How to Beat the Beauty Blues

Three secret tips for beating the beauty blues!

From the Editor

Beating Your Beauty Blues

3 secrets that make makeup work

-Lois Joy Johnson

Maggie GyllenhaalWomen and their makeup hit a relationship rut at least once a year, and usually it’s right about now. It sneaks up gradually, but one day you wake up, gaze into your 7X magnifying mirror and know it’s just not working. Hauling yourself off to Sephora for a brand-new batch of color cosmetics seems like the perfect Band-Aid at first, and as a knee-jerk reaction, it is. But since we’re smack in the midst of red carpet season, I’m guessing your expectations are too high.

If you compare yourself with celebrities (especially the ones you resemble most), don’t forget that photos and TV screens lie. The fabulous faces you’re looking at in magazine editorials and ads have had the advantage of a top makeup artist, amazing lighting and a generous boost from a clever retoucher in post-production.

Let’s not forget that fast fixes of Botox, Restylane and lipo topped the 2009 to-do list for high-profile women who make big bucks based on their looks, like models and actresses (the latter group now all seem to have their own cosmetic contracts and enjoy piling it on). If that’s not you (don’t worry, it’s not me, either), January is a great time to pitch your own star power. Start by getting into love-yourself mode with three quick makeup switches that everyone uses behind the scenes.

Freida PintoUse a makeup primer. If you do one thing differently this year, this is it. Layering a sheer gel primer between your daily moisturizer and your foundation guarantees makeup will glide on like a second skin, even over dry or flaky areas, and it will give big pores the airbrushed look that foundation alone never achieves. I’m addicted to Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer ($36) and Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Hydrating ($30), but I’m starting to lust after Revlon Beyond Natural Smoothing Primer ($12.99). Lancôme La Base Pro Oil-Free Makeup Base ($42) is terrific for skin that’s breakout-prone since it makes applications of opaque blemish concealer undetectable.

Double up on eyeliner. To get big, defined eyes quickly and easily – without 30 coats of mascara or false lashes – you need a dark brown pencil and a dark brown liquid liner with a marker-like tip. Line the upper lids along the base of the lashes with a dark brown or black eye pencil. Start at the inner corner and widen the line as you get about three quarters of the way toward the outer eye. Then pull the upper lid taut very gently to lift the lid and line just beneath the upper lashes with the liquid liner, dotting it between the base of the upper lashes to fill the gaps. You’ll end up with gimongous eyes. Almay Liquid Eyeliner ($7.49) in brown or black makes all the difference. (Pictured above: The flawless Freida Pinto of Slumdog Millionaire).

Give up bronzer and go back to blush. If you’ve become addicted to bronzer or self-tanner, give it a rest. A clear pink or apricot cheek color will give your skin a fresher, healthier look midwinter. If you love the peachy-pink hue of Nars classic Orgasm (and who doesn’t?), wait till you try Nars Super Orgasm Blush ($25) with shimmery golden flecks. It’s especially super on tawny, dark or olive complexions. Bobbi Brown Shimmer Blush in Pink Sugar or Coral ($22) will also give you that applelike Madonna cheek that’s so newsy. Apply any of these blushes high on your own apples as you smile using a fat, rounded brush to blend the color up along the cheekbone in a round, spiral movement like a Slinky. (Maggie Gyllenhaal, above, perfects this look).

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