Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of videos and posts about how influencers do their swatches so I thought I would let you guys know how I do mine.
First of all I’m not an ‘influencer’, I’m a blogger. My IG page and this blog are about the products not about me (or Em). I haven’t posted a pic of my whole face in well over a year (but if you want to be a creeper, if you scroll all the way to the beginning of my IG, you might find a few). Before I get into how I do my swatches, I want you to consider the various reasons that people do swatches and what they’re trying to show you. A lot of people do swatches as a way to demonstrate how the product performs, which is great and can be very helpful. But that’s not why I do mine. The majority of the products that I swatch are only sold online so you can’t go to the store and see what they look like. In my opinion you can’t accurately judge what a product looks like by seeing a photo of the palette (or compact or whatever). You can see the basic color but usually not the finish, texture, shift if it’s duochrome etc. I’m also of the opinion that how a product swatches isn’t necessarily indicative of how it’s going perform on the eyes or face. Especially with matte eyeshadows. Often a matte eyeshadows will swatch like shit but perform beautifully on the eyes. And this can vary day to day. For example if my skin is dry? Forget it. I won’t even bother doing swatches until after I exfoliate because otherwise they’re going to look like crap. And when you apply makeup, do you do one swipe across your face? Of course not. You gradually build intensity with light layers.
So when I do swatches I want you to see what the color looks like on my skin and what the texture and finish of the product is like. Is it glittery? Metallic? Does it shift colors depending on the angle or light? I’d prefer to illustrate those things through my swatches and then tell you in my review what I think about formula. And if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I’m not scared to write a bad review.
Okay so now that we got out of the way! I always do heavy swatches. I don’t layer them 50 times (unless the product is terrible. I’m looking at you, Too Faced white chocolate palette). I pack the swatches on my arm by working in small sections as opposed to swiping. And to be honest with you, I’m not consist in how I do my swatches. I tailor my method to the product. More on that in a minute…
95% off the time I moisturize my arm and then I’ll apply large swatches using brushes. Then I’ll clean up the edges of the swatches with a q-tip dipped in makeup remover and make sure that the swatches are somewhat straight and even.
But there are exceptions. If I’m swatching Colourpop products (the super shock formula) I use my fingers. If I’m swatching glitters or pigments, I use some kind of mixing medium. If I’m swatching matte shadows, I always attempt to do so on bare skin first but if they aren’t showing up well, I use a primer. No specific brand. Whichever one that I pick up first and doesn’t cost a fortune.
Sometimes I’ll include close ups of the product on my fingertips. This doesn’t mean that I applied the swatches with my fingers. I do this because I like how the close up macros look. I hate doing swatches with my fingers. Not because I think it’s cheating or whatever but because I end with makeup all over my house… on my phone, on doorknobs, light fixtures, my dogs… you get the point.
I’ve got a big ol’ cup of brushes that I use only for swatches but these are some of my favorites. And yes half of them are dirty. Don’t judge me. The top three brushes are what I like to use for swatching face products like highlighters or blushes. They’re larger and more fluffy than a typical shader brush. The brushes in the middle are what I use for matte shadows. They’re just no name eyeshadow brushes. The bottom brushes are what I use for shimmer shadows, glitters and pigments. For those products I like using the Makeup Geek Foiled Brush, Colourpop Shader brush and various concealer brushes especially the Sigma F70.
I only using natural light when photographing swatches and I take photos in a few different places around my house, usually by a window or outside.
I hope this was helpful for you guys and that it shed some light on my methods and my reasoning behind those methods. No shade whatsoever to people who do the ‘one swipe’ method. I think those swatches are valuable too for different reasons.