It is astounding how women have experimented through the ages, all in pursuit of beauty ! A brief history will be discussed to highlight these issues
These people wore dramatic makeup, especially on the eyes , an excellent example being Cleopatra. The colours used were obtained from plants, roots and herbs, green being favourable on the eyes, red on the lips, red ochre derived from clay was used as rouge, kohl from soot as eye liner and henna was popular for use on the hair and to stain the finger nails
A clay-like facial covering gave protection from the harsh, Egyptian sun
The ultra-pale appearance indicated wealth and nobility, with men too favouring this alabaster complexion
White lead [ highly poisonous ] mixed with vinegar was used on the face. This dangerous concoction was used to conceal wrinkles [ no botox in those times ! ] and the pock-marked skins resulting from smallpox
Kohl was used to darken lashes and a combination of cumin and saffron resulted in the red hair so favoured in those times
A very " gentile " age with the clergy preaching against harsh make-up, popular with " fallen ladies " ie prostitutes
The paler the skin, the more aristocratic the person was seen to be, with only a hint of pale lipstick and blusher, eyes very much naked in appearance.
The 1930's and 40's with the influence of Hollywood
A gentleman by the name of Max Factor, a pioneer in those times, created make-up for "the stars " A heavy foundation, called pancake make-up, much like compressed powder with creamy ingredients, gave incredible coverage, but also very mask-like.
In those times very thin eyebrows were the order of the day [ much time spent on plucking and maintaining, no doubt ] and red lips and long red fingernails, much favoured
A definite "look" became apparent in this era, initiated in some ways by the London models of the time. The lips were virtually unseen due to the application of whitish-pink lipstick, with total emphasis on the eyes. Coloured eyeshadow was taken right up to the brow-line and much black was used as eyeliner and mascara with rather spiked top and lower lashes. This over-emphasised darkness around the eyes, gave rise to the term " panda Eyes "
One may note that recently this make-up fashion has made a more subtle re-appearance
History will always repeat itself in some ways, but no-one should be so ridiculous to sport a Cleopatra look, to be reserved for theatrical and film make-up
Just as It is crazy to try to replicate another person, however much admired, as we are all created in a special way and any existing flaws can be disguised with clever make-up. Fortunately we live in times where the imperfect is often given more recognition. Do take note of some of the rather bizarre models who are making a fortune out of their imperfections !!
So why make-up ?
Used correctly it can enhance one's good features, play down irregular ones, brighten up a drab face and make one feel on top of the world when in a depressed mood
Professional make-up artists will tell you that that any light, glossy colours will accentuate, whereas the dark ones will recede a feature that is prominent
For example. A prominent bone below the eyebrows should not be highlighted, to give more emphasis.
Three ethnic groups will be discussed below with a guide to correct application
In all groups foundation must be as near to skin colour as possible, and blended into the hairline and down the neck. The base-coat is then " set " with face powder preferably a translucent one minus colour .
CAUCASIANS [fair skinned people]
These complexions can have pinkish/blue undertones, but if sallow, then a more yellow tone is noticed
Many pale skins can be sensitive and suffer from red blotches, perhaps due to irritants, but more likely fine capillaries near the surface
The colour green counteracts red and weird as it may seem certain cosmetic houses offer green tinged foundation and powder
Soft shades like smokey grey, soft blue or muted earthy tones are generally good on white skins, but dark shades are great for a more dramatic effect
Corals and pink tones work well, but so do pillarbox reds and magenta shades for evening use. There are no hard and fast rules
However, if a woman has small or narrow lips, light, glossy shades are more suitable
THE NEGROID [ BLACK SKINS]
As there are so many depths of colour in black skins, the basic rule to match skin colour with base still applies. Selecting from then "earthy "range is ideal , finished off with a translucent powder
The burgundy, copper and navy tones look marvellous on the dark skins, If these give the impression of being dull choose any with a light metallic sheen to enhance the colour
The eyelashes should be mentioned here as they tend to be very curly and applying mascara not that easy
A pair of artificial lashed already tinted will solve this problem
Most suitable are shades like plum, burgundy. Grape and some gold for evening wear
Bearing in mind that blacks have generous lips, very pale colours will only result in them appearing even larger
Of all the race groups, applying make-up on the black skins is most challenging and rewarding
THE MONGOLOID RACE
To label these people as being yellow in not entirely fair, as westerners with sallow skins also have yellow undertones
Many Chinese and Japanese women have incredibly white skins and avoid the sun at all costs. After completing foundation and powder, a light brushing of blusher, enhances the overall make-up
These eyes are probably the most tricky to work on, due to the slant and the area below the brows being prominent, almost creating an "overhanging upper lid "
Therefore light creamy shadows are totally unsuitable, rather deeper, smoky tones. False eyelashes on the upper lids do wonders to obscure that prominence.
As most Orientals have dark brown eyes, many women now choose to wear blue or green contact lenses. This, with well applied make-up can be most attractive
Corals. Various shades of pink and even deep plum shades for a more dramatic effect, are all pleasing to the eye
Just as an artist has a clean, blank canvas on which to paint, so should the face be well prepared
The MATSIMELA skin-care range is perfect to achieve this ......................