Mixing it Up: How to Customize Your Makeup

Mixing it Up: How to Customize Your Makeup

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Part One

By Gina “Jet” Ortiz

I’m certain that some of you have already experimented with mixing lip colors, but most people probably don’t realize that they can mix other kinds of makeup as well. Have you ever been excited about your new lipstick only to discover when you got it home and onto your lips that it looked totally different than it did in the store? If I had a dollar every time that happened to me, I’d be a rich woman!

It’s not just lipstick, either. All kinds of makeup products can look completely different on you than they look in the store, and that can be for a number of reasons. The big one is lighting! Most stores use fluorescent lighting, which casts a different color hue onto everything, affecting the way your eye perceives all colors. The other sneakier factor is that you may not yet be able to visualize how certain colors will look on your exact skin tone. I’d bet that it’s a combination of these two things.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got an entire container of mismatched makeup somewhere in your home, but out of pure guilt you just can’t seem to throw it away. This is good! When I do a makeup lesson, I always ask my student to drag out all the makeup they don’t use so that I can help them “repurpose” it. You don’t have to throw it away and feel shame for wasting money! You can find a use for just about any kind of makeup, unless it’s spoiled (yes, makeup spoils!), and give it new life!

Did you know that you can custom-tailor foundation, eyeshadow, and even blush, along with your lip colors? Yes, you can!


FOUNDATION TOO DARK? You can add a lighter shade to it or you can use white foundation to lighten it. https://a.co/d/06BB4iWU

FOUNDATION TOO LIGHT? You can add a darker shade of foundation or a mixing pigment to make it match!

FOUNDATION TOO ORANGE/WARM OR COOL? Did you know that you can buy foundation “tints” to adjust coolness and warmth? This company also makes white and brown shades to adjust light and dark:  https://a.co/d/0hxk0wQz

Tips for mixing or adjusting foundation: Never mix the whole bottle! Always mix just the amount you’re going to use at the moment. Start by putting a little bit of the “incorrect” color down onto a palette of some sort (ceramic tile, CD cover, wax paper, or sore-bought makeup mixing palette). Pour or pump out the normal amount you use to cover your face. Add a few drops of the adjusting shade and mix with your palette knife (or dental spatula, popsicle stick, etc.) and test it on your jawline. Still too dark/light? Add a couple more drops and test again. Keep track of how many drops you used so that you’ll be prepared for the next time.


You can adjust your lip colors much the same way you adjust your foundation, and you have even more options here. Mixing lip color allows for much more experimentation than foundation and you can create a whole range of colors with just a few shades. If you have one tube of white or very light lipstick (yes, you can buy white lipstick! https://a.co/d/09p1Ygco  ) and one tube of dark red, you can create a wide range of pinks. The same principle holds for browns, which when mixed with white (or very light beige) will create a wide range of nudes. his can be done with any color as long as you have one dark and one very light shade.

Tips for mixing lip colors: A good way to start creating your own custom shades of lip colors is to stock up on a few “mixing colors.” You can go to any drugstore and look for the cheap lipsticks that you usually overlook. They’re usually at the end of the aisle with other cheap makeup, and the lipsticks’ price ranges from .99 cents to $1.99. Get a few colors that you wouldn’t wear on their own, like super-light beige, super-light pink, dark brown, darkest red, and orange.  These five colors will produce a wide range of shades that, when mixed well, will substitute for having dozens of individual shades. If you can find a white lipstick, get it. I see them on Amazon every now and then, but it’s not something you’ll find in a store. Black is also handy to have in your kit but be careful. A teeny bit goes a long way! Did you notice that I left out dark plum? It’s because when mixed with white or light beige, it will produce purples and lavenders, and those rarely look good on lips. Plum is fine, lavender is not.

Mixing palette.

The actual mixing process: You’ll need a knife and a palette. You can order one online or simply use a cheap white ceramic tile from the hardware store, wax paper on top of a white sheet of paper, or a paper plate. It’s important to use something white or silver so that you see an accurate color. I prefer a white ceramic tile. I’ve had the same one for over 20 years and I can’t imagine doing makeup without it. Your “knife” can be an actual palette knife, a dental spatula, or even a popsicle stick or butter knife (not the serrated edge). Anything with a flat “blade” will work. I encourage you to buy a mixing set so that you don’t have to hunt around for two items to use every time you want to mix something. https://a.co/d/0d7ItDSF

To begin the mixing process, simply scrape a little material from one shade and place it onto the tile. Then scrape a little from your other lightening or darkening shade and lay it down next to the other. Take a tiny bit from the adjusting shade and mix it with the other one, adding more and more until you achieve the shade you like. Test it on your lip and adjust accordingly. If you like the shade and think you will use it again, then mix some more and store it in a small container. I use those plastic pill organizers because they’ll hold up to eight shades and each little compartment has its own cover. https://a.co/d/04DVZphA You can also find these in dollar stores in the crafts section.

Lastly, an inexpensive lip color palette is a great tool to have in your arsenal. The ones that come with at least six to eight shades that range from dark to light can be very handy when expanding your lip color range. You can use them alone or mix the shades with your “good” lipsticks to achieve a customized look that you can switch up to your liking anytime you want! https://a.co/d/09Pa6cOI

Tune in next month for tips on mixing and customizing your eyeshadow and blush!

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Category: Makeup, Transgender How To


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