A beautiful beginning

Saturday November 17 2012

By CAROL ODERO [email protected]

Make-up has got to be the most intimidating part of looking beautiful. In the 2012 remake of Steel Magnolias, Jill Scott’s character plays a glamorous salon owner with one mantra: “There is no such thing as natural beauty.”

Countless women with bare faces fail to realise that doing nothing is like declaring self-neglect. The simplest act of kindness you could ever do to yourself is shape, define and draw in your eyebrows, because they are what differentiate the sophisticate from the bumpkin, and to take care of your lips.

I’m sorry, but someone had to tell you. However, go further. It is not enough to simply splash water on your face every morning. Even if you only ever interact with more than one person in a day every day for all eternity, start somewhere.

Work with a budget

Times are hard. That is, however, not a reason. People sometimes treat you depending on how much they perceive you to be worth.

Buy the most basic of necessities: eye pencil, eye liner, mascara, lip balm/gloss/stain/colour/stick. Any respectable 30 and above female should not buy the cheapest product on the counter.

Invest in quality. Your skin needs TLC. Eliminate cosmetic clutter and a 20-year-old’s experimental attitude. Keep in mind that though you spent a small fortune on them, cosmetics do not last forever.

Good taste, however, does prevail. This is why the box of many eye shadows remains unopened to date. Unless you are a fashion model doing plenty of fashion shoots, chances are that entire spectrum of blue will never be used.

Get help

We always think we have to go everything ourselves. Let me redefine Superwoman for you. She is the woman who gives the appearance of doing/having all.

What you need to do is consult a highly-recommended make-up artiste who preferably offers classes or does not hesitate to have one-on-one sessions with you from Suzie Wokabi of Suzie Beauty to Muthoni Njoba’s of Make-Up Lounge right down to the Lintons Beauty World at Westgate.

Find out from an expert precisely what your skin needs. What is your skin tone? How do you apply day make-up? How do you transition to night make-up without going home to change?

What, exactly, is the right eye shadow that when you wear you will still be taken seriously? And why you must never wear blue eye liner even if you are a spunky 19 year old in the wildest campus in Kenya.

Find balance

With good cosmetics must come good skin care. It is not enough to spend your money on a Mac or Black Opal Foundation then use the cheapest bar soap you can find to cleanse. Get a range of skin care products that works for you.

A good cleanser is critical, and while the debate on whether or not toners are a necessary expense rages on, buy one anyway. It works in tandem with the cleanser. Then use the kind of product that your skin needs to nurture it at night.

Don’t just buy pretty colours. Make-up can function underneath the gloss. Get a product that works hard and note that there are plenty of skin care products that indicate they can be used underneath your make-up.

Master the art of layering your products and cut it down to essentials. This not only saves you time, it saves you money.

Throw out the old

You might have accumulated an assortment of useless products over the years, some based on urban legends, others on your mother’s preference and some on the recommendation of friends. Some you might have just bought because you loved the pretty packaging.

Admit all this to yourself. Then get rid of it. Do not have a product in your beauty bag (and yes, you need to get one to hold your cosmetics) that you do not use. Keep it bare and minimal.

Pace yourself

Do not be too anxious to be perfect. There is no such thing. Window shop and hold off on buying make-up until you know its purpose. With make-up it is hard to get an objective view from the mirror.

You might need an intervention which is why the consultation with a professional helps. Start with something simple like a lip colour that works for you and build.

The other stuff

You would think make-up is enough to make you look good but the beauty rules are universal. Get a good night’s sleep. Your skin and your eyes look so much better, younger and clearer when you consistently sleep well.

Drink more water, eat more fruits and veggies and while we are at it, quit smoking, and if you haven’t started, good.

Finally, never, ever overlook the sunscreen. I’ve said this before and I will say it again. Black does crack. Sun ages you fast and quickly and sun damage, once it has accelerated, cannot be reversed.

The best make-up, incidentally, is a woman in love – be it with life, a man, her child, her calling or herself.