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5 Things to Consider When Buying Makeup

buying makeup

Whether you like to go full glam or keep it minimal with some lip-gloss and mascara, makeup shopping can be overwhelming with all the products to choose from. It’s my job at Maven Beauty Bar to assist customers on which products will work best for them as well as brow threading! Here are five things I tell customers to consider while buying makeup to make their trip worthwhile:

Skin type

Beauty lingo can be confusing, that’s why it’s important to know your skin. Are you dry, oily, or a combination? Not all foundations are created equal, that’s why they come in powders, creams, and liquids all with different formulations. If your skin tends to be oily and you want to combat that, try a foundation with a matte finish. Don’t forget blotting papers, these are perfect to throw in a purse and use midday to rid the excess oil. For dryer skin, go towards a foundation marketed as a luminous/dewy finish. For combination, it’s all about where you apply the product. Try using more of the creams and liquids in dry areas and powders in the oily areas.


Undertones? What are those? No, this is not the skin tone; skin tone is how you describe yourself as having light, medium, tan, or dark skin. Undertones come from underneath the surface color and affect the skin’s overall hue. The tones are broken down into three categories: cool (pink, red, or blueish), warm (yellow, peachy, or golden), and neutral (a mixture of warm and cool). This is why you see foundation shades with the terms “cool” or “neutral.”

Finding your undertone is simple. You can either speak to a beauty salesperson in-store or do a test at home, the vein check. Look at the veins on your forearm, do they look blue or green? Blue veins tend to be a cool undertone whereas green veins are a warm undertone. A mixture of blue and green, making a teal, yields a neutral undertone.


The makeup industry isn’t as regulated as you may think. This is why it’s important to know what’s in the products you’re using. Many chemicals used in cosmetics are skin irritants/penetrators and can act as endocrine disruptors. There are many harmful chemicals, but here are four to avoid:

Parabens: Preservatives to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Phthalates: Used to plasticize products, making them more flexible and able to hold color/scent better.

Sulfates: Cleansing agents that remove dirt and grim and are responsible for the foaming.

Aluminum Compounds: Used in antiperspirants to stop sweat.

Interested in making the switch to clean beauty but don’t know where to start? Check out the book No More Dirty Looks by Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt to learn all about the ingredients and secrets in the cosmetics industry.


Before shopping, look at the reviews of the products you’re eyeing. These reviews will help you understand how the product works, and what you can expect from using it. With the age of beauty-influencers it’s easy to see the product in action instead of solely reading about it. One search of the product you want on YouTube and you’ve got thousands of videos at your fingertips.

Quick tip: Not sure what products you’re even looking for? YouTube is also great for that! Girls, and guys, are dedicating their careers to reviewing cosmetics. Try finding a vlogger that has the same skin type as you for the best recommendations.

Shelf Life

Yes, makeup DOES have an expiration date. So that lip gloss that you’ve kept in your purse for the past two years probably needs to be thrown out. To figure out when products expire, check the packaging. There’s a small open jar icon on all cosmetics/skincare called the PAO (Period After Opening). That symbol has the number of months that the product is good for after it has been opened. Check here to learn what the other symbols mean.


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