Matte, Shimmer And Glow: Which Makeup Finish Is Flattering For You?

    Today I want to talk about all the different finishes of cosmetic products, and give you tips about which is flattering for you. For personal purposes, I distinguish five grades from matte to glitter: matte, glow (satin), pearly, shimmer and glitter.

   The rule of repetition says that shimmer and sparkle in your makeup will flatter you if you have shine and sparkle anywhere else on you. Look for shine in your hair: is it more on the shiny side or on the matte side?
  A friend of mine has very shiny, very light blond hair, and she can rock shimmery eye-shadow during the day and make it look appropriate. For someone with very matte hair the same eyed shadow would look overly glittery.
 Whether the hair is shiny or not is determined by the hair's natural structure and its health. Healthy, non-damaged hair is always shinier than hair where the scales have been damaged by heat, harsh products and rough handling. Naturally blond hair as well as straight hair tends to be shinier. Non-shiny hair, (as long as it is healthy), usually has an interesting texture. Of course you can help your hair to shine more with diy lamination, or shine serums.
  Pay attention to your skin texture: if it is naturally dewy, don't overwhelm it with too much matte, that would just age it. If it tends to be oily and shine too much, you will need mattes but don't overdo it; also feel free to use shimmer on the eyes and lips. Matte skin (usually mature skin) will look more alive with small doses of a very subtle glow.
    Of course clothing with sparkle or shine also calls for makeup with a bit of shimmer. This is more of a dressy look that works well for the night. Artificial light so makes everything look flat, so you can pile on much more sheen and sparkle than for the day.

   Here is a small guide to matte and sparkly products. If you have shiny hair, you can use more shimmer that I suggest, if you are very matte stay on the matte side of things. Also, these tips are rules of thumb or rather loose guidelines. Feel free to ignore them if you are going for a specific look or know what you are doing.

  Totally matte foundation rarely looks on anyone, and can age the skin. In east Asia the dewy look is preferred, that's why you will find many BB creams in this finish. In the west, matte is more popular but it is still brightened up by a generous use of shimmery highlighter. I'd love to encourage you to try a non-matte foundation: it can really look fresh and youthful! One great way to do this is to apply a glowy foundation or primer below your usual foundation, for a very subtle but pretty glow.

Primers and bases (face and eyes):
   These are often glowy or lightly shimmery, which is a good solutions for those of you who need a very little bit of shimmer under an otherwise matte make-up.

Pressed powder:
   Used to mattify the complexion. Use this only for the oily bits (the T-zone). Stay away from the area around the outer eye corners, as it can make the lines in that area more visible.

   Matte neutrals are amazing for the daytime no-make-up make-up look. Darker shades in matte can look very dramatic and latina-diva. However shimmer can brighten up the eye, especially at night. Here is a nice comparison. Baked eye-shadows have very fine pearly particles which give a wonderful look, as opposed to typical shimmery eye-shadow which is basically matte mixed with sparkly bits. Of course eye-shadow is also the place where you can really go wild with pure glitter for a night out.
   Baked eye-shadow offer a more metallic rather than glittery finish, and are really easy to use. Above is the eye make-up that I got at the Alverde ladies at DM's Beauty Camp. A more intense look can be achieved by shimmery mineral eyeshadow.

   Shimmery bright lips are bold and dressy and hard to pull off for the day. They can look stunning at night, but they do look weird when they start coming off when you eat. Slightly shimmery lip products will make thinner lips look fuller. Very full lips should stick to matte or satin shades make lines show up, so adding a bit of gloss on top is  good solution.

   If you want to contour your face or just sculpt your cheekbones with it, stick to the matte ones (slightly Dewar at most). Shadows do not shimmer. Shimmery bronzer works for tat sun-kissed effect: dust it where the sun would naturally hit your face (the tops of your cheekbones, across your forehead and down the bridge of your nose. Any more than that looks good only for that glam beach look (not sure where you would wear that though), or a festive occasion. Or used on dark skin as a highlighter.

   Matte to dewy is appropriate for every occasion, and if applied lightly will look very natural. Bright shades are easier to pull of if they are matte. Pearly blush should be restricted to the tops of the cheeks, since it will function a bit like a highlighter.
   For all of the above products it is important how fine the glittery particles are: big sparkly bit can look cheap very easily, while very fine shimmer looks much more sophisticated. Also, don't do all over shimmer. Don't do shimmery blush + highlighter + shimmery bronzer. Don't do shimmery eyes and lips. Unless you really know what you are doing.

Note that the blush is matte (also from Alverde)
   I love highlighters, however it is the very subtle ones that give that "wow" effect. Stay away from anything with big sparkly bit. You are looking for a glow or pearly look for the day, for the night it can be even as bold as a subtle shimmer. My favourite highlighters are minerals. Here is an image from a review of Lumiere mineral highlighters I was going to do. The brand doesn't exist any more, but you should definitely check out online mineral makeup stores for highlighters in a variety of shades and finishes. Here are a couple of warmer and subtler highlighters that I use:

How I use shimmers and mattes in my makeup:

   My hair is rather on the matte side. I use Lumiere mineral makeup in a slightly dewy finish, and often use mineral foundation with a decidedly pearly finish as a highlighter. Because I have slightly hooded eyelids, I make sure the darker shades of eyeshadow that go on my crease are matte, but I love using a shimmery shade on the lids and below the brow. I am not a fan of very shimmery lipsticks, I think the only one I own is a frosted nude (image above) which works because the colour takes a back seat.

  So, what is the bottom line? The most universal finish is one that is slightly dewy (aka matte, but not too matte); followed by a very subtle shimmer. Another simple tip would be to apply shimmer to the part of your face that you want to draw attention to.
  And no, not all my stuff is from Alverde. My favourite highlighters are from Lumiere (but the brand doesn't exist anymore), and I love my nude eyeshadow palette from Zoeva as it contains a balance mix of mattes and shimmers.
  What about you? Do you prefer matte of shimmer, or rather: which products do you prefer to have a matte finish, and which ones a shimmery finish?

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