I figured the best way to start was from the beginning. How to get the base of your avatar? When I say base, I mean skin, shape, and eyes. No hair. That is correct, no hair. The best way to view a skin is to be naked as the day you were born. Hair can come later.
My first stop was to go get my shape. For only $1L I bought the Eve shape from Style Your Destiny. The shape comes with its own eyes and is modifiable so you can change your height or any other area you may choose. The ad for Eve uses only freebies so the creator has included a notecard with details on how to copy the look for yourself complete with names of the freebies worn in the ad and landmarks to the locations where you can get those freebies in world.
After having a decent shape and eyes, I need a skin to complete the package. I am not looking for your usual noob skin or the various freebie skins that have cropped up in recent months but rather a skin from an established designer that wont break my budget. On a tip from a friend, I head over to Sin Skins and discover an amazing collection of skins for new residents(under 30 days) with a price tag of $1L for 14 female different skins with an underpants layer for tintable pubic hair. There are 7 different skin tones in both freckled and regular. The skin tones from light to dark are Whisp, Aurora, Nimbus, Stratus, Sol, Dusk, and Eclipse.
The skin itself is nicely done with great detail given to the shading. Part photosource and part painted this skin is a great example of the talent that is part of Second Life. The skin shown is one of the freckled skins and the freckles themselves are subtly soft without being overbearing.
The naughty bits are fantastic with realistic nipples and a full undercarriage. You also have the option to go natural or bald with the tinted pubic hair being on an underpants layer only. To get that clean look, simply take off the underpants.
The face is the base of the full priced skins with just basic makeup. The lips are tinted very slightly, the eyes are lined with black eyeliner, and the eyebrows are penciled in. Beyond these areas the skin is makeup free which makes it a great skin for those not really into the overkill of runway makeups out there.
SinSkin: Freckled Fresh Stratus Sin Skin($1L under 30 days only)
Total Cost: $2L