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Makeup Bases for the Makeupless

By Amalah

Hi Amy!
I’ve been sitting here trying to think of a just brilliant opening line to catch your eye and entice you to answer my question…but whatever, I give up. I couldn’t think of anything scintillating enough. ooo, but “scintillating”, that is a good word. 🙂
My question! I am getting married in September and have 100% accepted the fact that I will basically have to re-do my make-up a few times throughout the day. Once after seeing myself for the first time, once after seeing my dad see me for the first time, once after flipping out that “ohmygosh the ceremony is in an hour!!”, once after the ceremony….you get the picture 🙂 (I don’t really think i’ll be re-doing my make-up that much…I’m not that ridiculous…maybe just a really thorough touch up after the ceremony, before pictures).
Anyways, wow…evidently i’m a rambler. I’ve got Clinique products (eye shadow, bronzer, mascara, eye liner, and lip gloss) and love them all. What i’m looking for is a good base that is not a foundation weight. I only ever wear eye makeup and don’t think my wedding day would be a good day to change that, necessarily 🙂 What should I get? Your last column about the crying and blotchiness is what got me thinking. I had been assuming just a moisturizer, but could there be something better? Should I get a green tint concealer from Clinique?
Basically, what is a good wedding day base that will keep my make-up in place (on my eyelids, too) as well as possible.
Even if this doesn’t get posted/answered, I absolutely love your column and have saved a couple of your responses to my favorites because they were so helpful 🙂
Thanks for taking time to read this! 🙂

Well, “a good base” could be a whole slew of different things, depending on your skin and the circumstances of your day. Are you prone to shine? Dryness? Will you be inside with a ton of flash photography or outside in 90-degree melt-your-makeup weather? (I know we sure do get days like that even in September.) Do you want just a touch of color for your face or are you confident to face the day and the photos completely fresh-faced and natural?
First, do NOT get a green-tinted concealer unless you plan to wear some kind of flesh-toned powder/foundation/tinted moisturizer over it. If you just apply green-tinted concealer to red splotchy skin…you’re going to end up with green spots on top of red splotchy skin. You’ve got to blend any type of color-correcting product in with another product that’s properly matched to your skin tone.
If your skin is oily or prone to shine, I’d add a silicon-based primer to your line-up. Smashbox Photo Finish or, if you’ve got pores to conceal, Dr. Brandt Pores No More. Clinique makes something that I BELIEVE is pretty similar (the Pore Minimizer T-Zone Shine Control), but since Clinique still refuses to disclose its ingredient lists (seriously, Clinique, knock this off) I don’t know if it’s got the magic dimethicone ingredient that keeps makeup in place while giving your skin a smooth, matte and shine-free feeling. Dimethicone-based primers are long-lasting and very light feeling, but will hold any makeup you apply over them with a grip of death. I don’t usually recommend them for people who don’t wear foundation, but for a wedding day I think they’re an excellent option, even on their own.
Smashbox has also come out with what is basically a solid version of their primer in a wee little compact for touch-ups throughout the day. I’ve tried it, and honestly think it’s a toss-up between regular ol’ blotting papers and the pricey compact, except that I suppose the compact has a little more dignity if you’d rather not leave dozens of oil-soaked sheets in your wake all day. But from a price tag AND extra-crap-on-your-face standpoint, the blotting sheets win for me, but I’m generally leery of putting stuff on TOP of foundation throughout the day. If I was not wearing foundation, I think I’d love this product more.
If your skin is dry or even just normal, you’ll probably be just fine with a moisturizer — maybe try a tinted one if you worry about splotches and want at least a little bit of coverage. Provided you aren’t going to spend the day sweating or oozing oil out your pores, you probably won’t need anything else to hold your bronzer in place.
As for your eyes, you’ll want a good shadow primer to keep things from getting crack and shiny after a few hours. I’ve used and enjoyed all of the following: Benefit’s F.Y.Eye, Benefit’s Boi-ing and Urban Decay’s Primer Potion. I’ve listed them from the most heavy-duty to the lightest — F.Y.Eye is serious stuff and can take some getting used to, because it goes on almost like a thick, dry paste and is easy to over-apply. Get it right, however, and your eyeshadow will keep that just-applied look for hours and hours. The Primer Potion is lightweight and easy to use, but I think I do have to ding it a few points in terms of effectiveness.
As for what to what to pack in your bag (or I guess…your maid-of-honor’s bag) for post-emotion touch-ups, I’d definitely include some face powder. Pick something translucent if you don’t want to add color. Keep plenty of tissues handy and if you do opt to go with a primer for shine control, consider bringing it along. (Step One: blot eye makeup damage with wet and dry tissues, Step Two: moisturize any tear-stained areas, Step Three: touch up shiny or blotchy areas with primer (optional, really), Step Four: lightly refresh face with pressed powder. (No loose powder, since you just KNOW it’ll end up all over your dress when your hands shake or someone bumps you.)
Again, I wouldn’t bother with concealer unless you plan to reapply a tinted moisturizer or a non-translucent powder. I think it would look too obvious. (I won’t bother with concealer unless I can top it off with my liquid foundation, but I suppose I could just be concealer-application-challenged.) If possible, play around with all the different shadow primers ahead of time in order to find the one that works best for you and your makeup. Deliberately mess up your eye makeup and practice trying to repair it. Snap photos of yourself in similar light to see if you’ve got forehead shine and read this Smackdown column for tips about how to improve your makeup for photos. You DON’T want to be reapplying layers of makeup and powder anymore than is absolutely necessary (see: bad, bad photos), so aim to find products that keep what makeup you do wear solidly in place for the long haul.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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