Ramadan is supposed to be a time of piety, charity, self-control, reflection and introspection. A time of detachment from all that is materialistic and worldly and a time to rediscover yourselves, get closer to your maker and reflect inwards.
Ramadan is also a time when you are going about life on full throttle with a fuel tank that is empty. Ramadan brings with it a whole new level of errands, chores, family commitments and engagements. All while you also get along with the mundane matters such as going to work and taking care of your little ones.
In short, even with the shortened working hours (which itself is a luxury that few enjoy), some of us survive on a measly three or four hours of sleep.
All said though, it’s great to spend Ramadan here in Qatar; of course it is subject to having your family around to enjoy it with. There is an unmistakable air of festivity and cheer in the air, even with the searing heat. It reminds us of the UK during the holiday/ Christmas season or the fall/ Dussera- Diwali season in India. There aren’t many places in the world where you’d find entire families, with babies in tow too, out and about at 2 AM!
The late nights ultimately take it’s toll though. Sleep deprivation and food withdrawal, combined with exhaustion wrecks havoc on your skin and most days you look like a zombie on amphetamine. Few of us are unfortunate enough to be ‘blessed’ with hereditary dark circles that are compounded by the sleep deprivation and exhaustion.
In short, even though “make-up” is supposed to be the last thing on your mind this month, one still has to look presentable enough to show up at work and should clean-up enough to go to an iftar party or host friends and family at home.
So, how does one look like they have nothing on (in order to not look vain and made-up) and yet look fresh and respectable enough to be in human company. And yes, the overriding point being- it should not take more than ten minutes at the maximum.
Prepping the skin
This includes sunscreen (for daytime) and a mattyfying primer. If you intend to get out of the air- conditioning for even a split second (like getting into the car) or spend any amount of your time in the kitchen over boiling soups and spluttering oils (while you worry over when the guests will actually arrive), the primer is a must in my book. You could of course skip this step if your have very, very shy sebaceous glands (aka dry skin) or you don’t mind if you look like you fell face down into your oil- filled saucepan.
A corrective base
Most foundations are too heavy and cakey for this kind of summer. Also, you wouldn’t want to look like you are attending a high-fashion photo-shoot during Ramadan. The key, as mentioned before, is to look fresh- faced; not ‘model- stunning’ or flawless. A BB cream, or a light foundation will suffice.
My personal favorite for this type of look is the MAC Face & Body. It always looks like “my-skin- but-better” and never looks cakey. It can be worked up to medium coverage as well
Concealer is queen
For those horrendous dark- circles and huge breakouts (thanks to all the delicious fried food!), you absolutely need a heavy- duty concealer.
The NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is my pick. This little fella is a tricky one though. Learning to make it work takes a a bit of effort. But at the end of the day it does do some serious damage to my dark- circle situation.
When it works, it’s a miracle- worker otherwise it is cakey, creasy crap!
For serious dark circles and hyperpigmention, you might also need a color- corrector. But I wouldn’t bother unless I’m attending a wedding or other such events of ‘significance’.
If there is one step I wouldn’t skip, it would be this. For those ladies who have full, jet- black, archy brows- I detest you! And of course YOU could skip this step entirely.
My favorite brow product of all time is the Benefit Brow Zings (in DARK). Review here
Blush- to tackle the sallow, dead look.
This step takes less than five seconds and looks like a natural, lovely flush when you use a product like the Benefit Benetint or The Body Shop Lip and Cheek Stain.
As an alternative, you could also use a powder blush if you so wish. MAC Pinch Me is my most natural looking blush. I sadly don’t have the time to fiddle around with brushes and blending. I’d rather fry some chicken for the evening.
Waking up the eyes
Even if you don’t curl your lashes, applying mascara definitely helps with looking awake and fresh. Some ladies like their black kohl, I was one a while back, but now I prefer muted browns and greys for the daytime. Even better, when you want that “I- have- nothing-on-my-face-I-look-this-fresh-everyday” look, apply a flesh- toned liner to your water line (white looks odd on us olive/ brown skinned ladies).
I would just apply some lip- balm or a very natural looking matte lipstick.
My picks for olive/ light- brown/ brown skin this summer- MAC Twig & Cosmo, Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet ‘La Romanesque’ (a dab!), Revlon Soft Rose and YSL Rouge Pur Couture 09. All lovely pink- toned neutral lipsticks. With such muted make-up, for me personally, a nude- lipstick is a bad idea, it makes me look ill and sallow, which is not my most- preferred look!
That’s about it ladies. Now go on, greet your guests, kill that presentation at work or hit the iftar buffet. You might be hypoglycemic, tired and drowsy, but folks around you will be none the wiser!
Till next time.