Top Tips for a Natural Makeup Look

When it comes to makeup, most people want to look like themselves with a bit of “pop” - not as if they have on gobs of makeup. Sometimes you may want drama, but on most days, if you’re like most people, you probably want to look pretty natural. Here are some of my top tips for your bringing out the natural you.

Face

If your skin is normal-to-dry or dry: 

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

Use a sheer moisturizing tint such as Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 to even out skin without looking like you have anything on. I recently did makeup for someone who almost never wears any cosmetics. Because I didn’t want to scare her I used this product, assuring her that she would not look like a “painted lady".  And because she actually liked it, I gave her a tube so she can use it every day for moisturizing benefits, and, more importantly, sun protection. As I keep saying, never leave the house without sunscreen. If you don’t want to use a tint, still use something that has a sunscreen. I am currently moisturizing with LaPrairie Crème Biologie Marine Avancee Jour SPF 20 under my foundation - I always make sure my moisturizer and foundation have sunscreen in case I missed applying somewhere.

If your skin is oily:

Clean and Clear
Clean and Clear

For especially oily skin, try an oil-absorbing powder in place of a foundation. And carry oil-blotting papers with you so you don’t have to keep reapplying – if you continually reapply, the powder might start to cake up and not look natural at all. On shoots I’ve been using Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets – they are very affordable and great for every day too. Just press them right where you need to blot excess oil.

Cheeks

Bare Minerals Warm Radiance
Bare Minerals Warm Radiance

For the natural look image above I used a soft red-ish bronzer. If you’ve read my other articles, I don’t mean to bore you by recommending some of the same things over again – but I do love the tried and true and will only share the things I really like. This is Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals Warm Radiance – the shade is so versatile I use it on almost all skin tones. It’s a loose powder so you have to be careful or it can make a mess - dip the brush in lightly and then tap off excess before application. I believe Bare Escentuals recommends just dipping the brush into the top cap to avoid getting too much product on the brush. It’s a definitely good tip.

Eyes

For a natural softness, use shades that blend into skin and hair tone. This is generally more earthy shades, such as soft beiges, creams and browns. Be sure to blend well.

Eye Shadow

  • A soft beige eye shadow with a touch of shimmer from lash to brow
  • A soft rust shade in the outer corners (a little rust shadow accent complements her natural hair color)

Eye Liner

Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara
Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara

I lightly applied brown eyeliner on top lash line. To keep it subtle, always apply right on lash line, not outside or inside of it. If you stay on the lash line it just makes lashes look fuller.

Lashes

Try brown or black/brown mascara on top lashes only. I am still a big fan of Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara. It never clumps and always looks natural. I am also allergic to most mascaras but I can wear this one!

Brows

Clinique Brow Shaper is super-easy to use as far as brow shaping goes. The shades are subtle and it comes with a stiff brush that helps you shape without looking “drawn on”. Apply lightly and then step away from the mirror to make sure you’re using just enough product to lightly define brows.

Lips

On this model I used a sheer gloss with a bit of lip color. I like the non-sticky lightness of Clinique Almost Lipstick (one of their best-sellers and my favorite is a shade called Black Honey).

The shades listed here work for most skin tones. If you have a deeper skin tone you can use the same shades, just with deeper pigment. For example, instead of brown use a black eye liner and mascara. In addition, use brands that have more pigment-rich colors in general, such as MAC, Stila or NARSViva au naturale!

MODEL IMAGE BY:

Photography, Chris Eckert

Model, Melinda Lennox

Hair, Kristan Serafino

Makeup, Robyn Tamura

Looking Like an Idol

So it’s down to the finale. Maybe by the time you read this it will be over but it’s not about the winner, is it? It’s about who’s in it. I watched American Idol last night (of course) and because there were only two women featured, I think I can do this (as opposed to my last American Idol post when there were too many people to keep track of). Jennifer Lopez

I am pretty sure Jennifer Lopez’s makeup artist was off for the night. This was not the same makeup artist. I don’t like to be hypercritical of other artists’ work because I know how hard it can be, how much lightning can affect makeup, how the person wearing it affects the makeup, how brutal HD can be, and so on. And when you’re famous, everyone is too often looking at you and criticizing you, which is awful. Plus I love Jennifer Lopez. But since her makeup is usually flawless I have to say that it just didn't meet its usual high standard.

JLo almost always wears concealer under and around her eye area that brightens and draws attention to her eyes. This time it was too much - either too light or too thick and you could see the line between where her concealer started and stopped. It looked like she had a two-toned mask on, her nose looked uneven and she was shiny. Of course she is still gorgeous, but I’m talking about the makeup and what we can learn from it.

Don’t

Unless you’re going for a specific look that requires it, don’t let makeup lines show on your face. That always says that you’re wearing makeup, not just looking glow-y and smooth. Make sure that everything is blended, blended, blended.

Do

If you are on camera – particularly if you have a tan or darker skin tone - wear powder. Even if your skin is not oily, the flash or bright lighting can make your skin look shiny.

Jessica Sanchez

Jessica Sanchez looked good, especially during the first song. Everything was just right – the dress was glamorous without looking too sexy for her age, the hair and makeup was soft and matched the dress. Throughout the season, Jessica’s makeup sometimes looked a little drag queeny. Part of it is that she already has naturally strong brows so when you add makeup it can quickly look like too much. But last night her eye shadow was soft with a touch of shimmer, she had lots of lashes, soft cheeks and lips with a little glossy light color. And the lips weren’t too defined so it looked good without being distracting.

However, by the 3rd song Jessica had too much blush on. This is what I’m talking about – let me be clear that she does not/did not look like a drag queen - but you venture into drag queen territory when you wear too much makeup all over.

Don’t

Wear too much too much on all features. If you want to wear more makeup, concentrate on one feature, i.e., smoky eyes with lighter lips, dark lips with more nude eyes. This ensures you look sexy and glam without it being too much.

Do

Try out a pinky nude lip! For the first song she wore a pinky brown lipstick with a beige/nude gloss on top. Not everyone can wear a completely matte-nude shade like you see on models in a magazine – but most people look good with the shade Jessica wore.

Here’s how:

  1. Find a pink-brown or pink lip pencil to line and fill in lips for a matte base (the color will stay on longer with a matte base).
  2. Follow with a pinkish brown or brownish pink lipstick.
  3. Apply a nude lip gloss on the inner part of lips (as opposed all on lips to the lip line) because the gloss will move out to the edges as you wear it.

And on a final note - of course, I do love my Phillip Philips, who always looks the same, which is boyishly gorgeous. He is kind of good-looking but if you really look at him it’s more of his expression, his eyes and that smile that make him good-looking. Which, after all, is the essence of beauty. After his first song I really thought he would lose. But when he pulled out that last song, I think he won. Only time will tell. And let’s see if JLo’s makeup artist is on the job tonight.

Top 6 Things to Do About Your Dry, Chapped Lips

6. Avoid Super Long Wear. If you wear lipstick, don’t use one of those longwearing lipsticks that has a lip stain on one end and a moisturizer on the other. At least, I’ve not found one that works. Even with the moisturizing stick, lips still feel dry shortly thereafter so you have to keep using the moisturizer on top of the stain all day long. And I don’t even think the color ends up being super long wearing anyway. Or else I’d be wearing them. 5. Find a Moisturizing Lipstick. I personally hate reapplying lipstick so I wear the driest, most matte lipsticks that don’t ever come off. This causes people to constantly comment on what a great color I have on but that my lips look really dry. Which, again, if I have to trade one thing for another I’m not going to wear a lipstick I have to reapply over and over. The alternative for me is not wearing lipstick. But you, like most people, probably don’t have this hang-up. So find something really creamy and soft like Lancome’s L'Absolu Rouge.

4. Moisturize Nightly. Since I wear dry lipstick during the day, I moisturize at night. I like to use either Burt’s Bees Nourishing Lip Balm with Mango Butter or Nivea Lip Care Essential. For some reason I discovered Nivea years ago in Dubai. It was in my hotel room or something and I had not had it before so I bought a whole bunch while I was there, only to realize we have it here. But since then I have loved many Nivea moisturizing products.

3. Exfoliate Lips. Use a gentle face scrub on your lips from time to time. I like Clinique 7-Day Scrub Cream because it has a cream base and small, perfectly round beads that are gentle and buff off dryness. Do not use a chemical/cream exfoliant on your lips unless a company says it’s OK - if it’s not specifically made for lips it can be irritating (or worse).

2. Use a Lip Balm with a Lip Pencil. If you can’t find a moisturizing lipstick that does it for you, use a moisturizing lip balm with a lip liner. First apply lip balm; then line and fill in lips so you can wear it all as your lip color. Apply the balm first or else the lip pencil will probably drag and pull on your dry lip skin.

1. Drink Lots of Water. Cure that dryness from the inside out. Eight 8oz. glasses daily are the recommended but I find that I do best with 12 (glasses a day). This makes my brother to warn me about hyponatremia (water intoxication that can be fatal) but I rarely achieve 12 glasses anyway. I know if I did my lips would be soft and supple every day – without ever having to use any lip balm.

Mwah!

Making Makeup Last

Have you ever come home, looked in the mirror, and wondered where the makeup went? Or maybe you just can't be bothered to reapply throughout the day. If so, and you want to change it, here are tips to make your makeup last longer. Skin. For foundation, find one that's right for your skin type and also indicates longer wear. If you use a foundation that's not for your skin type you will not get the right results - if your skin is oily and you use a foundation for dry skin, it will look shiny and definitely slip off your skin;  likewise, if your skin is dry and you use an oily skin foundation it will make your skin look and feel even drier. Use a brush to lightly dust powder and set foundation.

Cheeks. Find a good, long-wearing blush tint or cream blush. For even longer wear, pat a matching powder blush on top. I like Becca's Beach Tint for several reasons. You can use it on cheeks and lips (I am always looking for all-in-one products because I won't spend a lot of time on my own makeup). It's a small, portable tube so you can throw it in your bag too. And I just like Becca's packaging. When I looked it up, I found out that this product is also one of Allure magazine's Editor's Picks. So me and the editors recommend it. The only thing about this product is that after awhile you have to massage the tube before squeezing because the product can separate. But it still always looks good.

Eyes. Try a cream eye shadow. For more intense color, add powder eyeshadow on top. Use an eyeliner that doesn't move. For over 20 years I have loved Clinique's Water-Resistant Eyeliner. I was devastated (OK that's  exaggerated, but I was a little unhappy) when it was discontinued. And I wasn't the only one because eventually Clinique brought it back. It's not waterproof but as long as it's dry it never comes off until you take it off. For lashes, look for a waterproof formula or water-resistant mascara. My fellow makeup artist friend swears by Trish McEvoy's Lash Curling Mascara. I haven't tried it myself but I know the type of formula it is - it will only come off by intentionally using warm water (meaning, a splash of water or tears that come when you watch Beaches will not remove the mascara or make it run).

Lips. Line and fill in with lip liner first; then apply lipstick. For longest wear, use a matte lipstick over the lip liner…although if you have dry lips it may make your lips drier so you'll need to moisturize lips well at night.

I hope these help! Here's to your long wearing makeup days.

 

My Favorite Products Fall 2011

I’m often asked about my favorite products. While some products are better than others depending on what you want to achieve, these are some of my favorites. Eve Pearl Salmon Concealer

A concealer that hides under eye dark circles and looks natural is rare. The shade undertones in this lightweight formula do just the trick! I use it on almost everyone.

Fun Fact: Eve Pearl is an Emmy-Award winning makeup artist and her products reflect this. Find her stuff at www.evepearl.com.

Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer

I use this for really dark circles. Its thicker consistency requires a bit of skill to get just what you want—but worth it.

How-to:

  1. Dab a bit onto the back of your hand.
  2. Mix with an eye cream for extra moisture and the consistency/coverage you want.
  3. Use a brush or your fingertip and pat over areas you want to cover.

NARS Foundation

NARS has some of the most natural-looking foundation shades anywhere—not too much pink, not too much yellow…just right. Years ago, I could never find a foundation shade that matched my skin—until I found NARS. If you have trouble finding the right foundation or powder, NARS is my go-to recommendation.

Chanel-StyloYeux Waterproof Eyeliner

If eyeliners leave smudges around your eyes, this is a must-have. For myself, it’s the only liner that doesn’t smudge. If you’re Asian—and I am—you probably share this problem and will want to share this solution too!