Tricks of the Trade – Cheska Garcia-Kramer: Don’t just follow trends, know what works for you

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I don’t know much about makeup, but I’ve always been interested in it. I am really keen on learning, but I have no idea where to start. It all seems so difficult. Do you have any tips on what makeup I should buy for my starter kit? Also, I love lipstick but I don’t know what brand to use and what shade will suit me. Please help. – Maureen

I think most of us can agree: Makeup can be intimidating. For a beginner, the entire process may seem complicated and overwhelming. There are so many steps and rules to follow, and it seems every other beauty expert or magazine columnist has her own advice to give when it comes to its application. With all the do’s and don’t’s to consider, we seem to forget that makeup should be fun and shouldn’t be taken seriously. It washes off at the end of the day, so the next day you have a blank canvas to work with again. And if you think about it, we were all beginners once. We’ve all struggled and made bad choices along the way, so you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself.

I remember my first makeup kit back in high school. It consisted of a pressed powder, pink shimmery blush, oil blotting paper, tinted lipstick (for special occasions) and lip gloss. It wasn’t until I got into modeling that I learned about eyebrow pencil and tint, eyeshadow, contour powder, loose powder and everything else. I took tips from the makeup artists I worked with and found out the best ways to use makeup. Of course, I didn’t follow all the advice I got, just the ones that I felt suited me and made me look good. In time I discovered the right set of products for me. What I’m trying to say here is, you shouldn’t hurry or pressure yourself into being an expert on makeup. You need to take the time to learn what works for you and discover how each product works. Learning along the way is exciting and fun. Allow yourself to experiment on different looks and try out various techniques.

I got to chat with my good friend, actress, host and endorser Cheska Garcia-Kramer about your beauty problem and she offered her two cents’ worth on the subject. Here are her tips for building your makeup kit and buying lipstick.

Check out the beauty counters. For me, it’s about finding the right foundation and finding the right powder for your skintone. The eyeshadow, the lipstick—everything else follows. Looking for foundation can be very difficult especially if your skintone is hard to match. It’s really nice if you can talk to the person at the counter and that person really knows what he/she is talking about. Because you don’t want to spend too much on a foundation and find out it’s not the proper shade for you. Tip: Estée Lauder offers free beauty consultation called the iMatch Foundation Finder. It’s a small machine that tells you exactly what shade your complexion is. It will also ask you what texture you want—full makeup coverage, medium or sheer. It can tell you which specific product you need with the exact texture you want. For the rest of your makeup, the brand offers the Three-Minute Beauty Lab, basically a menu where you get to choose your makeup according to what look you want to achieve. For example, if you want a smoky eye, it will tell you what products to choose.

Natural is better. I don’t like putting on so much makeup, but at the same time I like having a bit of color because I’m super white. What I use on a daily basis are: Pure Color Cheek Rush in X-Pose Rose, Double Wear Stay-in-Place Brow Lift Duo in Soft Brown, Double Wear Stay-in-Place Eye Pencil in Onyx, Pure Color Envy Shine Sculpting Lipstick in Fuchsia Fever and Aeromatte Ultralucent Pressed Powder, all are from Estée Lauder. I think these are great products to add to your starter kit.

Lipstick? Go with your gut. The usual advice is to get lipstick that matches your skintone. But I don’t think that applies to everyone. There are a lot of morena that use dark lipstick and it looks really good on them. I think it’s a matter of just finding out what looks good on you. They say that when you’re mestiza, you’ll look nice with pink lipstick. But I try as much as possible to veer away from pink lipstick, unless it’s really bright like Fuchsia Fever. It’s a matter of preference; I like shades that pop out. For me, more than listening to tips and following all these rules, it’s better to look at yourself in the mirror and assess whether the recommended look or product fits you or not. Just follow your instinct, and if it looks nice on you and people compliment you with that shade, then use it. Also, choosing a good lipstick brand is important. You can really differentiate a good brand from something that doesn’t do the job. A good brand of lipstick stays on longer. Estée Lauder Pure Envy Shine, for example—I can eat or brush my teeth and yet it stays on my lips. It’s the same when it comes to my face. So it’s so important that I wear makeup that doesn’t cause too much oil production, and lipstick that stays. Low-maintenance, in short. In fact, for me, the best time is when your makeup sets and your skin starts to become a bit oily, because it looks more natural.

Keep it simple. There are some trends that make me look nice, but I don’t follow everything completely. It’s the same for makeup. I stick to brown tones when it comes to my eyes. I like neutral blush for my face. This is when I apply heavy makeup for shoots and events. But on regular days when I don’t wear makeup, I just apply natural pink cheek tint. That’s it. I try to keep things simple. I don’t listen to what is being said, but more on what I feel looks good on me and what looks more natural. I think this is something you can adopt when it comes to makeup.

This article was published in the Lifestyle Section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on August 15, 2014.

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