Ask Milani SA

1. How do I pick the right foundation shade for me?

The two things you’ll need to know when choosing a foundation are undertone and shade. Undertone will determine the amount of red or yellow in a foundation, while shade will determine how light or deep.

Overtone — aka surface tone is very commonly found in the face and is one of the main culprits in choosing the wrong foundation tone. Many people believe they have a pink undertone because of surface redness they may see in the face. Undertone is a very important factor in choosing the right foundation shade.

Undertone — this is the true color of your skin tone. Learn it and love it because it will never change. The easiest way to find your undertone is to look at your arms and your wrists.

  • If the blue veins in your wrists appear more purple, then you are probably a cool/pink undertone because red+blue=purple. Foundation options for a cool undertone are Milani’s Cream- To-Powder Foundation in Soft Beige or Cocoa Mocha. For a foundation powder option, try Even Touch Powder Foundation in Shell, Warm Toffee or Creamy Beige.
  • If your blue veins appear more green, then you have more of a golden or yellow undertone because yellow+blue=green. Foundation options for a warm undertone include Milani’s Cream-To-Powder Foundation in Buff, Sand, Warm Beige, Bronze Tan, Warm Brown or Pecan. For a powder foundation option, try Even Touch Powder Foundation in Natural, Natural Tan or Golden Beige.
  • If you can’t tell either way, then you are likely a neutral undertone, equal parts cool and warm. Foundation options for a neutral undertone are Milani’s Cream-To-Powder Foundation in Medium Beige, Warm Honey, Spiced Almond and Caramel Brown. For a powder foundation option, try Even Touch Powder Foundation in Fresco, Caramel or Creamy Cocoa.

Don’t try to change your undertone with foundation. If you want to add more cool tones or reduce the yellow to the face, use blush. Alternatively, if you want more warmth, add a touch of bronzer. Your foundation is meant to erase any discolorations in the skin and create a blank canvas. If your foundation does not blend seamlessly into your neck, then you’re probably wearing the wrong shade. So you will either have to wear foundation all the way down your neck (not a good time for a collared shirt) or you will be walking around with the dreaded ‘make-up mask’. Embrace your natural skin tone and your foundation will look flawless.


2. How do I create the perfect cat eye?

1. Begin your cat eye by sketching your line first with a pencil liner, such as Milani’s Liquid Eye Pencil, before applying the liquid liner. This will allow for a longer wear and a more precise application. Apply the pencil liner as close to the lash line as possible, making the line thinner as it nears the inner corner of the eye.

2. To achieve a crisp, clean look, trace over your sketched line with liquid eyeliner, like Milani’s Eye Tech Extreme. Use the side of the applicator, rather than a tip, for a smoother application. If your hand feels unsteady, rest your pinky finger on your cheek for extra stability.

3. The most challenging part of a cat eye is making sure the angles are even on both sides. Align your pencil with the side of your nose and angle it towards the end of your brow. Draw a dot and use that as guide for the direction of your angle. To draw the line, flip the pen around so that the tip is facing outward. Align the pen tip so it extends your lash line towards the end of your brow and pull through towards the center of your eyelid. Continue to trace over the line until desired intensity and shape is achieved.


3. How do I create a smoky eye?

The most important thing to remember about a smoky eye is that it is a technique, not a color. You can choose to do a smoky eye in any color you wish, just remember that it should always be darkest at the lashline and gradually getting lighter as it approaches your crease. For a basic smoky eye, select 3 colors in the same shade family, dark, medium and light. Follow these steps for a traditional smoky eye:

  • Use a black eyeliner pencil, such as Milani’s Liquid Eye, and draw a thick line just above your lash line. Fill in between your eyelashes for added intensity and thickness.
  • Using a flat eye shadow brush, apply the darkest shade of the three colors you have selected and press it over the eyeliner, applying it all the way to the crease of your eye. The darkest shade should not go past your crease. Using powder eye shadow on top of the creamy texture of the pencil will help to set your liner to keep from smudging.
  • With your medium tone, use a fluffy blending brush and apply to the crease of your eye in a back and forth sweeping motion. The medium tone should overlap the darkest shade at the crease, and should eliminate any hard lines created by the darkest shade.
  • With an all-over shadow brush, use your lightest shade and overlap the medium shade to blend out the harsh edges and create a brow highlight.
  • Some artists choose to do their foundation after the application of the smoky eye, because fall out can occur when using such dark shades. Applying foundation after the eye shadow can help erase any fall out and create a crisp, clean look.
  • Always top off with a few coats of mascara to finish the look. Milani’s Runway Lashes will give the perfect combination of length and volume with a rich black finish.


4. How do I contour my face?

The purpose of contouring is to shape and sculpt the face through the use of light and shadow, aka highlighter and bronzer. Areas of the face where bronzer is applied will appear smaller or recessed, whereas areas where highlighter is applied will appear larger or more projected (think of why we love black pants). Using a matte bronzer or a powder foundation that is 2-3 shades darker than your natural skin tone is best. Bronzers with shimmer are not the best choice for contouring as the shimmer will reflect light and won’t create the ‘shadow’ effect that you’re trying to achieve with a contour. Powders with shimmer are more effective as highlighters as their light reflecting qualities will help to brighten the area in which you use them.

Follow these tips when contouring your face:

Contouring Cheeks:

Begin by loading your brush with a matte bronzer, like the matte side of Milani’s Bronzer XL All Over Glow or Milani’s Even Touch Powder Foundation, at the hollows of the cheeks (make a fish face if you’re not sure how to find the hollows of your cheeks). Blend the product upward and around your cheekbones to lift and shape. Be sure to blend all the way back into the ear so it does not appear to start in the center of the cheek. This will create a more intense shadow which makes your cheekbones appear to be more dimensional.

Highlighting Cheeks:

The best way to intensify the look of your contour is by adding a highlighter. Choose a highlighter with a similar undertone as your skin, therefore, if you have more golden in your skin, try Milani’s Illuminating Face Powder in either Amber Nectar or Hermosa Rose. For more cool or pink undertones, use Milani’s Illuminating Face Powder in Beauty’s Touch. The highlight should mirror the bronzer, therefore if you’re applying bronzer under the cheekbone and blending upward, the highlight should be on top of the cheekbone, blending downward. The seam created where these two shades meet should be centered on the cheekbone and will be masked by your blush.

Framing the forehead:

Don’t forget to add a soft contour to the forehead to balance out your look of your contoured cheek bones. Apply bronzer on the sides of the forehead to add warmth and create dimension. Be sure to blend all the way into the hairline for a natural look. For highlighting the forehead, draw an inverted V shape to avoid having highlight in the center of the forehead, which can translate as oily skin. Other areas to avoid using highlight are the tip of the nose, the area next to the and between the eyebrows, as this can also make your skin look oily.

Slimming the nose:

Dust a small amount of bronzer down the sides of the nose to slim and shape. Highlight the bridge of the nose, avoiding the tip and between the eyebrows, to give a glow and compliment the bronzer.


5. How/where should I apply my blush?

Blush should be used to add color to the face and sculpt the cheeks. Where ever you put your brush down first is where you will apply the most amount of color. Make sure not to start with your brush on the apples of the cheeks to avoid that overly rosy, clown face. To lift your face, start near the temples, slightly above your cheek bone. Then, using a curved, C-shaped motion, connect the temple to the apple of the cheek, being sure not to come too close to the nose (about two fingers width away). This will give you a soft wash of color that will sculpt the cheek bones and bring life to the face.


6. How do I pick the right blush shade?

Choosing the right blush shade can seem intimidating because there are so many options. As long as you’re choosing a color in that is in your skin tone, anyone can wear any tone of blush. In other words, you don’t have to wear a pink blush just because you have a cool undertone. What is more important to consider when choosing a blush shade is the rest of your makeup. If you’re wearing cool tones in your makeup (blues, raspberry pinks, or fuchsia purples) stick to cooler tone blushes such as soft pinks or berries, like Milani’s Baked Blush in Dolce Pinkand Delizioso Pink. If you’re wearing more warm shades (gold, bronze or orange), choose warmer toned blushes like coral or peach such as Milani’s Baked Blush in Luminoso and Rose D’oro.


7. How should I fill-in my brows?

The product you pick to fill-in your brows depends on the type of look you want to create.

If you want crisp, defined brows: Use Easybrow
Begin with your pencil at the front of the brow, and fill in using quick, short strokes in the direction of hair growth. Follow all the way to the end of the brow, tapering off at the tip. Use Milani’s Secret Cover Concealer Stick or Milani’s Brow and Eye Highlighter and trace around the brow to clean the edges and lift the brow bone.

For full, soft focus brows: Use Brow Fix Kit

When using a brow powder kit, you will usually find two shades. The reason for two shades in a brow powder kit is for creating dimension and building intensity. With pencils, you can change the amount of intensity based on how much pressure you use to apply the product. Begin with the lightest shade and fill in your brows entirely with an angled brow brush, moving in quick, short strokes in the direction of hair growth. Use the dark shade to bump up the front, arch and tip of the brow. For a longer wear, apply Milani’s Brow Shaping Clear Wax before the powder which will help the product adhere better to the skin.

For all day brows: Use Brow Tint Pen

Tinted brow pens are a great way to get full brows that last all day. Use the pen just as you would a pencil and, beginning at the front of the brow, apply in short, quick strokes in the direction of hair growth. Alternatively, you can apply Milani’s Brow Shaping Clear Gel over any other brow products for a longer wear.


8. How do I make my eyes look bigger?

While adding white and light colors to your eyes will help them to look more open, that’s only half the battle. The key to making your eyes look bigger is contrast. Here are a few tips to help you achieve that bright-eyed look.

  • Use Milani’s Shadow Eyes in Almond along the lower lashline and inner corner of the eye. The light color against the white of your eye will make it appear that your eyes are more open and the dark color in your lashes will create the contrast.
  • Use a dark brown or black liner like Milani’s Liquid Eye Pencil on the outer corner of upper lashline to provide definition. Be sure to taper the line off about halfway through the upper lashline, as lining all the way across could make your eyes appear smaller.
  • The light shade on the inner corner will create a contrast with the liner and add a lot of dimension and create that open-eyed look.
  • Don’t use liner or mascara on the lower lashline. The key is to keep this area as light and bright as possible.
  • Dust a soft shimmery nude shade under the lower lashline like Milani’s Bella Eyes Gel Powder Eyeshadow in Bella Sand. This will bring some light under the eyes and serves as a barrier to keep the waterline from running or fading.


9. How do I pick the best red lipstick shade for me?

Picking a red lipstick, or any lipstick shade for that matter, is very similar to picking a blush. There are many options and therefore it can feel like a daunting task. Just remember that if you like it, you can wear it, and you will definitely have more fun when choosing a lip color.

When picking a red, keep in mind that reds can run cool, warm, bright or dark. Choosing the right shade is sometimes determined by what other makeup you are pairing with it. Since the focus should be on your red lip, the rest of your look should be more subtle.

If you’re not used to wearing red lipstick, no matter what shade you choose, it’s going to seem very bold. This is OK—everyone is a little intimidated by red at first.

If you are a deeper skin tone and have never worn red, you may want to try a cooler red that’s slightly deeper, as this won’t seem as bold.
Milani’s Color Statement Lipstick in Cabaret Blend or Ruby Valentine would be an option. Warm reds, however, will appear brighter and more orange, but is quite striking on a deeper skin tone, such as Milani’s Color Statement Lipstick in Best Red or High Voltage.

For fair skin with pink undertones, cooler reds can sometimes appear more pink, so you may want to try a warmer red for the classic look such as Milani’s Color Statement Lipstick in Best Red.

At the end of the day, anyone can wear any red. Just pick a red that makes you feel good and don’t be afraid to be bold!


10. How do I pick the best nude lipstick shade for me?

Choosing a nude lipstick is just like choosing a concealer—you have to consider one that is in your shade range. If you choose a nude that is too light for your complexion, it will often times make you look dead—not cute. Find a nude that resembles a slightly more pink shade of your concealer and you’ll probably be pretty close to the perfect nude for you. For light skin tones, try Milani’s Color Statement Lipstick in Nude Crème or Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss in Bare Secret. For medium skin tones, Milani’s Color Statement Lipstick in Naturally Chicand Dulce Caramelo would be the ideal nude. For deeper skin tones, try Milani’s Color Statement Lipstick in Teddy Bare or Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss in Nude Touch.


11. What is the best color shade for dark blue eyes. I have dark hair, and Italian?

A: The best thing about having a darker eye color is that you can use many different shades to bring out your eyes a little more. You can blend bronze and golds for an evening look, or simply a pale blue shadow like Bella Sky or teal shadow like Bella Teal, as a liner or shadow to bring out your blue eyes even more! If you have any subtle undertones to your dark blue eyes like olive, grey or brown, you can use eyeshadows similar to these undertones to make your blue eyes appear less dark and give the perfect pop of color. My personal recommendation would be Bella Khaki as it pairs great with dark eyes and is absolutely GORGEOUS when used as a liner.


12. How do I find the best colors to suit me?

The easiest way to find out which colors suit you best is to simply give them a try! The more you try out different colors, the more you’ll learn which ones are the right fit for you. You’ll never know without giving them a test run. There are tutorials and lots of vlogger videos available on Youtube as well as that provide instructions on how to use different products and colors.

When I want to try a new look or color, I often view red carpet or runway looks of celebrities that have a similar skin tone or makeup look I find appealing, and try to mimic the look myself. With practice you’ll be a pro in no time. Take a look at a few makeup tutorials on our website and share your best looks with us on Instagram by using the hashtag #milani!