear makeup at all, though I admit to finding my natural face pretty pallid and sad these days.

Making up other people is utterly different, especially if you want something to last eight hours and stand up to HD lenses and harsh lights. To start with, you need so much prep material. You need cleansers for oily, dry and sensitive skin, toners for oily, dry and sensitive skin, moisturisers that are light, medium and heavy in texture, emergency pads for eyebags, eye drops, zit cream, stuff for rosacea, basic primer, oil-free primer, yellow-reduction primer, red-reduction primer, eye primer, hand sanitiser, breath mints, makeup remover…

Then you need the actual makeup, which is as long as a piece of string: face and body foundation, cream foundation (maximum coverage), liquid foundation, mineral foundation for people with sensitive skin, loose powder, pressed powder, cream blusher, powder blusher, bronzer (something I’ve NEVER worn), liquid eyeliner, gel eye liner, pencils, lipsticks, lipglosses, eye shields, brow stencils, brow powder, brow wax… 

Then you need the tools: capes, hairbands, hairclips, brush belts, brush pots, towels, tissues, medi-wipes, baby wipes, brush shampoo, mist n set, eyelash curlers, Q-tips, mixing palettes, spatulas, makeup sanitiser, alcohol spray, puffs, beauty blenders, sponge wedges…before you even get started on the brushes: crease brushes, blending brushes, eyeshadow brushes, concealer brushes, blusher brushers, contour brushes, yadda yadda yadda – at least two of each so you can wash one and dry one. 

Zuca Sport Artist

Above all, you need the bag, and unfortunately, the bag is the thing you need first, so that you can arrange and transport all your kit. After doing considerable research, I took a deep breath and got a Zuca – nearly $300 by the time I’d paid the shipping, but it’s specifically designed for the purpose, I was nervous about the build quality of other cases and I figured it would do double duty as a travel bag. I’ll do a review of it when it arrives.

Bit by bit, my kit is arriving in the post, courtesy of specialist vendors such as Camera Ready Cosmetics (the shipping from most professional sites was prohibitive), and where possible, I’m also cutting costs by buying budget brands such as ELF and drugstore brands such as Revlon: after all, it’s not as if I’m a professional, I’m just aiming for the best effect I can get at a price I can afford, and I also hope to retain the items for personal use wherever possible.  

Googling for dupes has therefore become second-nature, particularly for expensive items like Smashbox, Bioderma Crealine, Touche Eclat etc, and I tell you what, it’s interesting what you find. Almost everything has something similar at a much lower price point, and when it’s not for the joy of handling it yourself, you get very narky about spending a lot of money just for a name.

I’ll review each of my kit bits separately, but for now will just mention that they include: The Masterpiece box set from Shany; ELF’s 144-neutral and 100-brights eye palettes; ELF brushes, puffs, sponge wedges and eye primers; Carmex; a Graftobian cream foundation palette; brush sets from TomTop; Ben Nye mascaras; CRC beauty blenders and spoolies; and the Zuca Sport Artist bag. Watch this space.   

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