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Break the rules... but not the principles.

There are certain principles to follow for effective makeup application and these will be covered off in the following sections, but it seems to me that many "rules" derived from these principles focus on how to make every face conform to a common generic look that has been defined as ideal by the "experts".

For example, the oval face is considered "ideal" because it is the most balanced, with all features equal in dimensions and proportionate to one another. We spent quite a bit of class time learning how to highlight and contour various face shapes so that they all appeared to be more oval. But if you happen to like the way the squareness of your jaw reflects your no nonsense, assertive personality, why on earth would you want to soften your jaw line to conform to someone else's standard of beauty?

As far as I'm concerned, makeup should be about celebrating the unique beauty of each individual person's features, not about turning every woman's face into a generic clone of what is currently considered the ultimate beauty standard.

So understand the principles and learn the rules, but don't be afraid to break them in order to celebrate your individuality and let the real you shine through.

Complement... don't cover up.

Modern makeup should look natural, not overdone. That's not to say you should choose only neutral tones and avoid other colours. What it does mean is that the colours you choose should work so well with your skin tone, hair and eyes that all people notice is how beautiful your features are. In many cases this means less is more, but not always. Today's look is all about the colours you choose and where you place them, not about how much you're wearing.

Makeup should be about accentuating your best features as opposed to camouflaging your least favourite ones. By drawing attention to what you like best about yourself, you automatically take the focus away from what you don't like. For example, if your eye makeup is brilliantly applied with dramatic flair, a person's gaze will naturally be drawn to the beautiful shape and colour of your eyes as opposed to your lips which might be a little too thin for the rest of your features.

On the other hand, the more makeup you apply in order to hide your perceived flaws, the more people are going to notice them because their attention will be drawn to where the excess product is stuck to your face. So if ever you're tempted to cover up, remember to use your product sparingly.

Always remember that the purpose of makeup is to enhance, not overwhelm. Unless you're about to be still photographed or do a video shoot, the colour in your cheeks should be subtle and colours on your eye should be well blended. Particularly for day wear, aim for polish as opposed to painted. You have more leeway at night, particularly on festive occasions, as the lower light level requires more contrast for colour to be noticeable.

When it comes to makeup application, subtlety is key and quite often less is more.

Apply sparingly... and build slowly.

To ensure a polished end result that is not overdone, always begin with a light application and build from there. This allows you more control over how much colour eventually ends up on your face so that you don't overdo it. It also helps prevent excess colour from dropping off your brush and onto the wrong part of your face.

Proper blending of colours is critical, and adding colour slowly enables you to ensure the colours remain well blended even as the contrast between them increases. The greater the contrast, the more critical the blending process; for best results the colours should look as if they flow naturally into one another. As you play around with various eyeshadow colours, you'll be surprised at how some wild and crazy colour combinations can look quite good as long as they are well blended.

Light and warm colours accentuate... dark and cool colours recede.

In general, the lighter the colour the closer it appears and thus the more it accentuates any area to which it is applied, particularly if the colour has a pearly or iridescent sheen. Darker colours do not grab our attention in the same way; they provide a sense of depth and thus darker areas appear receded.

Similarly, warm colours (those with red or orange undertones) accentuate and cool colours (those with blue undertones) recede.

What may not be as obvious is that individual colours can have either warm or cool undertones, depending on the shade of the colour. Take the colour red for example. An orange red has a warm tone and thus will accentuate an area more so than a red containing a blue undertone.

Don't colour match to clothes... except perhaps as an accent colour.

Even when your makeup is dramatic, it should always look like it belongs on your face. Therefore, the colours you choose should be reflective of skin tone, hair and eye colour as opposed to what you're wearing. Although it may be tempting to wear the same shade of green on your eyes as in your top, if that shade of green does not go well with the colour of your eyes it will never look as good as one that is better matched to it.

For best results, your colour choices should be matched to your general skin tone and overall colouring. This will better enhance your complexion and give you a more healthy glow.


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