How To Shop For Makeup When You’re Clueless


You walk into your favourite department store. Your first thought is: ‘oh God I’m wearing pink crocs and not a skerrick of makeup on my face. I can’t do this.’ You look around and see pretty products, pretty counters, and pretty people and you feel inspired to walk right back out of those majestic department store doors, but remember what I said a few articles ago? That’s right, we’re paid to look good.

You feel overwhelmed and scary feelings start to set in. Everything looks so glamorous and so do the unapproachable looking, makeup-wearing people, who look as though they belong in a Robert Palmer film clip; google him, I promise you’ll be glad just like you were when I made you google George Hamilton.

Where do you start? What do you even ask for? Which brand do you go to? So many choices! Don’t be scared. We’re here to help, even if some of us look like backup singers from a 1980s music video.

The first thing you need to determine before you even know what to look for is how much time you’re prepared to spend on your makeup and beauty routine. If the answer is 12.7 seconds, then ask yourself if you should really be buying thirteen of the hottest new items that a sixteen-year-old blogger with skin like a toddler told you to buy. No, of course you shouldn’t you naughty little trend follower. Do what’s best for you and your gorgeous mug and forget trends; except for lace gloves and a bubble skirt. Everyone should own those.

Let’s face it, most of us are time poor and don’t have the time or patience to paint our face with multiple products. The fact is, life for many of you means having a rugrat or two hanging off your leg when you’re trying to slap on a few coats of mascara or hitting the snooze button sixty-eight times in the morning because you stayed up to watch the Prince special on Rage. On most days you’ll be lucky to even shower before work, am I right? You need to keep it simple so let’s start with some basics and when I say basics, I mean products you will actually use to achieve a polished look, that won’t take too much time.


Leiden 6(1)


You want your skin to look flawless, so a couple of skin products are essential. Moisturiser, maybe an eye cream, and an exfoliator. What? What’s an exfoliator, oh wise Beauty Bitch, I hear you ask? Yes, I do hear this question often and yes the person asking has also referred to me as ‘Beauty Bitch’ in the same sentence. Wendy, I’m referring to you and I love it when you call me that.

OK, back to exfoliator. It’s that stuff you scrub your face with, hence why some call it a scrub. Whatever you wish to call it, it will make your skin glow and feel smoother so that your moisturiser will absorb more effectively. Think of it this way: you always vacuum your carpet before you steam clean it. Can you see where I am going with this? Yes, that’s right, get rid of that top dead layer of skin so any other product can do its job. You read my mind, you clever savvy thing, you.

Guess what else happens when you exfoliate? Your foundation will look even better and the reason is very logical, it will sit more smoothly and flawlessly because your skin is more smooth and flawless due to your new exfoliating skills. Bingo! It makes sense when it’s explained in detail doesn’t it? As you can see, exfoliating is a very important part of your beauty routine.

Now, when choosing your moisturiser and eye cream, the friendly in-store BBs will diagnose your skin first, in order to make sure you leave with the correct product for your needs. No, tiny, almost invisible lines that only you can see do not mean you need an anti-wrinkle cream especially if you’re eighteen. We will roll our eyes at you. Well, not at you but behind your back because we need to remain professional at all times. Skin products: sorted.

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Next, you want something to make your skin look even but you don’t know what it’s called. Cue the obvious question: what do you call that stuff that makes your skin look even and perfect like those people in magazines? Foundation or tinted moisturiser, CC or BB cream is the answer to your question and to your flawlessly challenged skin. I hear your voice in my head again. ‘Oh come on Beauty Bitch, we said please keep it simple’.

OK, OK. Which you choose, depends on the coverage you want, the SPF factor or quite simply, which looks best on your skin and how you’re prepared to apply it. Foundation tends to have more coverage than the other three choices, sometimes with SPF, and is best applied with a brush or sponge depending on the brand or texture. BB and CC cream tend to be sheer in coverage with added skincare benefits and are best applied with fingers. Tinted moisturiser tends to be in between in terms of coverage, with the added benefit of SPF, and also best applied with fingers. Having said this, every brand is different and will offer something unique with their own key benefits, ingredients or coverage. Elizabeth Arden’s BB cream has more coverage than many foundations on offer, so trying the product is the best way meet your own needs.

So what in the devil is a CC or a BB cream? BB stands for beauty balm, CC stands for colour corrector.
The ever evolving beauty industry loves to come out with something new all the time, just to confuse the hell out of us or for the sheer fun of it. Well, not really, it’s because people love something new to play with. To be perfectly honest and as a long-standing beauty bitch, in my opinion, both look very similar when they’re applied on your face. In order not to overcomplicate things, determine what you want your product to do for you. This is the key to choosing what’s right and keeping it simple and this logic applies to all the products you choose for yourself.

Mascara, blush, an eyeshadow, liner, and lip colour is all you need to complete your polished look. Of course, you should omit what you feel you won’t use. If you’re correctly taught how to use these products, I promise you won’t omit anything from your foundation-smeared makeup bag because, well, where’s the fun in that?


Illustrations: Surbi Chetty

Tina Andrews

Tina Andrews

Tina is a professional beauty bitch by day and can talk about fragrances for hours on end. She also likes to talk about culture and is a part time nerd who likes to quote movies and TV shows. Tina gets excited when people get her pop culture references. She dislikes bad coffee and paying too much for it.

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