I am thrilled to introduce you to Giselle, a college student from San Diego, who I met during guide dog training. She graduated with her guide, Museli, the same day I graduated with Roja, and I have hilarious memories of our weekly trips to Sephora, Ulta and the Mack counter during our 2 weeks of training in San Rafael.
Our fab Resident Advisor., Mick, drove us to whatever stores we “needed” to go to, along with our tagalong classmate, Dale, who was basically there to provide comical entertainment. The image of Dale and Mick spraying different colognes in Ulta while guessing the name of each scent, along with Dale unknowingly walking behind the checkout counter as if he were an employee still makes me laugh out loud.
Giselle was the only true makeup expert on those excursions, and I constantly asked her about different brands and techniques. She came to my room and showed me how to properly clean my makeup brushes and basically was my personal makeup adviser. Giselle’s complexion is such that she barely needs to wear makeup, but when she did wear it, everyone was impressed with how well she did it, especially considering she is completely blind. I feel like I’ve kind of used my low vision as an excuse for not learning much about makeup techniques, but Giselle showed me that it’s all about learning to experiment with different makeup and techniques. I’ve asked her to share her knowledge with our readers, especially coming up on the holidays when we all want to look and feel our best. Mick kept telling her that she should start a beauty blog, and I completely agree. He even came up with a name for it, so I’ll use that to intro her Q&A. I now present to you: “Beauty by Giselle”!
Q: When did you first become interested in makeup?
A: I first got interested in makeup at a young-ish age because my oldest sister was always into it when I was growing up. So I first started wearing eyeshadow and lipgloss at 12-years-old, which later progressed to eyeliner at 13-years-old. But I really got into makeup my senior year of high school. I learned proper techniques and about foundation and trends and the actual beauty and art aspect of makeup.
Q: What are some of your favorite brands and products?
A: I love Sephora brand eyeliners. They’re super pigmented and easy to work with, and very affordable. But, I really like Milani for lipsticks, L’oreal Paris for foundation, Makeup For Ever for foundation and setting powders, Smashbox for foundation, and NYX for setting powder and lipgloss and lipsticks.
Q: Describe your everyday makeup routine.
A: I start out by washing my face with my Olay Foaming Face Wash for Combination/Oily Skin. Then, I apply my Garnier moisturizer and wait for my face to completely dry. Then I apply some chapstick to lubricate my lips to keep them from appearing chapped or dry when applying my lipstick. Then I apply artificial tears to keep my eyes lubricated so that when I apply my eye makeup I won’t feel irritation. Then, I apply my L’oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation in the shade 105 Natural Beige, first dotting the foundation on my cheeks and blending the product out with a Real Techniques Stippling brush and then repeat those steps on my chin, nose, and forehead. Then, I take my NYX HD Finishing Pressed Powder in the shade (HDFP01 Translucent) and use an angled Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki brush and apply the powder all over my face, focusing on the areas that get most oily. After that I usually apply a brown, slightly shimmery Waterproof Contour Eye Pencil from Sephora in the color Cocoa, or my Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in the color Trooper, which is just a black. I find the Kat Von D eyeliner very easy to use because it’s a marker and has a brush tip and doesn’t smear everywhere. I start by holding the eyeliner very close to the tip, and apply it as close to my upper lash line as possible, starting in my inner corner closest to my nose. I have slightly slanted eyes so typically I end up creating winged liner, winged meaning that the eyeliner just extends outside of the lash line. And after I apply my eyeliner, I apply my lipstick or lipgloss which I usually use a mauvey color, a deep berry color, or sometimes a light pink, depending on my outfit.
Q: How do you do your makeup for special occasions?
A: I typically wear a full coverage foundation for special occasions. For me, it would be my Makeup For Ever Matte Plus Velvet Foundation. This foundation has a very velvety and glowy appearance which is great for a night out. I typically just do my eyeliner, and add mascara sometimes, and use different lipsticks. But, if it’s something really fancy then usually my sister helps me with my makeup. She’s really good at it and we always have fun doing makeup together so it’s really nice when we get to do that. Usually she does my eyeshadow and some bronzing and highlighting. But seeing as this type of makeup application isn’t everyday, I let her do it.
Q: What are some tips for doing your own makeup without sight?
A: For foundation, I always apply it first with my fingers and then blend it out with a brush. I find that this technique is much cleaner and sometimes much easier. But, I have tried using Beauty Blenders and those also work very well. Essentially you’re applying lotion and the less you feel like you have something on your face the better that is and the more you’ll feel confident. For eyeliner, I use eyeliners that don’t smear and are very easy to work with. I start from the innermost corner of my eye and just start sweeping the pencil or marker liner above my lash line in a slow motion. Because of my lids being a bit small I position my left index finger on my eyebrow and raise it a little and place my left thumb on my cheekbone. And I just stop where I think is reasonable, whether that’s where my eye ends or a little outside the eye to create a wing. For lipstick or lipgloss I keep my fingers very close to my lips while applying the product so I can feel where it’s going. You’ll know when you’ve got too much or not enough on.
Q: What is trending in the beauty world right now?
A: Well, since it is fall a lot of dark berry, dark neutral shades, or wine colors are trendy for lips. Browns, taupes, burgundies, copper, grays, and golds are trending for eyeshadows.
Q: What is your biggest advice for someone who is just beginning to wear makeup?
A: My biggest advice would be that less is more. And always be patient and have fun in expressing yourself or trying bold looks.
Q: What is your skincare routine?
A: For my face wash I use a few different ones from different brands such as Garnier, Philosophy, Olay, and Pacifica. Typically, I use the Olay Foaming Face Wash for Combination/Oily Skin very frequently and I use the Garnier Clean Plus, Blackhead Eliminating Scrub for Oily Skin twice a week to control acne and keep my skin clear. I use the Philosophy Purity One Step Facial Cleanser or Pacifica Kale Detox Deep Cleaning Face Wash for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin Types when I use heavier foundations or powders. For moisturizer I use the Garnier Moisture Rescue, Refreshing Gel-Cream (Normal/-bo Skin), and works very well for my combination skin type.
Q: What are some basic makeup essentials every girl should have on hand?
A: For me, I can never leave the house without knowing that I have eyeliner in my bag, (just in case I need something to make my eyes pop). But, I’d say a good eyeliner, black or brown, and a lipgloss or lipstick. Must-have products that I think every girl should have are probably any Sephora brand eyeliner pencil because they are the business. And any NYX Butter Gloss, because first, they smell amazing, and second, they just make your lips ten times better.
Q: What makeup stores do you enjoy shopping at and why?
A: I love Sephora and Ulta mostly. Both stores have dozens of brands which make them very versatile and easy to try new things. Ulta has drug-store brands which makes it easy and affordable and they also have the best fragrance selection and deals anywhere. Sephora just has that amazing atmosphere that only Sephora has. And at any location I go to, the people working there are always so friendly and understanding and very helpful. But I do like Target as well.