Archive for category Reader Question

Makeup for Men

Jack messaged me asking for recommendations on long-lasting, natural-looking face products (both qualifications essential for guys).

First off, let me say that I am so proud to finally have some other guys partake in this blog and makeup in general.  Bonus points for not submitting this anonymously.  Thanks, Jack!

Okay, before we move onto specific product recommendations, why don’t y’all check out the post I did previously about men and makeup.

Now that you’ve glanced over that, here are my specifics:

  1. Cleanse: The basis of any good face look is proper skincare.  Makeup just won’t look good if the skin below it isn’t in at least relatively good condition.  Men’s skin is often much more oily than women’s, and while the epidermis layer is slightly thicker, men’s skin tends to react more severely to irritants.  The aim then is to simply cleanse skin mildly without stripping it, and unless you’re specifically trying to target a problem (excessive oilyness/dryness, etc.), a mild face wash is going to be your best bet.  Fresh Soy Face Cleanser ($38 for 5.1oz) is absolutely fantastic, and is what I use every day.  While it’s gentle enough for my easily reddened skin, it (along with my Clarisonic) removes all traces of makeup (and… take note, ladies and gents… even the waterproof stuff!) and leaves my skin soft and moveable (not dry and tight).  However, if this is outside your budget, check out Cerave Hydrating Cleanser ($13.59 for 12oz).  It’s even milder than the beloved Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.  It works a treat on all skintypes and removes all but the most stay-put makeup.
  2. Moisturise: It’s relatively easy to find a cheap, OK moisturiser that won’t cause your skin too much woe.  But by making this the only step in your routine before you head on over to makeup means that you’re missing out on something that most good face lotions lack: SPF.  No one, no matter how old, what gender, or whatever else he/she may use on his/her face, should ever skip out on sunscreen.  Picking a broad-spectrum one that blocks out both UVA (which causes burning and wrinkles) and UVB (which are behind the development of skin cancer) is super important.  The one I use daily is Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 45 ($9.99 for 3oz).  It’s thick and emollient, but dries down to a soft, non-greasy finish in seconds and absorbs completely without leaving any film or sticky layer behind.  Normally, for my extremely oily skin, this acts as both my sunscreen and moisturiser, but on occasion, when my skin is rather parched, I do feel like I need a bit more.  By far, the best moisturiser I’ve found is Elizabeth Arden Velva Moisture Film ($43 for 6.7oz).  This runny, spicey-smelling fluid adjusts to your skintype to hydrate just enough, leaving both oily and dry faces feeling supple, sealing in moisture without ever overdoing it.  A drop the size of a dime can cover the entire face, and it absorbs in less than thirty seconds.
  3. Conceal: I’ve said before that I tend to turn to full-coverage foundations to do my concealing work for me, but if you are so inclined, the only concealer I ever recommend for men is the MUFE Full Cover ($30 for .5oz).  This stuff is absolutely amazing.  A drop the size of a pinprick of this thick cream is enough to do both undereyes, and another is often perfect for concealing a mild-moderate amount of blemishes.  It dries down to a demi-matte finish that looks like real skin, and is virtually waterproof. Read the rest of this entry »

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Reader Questions

So, I know a few of you have sent me questions in the past few weeks that are still unanswered, but have no fear, I have them, and they are a’coming!  Look for all of them in the next week.

Also, just to clear things up… Please do not post your questions as comments on the “Ask Me” tab.  If you have questions, send them to the email address provided on that page.  This allows that page to stay as clear and clutter-free as possible, and for me to respond to your questions as promptly as I’m able.  Thanks!

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Big Pores and Flaky Skin and Foundation Woes, Oh My!

Maya wrote to me complaining of enlarged pores on her otherwise relatively healthy skin, and was wondering what I could suggest to combat them.  She also suffers from mildly dry patches that seem resistant to manual exfoliation, and look awful when hidden under a heavy foundation (her pale skin also prevents her from finding a suitable, not-so-expensive option).

Well Maya, let’s tackle these issues one-by-one.

  1. Pores: Assuming that you can’t shell out for my beloved Clarisonic, I’ve got bad news for ya: pores really can’t be shrunk once they’ve been enlarged.  Pore size is partially genetic, and may partially be due to stretching (potentially from ripping them with harsh abrasives or tugging on them when attempting manual extractions).  Of course, clogged pores will look larger than clear ones, so keeping what you have clean is important.  The only way to possibly “shrink” pores is through professional microdermabrasion or laser skin resurfacing, which forces multiple layers of skin to regrow and gives you the hope that they’ll be back with smaller pores.  If that’s not an option, check out my discussion of my favorite cheap manual exfoliator, and I’d recommend investing in a product with a low percentage of salicylic acid to provide some chemical backup and keep those skin cells rejuvenating. Read the rest of this entry »


Whip Shine Into Shape

Anonymous complains about shine appearing on her makeup (even though she has normal/dry skin) after only a few hours, and wonders if there’s any way to combat this.

Well, normally, I’d point you to using a mattifying agent before your foundation to prevent oil production throughout the day.  My favorite is Philip’s Milk of Magnesia (before you balk at this, check out my review of it by clicking the link).  However, the fact that she has normal/dry skin makes me believe that there may be another problem here.

The first thing I’d do is check every product you use on your face to see whether it is oil or water based.  Remember that really old experiment you do in elementary school where you pour oil and water together in a beaker, and then wait a while for them to separate?  Well, putting both oil and water based products on your face is basically the same thing.  You’re just asking for your foundation to curdle.  This could cause even the best, most long-wearing products to detach from the skin and and separate into its components, which could definitely be causing the shine.  Another simple, though not very common cause, is using a product with silicone along with a product composed mainly of water.  When mixed, water causes silicone to curdle, which could be causing this shine as it microscopically clumps and collects, reflecting light.

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In Between Shades? Go Darker.

Anonymous asks whether to go a shade lighter or darker when matching foundation if you’re an in-between shade.


Well, first of all, solving your problem may be as easy changing where you match your foundation to.  To find out if you’ve been doing it wrong all these years, check out my article on MBB: What’s the Best Place to Match Your Foundation? If you’re lazy and don’t like clicking, here’s the quick synopsis:

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Blue Mascara? Not For You, Clown!

Anonymous wonders what I think about blue mascaras, because she worries that wearing one will make her look clownish.

I love ‘em.  I can’t say that I use them often (as most of my work is for photoshoots using HD cameras…), but I do think they’re fantastic.  Most of the ones you’ll find aren’t like bamblue!  They’re more of a subtle, navy to cobalt shade that will really only appear blue when they catch the light.  But just like blue eyeliner making eyes look brighter and blue tinted lip gloss making teeth look whiter, blue mascara will definitely make your peepers look fresh and awake.

Also, blue is a great choice if you don’t want to go so dramatic with black, but want something with a bit more oomph than a natural.  Just make sure to eliminate all clumping with this stuff, as that is when it can start to look a bit clownish.

If you’re afraid of transitioning to blue, try this tip: apply your regular black or nude mascara, and then dab the wand of a blue mascara just on the tips of your upper eyelashes.  You’ll get a cool, yet rather subtle transitional effect, and can see how blue mascara might work with your eyes without committing to it fully.

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Fading Away

Anonymous is having issues with her eye makeup fading away throughout the day, and has already tried UD’s Primer Potion and NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base to no avail.  So, she asks what tips I have for preventing the dreaded fade.

First off, try the Too Faced Shadow Insurance, which I think is the best mainstream eye primer available. Second, try layering your products.  Start with a primer, then a cream product, then a powder.  Pat, rather than swipe, the powder product over the cream to set it.  You can use a cream product in the same shade as the powder shadow, a neutral, more concealer-like shade, or a basic white (which, depending on the opacity of the product used, may either make the shade bolder or a bit more subdued.)  Layering in almost any area of makeup is key to lasting power (think about foundation: first moisturiser, then primer, then concealer, then foundation, then powder.)

If this doesn’t appeal to you, try applying your powder eyeshadow wet with a mixing medium.  I adore Ben Nye LiquiSet.  This stuff makes powder eyeshadows virtually smudge-proof and water resistant, amps up the vibrancy, and is cheap cheap cheap.  The only problem is is that it sets fast.  Like, within seconds.  And once it sets, it absolutely cannot be blended.  So, if you plan on doing a lot of careful blending, or are a slow makeup applier, I’d pass over this.

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Clarisonics and Aeroplanes

Anonymous wondered what the difference between the 3-speed and the Pro Clarisonics is.  She also wanted to know some skincare tips to employ when traveling through the air.

The Clarisonic Pro is the one with 3 Speeds.  The Classic only has 2.

For airplane travel, definitely start out by upping your water intake two to three days before you start traveling. On the plane, skip the soda and make sure to drink at least a glass (or one of those dinky plastic cups they give you that always spills…) of water every hour, at least.

The morning of your departure, take a warm shower, and pat yourself dry rather than rubbing.  This will help your skin remain moist for a bit longer.  If you have time, apply a hydrating mask for five minutes. If not (or afterwards), apply a heavy, rich moisturiser (or preferably, a balm) while your skin is still damp and porous, and let it absorb for a good ten minutes, then blot your face with a tissue.  Apply a silicone primer to lock in the moisture, and if your skin can handle it, apply a sheer cream foundation, which will be much less likely to dry out your skin than other formulations.  Blend a cream blush onto your cheeks, and set lightly with a tiny bit of translucent powder.

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Veiny Undereyes?

Megan noticed that in my videos, I have “absolutely no undereye circles-or those little blue veins that frame them,” and wanted to know what concealers I use, and how.

Except on my worst days, I actually just use my regular foundation-Revlon Colorstay Normal/Oily-under my eyes with a bit of setting powder.  Full coverage foundations often eliminate the need for concealer on all but the darkest blemishes or circles.

On days when I’ve gotten no sleep and can’t go with just foundation alone, I use MUFE Full Coverage.  I take a concealer brush and dab a tiny bit right underneath where the shadows are darkest (usually right underneath my tearducts), turn the brush over, and feather it up to my lower lashline and towards the inner corner, then up slightly onto my eyelid.  If necessary, I’ll dot a tiny bit under my pupil, and feather it towards the outer corner.  Then, using my ring finger, I pat (making sure not to drag) it out a bit, then apply foundation.

For people who rely on concealer for daily use, I definitely recommend the Full Coverage (for those with oily skin, long days, or extremely dark circles) or MUFE’s Lift concealer (for people who have more fine lines and wrinkles).

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Take It Off!

Inkbomb wonders what my favourite eye makeup remover is.

I love Kose Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil.  I originally came across this when wandering through Chinatown on the top floor of a fantastic Asian market.  This citrusy-smelling liquid starts out as a thin, slightly orange oil, which turns into a white, creamy lather when mixed with water.  I myself use this as a face cleanser, but it works wonders when pitted against even the most stubborn waterproof eye makeup.  I like to pump a bit of this onto a cotton pad, dab it on the eyes, then just dampen my fingers (or another cotton pad) and massage it lightly over.  Another splash or swipe of water removes the lather, and leaves no oily residue, just perfectly clean, bare eyes.  I’ve yet to find another that can compare (by the way, who else is loving that it comes in a pump bottle?), and the only downside is that it can only be bought in Chinatown or online at retailers like Amazon.  If you just use it for eyes, the bottle will last you forever, making the slightly higher online price seem not so bad.

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