Beauty Basics: Modern Makeup Bag Essentials When it comes to beauty products, there are a few standbys that every woman should have in her arsenal. Whether you're just starting to play around with makeup or you just want to update your look, here are some tips for choosing and using some of the most common beauty products. 1. Find a good moisturizer. Whether you choose a natural moisturizer like olive oil or a commercial product, make sure that the moisturizer you use is right for your skin. If you spend a lot of time in the sun, choose one with built-in SPF, for instance. You can combat greasy skin with a mattefying moisturizer, or dry skin with an ultra-rich one. 2. Consider using a primer under your makeup. Primers fill in the tiny lines and crevices in your skin and create a smooth palette over which to apply your foundation of choice. They also "grip" your foundation, helping it stick around longer. 3. Select a good foundation by trying several different formulas. Many makeup counters will provide you with samples to try, which is a great way to test-drive makeup without wasting your money. If your skin is dry, you might want to stick with cream or liquid varieties. If you have greasy skin, on the other hand, oil-free powdered formulas, especially mineral foundations, are a good bet. Test colors along your jawbone for the best match. 4. Hide spots, dark circles and redness with concealer(s). While you can certainly choose one high-quality concealer to use on all of your skin's flaws, you will achieve the best results with an array of concealer types. For instance, green concealer is best for cancelling out redness, while yellowish ones hide purplish under-eye circles. A thick, skin-toned concealer dabbed on with a brush is best for hiding acne. 5. Only use powder if you need it. While the powder compact has long been a standby of makeup bags, many women simply don't need to use powder. Powder is great for setting liquid makeup, but it doesn't perform so well over mineral foundation or other powder-based formulas. If you use powder for soaking up excess oil, blotting sheets are a better solution. These small pieces of paper absorb oil without depositing a chalky residue on your skin. 6. Select versatile lip products. If you purchase moisturizing lipsticks and glosses, you may be able to skip balm altogether. A glossy balm layered over lipstick, on the other hand, negates the need for lip gloss. Purchase a nude (lip-colored) liner to wear under all shades of lipstick; when the lipcolor wears off, you can avoid the annoying -- and obvious -- lip-liner ring. 7. Purchase new eye makeup every few months. These products can harbor bacteria, causing nasty eye infections. You can prevent this by using disposable applicators (or cotton swabs) with eyeshadow, but mascara should be replaced every 3-4 months to be on the safe side. 8. Face wipes are worth it. On the nights you would rather fall into bed with your makeup on than wash it properly, makeup removing cleansing cloths are the perfect, face-saving solution. These cloths remove all of your makeup and cleanse your skin in just seconds; some offer exfoliating and moisturizing benefits, too. Picking out the best beauty products can be utterly daunting, especially if you don't have much experience with them. With these tips in mind, you can hit the beauty aisles and stock your makeup bag with confidence.
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