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Complexion Complexities
-  Kasi Aysola

August 26, 2020
(The article first appeared in NeoNarthaki on August 15, 2020)

Makeup is transformative. Whether it be performance makeup or just a lipstick - we become.

What entails are best practices I have developed over the years of working as a makeup artist. I started doing my makeup myself at the age of twelve. I remember looking at myself and wondering why I looked so angry, only to realize my eyebrows were drawn too aggressively! You live and you learn. My most favorite make overs are the ones that hit home - Indians.

Step 1 - Stop lightening! A common misconception is to choose a lighter foundation in hopes to "brighten". We've all been there - looking like powder puffs with brown arms and feet. Not our best moments! Frankly, I don't blame people for this since colonial beauty ideals still loom over us. Lightening the skin will not work. When you begin to perspire the make up changes (oxidizes) and the natural complexion shows through. This gives a grey cast over their skin. The theater lights also amplify that ghostly cast!

Step 2 - Skin type. Figure out what kind of skin you have. Skin types refers to normal, oily, dry etc. I myself have oily skin which changes quite a bit in color. I prefer water-based foundations and keep two colors for Summer and Winter.

Step 3 - Matching. First identify your skin tone and its undertones. Skin tone refers to light, medium, dark, etc. Undertone refers to yellow, red, olive, etc. Be honest with yourself when choosing. Match yourself near the jaw line. If you can't see it once it's blended, that is a good sign! For males, contouring with darker shades helps to chisel.

Step 4 - Dance or daily? Know which is for which. Not all foundations work for performance or daily use. MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof is great example of daily wear foundation for tropical climates. It doesn't separate and is thin yet with good coverage. Kryolan TV Paint Stick & Cake Makeup are both fantastic for stage. They are full coverage and sweat resistant.

Always powder your foundation! I cannot live without Laura Mercier Translucent Powder. It sets foundation beautifully.

Below I'm leaving a list of some product favorites. Remember to makeup, not cakeup! Enjoy the glam.

Foundations: Kryolan TV Paint Stick, MAC Studio Fix Powder, Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick, Revlon ColorStay, Fenti Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Foundation

Eyeshadows: Anastasia Beverly Hills, Juvia's Place, Morphe, MAC

Eyeliner: LAKME Eyeconic Kajal, MAC Blacktrack Paintpot, Stila Stay All Day liquid liner

Tilak/Pottu: Ben Nye Clown White, Eyetex/Shringar White Tilak (Pro-tip: if using the Eyetex or Shingar Tilak, put spirit gum underneath to stop from running).

Lips: NYKAA Extra Matte, Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, Anastasia Liquid Lipsticks

Kasi Aysola is a Bharatanatyam dancer, choreographer, nattuvangam artiste and make-up specialist. He is the Co-Founder/Co-Artistic Director of Prakriti Dance based in Maryland, USA.

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