Thursday, January 10, 2013

So, You Have To Wear Makeup - Part 2

Last time I had a good old ramble about the emotional and sociological implications of wearing makeup, especially when you're not particularly keen on being judged by your appearance. I really loved the discussion in the comments, so please feel free to continue.
This post it's down to the nuts and bolts - you have a job interview. You need the job, and you have figured out from eyeballing the potential workplace that you will have to wear makeup. You've made peace with this (for now at least). What will you need?

The Job Interview Shopping List

Figure Out Your Skin
If you haven't really dabbled with makeup before, or even if you have but haven't really gotten into it seriously, there is every chance you have no idea what type of skin you have. There are a couple of ways to do this;
Firstly, if you have time on your hands, you can go and bother the nice salespeople at any Clinique counter. The one in Myer is particularly good for this. If you feel bad about taking up their time when you're probably not going to buy anything that day, just remind yourself that if you get this job you can go back and buy something nice to make up for it. I suggest Clinique specifically because they seem to train their staff really well, but it's quite possible you could go to any skin care counter for an opinion. 
Secondly, you can take a rough guess yourself by answering a couple of questions. Are you over 17, and still get blackheads and moist little pimples around your nose and chin? Do you get a kind of greasy feeling in the corners of your nose by about lunchtime? If so, your skin is most likely oily or "combination" (oily in some parts, dry in others). If you said no, and wondered who on earth gets oily patches in the corners of their nose just by existing, then you most likely have dry skin. 
With this knowledge in hand, let's continue.  

 I've actually been bad and skipped a product here, because I'm hoping you will already have it. The first thing you will have to do before you use any of these products is wash your face. Theoretically a face soap, or a face wash is GOOD, but honestly, just plain soap will do the job. It's not great for your skin in the long run, but that's another discussion for another time. Right now, we need to get you all polished and professional, and the first step is to wash the crap off your face.
Once you're done with that, you're going to need a moisturiser - particularly if you just used plain soap, because that dries the crap out of your delicate face skins. I personally use Enzymion from Lush, and would highly recommend it if you've got a bit of money to spend and your skin is on the oily side. However, if you DON'T have the money to spend, then just go to the supermarket and pick one. The difference between them all at the bottom end of the price range is totally moot. Just pick one that says on the bottle the kind of skin you think you have - if you have dry skin, pick one for dry skin (or just get Nivea Creme like a million women before you), if you have oily skin pick one that says oily or combination.

BB Cream/Foundation
Don't panic, you're probably not going to be required to wear this every day. But the thing with interview makeup is that you want it to be just a step above what you would wear every day - just like your clothes. And foundation or BB cream is an excellent way to add just a little oomph to your overall look. I think the idea that anyone needs it to be beautiful is total bollocks - however it DOES make you look a little bit more polished, and a little bit more professional. And that's what we're really going for here, not pretty.
So which one? This can be a pretty overwhelming choice, considering the staggering array of finishes and forms and bottles and jars and formulas out there. I know I went many years just grabbing the closest thing in panic every time I went to try and get a "proper" foundation out of sheer information overload. So I've boiled my distilled wisdom down to these two economical recommendations. There are other things I would recommend if you have money to spend and will be wearing it a lot, but let's assume you're not there yet. 

The first thing when choosing a foundation is to decide how much coverage you want. "Full coverage", "medium coverage" and "light coverage" are thrown around a lot in advertising, but I'm going to stop and explain briefly what the terms actually mean. Let's use some pictures. I've photoshopped a stock image I found of a woman with freckles to illustrate how much each type of makeup actually covers up any "imperfections" like pimples, redness, or indeed, freckles.

This is no makeup, or as close as I could find a picture of.

Light Coverage
Personally, I think "light" coverage is a waste of time. But that's me, I'm very particular about my makeup actually having a discernible visual impact. If you just want something to make you look a little bit more luminous, then a foundation, BB cream, or tinted moisturiser with "light" coverage will make your skin a tiny bit prettier, but not cover anything up.

Medium Coverage

Unless you have really noticeable acne or something like that, I would actually usually recommend you go with something with "medium" coverage for a job interview. "Full" coverage looks a little more polished, but it needs to be touched up if it starts to wear off because it looks TOTALLY unnatural otherwise. "Medium" coverage wears off a lot more gracefully, even if it doesn't cover everything.  

Full Coverage
For when you want to look like a doll. It just covers EVERYTHING up. If you want/need something with "full" coverage, make sure you get something that will stay put for a job interview, and all the sweating and fidgeting that this entails."Full" coverage foundation does not wear off gracefully - it tends to wear off more like crumbling plaster.

If you have really oily skin, or you're somewhere really hot and/or have a tendency to sweat a lot (like I do), then my recommendation is Maybelline Superstay Silky. You have to pump out two little tendrils and then mix them in your palm, but it's worth it because this just simply WILL NOT budge. This is super helpful in a job interview situation where you're almost certainly nervous, fidgety, and probably overheated. I also know you can get it at Paddy's Markets for ten bucks, in all different shades, from at least three of the makeup stalls there. The retail price is only about $15-20 if you can't get to the markets, and it will last you through a BUNCH of interviews. As you can see from the state of my bottle, I've had it for a while, so I consider it pretty good value.
If your skin is on the dry side, or only a little oily, there is marvelous stuff around called BB Cream. There are approximately one billion different varieties, for all skin types and levels of coverage. After trying about 15 different kinds (no, I'm serious. BB samples are cheap and plentiful on Ebay) Missha Perfect Cover is the one I settled on as my go-to solution. It's thick enough to give medium coverage ( it actually looks like full coverage sometimes), it matches my skin well, and doesn't rub off during an entire day of work, so it should be able to last for an interview. The exciting upside of this one is that there is a Missha store in the QVB in Sydney City, with very helpful staff who will be happy to furnish you with some samples. One sachet does my face at least twice, so if you're nice to the staff you can get at least part of your interview makeup free.
However, as Missha is a Korean brand, there are very few shades available. They start at "Incredibly White" and go all the way to "Creamy" so if your skin has a tan, let alone any more pigmentation than that, this will be of no use to you. Best to pick up some of the Maybelline instead.

Foundation/BB cream is one of those areas I think it's best not to scrimp TOO much. You don't need the $80 Chanel kind, but you also don't want the $2 Chemist's Own brand either. Really cheap, crappy foundation can honestly look worse than no foundation at all. It gets all crusty, and separates into liquid and nasty flaky bits, or it's some horrendous orange tone, and it's overall just not worth it. If you can't afford or find the Maybelline, and can't get to the Missha store to get some samples of Perfect Cover, and no-one you know can lend you anything, I honestly think you're best off just washing your face, whacking on some moisturiser, and going from there.

Eyeshadow is another area I don't think it's worthwhile to scrimp TOO much. The $2 version might look the same as the $8 one in the container, but when it comes to getting the colour to stay on your eyes, it can be a Sisyphean ordeal. I am especially fussy about the consistency of eyeshadow because I don't use a brush for mine on a regular basis. It's just too fiddly for me to manage first thing in the morning - using a brush does undeniably give you more precise results, but if you don't know what you're doing with it you're much better off just using your finger than accidentally painting it all over your eye sockets.

As with nail polish, Revlon is my go-to chemist brand. It's easy to get, the colours are nothing exciting but they are all good enough. I also recommend going with a palette, rather than choosing individual eyeshadows. Less fuss, and you get a couple of different colours that you know will go together. And trust me, you do want more than one colour eyeshadow. Blending a dark and a light colour on your eyelids looks MUCH more polished and fancy than just one colour, and a brown palette will look good on ANYONE.
The particular palette I've pictured here is a Revlon 12hr Colourstay palette, which apparently an older version. I reccomend this one because I've seen it Paddy's Markets and a bunch of discount cosmetics places for $5 or less, which is a great deal. I also recommend it because the pans for the eyeshadow are big enough to fit my stubby fingertips in, which seems like a weird reason to recommend it until you've tried to use one of the palettes with an awkward triangle shape, or spaces just too small to fit your fingers in. I guess these are designed for people who ALWAYS use a brush with their eyeshadow, but I'm not that girl. 

Mascara is fantastic. I just...I love it so much. It's such an easy way to make your eyes pop, especially for someone like me who not only has naturally pale lashes, but also wears glasses that totally obscure my eyes. I have a personal preference for mascara that really screams "BAM BITCHES! LOOKIT MY LASHES!!", but even the really natural looking ones are totally worth the minimal effort required to put it on. 
I've used so, SO many different kinds of mascara that I couldn't really tell you which is the best. This is the one I'm using right now - Loreal False Lash Effect.

Yes, I admit I bought this just because the case looks so
fucking cool.
I've had really good experiences with a huge array of Loreal mascaras. I've been told Maybelline are pretty reliable, but I've never particuarly liked any of the ones I've tried. To be honest though, unless you're going to fork out for something from Clinique or Benefit, all the cheaper mascaras are more or less the same. If you want one that will give you "BAM, BITCHES" lashes, anything with "Extreme" "Massive Volume" "False Lash" etc in the title will get you there. If you want something more subtle, choose one without these words in the title.
The only other choice to make with mascara is waterproof, or non waterproof. For everyday, I use non waterproof just because it's easier to get off, and doesn't go all funky if I forget to take it off when I get home. But for a job interview, where you're under pressure and need it to stay put even if you freak out or burst into tears, waterproof is the way to go. You might have seen some of the wives tales that go around every now and then about waterproof mascara making your eyelashes fall out - this is simply not true. Wearing it doesn't damage your eyelashes, but scrubbing at it like crazy to get it off WILL do damage.
In terms of getting it off again, if you have the spare dollars, pick up a makeup remover while you're at the chemist. Otherwise, there are a bunch of different household items that will take it off. Olive oil, baby oil, or even the moisturiser I recommended you get at the start of this will all bring the waterproof mascara off again if you put some on a cotton pad or washcloth and rub it gently. I haven't used any of these methods long term, so I can't guarantee how good they are for your skin when used on a daily basis, especially if you're oily like me. But in a pinch, they will definitely get you through.

Lip Gloss/Tinted Lip Balm
I'm sure the first question you have here is, Why not lipstick? Because it's a pain in the ass, that's why. Intense colour means you have to be careful about where you put it, especially if it's a long lasting one you've chosen so you don't have to mess with it again. If you're not practiced at applying it, and you're nervous, lipstick is a really easy way to end up looking like a rodeo clown. Lip balms and glosses don't have the same impact, but they are SO much more forgiving. For a job interview, I recommend trying to find something as close to the natural colour of your lips as possible - just maybe a TEENY bit darker. That way if it rubs off, or you forget to reapply before you go in, or you lick/chew your lips furiously during the interview, the wear won't be NEARLY so obvious.
Previously, Burt's Bees was my absolute favourite tinted lip balm. Unfortunately, in the last year or so they've completely reformulated and repackaged their tinted lip balms, and now they have "lip tints", which have so much colour that they are just as fiddly as lipstick with none of the staying power, and repackaged tinted lip balms. I got one of the new lip balms, and was DEEPLY dissapointed.

This sucks.
The packaging is nice enough, but there is virtually no colour in this at all. It also feels annoyingly waxy - my lips often feel dryer after putting this on than they did before. It's not so much moisturising as putting a layer of soft wax over your lips, and that's just icky. Even worse, this is pretty expensive for a balm.  
Until I made a lucky find the other day, I actually had no idea what I was going to reccomend instead. But then an impulse purchase while on holiday brought Revlon's Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain into my life.

This rocks.

As you can see, this tube has been by my side since I got it, so the package is a little worse for wear. But it's really quite marvellous. The colour matches my lips perfectly, and even better the colour actually stays on without making my lips feel stiff or caked. The moisture does rub off on things like drinks and cigarettes so you do need to reapply every now and then, but the colour stays totally in place even when the moisture has totally worn off. The actual balm is also shaped like a big fat crayon, and the child inside me really digs that. 
It's a little pricey (here in Australia anyway), but if you look around places like Priceline or Paddy's Markets you can get a reasonable price.   

The Outfit

I'm going to keep this section relatively short, but I do have a few words of advice on the clothing side. When you don't have a lot of money, but you have a lot of time, second hand shopping is your friend. I keep running into people who whine at me, "But there's never anything good!" and all I can tell them is that they didn't look hard enough, in enough places. You might not find what you want in the first store, but if you start up one end of King Street in Newtown and hit all seven second hand stores that you will go past before you get to the other end, you WILL find what you need.  Ebay is a little cheaper than some charity shops these days, but for an interview you need to know that what you're buying will fit nicely and look professional before you shell out your precious dollars. 

My second bit of fashion advice is to get yourself a nice jacket, and always wear it to interviews. I literally NEVER wear my suit jacket unless I'm at an interview, but when the pressure is on to look as awesome as possible as quickly as possible, tossing a well cut jacket over just about anything makes you look like a bad ass Business Lady. This actually ties in quite closely with my first bit of advice - for $20, you can either spend very little time and get a very cheap jacket, or you can spend a bunch of time second hand store trawling and get a second hand designer jacket. Even second hand, higher end jackets will ALWAYS look better. The fabric is better, the cut is better, they just look better. Cheap suits will always look cheap - just take a look around the CBD some time and see how quickly you can pick out the men who didn't think it mattered how cheap their suit was. I always like to play it safe and wear a skirt to an interview so as to appear as feminine as possible and try and distract from my less employable traits, but I don't know if this really makes a difference outside of my own head. 

With shoes, if you have nice looking court shoes with a low heel that you can walk confidently in, wear them. If you need to, take a bag big enough to slip sandals or something into, so you can change into the heels just before you go in.  If you can't handle heels at all, or don't have any, there's nothing wrong with nice ballet flats or similar. Heels are just a little more impressive IF you have them, but not so awesome it's worth investing in some or causing yourself pain. 

When I started this, I wasn't going to include anything about pantyhose, because honestly I think of them as the torture instruments of the devil, and despise wearing them. I assumed everyone else agreed with me until I read this fascinating post about the connection between pantyhose and feeling "grown up" over on The Beheld. If you are one of these people who feels more professional, polished, and all around grown up in pantyhose, by all means add them to the outfit. But my advice would be to stick to skin tones - opaques are a bit too "hip" for an outfit where you're trying to look like you'll blend right into the workplace. 

So hit your local Cosmo Cosmetics, scout out all the second hand shops you can, get your supplies together, and next time I'll go through how to use all this stuff! 


  1. My tip for lips is go one further than Balm Stain and just get the lip stain - Revlon do a great one. Many lipglosses are gloopy and require attention (and I get sick of my hair sticking to them). Lip balms wear off and can dry out your lips if you reapply constantly. Lip stain goes on at 8am and gives your lips a nice blush and definition for at least 5 hours, longer if you don't get something that has you licking your lips constantly for lunch. Also great for a good night out - apply once and completely forget it.
    And you don't end up eating a ton of chemical product and can kiss with no fear of smearing, which has to be a plus.

    1. I've used the Revlon lip stains, and used to be a big fan, but honestly I like the balm stain better. The stain on one end balm on the other version would make my lips really dry, whereas the new one has the same staying power as the old version, but you don't have to be constantly putting the balm on.
      And I'm going to go ahead and assume there aren't a lot of job interviews that require pashing :)

  2. Another great way to find out which base makeup you should wear is by using the foundation tool on PS Beauty. Amazing website, I would really recommend it to anyone who's ever had any trouble finding the right foundation or the right shade (just about any girl right?).
    Check it out, let me know it you liked it :).

    Xx Lucy


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