What's the Number One Thing You Should Look For When Choosing Cosmetics?

Whenever I do makeup for headshots, weddings or a group or private lessons, clients are always shocked at how LIGHT the makeup feels when I'm done, and how long it lasts.  They want to know what it is that I'm doing to get such great results that look and feel so different from results they get when they do their own makeup at home.  Well, here is my #1 trick.....

Highly pigmented products are a MUST for bridal makeup!

The products I use....expensive, drugstore and pro brand....have all been chosen with one thing in mind...they are all highly pigmented!

So what the heck does THAT mean?

Think about this...have you ever applied a cheap, drugstore eyeshadow or blush that looked pretty in the package, but when you applied it....the color just wasn't there, or you had to really pack it on to see anything?  Or you applied lipstick just to have it fade into oblivion a few hours later?  You might have figured out that those cosmetics weren't the best quality, but what exactly is the problem? Too much filler versus pigment...plain and simple.  A high ratio of filler ingredients will dilute the intensity of pigment and create a  dry, chalky texture.... that means you have to really work to get any color payoff, the colors aren't true and it won't last. In regard to eye shadow, it can also result in major fallout...as in color all over your cheeks instead of on your eyelids...a beating when you're trying to get ready, but also a waste of time and product.
Photo Credit: Aphrodite Attitude

Higher quality formulas apply true color smoothly, and in one swipe....that's the golden ticket!  You can keep it light with a soft wash of color, or build to major intensity....if a product has more pigment, the option is up to you.  When your shadow, blush and lipstick are properly pigmented, there's no need to pack it on and it'll blend seamlessly with your skin.

Pigmented shadows - Photo credit: Makeup Geek
How do you know if you've got a highly pigmented product?                                
I'll save you plenty of time right off the bat....I've yet to find ANY...and I do mean any, drugstore brand powder formula eye shadow that had enough pigment for me.  I'm a fan of several drugstore brands for other products, but in eye shadow...no....just no.  Skip straight to higher end brands like Lorac (my current fave), Urban Decay (watch out for overly sparkly shades), Mac, IT Cosmetics (super smooth and blendable matte shades) and Charlotte Tilbury.  Look for an almost buttery smooth texture and intense color, and minimal fall out...

There are more options with blush...there are several brands at every price point that have enough pigmentation to provide the healthy flush you're looking for.  Look for soft, micro-milled formulas that provide enough color with a subtle application....if it requires several swipes, move on to another
Highly pigmented gel blush from Butter London
brand. Also look into gel or cream versions...they often carry more pigment, and eliminate the chalky texture issues that can come with powder blush.  Brands I like include Nars (powders and "the Multiple" cream sticks), Milani powder blush (a cheapie insider fave), MAC Blush (especially the Mineralize Finish ones), Butter London gel fomulas (super intense! See example on left) and Maybelline cream blush sticks.

You'll have even better luck with lipsticks! I've found several across the board that carry the
Example of pigmented lipstick swatches
pigmented intensity I seek.  Look for matte formulas that provide good color payoff in one pass....you can sheer it out with gloss, or apply straight from the tube for the full effect. A few of my current go to lipsticks include Kat Von D (intense, matte and long lasting), Smashbox, L'Oreal (half the price and very comparable to higher end versions), Revlon (classic and affordable shades) and Lipstick Queen.

Highly pigmented products mean better color payoff, a long lasting look AND you can use less product! Also, the more pigmented your products are, the more versatile they are...
Use a light touch and blend well when you want subtle looks, apply full force when you're ready to be bold...the same products can do both, if you've chosen well.

What cosmetics do you own that pass the pigment test?  What do you have that doesn't?  Share in the comments!

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