Thursday, September 29, 2016

What Really Goes Behind the No-Makeup Makeup

It's so funny that sometimes when I get inquiries for makeup, the potential client asks for a discount or a lower price saying that all she wants is "simple, clean, 'no makeup' look. " thinking that it's fast anyway or we use less products than say, the Victoria's Secret smokey eyes and big hair look. Here's the thing, a professionally done "no-makeup look" actually uses the same amount of products as glam or evening look. The only difference are the colors used and the overall finish. Instead of browns and peaches, smokey has greys. Instead of red lipstick, we have peach, pink, or nude. There's presence of a highlight to make the skin look dewy and healthy in both looks (or matte, depending on the peg or mood).  There's actually a lot of makeup in that look. It's way thicker than our everyday pulbo-and-lipstick formula,

If the look is for a commercial or an editorial, the makeup is much thicker, and it has to be. The regular makeup we do everyday will just be washed out by the strong lights. It's also harder to do the no makeup look because how do we make something look like it's not there when there are layers that are there?

the no-makeup look, a staple in editorials and a classic bridal peg.
Doing so many no-makeup looks on myself and others, I break down the steps of how the no-makeup look works and show you that the no-makeup look is actually, a lot of steps and makeup, almost like glam makeup.

First of all, I am going to show you the real no-makeup look. which is a bare face with no makeup.

Okay, I sort of cheated because I had to define my brows. Because without brow definition, I look like an alien. With nada makeup you can see broken vessels, shine, and discoloration. Bare skin, no matter how good your skin is, looks different on camera. To get your skin glowingly gorgeous, rosy, and flawless without makeup like Alicia Keys, you need super expensive skincare and the access to skin therapists who will make your skin look the way that hers does.

To start a good no-makeup look involves good skincare, so we start with clean skin and skin care suitable to your skin type. If you have bags on your eyes, use an eye cream that will deflate those bags (examples: Benefit Puff Off or MAC Fast Response Eye Cream).  I hydrate my face with moisturizer (I skipped SPF because for TV or a photo-heavy event, I remove sunblock, which can cause a white cast on the skin). I placed moisturizer, massaging it to really boost my circulation and let it stay for the skin to absorb it. Then, to make makeup glide better, diminish pores, and stick longer, I used primer (I used Benefit Porefessional, which also mattifies the face. It's my go-to primer for government ID photos).

The most crucial part of this look is your base. Your base should not only cover up imperfections, it should look like skin, not makeup. When I took a workshop under Canadian makeup artist Craig Ryan French, he says if someone compliments your foundation, send it back because it still looks like makeup, when it should not. Now the base I use depends on the occasion. For those that require me to go on stage or in shoots, I use a foundation with more coverage and mattify the life out of it with mattifying two-way powder foundation.  In this case, I'm going for the editorial-type I-woke-up-like-this look that does not scream "MAKEUP".  I used foundation with good coverage with a look that's like second skin, such as Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation. I used Make Up For Ever Lift Concealer to conceal the undereye circles and set my makeup with Make Up For Ever HD Pressed Powder. In this application, I didn't make the foundation application too thick. I blended the life out of my base and made sure that it looks like flawless skin. It also pays to have good skin to begin with, because with clean skin, there's less to cover.

In no-makeup look, we also contour. In fact, in photoshoots, we need to contour! Otherwise, with photography lights and lots of flash, even the most chiselled face will just wash out and flatten like a dinner plate.

I like layering my blush, I first use cream blush (applied before powder and after liquid foundation) massaged to the apples of my cheeks to warm it up and get a glow from within. I then layer with a natural looking powder brush with slight shimmer. The blush of choice? A classic bestseller: NARS Orgasm.

Brows are then defined. I try to not use the Instagram brow look but just a naturally defined brow using Browhaus Classic Brow Lead Pencil in Asphalt and brush this with a spoolie in light, feathery strokes to blend before setting with powder. To make the brows softer, I brush with MAC Girl/Boy, which makes the brows look naturally shaped and defined but still soft and youthful.

With lipstick that looks like an MLBB (such as MAC Please Me), here's what I look

So far so good right? Well if you can see, my eyes look lost and tiny. There is a way I can make them pop out, and we all love the make-the-eyes pop kind of thing. That's where eye makeup comes in.

To make eyeshadow hold better, I use an eyeshadow primer. Then, I carefully choose colors for my eye scheme. This helps me plan how I shall do my makeup. I stick to matte and semi-matte in shades of brown, nude, and peach/beige so they look more natural.

The eye crease contour is important in creating depth and dimension, which I do with a matte brown powder like MAC Espresso before coloring in the lid and brow with a neutral color such as MAC Shroom. I lined my eyes with dark brown pencil liner on the bottom and charcoal liner on the upper lids, lining close to the lash roots to mimic thicker lashes. Dark brown and charcoal look less harsh than black. Then, lots of mascara on curled lashes to open my eyes.

The finished product looks like this:

A bit of lipstick retouch. You can see the eyes are more defined.

The eyes look more defined and I look more awake. This was taken using a semi-pro camera. With a photographer's camera, lights, and flash, it would look definitely less strong, almost like a natural, DIY makeup.

As you can see, the clean no-makeup look actually has a lot of steps, in fact, almost the same number of steps than  glam makeup. Before I even set the makeup, I do a final blending using a kabuki brush to really blend out the makeup onto the skin so it looks more natural even if I put so much (It's an old-school trick I learned but it still works). I even choose a combination of makeup products which can look almost invisible, There's also a certain skill level that a makeup artist has for makeup to not look like makeup, but a flawless face with a rosy glow. In fact, it's even harder to do than smoky eyes or doing the perfectly shaped red lipstick and cat eyes. The makeup we do everyday looks okay if we're just going out and the only photos we would be having would probably be selfies or photos with friends. For the makeup we see on celebrities in events or on editorials or on the tear sheets we show for our pegs, it's actually a lot more than that.

Since this takes up much of your time, around 1-1/2 to 2 hours to do, plus packing away your makeup before going to work, for regular days, I think it's best to just stick to just an everyday type of makeup. Save this for a wedding or a daytime event, since 2 hours every single day before going to work. If you do have a lot of time that day and you'd want to really devote some time to doll up, go ahead if it makes you  feel happy!

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