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How to Select a Fragrance

Most women love fragrances. We like to smell good and we enjoy when people are attracted to our scents. Many of us have multiple bottles of perfume neatly arranged on our bureaus or vanity tables. Sometimes we wear different scents for different occasions. For example, I have a fragrance for daily use, one for church, and one for ultra special occasions. The latter is usually my most expensive perfume. We may receive perfume as gifts for birthdays, Mother’s Day, and from our significant others on Valentine’s Day. But do you know how to pick the right scent for yourself? With so many choices, how does one even begin? Is there a method? And how are scents formulated?

If you’ve been reading my posts, you already know that I’m a researcher. If I want to know something, I’m going to find out and then share it with you. So let me share my findings about fragrances.

Each fragrance has a top note, middle note, and a bottom note (also called a base note). The top note is what you smell immediately upon application. Do not make a decision based on the top note because it dissipates quickly. The middle note is sometimes called the heart note because it forms the “heart” of the perfume. The middle note appears around 2-30 minutes after a fragrance is applied. The bottom note brings a rich, deep scent about 30 minutes after application and tends to linger, well up to over 24 hours. Together, the middle and bottom notes are the main parts of the perfume. 

perfumepyramid

Carefully compare the notes to the application to see how long each lasts

I think after some wear, we become immune to our fragrance. There are times I’ll spray or dab on a fragrance at 7:00 AM before work. I’ll go to a meeting after work at 7:00 PM (12 hours later) and someone will tell me I smell good and inquire about the fragrance. I’m always floored because by that time, I can no longer smell it! But that’s clearly evidence of the base note in the perfume lingering. And it seals the argument of why we should never choose a perfume based on the top note alone.

Here’s a simple way to test a fragrance:

1. This first step is easy. Smell it. Take a sniff to get a general idea of the smell. Do you like it? Don’t buy it yet. Proceed to step 2.

2. Dab it on your wrists, wait a few minutes, and take a whiff. What do you think now? But it’s still not time to make a purchase. You want to wait until the middle note takes over and smell it again.

3. Smell it again after 30 or more minutes. Do you like it now? Did you know that our skin and chemical makeup can alter the way a fragrance smells? Do you think your chemical makeup enhances or diminishes the fragrance? Now you can make a purchase. If you still like it, it likely meshes with your chemical makeup.

Are you aware that fragrances don’t smell the same on everyone? It can smell one way on a friend and smell completely different on you. If the scent smells good on someone else, you should still test it on you! This is why we also can’t rush to the store to buy a celebrity’s signature scent. From Elizabeth Taylor , J. Lo., Mariah Carey and Beyoncé to Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga…you may love them as performers, but you should test their scents before buying them.

Here’s another tip: be wary of the fragrance lady in the department store who gives you the sample on paper or sprays your wrist when you enter. Even if you like it, DO NOT BUY RIGHT AWAY! Remember, you would only be smelling the top note which doesn’t last. Wait for the middle note to take over. Walk around the store…finish your shopping…wait at least 30 minutes and sniff. Do you still like the smell? If so, go for it! If not, then it simply isn’t for you.

Some department stores have samples vials you can take with you. Ask for them before making a purchase. Then you can follow the steps above to be certain that the scent is something you truly like.

In the event that you don’t have or can’t get samples, you’ll have to research. Read descriptions and reviews of perfumes. Perfumes are generally categorized as follows: floral, fresh, oriental, and woodsy. If you know you usually don’t like woodsy scents, then research and don’t purchase scents with that description. Let’s take a look at the descriptors for each of these categories:

Floral – think very feminine and flowery scents like jasmine or fruity floral scents, like strawberry or pomegranate

Fresh – think clean, crisp, the smell of air after a rainfall, citrus-like, green, etc.

Oriental – think musk, nutmeg, and vanilla

Woodsy – think outdoorsy like sandalwood or cedar

Take a look at the perfume below, Avon’s Far Away, and notice how the notes and the types of scents describe the perfume in the example below:

faraway

FAR AWAY – Top Notes: peach, freesia Middle Notes: jasmine, osmanthus, orange flower Base Notes: vanilla musk, sandalwood, amber

Avon knows fragrances. Many people think of Avon as a makeup company. However, it was actually started as the California Perfume Company in 1886. As such, Avon has been in the business of scents for over 130 years. (Click here to shop for a fragrance in the eStore.)
Avon is aware that some fragrances are better suited for specific personalities. Before making a purchase, you may want to also consider taking one of the Avon fragrance personality quizzes below. One is posted below for you to try.
I did this quiz and found that I am mostly B’s: Chic and Sophisticated.
 avonperfumepersonality2
Good luck selecting your next fragrance…let me know if this post helps you!
Raquel

Color Correcting Concealers

I started wearing makeup decades ago. I only recall concealer coming in various skin tone shades to cover dark circles and other flaws. Today, there are concealers in multiple colors, each with a specific job. Let’s take the time to gain some understanding about color correcting concealers and how they work.

Very few of us have perfect skin. Some have dark circles, some have discoloration, some have redness, etc. Let’s take a look at The Color Wheel below to see how to pick the right concealer.

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Notice the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors on the wheel above. A primary color is a color that can’t be made by mixing other colors together. You can see on the wheel that primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. A secondary color can be made by mixing primary colors together. For example, red and blue make purple; and yellow and blue make green. (I remember that from elementary school art class!) A tertiary color is made by mixing primary and secondary colors. Colors opposite each other on this wheel are called complementary colors (for example: blue and yellow).

Question: Why is this important when choosing correcting concealers?

Answer:  Because color correcting makeup will cancel out any discoloration of its complementary color.

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Notice how these colors complement/neutralize each other

Do you have….

  • Redness or broken capillaries? Try green concealer. It will neutralize the red.
  • Unwanted yellow overtone or sallowness? Try a lavender concealer; or perhaps blue. 
  • Dark under eye circles, particularly on fair skin? Try pink concealer (which is more like peach or salmon). This color is actually a mix of red, orange, and yellow hues and dark circles are often a mix of blue, purple, and green hues. 
  • Purple or blue bruises or veins? Try yellow concealer. Yellow may also work for some on under eye circles. 
  • Dark skin (deeper than medium) and dark under eye circles or other dark areas? Try orange or red concealer.
  • Flawless or near flawless skin?  A neutral concealer will mask your minor skin imperfections. 
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Correcting concealer palette

Color correcting isn’t for everyone. You may have already have a system that works for you. If not, give it a try and let me know how it worked!

Raquel

16 Foundation Tips

  1. Can’t find the right shade? You may need to purchase foundation in two different shades. One should be a shade darker and the other a shade lighter. Mixed together, it should make a nice match. Mix a few drops together on the back of your hand or on a palette and apply. You may need to play around with the amount you use of each shade until it matches your complexion. Women of color especially may have to do this because there often aren’t enough shades in our skin tones.
  2. Use the right tool to apply your foundation. Use a stippling brush for light coverage, a buffing brush for medium coverage, and a flat brush for full coverage. You will use less product because you’ll find that a little goes a long way. Avoid using a sponge applicator because it tends to soak up the foundation resulting in a lot of waste because the foundation ends up inside the sponge.
  3. When applying foundation, start at the center and use down strokes working your way out. Buff in foundation using circular motions.
  4. Only use foundation where you feel you need it. This will help your face to look more natural. Remember, less is more!
  5. Don’t limit foundation to just your face. Apply it to your neck and to your decolletage if it is showing. What about other exposed areas? Do you want your face to be an entirely different color than your ears? Add foundation there, too. You may not have to worry about this so much if you’ve done a good job of matching your foundation with your complexion.
  6. If you dampen a beauty blender and use it to blend in your foundation and even it out, it will give you a finish that looks airbrushed.
  7. I used to put on concealer before applying foundation. This is a no no.Apply it after . the foundation. Using a concealer brush will help you to cover under eye circles in the corner. Concealer should only be a shade lighter than your own skin. Blend it well so that it provides a nice highlight.
  8. Always set your foundation with powder – loose or pressed. This will help the foundation to stay on your face and not rub off onto other materials. It will also last longer. Apply to your T-zone and under your eye. Let the powder “bake” onto your face by letting it sit for about 5 minutes then brushing off.
  9. When you set your foundation, only powder your T-zone. This is typically where we get oily. It prevents you from using too much powder and walking around with a ghost face.
  10. Is your foundation too thick? Need less coverage? Thin it out with a little water or add a little moisturizer to it. It will become sheer. The more water or moisturizer you add, the more sheer the foundation will be become.Thin it to your liking.
  11. Need to make your foundation a little thicker? Add just a little face powder to it.
  12. Did you know you can make your own tinted moisturizer by mixing your own moisturizer with a few drops of liquid foundation?
  13. You can mix your primer and your foundation and apply them together instead of separately. This will ensure that the products blend seamlessly instead of appearing layered on top of each other.
  14. Many of us put on highlighter after we apply foundation. Try putting the highlighter on under the foundation next time. As the foundation wears throughout the day, you will have a glow underneath from the highlighter.
  15. Crush some golden eyeshadow or pearly white eyeshadow and mix it into your foundation. It will make your skin appear luminous..
  16. Blot your face before and after applying foundation to prevent the foundation from oxidizing and changing color (orange).

Buy makeup for your face here!

Types of Foundations

Two days ago, I posted about How to Pick the Best Foundation For You. In this post, I explore some of the types of foundations from which we have to choose: mineral powder, loose powder, pressed powder, liquid, cream-to-powder, cream, and stick.

Mineral Powder Foundation

Mineral Powder Foundation is made from fine, crushed minerals. Because it is a natural product, it is generally suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. It is easy to apply and results in a professional, polished look. It provides good coverage and is buildable. It is known to look good (smooth and even) on camera, and is long lasting.

Loose Powder

Loose Powder is used to add a finishing touch to already applied foundation. It sets the makeup and helps it to last. Loose powder comes in a jar and is great for oily skin!

Pressed Powder

Pressed Powder helps to hide flaws and imperfections. It absorbs shine and touches up the face very quickly as needed. It comes in a compact.

Liquid Foundation

Liquid Foundation has a name that speaks for itself. The liquid is lightweight, easy to apply, and is generally suitable for all skin types. For these reasons, it is the most popular of all foundation types. Some liquids are oil-based (great for dry skin) or water-based (great for oily skin).

Cream-to-Powder Foundation

Cream-to-Powder Foundation is a two-in-one foundation that starts as a cream and ends as a powder. It blends very easily and has a semi-matte or powdery finish. Great for normal to dry or even slightly oily skin!

Cream Foundation

Image result for cream foundation

Cream Foundation typically comes in a jar. It is thick, creamy, and oily…making it perfect for dry skin. It covers flaws well and can double as a concealer.

 

Stick Foundation

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Stick Foundation is solid and provides a matte finish. It can double as a concealer. Great for oily skin!

Shop for foundation here.

How to Pick the Best Foundation for You

With Avon, and many other makeup companies, there are so many choices in foundation. How does one begin to make a selection with all the possibilities? There are so many options with regard to formula and shade. Your foundation shouldn’t make you look made up or clownish. I’m of the belief that your foundation should look natural and flawless. No one should look at you and immediately notice that you are wearing make up because it’s too shiny, caked on, or shades lighter or darker than your natural color.Let me offer you some assistance. Here are four questions  to ask/answer when choosing the best foundation for you:

  1. What is your skin type? Click here to see my post on how to determine your skin type. Are you normal, oily, dry, or a combination? This is important because foundation will often come in a formulas for various skin types. For exxample, people with combination/oily skin. People with oily skin often find that liquid and powder foundations are best suited for them. Those with dry skin often determine that in addition to creamy liquids, jarred creams and stick foundations help to moisturize their flaky skin.
  2. What type of coverage do you want? Are you looking for a full coverage, medium, or something light and sheer? In essence, how much of your natural skin do you want to show? Full coverage makeup provides a flawless face. It not heavy as in years past –  there are light, full coverage formulas today. Anyone can use full coverage makeup, but especially people with discoloration, acne, or scarring may want to use it to hide flaws. Medium coverage provides a polished look and is a nice base for other cosmetics. It is also the most popular foundation coverage. This is generally for people that have some skin imperfections or unevenness. It is also buildable which means you can build coverage by adding another layer. Light or sheer coverage reduces shine and looks very natural. Someone with near perfect skin can use sheer coverage foundation. Sheer coverage foundation simply evens out the skin tone. Tinted moisturizer and BB Cream fit this category.
  3. What is your skin tone? Read this post I did on how to determine your skin tone and undertone. This is your complexion. Are you fair, light, medium, olive, brown, deep brown? Foundations are also divided by type. They often run the gamut from very light to very dark. You need to know where you fit in. In addition, what is your undertone? Are you warm, cool, or neutral?
  4. What type of finish do you want? An ultra matte finish has no oil and is generally recommended for people going before cameras (e.g., TV, photo shoot) who can’t have the light reflecting off their skin at all. Remember, matte means flat. There is no shine or shimmer with this finish. A natural matte finish, however, will make your skin look just that — natural — not shiny/not dull. A dewy finish will leave a soft, youthful glow. It looks almost moist. Another type is a satin finish which falls somewhere between matte and dewy.Think of the glow after a quick run or work out. Finally, a sheer finish provides one of the most natural looks in that there is just a little coverage to the point of almost being bare (no foundation). To determine finish, you should also consider your skin type. Someone with oily skin may want a matte finish and should likely stay away from the satin finish that my contribute more oil. Likewise, someone with dry skin may need the glow of a satin finish, but may decide against matte which will be even more drying to the skin.

Let’s sample!!!

Once you know your skin type, your skin tone, the type of coverage you want as well as the type of finish, it’s time to make a choice. Choose three foundations that you believe match your skin tone the closest. Your foundation should match or be just a tad lighter than your natural skin tone. If possible, sample before buying! Apply it on your lower jaw because skin tends to be even-toned under there. The shade that appears to dissolve into your skin is your match!

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Are you ready to shop yet? Shop for foundation here. FYI, I happen to like the Ideal Flawless Invisible Coverage Liquid Foundation.