By Hilda Jerina,  Image Consultant.

What’s the first thing people see when they look at you? Your face and hair. The next time you walk by a mirror, take a minute and look at yourself. Take a real good look. Don’t worry, the mirror won’t crack – believe me. What does your face say about you?Tired, don’t care, not a priority, no money, outdated look? OR alive, dynamic, happy, current, radiant?

Don’t underestimate the positive impact a bit of makeup can have on your life. A long time ago, I dared to go work without any makeup. Well, what an experience! My co-workers immediately asked if I was okay. Some thought I should go home because I looked sick, pale and withdrawn. Others commented that I appeared very depressed and that it would not be wise to deal with customers. No one clued in. It was hard to hear those comments but it made me realize that I need to always make the effort regardless of how I feel, where I go and what I do. Our facial appearance has a big impact on everyone who sees us. Make it a good impact. Your makeup does not have to scream loudly to the world. Discover how to enhance your natural beauty. You will look better, healthier, more alive, and happier. Know what? Other’s will see your glow, make comments and before you know it – you will feel terrific inside and out.

Now, where do you begin? What do you buy? What kind of makeup should you wear? Well, each person is different. Makeup is expensive and there is so much out there. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, gradually build your make-up collection. Don’t buy too much and don’t wear too much. You want people to look at you, not at your big red lips or your heavy rosy cheeks. Try to accentuate your best features. The important thing is to start slowly, take small steps and build to your goal. The degree and intensity of makeup should change for day/evening, moods/stress, summer/winter, age, overall image – casual or elegant, hair coloring, etc. Bottom line, feel good and look great.

  1. Get educated: Look through magazines, catalogs, flyers, websites etc. Look at the faces of the models, the colors, how and where the makeup is applied, the overall image impact. Look for level of intensity on eyes, mouth, cheeks etc. Get a feel for what’s in style, what you like and dislike.
  2. Stay as natural as possible. Today’s styles enhance the natural look by adding small touches of color, but not too much.
  3. Start off slow and buy one or two items at a time.
  4. Go to the cosmetic counter and start playing around with all the testers. If you are intimidated in the larger stores (like Sears, the Bay etc.), down size and try Walmart, Shoppers, etc. Go to a counter where you feel comfortable and start experimenting. It does not cost you a cent.
  5. Ask the sales associate at these cosmetic counters what they would recommend for you. Really talk to them and ask questions. Take mental note of the answers and suggested products; or better yet, write some down. Tip:Buy an old address book, small enough to fit into your purse. Use the alpha tabs for products – E = eye shadows, eyeliner. Include the brand name, item, color name, the season for use, and a description. It’s so handy. Don’t feel you have to buy everything that is recommended to you. Try another cosmetic counter or store. Personally, I try to find a salesperson similar to me in hair and skin coloring. The key is to start exploring and develop confidence.
  6. If you have the time, get the cosmetician to physically apply makeup to you. If you don’t know how to achieve this goal, walk over to the counter when they are not too busy. Look totally perplexed. Ask for advice. Still look unsure. Ask if she’d have the time to put it on you to see what you’d look like. Sit down, let her begin. Remember she is professionally trained and FREE!! Ask lots of questions. Soak it in. You will learn so much. Remember to write down all the products and colors she uses. Realize you need time to do this. No children should be with you. Dress comfortably and wear your favorite colors. This way you will get makeup that will really complement your clothing. Don’t feel pressured to buy anything! Go home, show yourself off and get feedback. Check how your makeup looks under different lighting. See if you have an allergic reaction. My niece went into Shoppers for her first makeup session the day of her semi-formal. She looked great and her friends agreed. She learned a lot and later went back and purchased a couple of the items. How proud her mom was that she had a natural, beautiful look and learned how to achieve it in the process. You can do the same thing!
  7. Once you have a list of products, dare to compare – products, prices and colors. By doing so, you can cut your makeup costs in half if you are on a tight budget. If you are unsure about your selections, ask the cosmetician for advice. Remember to jot down suggestions. Only buy what you really want, even if it’s only one item. Tip:Be creative in obtaining high quality makeup, for example Lancome products. I cannot afford to buy them, but I keep an eye on the store flyers for Bonus time. For example, they advertise that if you buy $27 of products, you get a free bonus with your purchase. This might include 1 lipstick, 1 duo eye shadow, makeup bag, and eye cream. I then buy something that was recommended to me for $27 or more and have the benefit of obtaining the bonus products. It’s a worthwhile way to get some high quality stuff.
  8. Practice in front of a mirror and/or with a friend. Get used to the rhythm and approach of makeup application so that you become better and quicker at getting a great look. Start with small goals and slowly work your way up.
  9. Have fun. Makeup can easily be removed. Don’t be afraid to try different colors, new techniques. Take time to play with it until you achieve a look that is young, fresh and beautiful.
  10. Always keep the receipts. Most stores will accept returns so long as the makeup has not been used too much.


Buy good quality makeup tools. This is not an area to be cheap on. This is what gives you that clean, professional look. Quality brushes will give you greater control and a more natural look. If you have a limited budget, invest in a GOOD blush brush. Keep it clean. Wash your brushes regularly in mild natural shampoo and air dry naturally.

Foundation: Foundation gives a base of natural color, conceals blemishes or imperfections and protects the skin. There are many different kinds with varying weights. Some are heavy in application, while others are hardly noticeable but still achieve an even skin tone. Usual Lifespan: one year. Match foundation to your skin by dabbing it on your face or neck, not your hand – your skin tone is different there. Blend foundation with your fingertips from your face to under your jawline and slightly onto your neck. Avoid a noticeable line. For a light sheer look, dampen sponge before applying a water-based foundation. Wash sponges weekly and throw out every 4 to 5 weeks. A bit ofConcealer applied under the foundation helps to further conceal blemishes.

Translucent Powder: Gives a refined velvety finish and decreases shine. Also helps your “look” last longer. Lifespan of most powders: 2 years.

Mascara. A lot of cosmeticians agree that most women can wear inexpensive mascaras since their lifespan is short (i.e. 3-4 months). Don’t pump your mascara wand into the container. It pushes air in and dries it out faster. Insert wand into the container, turn 2 or 3 times,remove and apply. ALWAYS use less mascara on your lower lashes. Clumps – use an eyelash comb to remove them. If mascara thickens at the top of the tube, place top in hot water to thin out.

Eyebrows: Can define with either a Pencil, Powder or Wand similar to Mascara. Tweezing may be required for better definition and accentuation. Ask the cosmetician how to do this if you’re not sure.

Eyeliner: Soft pencil or an eyeliner brush used to line the lid by the lashes. Need a steady hand to apply near base of eyelashes to make them look thicker.  A soft pencil is easier to manage and blend. Use Q tips to tidy up mistakes.

Eye shadows: Use a light neutral color for the base and place this on the whole eyelid right up to the brow bone.  Dark colors are used on the outer eye area and/or in crease.  Take time to blend! You want the colors to flow naturally. Eye shadows can last up to two years.

Blush: Blush adds color and contours your face. Be careful not to use too much. Start light and build up color as needed. Buy a good blush brush for better application.

Lipstick: Important to keep your lips moisturized. Cracked lips are unsightly. Choosing the right color of lipstick can either make or break your look. Take the time to buy the right color! Can be applied by a lip brush or straight from the tube. After applying, blot by “kissing” a tissue between the lips. Then reapply more color. Lip gloss adds spark and moisture. Usual lifespan: 1-2 years.


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