Paula Begoun’s 10 Makeup Commandments and Best Buys

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Paula Begoun, skin care expert and best-selling author of Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, reveals her “10 Makeup Commandments” and list of the best makeup buys.

Paula Begoun’s 10 Makeup Commandments

  1. Expensive Doesn’t Mean Better! There are good and bad products in all price categories, and there are brilliant inexpensive products you should absolutely consider before going for the expensive stuff.
  2. Shop With A Clean Slate! If you plan to test foundation or concealer, visit the store or salon with a clean, bare face that’s prepped for makeup application, or be willing to take off the makeup you have on.
  3. The Right Light is Key! Always check foundation, concealer and powder colors in natural light.  Department store lighting is deceiving; what looks perfect under artificial light can look glaringly wrong in broad daylight.
  4. Tone Down the Shine! Be careful with shiny blush and eyeshadow.  Generally, for daytime makeup, a blush with a matte finish or just a hint of sheen works best.  Shinier makeup is best reserved for evening use or special occasions.
  5. It’s All in the Tools! Whenever possible, test powder-based products (e.g., blush, eyeshadow) with the appropriate brushes.  Avoid sponge-tip applicators for eyeshadows and those cheap, super-tiny brushes often packaged with powder blushes.
  6. Protect Those Peepers & Lips! Never test mascara or liquid eyeliner in the store.  Even if the brand offers disposable applicators, you don’t know how many people have double-dipped, how old the testers are, or how contaminated they may be.  We know it’s a pain, but for the health of your eyes, it’s best to purchase these products and test them at home.  The same is true when it comes to lip glosses.  Most glosses have sponge-tip or brush applicators that can harbor germs from other people.  It’s best to swipe the gloss on the top of your hand so you can get a sense of how the color “reads” on your skin and can assess its texture and finish.
  7. Smack On Lips, Not Germs! Before you test a lipstick on your lips, have a salesperson sanitize it for you with an alcohol-based spray.  Lipsticks at the counter can become contaminated with germs and microbes that you don’t want near your mouth.  No alcohol spray?  Then wipe off several layers of lipstick with a clean tissue or have the sales associate “shave” off the top portion of the lipstick with a disposable spatula.
  8. Take Cues from the Pros! See a cosmetics salesperson whose makeup you admire? Ask them for application tips, especially if their skin tone is similar to yours.  Chances are good you’ll pick up some great tips and begin to feel more confident about selecting the best colors for your needs.
  9. When In Doubt, Take It Back and Try Again! If you buy a product that doesn’t work for you, don’t be afraid to take it back.  Almost all drugstores and mass-market stores (think Rite Aid and Wal-Mart) will provide a complete refund on cosmetics purchases if you have the receipt—even if the item has been used.
  10. Bye, Bye Blues! Lastly, as stated in Paula’s first book, Blue Eyeshadow Should Be Illegal, AVOID blue eyeshadow.  Unless it’s a deep navy, which can almost pass for black, most shades of blue are difficult to work with.  Plus, they do not play up blue eyes; actually, the opposite is true.  The same goes for any eyeshadow shade that’s too colorful, including orange, green, fuchsia, teal and especially red, which can make your eye area look inflamed rather than attractive.  Not ready to give up such shades?  Think of the fashion magazine covers you’ve admired, and then ask yourself: How many of those models or celebrities were sporting bright, colorful eye designs?

Paula Begoun’s Best of the Best

  1. Boots No7 Cheek Tint ($9.99)
    • Generously-sized cream-to-powder blush that can go from sheer to intense
    • Application is super-easy and all of the colors are gorgeous
  2. M.A.C. Haute & Naughty Lash ($18.00)
    • Two mascaras in one component, each with impressive, distinctive effects
    • Wears beautifully yet  is easy to remove
  3. Sephora Rouge Cream Lipstick ($12.00)
    • Elegantly smooth cream texture imparts rich color
    • Brilliant range of shades without garish frost or sparkles
  4. Neutrogena Healthy Skin Custom Glow Blush & Bronzer ($12.49)
    • Beautiful pressed powder blush and bronzer in one sleek compact
    • Looks great when used separately or together
  5. Victoria’s Secret VS Makeup Soft Focus Liquid Foundation SPF 20 ($16.00)
    • Outstanding sun protection from gentle mineral actives
    • Supremely silky with a satin glow finish to enliven dry skin
  6. Maybelline New York Lash Stiletto Voluptuous Mascara Waterproof ($8.49)
    • A waterproof mascara that does everything right, but nothing too extreme
    • Quickly enhances lashes, then wears without a worry
  7. Revlon Luxurious Color Satin Eye Shadow ($4.99)
    • Powder eyeshadow singles that’s shine done right
    • No matter how much you apply, the shine won’t flake!
  8. Revlon Age Defying Moisturizing Concealer SPF 25 ($8.99)
    • Creamy, eye-area concealer with broad-spectrum sun (and wrinkle)  protection
    • Provides great coverage without magnifying the look of lines
  9. Physician’s Formula Healthy Wear SPF 50 Powder Foundation ($14.95)
    • A powerhouse of potent sun protection to help prevent wrinkles and discolorations
    • Enviably smooth texture with a soft, flattering matte finish
  10. N.Y.C (New York Color) Extreme Lip Glider Lip Gloss ($3.00)
    • One of the least expensive lip glosses with a smooth, non-sticky texture
    • Enticing range of sheer colors in a convenient squeeze tube for quick application

BONUS: Paula’s Choice Illicit Lash Maximum Impact Mascara ($10.95)

  • Nimble rubber-bristled brush reaches each and every lash fast
  • Brilliant way to get longer, defined lashes with a soft curl

Want to know if one of your favorites got a top rating?  See how Paula rates your product by visiting FREE through February for a complete list of the best makeup and skin care.

Photos from xtina5645, Darren Tse and Riley via Flickr

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