My blue-eyed, scandinavian-blonde sister looks gorgeous in icy shades; every time we go to a makeup counter together I reach for softly colored lipsticks, blushes, and eye shadows to swipe on the back of her hand. After 15 minutes, her skin is covered with rose, carnation, lilac, lavender, mauve, and silver streaks. "I am not buying anything pastel!" she says, trying to move out of my reach. No matter how pretty she looks in these shades, she will never wear them; she says she hates pastels because they are "too girly, too prissy." Still, I press these colors on her, although I always promise to stop because I know how she feels.
When makeup artists see my yellowy skin, dark blonde hair, and green eyes, they immediately move toward me with terracotta and apricot eye shadows, bronze blush, and bright, brick-red lipstick. While these shades do complement my eyes beautifully, they make my teeth and the whites of my eyes appear yellow, in turn making me feel even more yellow than I already am. For this reason, I will never buy orangey-earth shades no matter how many compliments I get while wearing them. Why am I telling you all this? To point out the importance of personal tastes.
Establishing what you like
Maybe several cosmetic salespeople have suggested that cream foundation would work well with your dry skin, but you detest the product's rich texture. Perhaps you adore loden eyeliner even though everyone tells you navy blue would better suit your complexion. People may recommend some contouring in the hollow of your cheeks to accentuate your bone structure, despite the fact you hate contour. What to do? I am all for ignoring other people's advice and following your own tastes - after all, makeup is not only for helping us look and feel better, but also for expressing ourselves, and our likes and dislikes come into that category.
Interested in trying out a certain type of blush, color of eye shadow, or new type of mascara? Head to the cosmetic counter at a nearby department store or makeup artist boutique, where you can test makeup for free. If you like the item after wearing it for 3 or 4 hours, you can return and purchase it.
That said, don't dismiss a cosmetic until you've tried it - which means wearing it in public for a day. This is important because you can't always immediately tell what you will love or hate. For instance, one of my favorite cosmetics is a highlighting cream from Face Stockholm. I had never considered wearing highlighter - for some reason, I always associated it with disco. But one day, I was in New York City's Face Stockholm store with my sister (yes, I was painting pastel stripes on her hands) when I saw a display of several highlighting creams. A month earlier, someone had told me that Caroline Bessette Kennedy used to wear this particular highlighter. Being envious of Bessette Kennedy's naturally glowing skin, I decided to dab some highlighter on my cheekbones and temples. It looked great and not at all disco-like. After wearing the highlighter around Manhattan for a few hours - and still loving the way it looked - I returned to the store and bought it.