Hello, Curvy Ladies! I am breaking tradition to bring you some special news (well, it is to me). We are barraged with so much information these days that every diva seems to have so may choices to make. We also discard things that we don’t see around us because let’s face it: it’s difficult to be original. We see a look we like and we want to copy it. We see a makeup style and we want to copy that. In the end, we are left with a style and fashion that is not ours. I had a very interesting afternoon with one of the most stylish women I know and she told me some things that made me look at style, fads and makeup application in a different way. Here’s what I learned today:
1. Repeats mean there is no eccentricity. Every fad and fashion style you see today is a vintage style that is being remodelled. There is literally nothing new under the sun. They are always repeats. This means eccentricity isn’t real. If all fashions are repeats, then you should not be afraid to be yourself in the whirlpool of fashions around you. Everything has been done so be confident and create your own style.
2. Facial shapes don’t count. The lady I spoke to is in her early 50s and she told me that in her youth, no one was looking at facial shapes. They followed the facial structure to decide what went where. The bottom (a finger and a half breadth) of the cheekbone is where blush goes all the way to the top of the end of that bone which incidentally falls on the apple of your cheeks. On top of this ie the beginning of the cheek curve underneath the eye circle is where they used shimmery light eyeshadow to highlight, drawing the face up. She was surprised to find out it was back in vogue and is now called strobing. After that, you find a hollow in your cheeks. This hollow is between where the blush ends and the top of your jawline. Fill it in with contour. After this goes your highlighter which goes on the tip of your lower jaw. Then contour the bottom underneath that line (I like to call it the jaw sack) stopping at where it joins your neck. Perfect contour! This is why newcomers to the makeup game are often asked to begin applying makeup using their fingers. It allows you learn your own face, store it in your mind so that at every point, you can call it up in your head. When you do start using brushes, you will know your face like the back of your hand (as we say).
3. Makeup Usage Tricks. Back then, there was more emphasis on creating your own look which meant most African women had not more than 2 lipsticks, one eyeliner and a 2-palette eyeshadow containing light and dark and of course, powder. What do you do with this? Eyeliner was used for brows, lips and eyes. Light eyeshadow was used to strobe and highlight, while the dark was used to contour, and sometimes mixed with the face powder to create powder for darker skin. It was also used to create rectangles of light at the temples which drew the face up. Light lipstick was also used as blush (and it happens to work great today too! It lasts way longer and when baked, it’s so natural). Dark lipstick was also used to contour for a more glamorous look. All these tricks still work today so there is no need to confuse yourself with so many products. You have time to grow at your own pace.
4. Makeup to suit your heritage. In the days gone past, African beauty was sculpted yet bold. We didn’t believe that one makeup look goes for all parts of the human race. Instead, we made up to highlight the parts of us that made us African. Even when minimising these features, it was to still retain the overall Africanness. For example, most people are advised to contour the nose by drawing 2 slim lines on either side. But Africans are known by our broad, large noses. If your nose was big to the point of making you self-conscious, you shaded from the side of your nose to the valley beside the nose (the dip between your nostrils and your cheeks). And if you wanted your nose to look more African, you highlight the rim of your nose to create the flared nostrils. It works like magic! The Asians have pretty much come into their own makeup wise by embracing their natural features and working with it. I believe it is time for African women to do the same.
It was a truly enlightening afternoon and I couldn’t wait to rush home and drop these tips for you girls. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Are there any vintage tips that your Grannie or Mum taught you that still work? Do share with us as we walk the path to our individuality.