Let me just start by saying that I am no makeup pro. Probably like many women, I apply some form of makeup daily – but, in my case, it’s without much thought or expertise. Mine has always been a simple ‘chuck on some mascara and concealer, and dash out the door’ affair, not made any more precise now I’m a working mum.
I’m not sure exactly when it all started but it was probably when I was close to a decade older than my daughter’s love of makeup began at age 4.
I have dabbled with makeup over the years but never bought into trends, and only discovered new products by accident – or when talked into something in a weak moment at the makeup counters.
But with a work photo shoot fast approaching, it seemed like a good time to check in with someone who knew what they were doing with this makeup lark.
Enter Amina. Amina is probably my first “Facebook-first” friend. I encountered her in our local Facebook Mums group in North West London, when we both had tiny babies. We ‘Liked’ each other’s suggestions and opinions, and hers was a name I started to look out for. Eventually we met IRL – in real life – for one of us to hand over something baby-related to the other. But then Amina moved to South London. We’ve stayed in touch ever since and, when I mentioned that I was in need of a makeup update, Amina kindly offered her expert help.
What you need to know about Amina is that she is a life long makeup lover. She constantly researches, she buys and tests, she experiments – she’s basically a makeup geek, in the nicest possible way. And she has a bigger makeup stash than Selfridges (OK, I’m exaggerating, but only a bit!). Her many makeup boxes and suitcases unfold to showcase row upon row of pristine pigments, like a jewellery box with exciting hidden compartments – except much bigger and more exciting for grown ups! It’s an eye opener for a makeup novice like me, who can fit her entire collection into one small washbag with room to spare.
So, on a sunny day, I ventured across London to Amina’s gorgeous home, and we chatted about business, children, allergies (we both have kids with allergies) and recipes over a delicious salad Amina had made – and then we got down to the makeup.
Rather than give you a step-by-step of what happened next – because the makeup and the process will be different for everyone – I just wanted to highlight some of the things I learned that might be helpful for you too.
1. You can ignore your eye’s shape when applying eyeliner
My eyes are quite almond shaped, with a slightly downward shape. If I apply eyeliner all the way to the outer corner of my eye, I basically create a strong downward line, which makes my eyes look droopy. Not quite the look I’m going for. I’ve been playing with eyeliner flicks for a while (although I am still some way off being proficient), but Amina was brilliant at showing me some examples of makeup where celebrities have completely ignored their natural eye shape and have flicked up from three-quarters of the way across their eyelid, or even have redrawn a completely new eye line above their real one. The illusion really works!
2. Eyebrows need an arch (and I didn’t have one)
Perhaps my biggest surprise was this – my brows simply didn’t have an arch. I’m not sure how I missed it, as I am forever noticing great eyebrows on other people, but I did not notice this on myself. This was one of those light bulb moments for me. It is such a simple change, but even just brushing my brows in a new way, makes a subtle but noticeable improvement. Now begins the painstaking process of – hopefully! – regrowing the right shape.
Maybe have a little play and see what difference a new eyebrow shape might make for you too, even if it’s just with a brush and a eyebrow pencil.
3. Touche Eclat is not for under your eyes
Did I know this? Maybe, but still I continued to use Touche Eclat as a base layer to cover the dark circles under my eyes. I have been caught out in the past with white eye syndrome (only noticeable in photos) so I also apply Laura Mercier concealer over the top to tone down the whiteness. Amina suggested that instead I use my Laura Mercier secret camouflage compact for what it was actually designed for – what? lol! – and apply it under my eyes as well as to cover up one or two dark sun spots (the latter, only for filming or when being photographed). The Touche Eclat could be saved for actual highlighting.
4. Makeup’s impact gets diluted when you are filmed
Makeup designed for filming is stronger than it looks – and a good makeup artist will create something that looks about 30% stronger than the final look they want to create. Amina explained that this is because the filming, and lights, will flatten the look. So, if you want to get your look right for the cameras, amp up your makeup – take everything up a notch or two!
So that’s what I learned from Amina. Actually I learned much more – about BB creams, which I have ignored until now, how to do eyeliner in three different ways, and the joys of egg-shaped blending sponges.
Apart from being very informative, super relaxed and not having an audience, the other lovely thing about working with someone who isn’t working on a makeup counter, is that you can take along your own makeup bag. Amina ticked all my current colour choices – woo hoo! phew! – and suggested only that I add a facial oil under my moisturiser (for added moisturising) and add a light foundation for filming and photo shoots. She used my own makeup, with some key additions from her own stash, to create two looks for me.
Amina clearly knows her stuff – and her own makeup ranges from high end brands to very reasonably priced supermarket options. She was happy to work with my own products – and she didn’t even tutt over my less-than-pristine makeup brushes. She made the whole experience really enjoyable.
I am now thinking that it would be fun to get a group of girlfriends together and have a bit of a play with different looks, and that this would be a lovely treat for someone who has a big birthday coming up or who is returning to work. I don’t know about you but I’m still not back to my pre-baby shape so spending a lot of money on clothes seems like a waste, but a makeup session (which is not expensive) is a little treat at any time.
So what was the one thing I taught Amina?
Well she laughed, and you might too, but I find that lip pencil makes an awesome, stays-where-you-put-it, blusher. Just draw a line across your cheekbone and then rub it in circles to soften the line. I do love a bit of multi-tasking and it’s a teeny time saver in the inevitable morning rush!
If you’d like to refresh your makeup style, look fab for a big event or a photography session, or just learn more about great makeup products without the hard sell, then I’d recommend a one-on-one session with Amina. You can email Amina to find out more, or visit her Facebook page, Amina Sal Make Up Artist: https://m.facebook.com/AminasalMUA
[This post is not an advert – I just wanted to share my personal experience and introduce you to a genuinely lovely London mum who runs her own business. #supportasmallbusiness ]
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