The Canvas and the Paint



We all want to look and feel our best.  Women (and more men every day) spend a ton on makeup--and even so, we never feel like we've finished searching for those newer, better solutions that will transform everything.  Maybe a 30-dollar highlighting pen will do it!  Maybe eyelid primer!  Maybe light-diffusing finishing powder with mica and resveratrol!  As long as we keep searching, they'll keep on inventing products to catch our hopes and turn them into money.  

But our dissatisfaction remains.  What's missing?  Answer: the purification and nourishment of the epidermis, which will create the best possible canvas for makeup, eliminating the need for too much spackling or too many products.  That's where Chrysalis comes in.

Your makeup shouldn't fight to cover for unhealthy skin--it doesn't do it very well.  Makeup should be an enhancement to your already-glowing face.  Focus first on cleansing and moisturization/vitamins, then see the difference in the way your makeup works and looks, and in how much you need to use after your skin is fully nourished.

Cleansing:  I have covered my personal recommendation for cleansing, the Clarisonic, in a previous post.  There are now several lower-priced options on the market that may work for you as well.  I love it because it's gentle and it clears the pores with incredible effectiveness, and polishes the skin so you don't need to exfoliate with either chemicals or grit.  It's a mini-version of the kind of cleansing you get during a professional facial.  Getting the skin that clean is Step 1.

Toning and Nourishment:  After cleansing, it's best to splash or spray a toner to reestablish the acid mantle (Ph) of the skin.  I suggest pure witch hazel or Chrysalis Water, which has a lot of witch hazel, sweet orange, and rose, and does triple duty as a freshener for hair and body anytime.  Then it's Moisture Time!!  In addition to drinking a lot of water, you should use a pure nourishing serum like Chrysalis Oil to completely feed your hungry skin.  Rough, dry skin will be healed overnight, and routine use each day will completely transform the texture of your skin (among many other regenerative benefits--but here we are talking about how to prepare your skin for makeup).  That's the canvas we want before we turn to makeup for the rest of the picture.

With moisturized, purified skin, you'll need fewer products and you'll use them in a more sparing way--a way that illuminates your healthy skin rather than trying to camouflage it.  You'll realize immediately that nothing much matters as long as skin is fresh-looking, and that nothing much can help if it's not.  You'll know right away that healthy skin is what actually shines on a pretty face--it's never the eye makeup and never the lipstick.  Here is my personal routine after complete cleansing and nourishment:

1. Primer.  May not be essential for younger skin, but creates a smooth surface on those with enlarged pores and minor irregularities in texture.  May also help with tone correction as a base before BB cream or foundation.

2. BB Cream or Foundation.  As you use Chrysalis Oil or a high-quality serum of your choice, you may stop needing heavy-duty coverage and will likely go down to a BB Cream.  Regardless of what you decide, you should be conservative in your application.  The best application method for any foundation is a "makeup sponge" or "beauty blender"--an updated version of the foam wedges we all know and hate, this time perfected into awesomeness.  To use these sponges, dab some foundation on the end and "bounce" the sponge on your skin, blending and bouncing until you get what you want.  Pretty.  Make sure to rinse your sponges.

3.  Concealer.  If you have any blemishes you want to cover, do so after foundation.  I recommend Shu Uemura Concealer Stick; it's strong, exacting, durable, and nonflaky.  And it lasts for years (I should probably throw mine out but it's still working so well, we're kind of attached!).  If you have emergent blemishes that you want to address, use Mario Badescu Drying Lotion at night--just make sure you follow the directions.  It's not to be mixed; you're to use a q-tip to dip through the layers exactly as they are.

4. Correct.  If you have darkness under the eyes, use a creamy concealer to brighten.  Use your bouncy blending sponge to get it right. 

5.  Highlight.  Continue the theme of brightening and youthfulness by applying a pink-pearl highlighter to the inner corners of your eyes, and possibly to your brow bone and high cheekbone.  Be conservative--we're not at a rave.  Pink-pearl is the appropriate color for all skin tones, white to black.  It picks up the honey and peach colors in all skin--don't use sparkles and don't use dark contour makeup like a Kardashian.  You are permitted two sweeps of a bronzer before you need to PUT THE BRUSH DOWN.

6.  Blush.  My personal most important step.  Young or exercised, healthy skin looks like roses are blooming on the cheeks, and blush still pulls off that effect with major flair.  It really makes a difference, and I prefer a cream blush that I blend with the bouncy sponges--I always prefer cream products, as dewy skin is what we want.  If in doubt, go with a rosy color--again, suitable for all skin tones.  

7.  Eyes.  Choose eyes or lips for your "big feature," but not both.  More is not better.  I very much like a white liner pen for the water line of the lower lid because of how it opens the eye without adding any heaviness, similar to how making the skin glow is the best makeup there is.  I use the white liner on the inner eyelid, and then I put black eyeliner below the lashline and on the upper lashline.  Nice framing.  Along with the highlighter in the corners and at the brow, I can be done now.  If I want something more dramatic, I sweep amber or grey/purple on the upper crease.  Hazel and green eyes should always go with a smoky purple or subdued violet, as these complimentary colors will bring out the eyes.  Mascara makes a huge difference, but I personally have never been able to make it work--I always get marks beneath my eyes.  I think my eyes are just wrong for mascara and it breaks my heart.  Mascara makes such a difference, though, that I get my eyelashes dyed as often as I can.

A note on fake lashes: As tempting as they are (and they ARE--see above), getting them repeatedly will kill your own lashes.  I'm very sorry.  Be smart and use a lash serum to encourage growth while using less caustic methods to enhance them (lash tint, mascara).  Getting lash extensions all the time now will make you very sad later.  Remember that time is a thing and that people get older (not me, not you, but some people will, I promise).  Chrysalis may be developing a lash and hair growth serum for those who want a secret weapon, and I'll keep everyone posted.

8.  Eyebrows.  This important feature frames the face, and giving it attention creates greater dividends than almost anything else we do besides making the skin glow.  It's the picture frame along with our hair.  If your brows are too light or sparse, I recommend Anastasia brow gel, in caramel for blondes and in granite or espresso for darker hair.  I don't recommend the "blonde" option for anyone--your brows need to be darker than your hair.  Never take beauty advice from a runway show.  You're not a teenaged alien sasquatch.

9.  Finish.  I do love a setting spritz.  It seems to bring all the parts together, and handle any minor moisturization issues that might've cropped up.  If you want a little something on the lip, condition it with a serum like C-Oil and add a rosy tint.  

This all may sound like a lot, but it's not--at least as compared to what a lot of us do to spackle over problems each day.  The last step of any makeup regimen is a good misting with a spray sunscreen--the sun remains our greatest enemy, and our greatest love.  Feel free to ask me any questions about your routine, or about how to implement the one I've suggested!