Sunday, 5 January 2014

An Amateur's Dictionary of Makeup Terminology

This year, in an effort to have more 'me' time, I plan to spend more time getting ready in the morning, both in preparing better breakfasts for myself and also by upping the ante with my skincare and makeup routines. I'm waiting on some makeup and brushes to arrive, so I've started reading beauty/makeup blogs to get an idea of what I'm getting myself into!

The world of makeup can be really intimidating, especially for someone like me who has spent my adulthood just doing the mascara-and-lip-product thing. I find all the beauty tutorials, websites, products, and most of all terminology totally overwhelming! Since even the 'basic tutorials' talk in a foreign beauty language that I'm only slowly learning, I thought I'd explain what terminology is new to me and what I've learned about it in case any of my readers are also similarly baffled!

(image courtesy of Indian Beauty Forever)


Thus, I present to you: A Dictionary of Makeup Terminology: 

  • Contour: to shade the face according to natural shadow lines so as to make your face appear more sculpted/to play up your best features. Usually achieved by using a bronzer or a foundation a couple of shades darker than your natural skintone and applying the product under the cheekbones, forehead, temples, and jawline.  The opposite of highlighting. Another use of 'contour' is to refer to the area of the eye where the eyelid creases. 
  • Crease: portion of the eye where your eyelid folds--essentially where your eyeball meets your skin (aka contour). Another use of 'crease' is when your eyeshadow 'creases,' or falls into your crease in an uneven manner rather than staying put over the entire lid.
  • Cut crease: when you apply a shadow to your lid, then a contrasting (typically darker) shadow just in the eyelid's crease. Used to create a 'higher drama' look. See here for a good example.
  • Dewy: a type of makeup finish to make the skin look hydrated and slightly glowy
  • Duochrome/duo finish: products with multiple colors, especially eyeshadows. So a taupe eyeshadow may be duochrome if it has green and red particles within the taupe shadow.
  • EOTD/FOTD: "Eye of the Day" and "Face of the Day" respectively. Usually accompanied by images/descriptions of how a person did their eye makeup or entire face that day. 
  • Fallout: when eyeshadow, or a particle within an eyeshadow, falls from the eyelid to other parts of your face like your cheeks. Some shadows (like very highly pigmented ones) or aspects of shadows (like glitter or sparkle) are more prone to this than others and require a primer to prevent fallout
  • Foiled eyeshadow: to 'foil' your eyeshadow is to apply it wet. This makes it apply heavier/more opaque and often more vibrantly. Here's a good tutorial on foiling eyeshadow.
  • Full (or medium, or minimal) coverage: describes the degree to which a makeup product, usually foundation or concealer, covers your skin. Full coverage makeup is basically opaque--if you have freckles or blemishes, full coverage makeup will completely cover these. Minimal coverage makeup evens out your skin tone but doesn't address blemishes or major pigmentation issues, while medium coverage makeup is more concealing than minimal coverage but may not fully cover blemishes. 
  • Highlight: use a product that's lighter than your skin tone to brighten up the area, such as the inner corners of your eyes, cupid's bow, bridge of your nose, cheekbones, etc. The opposite of contouring (in which you follow shadow lines to make portions of the face recede), highlighting works to brighten areas where the sun naturally hits your face, bringing them forward visually.
  • Illuminator: I think of illuminators as highlighters with a bit of glow or glimmer or shimmer. 
  • Interference: I can't find a great definition of this, but my understanding is it usually refers to a property of eyeshadows, as in the subtle colors seen within a shadow. Similar to duochrome, only interference doesn't have to be two different finishes. So a taupe shadow could have a purple sheen to it and the purple particles imparting that sheen would be the purple interference.
  • Mineral makeup: makeup made from minerals, typically mica for eyeshadows, and typically in powder form. Mineral foundations and concealers are popular too. 
  • Outer 'V': when doing eye makeup, the 'outer V' is the shape you draw with an eyeshadow on the outside portion of your eyelid; the V is tipped on its side with the point towards your ear, as seen in this post, which gives an excellent description/diagrams of various eye-related terms.
  • Pigments: particles used to give color to product. Highly pigmented eyeshadows are typically very bright or dark and a little goes a long way. Very highly pigmented products tend to have more problems with fallout.
  • Primer: a cream, powder, or liquid that you apply to your skin before applying other makeup like foundation or eyeshadows to make those products stick and last longer. This is particularly important with highly pigmented eyeshadows and helps to avoid your makeup from wearing away or smudging into your eyelid's creases or wrinkles.
  • Stipple: Did you ever do stipple art in elementary school? Grabbed a pen and started dotting your paper to create an image? Same concept here, but with foundation typically. Seems like lots of people use a brush like a kabuki brush to apply their foundation, dotting their face with product until it is well-blended.
  • Suede, shimmer, matte, glitter: descriptions of how shimmery/glittery a product is, typically used to describe eyeshadows. Glitter products are full-on sparkly, shimmer products tend to have smaller reflective particles so have less glimmer than glitter products, matte shadows have no glitter or reflection, and suede shadows are between shimmer and matte (slight reflective properties but not glittery at all).
  • Swatch: to apply makeup for the purposes of demonstrating its color. Like putting a strip of 3 different eyeshadows on your arm to show how they compare to each other.
  • Tightline: applying eyeliner on the underside/between the lashes for a more natural lined eye look.
  • Waterline: the portion of your eye between your lower lashes and your eyeball--the flat area where many women apply eyeliner (others apply it to the lash line itself)

I'll add to this as I come up with more things that are perplexing to my poor makeup-naive mind :) Tune in tomorrow when I talk about another mystifying area of makeup: brushes!

Side note, I'm fully aware that I'll probably look back on this post and laugh one day about how many things I got wrong, so please feel free to chime in via commenting if I am totally off-base somewhere!

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