Quick Tip for Friday

Drugstore Beauty Isle

According to the makeup artist whose brain I plucked copiously last week (prep for my brother’s wedding, next weekend)…

if you have to go cheap and buy a drugstore brand of cosmetics, buy L’Oreal.



Of all the major drugstore cosmetics brands, L’Oreal puts the most money into Research & Development, so their products (high-end or low) have the most science, proven results, and innovation.


Granted, I don’t know if this claim is true, as I don’t even know where to begin researching how much money each company puts into their R&D. But she’s not actually a L’Oreal fan (she’s hard-core Kevyn Aucoin), so I take her at her word.


How Many Shades?

How many shades of eyeshadow can you wear at a time?


Printcess Eyeshadow (Climax)


Eyeshadows by Printcess (Forest & Peasant)


Printcess eyeshadows (Narrative & Characters & Villain)


Eyeshadows by Printcess (Narrative & Ball & Storytime & Happily Ever After)


Printcess Eye of the Week ~ One Monster After Another (Narrative & Prologue & Characters & Forest & Epilogue)



Downton Abbey Countess reaction

The right answer is: However many you want. Just blend and layer to keep away harsh edges, and you can do incredible things with makeup.

My Dry Skin Journey

I learned my skin care routine from my mother, who has the exact opposite skin from mine (in type, shade, you name it). So it took me more than two decades to truly figure out how to keep my skin healthy and happy (and it’s an ongoing process, as age, pollution, allergies, shifts in weather, etc change things up every year).

If you have dry, flaky skin that doesn’t respond well to over-the-counter products, here’s how I work with mine…might be worth a shot for you:

In addition to drinking plenty of water, eating well, getting moderate exercise, and always wearing SPF when going outdoors for any length of time, dry skin needs two things- moisture, and exfoliation.


Exfoliation is necessary to slough off dead skin cells, so that your skin can absorb that good moisture. But too harsh exfoliation can abrade skin, causing inflammation, scarring, redness, etc.

I found the best exfoliation is to make a baking soda paste (baking soda and a small amount of water), and apply it to my moist face three times a week. Just a few swipes to apply it evenly everywhere (avoiding the eye area), then rinse off with warm water. Dry your face by gently blotting (not rubbing) with a soft, clean towel.

In between exfoliation days, I clean my face by just splashing water on it and blotting dry. Seriously- this is all you need.

One day per week, after cleaning by splashing water on my face, I use a mask (for sensitive skin). My current favorite is Boots “Botanics Ionic Clay Mask”. It’s a clarifying mask designed to deep clean without pulling out what little natural moisture is in your skin. Yay!

Exfoliating with a clay mask(my weekly cheat sheet is Mon- just water, Tues- baking soda scrub, Wed- just water, Thurs- baking soda scrub, Fri- just water, Sat- baking soda scrub, Sun-just water & then a mask)



I use coconut oil is my sole moisturizer. I’ve tried countless over-the-counter moisturizers, and they did a lot of irritating my skin, clogging my pores, and only superficially moisturizing my skin. Coconut oil, on the other hand, I’ve had zero issues with. It absorbs easily and fully (I apply morning after cleansing & evening before bed) and has never cause zits or irritation. I make sure to apply it under my eyes and rubbed into my eyebrows, two dry areas that suffer from my constant eye rubbing (yay allergies).

Printcess skin care routineI apply it directly after washing and patting my face dry, and then I try to avoid touching my face throughout the day.

A note on coconut oil: It absorbs well, but will block anything else from absorbing, so that may affect the appearance of your foundation (depending on what type it is).


That’s it! Simple as pie. Of course, it takes 4 weeks or so after switching to any new routine for your skin to fully adjust, so be open to altering things as needed after that initial adjustment period.

Highlighting/Contouring Visual Aids

I’m still learning the magic of Highlighting & Contouring, but here’s what I’ve learned (from drag queens, Pinterest, and YouTube):

For the highlighting, you want a matte or slight shimmer product 1-2 shades lighter than your skin (liquid or powder, depending on your skin type).

For the contouring, you want a matte product 1 shade darker than your skin (liquid or powder, depending on your skin type).

You want to use them in conjunction- highlighting to draw attention to an area, contouring to create shadows.

Areas to highlight include: lower forehead (by eyebrows), top of nose (entire length), under the eyes (a debatable area, technique-wise), and/or cupid’s bow above the top lip.

Areas to contour include: temples, hairline (on forehead), cheekbones (below blush line), sides of the nose, jawline, and/or under the middle of the lower lip.

And because I’m a HAC newbie with a soft spot for visual guides…here’s the best of what I’ve found (click for the link-through):

HAC courtesy of Rich Tips for the Pore

HAC courtesy of Samer Khouzami

Horizontal-Style Eyeshadow

This is the first way I ever learned how to apply eyeshadow (courtesy of Avon and a birthday makeup party when I was 12). It’s simple, no-frills, but can be dressed up or made more dramatic by using more saturated (or even contrasting) colors.

Printcess EOTW Plot Epilogue Neutrals

Believe it or not, that’s two browns (Epilogue and Plot), layered horizontally.

Horizontal-Style Eyeshadow

You can also use the second color as a thicker eyeliner.

Printcess Photo Mineral Makeup Spring Colors

Contrasting colors give it more pop!

Printcess Horizontal-Style Eyeshadow

The Smokey Eye look plays off this motif, with a darker color blended horizontally into the crease to create the appearance of a deep-set eye. But that’s another eyeshadow look for another week!

Vertical-Style Eyeshadow

There are as many ways to wear eyeshadow as there are stars in the sky. Some people prefer multiple colors and lots of blending. Others stick to 2 colors, layered. Some folks wear shadow vertically, others horizontally, and others using both directions. Personally, I’m a fan of all of it.

If I see a new way to wear eyeshadow, I can’t help but try it. I try it with neutrals, then with fun colors, then with both. Does it make my eyes look larger? Slanted? Closer together? Here’s a daytime vertical-style eyeshadow look, wherein multiple colors are applied vertically and blended.

Printcess Vertical-Style Eyeshadow Printcess Vertical-Style Eyeshadow Printcess Vertical-Style Eyeshadow

Browbown highlight, then a lighter color on the inner third of your eyelid.

Printcess Vertical-Style Eyeshadow Printcess Vertical-Style Eyeshadow Printcess Vertical-Style Eyeshadow

Blend the edge of that color, then apply a neutral to the middle third of your eyelid. Apply the darkest shade in a small wedge shape on the outer third.

Printcess Vertical-Style Eyeshadow Printcess Vertical-Style Eyeshadow Printcess Vertical-Style Eyeshadow

Blend the outer shade, so it looks more like natural shading than a wedge. Then a small line of brown eyeliner just above/on your lashline…

Printcess Vertical-Style Eyeshadow Printcess Vertical-Style Eyeshadow

..and on the outer third of your waterline. That’s the part of skin between your eyeball and your lower lashes. Putting eyeliner on the outer part of that helps open your eyes up. Lastly, add a coat of mascara (and comb it, if you like).


Printcess Vertical-Style Eyeshadow

Voila! You can’t even tell there are three distinct colors, as they blend into each other. The affect is subtle, but artistic.


Here’s a more dramatic example of a vertical-style eyeshadow look:

Printcess Eye of the Week ~ Enchantments

What’s your favorite way of wearing eyeshadow?

The Way I Wear It

I’ve been asked to demonstrate a few ways to wear makeup, and eyeshadow. I’m not the be-all end-all, by any means, but I think it sometimes helps to see different ways to applying makeup, so you can play around with things and find what works for you.

Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Eye drops to get rid of allergy-induced redness

Printcess Makeup Routine Steps  Moisturizer!

Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Eyebrows (I use a brown wax and powder filler, but I’m not entirely sold on it)

Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Next up is eyeshadow & mascara. I hold a business card under my eye to catch the worst of the loose powder fall-off. Any remaining fall-off I gently brush off with a tissue.

Printcess Makeup Routine Steps With my super dry skin, I use liquid foundation. A little bit goes a long way!

Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Printcess Makeup Routine Steps I dot foundation on the center parts of my face, then blend them with a foundation brush until I get a more even coverage. Because my skin absorbs things quickly, I work in small sections at a time.

Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Printcess Makeup Routine Steps

Printcess Makeup Routine Steps This is the first check-in. Is my foundation even? Does anything look off, or odd? Fix it now.

Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Printcess Makeup Routine Steps

I use a bronzer as contouring powder, for now. I apply to my cheekbones, or where I’d like them to be, from the hairline to just below my nose line.

Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Printcess Makeup Routine Steps

I also apply to my forehead hairline & temples, jawline, sides of my nose (into the eyebrow), tip of my nose, and just under my lower lip (which makes it appear more full). I know a lot of tutorials show a line drawn, then blended, but this blending-as-I-go approach works better for me.

Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Printcess Makeup Routine Steps

I then apply highlighter (sometimes I do this before contouring) to my lower forehead, middle of my chin, and under my eyes in a wedge shape (to my nostril flares). I super blend this to there’s no edges showing. And I overdid it during this pic-hefty session, but normally I don’t apply quite so much under my eyes, as it’s an area that crinkles a lot.

Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Printcess Makeup Routine Steps

Next up is blush, applied just above the apples of my cheeks, from above my nostril flares to (blended) my eyebrow line. This visually lifts the face!

Then the lippy….and voila!

Printcess Makeup Routine Steps Printcess Makeup Routine Steps

Lastly, I do a photo-check, with horrible indoor lighting and with indirect outdoor lighting, to make sure I haven’t missed a line to blend, or layered highlighter on too heftily, or otherwise given myself a scary face.

Mission accomplished! After some practice, I got this routine down to about 20 minutes total (and less if I skip the Highlighting & Contouring, and just do a light brushing of bronzer over my cheeks).

What about you? Would you recommend I do something different? Got any tips you can share?