That said, I've realized that some of his recommendations have become internalized. This includes several pages of Face Forward that deal with balance. Aucoin recommends dividing the face in to two halves--eyes and lips--and deciding whether they're dark or light. He then uses these terms throughout the rest of the book, ie, "This is a dark eyes, light mouth look." As was his wont, Aucoin made it clear that there was no right or wrong way to balance a face; rather, understanding balance helps us figure out what we're drawing attention to and what "mood" we're creating.
Personally, I've become quite accustomed to making half of my face dark and the other half light. Both sections being light generally makes me look washed out, while both sections being dark is...just a lot of look. That's not to say I've never done it: this FOTD with Besame Merlot is an all dark look, and I'd argue that a lot of my barely-there makeup reads light-eyes-light-mouth. Overall, though, I do strive for 50/50.
As always, click the picture to enlarge. It was a bit of a gloomy day for the photo on the right, hence the slightly different lighting.
I really wanted to see how this balance would play out in a comparative FOTD post. Hence, I used as many similar products and prep steps as I could for these two looks:
PREP: Belif True Cream Moisturizing Bomb all over face; lips exfoliated with Paula's Choice lip scrub [D/C] and hydrated with Aquaphor ointment; lashes curled with Shu Uemura curlers
BASE: MAC Face & Body foundation in C1 + White--mixed with Tarte Shape Tape in Fair where more coverage is needed; Maybelline Dream Lumi Pen in Ivory; Clinique Moisture Surge Spray
CHEEKS: Glossier Cloud Paints in Dusk + Beam; MAC Strobe Cream; Glossier Haloscope in Quartz
EYES: Lancome Monsieur Big mascara; Milk Makeup Gel Brow in Pilsner; Glossier Boy Brow in Clear
The only differences are in the eyeshadows and lip products. On the left, the light-eyes-dark-lips look features Colourpop powder shadows in Hear Me Out and Bel Air over a base of Too Faced Shadow Insurance; the lips are MAC Scarlet Ibis lipstick [L/E], outlined with MAC Basic Red pencil and with a bit of Glossier's clear gloss on top. On the right, the dark-eyes-light-lips look involves a mess of Butter London Glazen Eye Gloss in Oil Slick smeared in to some Milani Liquid Eyes eyeliner in Black [D/C]. The lips are NARS Raquel.
Personally, I'm more drawn to the dark lips than the dark eyes. My eyes are rather deep set and I have dark circles, so while a smoked out eye can look more dramatic, I think it also tends to make me look rather tired. Bright lips, however, draw attention to my large teeth (which I actually like) and don't seem to detract as much from my skin, which has been very well behaved lately. Both looks have their place, of course, but I definitely prefer the balance shown on the left.
How do you feel about makeup balance? Is it actually useful when you're creating a look, or do you find it overly restricting? What about blush and highlighter, which can be quite dramatic these days--should we actually separate the face in to three sections?