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If you want to get more bang for your buck, it’s important to choose products that work for your skin type and give you multiple benefits

In today’s day and age, I don’t know anyone who steps out for the day without a coat of mascara or a dash of lipstick. But, while we may be experts at wearing makeup, do you know enough about the ones that work for you? Here I have listed a few pointers you should keep in mind the next time you are out looking for beauty buys.

Hair Colour

Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, a reaction can occur. You have to keep other factors in mind too. For example, if you are on The Pill, a certain kind of hair colour might cause tingling on your scalp during application. This is due to the ammonia in the hair colour.

Most colour brands will tell you to try the product on a small patch of skin before using it on your hair, but this reaction won’t be mentioned anywhere. So, what do you do? Go for a salon range of hair colours rather than the cheaper ones you get in the supermarket. Almost all hair colour has ammonia but a salon range will cause a milder reaction on your scalp.

Also, closely monitor your hair fall patterns if you colour your hair or are recovering from a viral fever. From personal experience I can tell you that a certain brand of hair colour – yes unfortunately a salon range – makes my hair fall out like crazy. I used it once and I didn’t connect the two. But when it happened the second time (I had forgotten about the first time) I realised what was causing the hair fall and I stopped using it.

Sometimes, certain brands, no matter how good they are, may not work for you. And your hair may also fall out more if you are recovering from a viral fever. At such times, it is vital to choose products that provide the right nourishment for your hair and prevent it from falling.

Skin care

This is a really difficult one as everyone’s skin tone and skin type are so different. Oily, dry, normal, combination and sensitive are just a few. You also have age-related concerns like acne, pigmentation, wrinkles and so on.

Most good brands today are hypoallergenic yet you must read the ingredient list so that you know for sure it won’t aggravate a condition you have or irritate your skin. For example, if you have sensitive skin or acne, it’s better not to buy an alcohol-based toner.

So, how do you choose the right moisturiser for your skin? The best way is to go to one of those counters you see at high end beauty stores where they can do an analysis of your skin. Based on their feedback, you know what your skin needs. Or if you are visiting a dermatologist, she or he can help too.

Choose a product that is best suited for your age. If you are younger – in your twenties – then go for a light moisturiser with SPF. If you are older then choose one with skin firming and nourishing ingredients like Vitamin E, aloe vera or olive oil.

Multi-tasking products

Nowadays, since we all do multiple things at the same time, why shouldn’t our cosmetics? Besides, who has the time on a daily basis to apply moisturiser, then concealer and then a foundation? It is better to choose one that does all three – and there are several well-known brands in the market that offer such products. You can buy a tinted moisturiser with SPF that works as a sun block, which also nourishes your skin and acts as concealer.

When it comes to lipsticks and glosses, you can also choose ones that moisturise, fill in the lines and colour your lips. It is also important to know the right way to apply colour cosmetics – from a lip pencil to a blush, the right technique can enhance your cosmetic’s use immensely.


The right shade

Whether you are buying blush or lipstick or foundation, the important thing to remember is that you should choose colours that work for your skin. Bubblegum pink may be the rage but that doesn’t mean it will suit you. Indians have a yellow undertone in our skin so the colours that work best for us are usually earth colours or ones that have a warm colour as a base – yellows, reds or orange. Gold eye shadow would usually work better for Indian skin than electric blue or green.

Most people know what works for them but if you are unsure, ask the beauty consultant at the counter – she has been trained to guide you choose the right colours.


Cosmetic TLC

Just like with food and medicines, cosmetics too come with an expiry date and must be discarded if they have been lying unused for a long time.

For obvious reasons, liners and mascaras must be changed frequently – they don’t last for more than a year.

Powder colour cosmetics have a longer shelf life, over two years, but cream-based ones don’t last for more than 18 months or so.

Lipsticks can last up to three years, but if you have not used a tube for a while and notice some fungus or mould, then please throw it away!

When to buy

It’s best to go shopping for cosmetics when you are bright and chirpy, not when you are tired or have had a few sleepless nights. Also, if you are back from a beach holiday, you are likely to have a tan and if you buy at such a time, you might end up choosing the wrong shade.

The one time you must absolutely make it a point to wear makeup is after a break-up. Nothing works as a pick-me-up faster than when you are looking your best.

Think about it – a coat of mascara will make your eyes look bigger and the fear of smudging will prevent you from crying; a bright coloured lipstick will brighten your face and make you look happy even if you are feeling miserable. Soft, moisturised skin with a hint of a blush will make it glow, thereby hiding the dullness it might otherwise have. People respond better to someone who is well turned out and well groomed.

Keep these tips in mind and always put your best foot forward. As the line in the commercial for one famous cosmetic brand goes – ‘because you’re worth it.’

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Minnal is a senior writer and editor. Her forte is lifestyle journalism, art, food, beauty and travel writing
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