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Friday, April 19, 2013

The Art of Artifice

“Let us live for the beauty of our own reality.” ~Tom Robbins

This week I have 3 itsy, bitsy, very subtle makeup tips the likes of which can make a huge difference for a tiny amount of effort. 

First up is an eyelining trick that I adore. It's a version of what's called 'tightening.' This technique not only makes the whites and the color pop, it also makes your lashes look fuller, yet is very subtle. It can be difficult to master, but the results are well worth the effort.

You can use either a soft, fairly sharp pencil here, or a gel with a small brush. I like using gel with an angled eye liner brush. My all time favorite gel liner is made by Yve St Laureant, btw- A very lush gel that goes on the brush easily and covers with one stroke, which is very important with such a delicate and precise operation. 

Look into your mirror, tilt your head back slightly, and open your eyes a little wider than normal. With either black or brown liner- it's good to match your mascara here- line the upper inner rim as close to the lashes as possible- keep the line up to the front, tight to the lashes (hence the term 'tightlining,' I'd guess-?) If you get it toward the back, right on the waterline, it's likely to transfer to the lower waterline, creating a real mess over the course of the day. If you're also lining the lower inner rim with black then this doesn't matter so much.  My experience is that when you keep it to the front, right up next to the lashes then it pretty much lasts all day, too.  Any makeup technique that lasts all day is a winner in my book. When you first start you'll most likely make a mess of it- keep practicing, and in no time you'll be making that perfect, thin line in no time flat.  

Another trick that often gets overlooked is a tiny but very effective one with concealer. Most use concealer in the under eye area to cover dark circles; but it also makes a huge difference when used in the outer corner as well.  You don't need much here- this is a 'less is more' kind of thing. This trick makes such a big impact because there's often a little bit of red at the outer corner of the eyes that slants downward; the concealer here covers that, and then if you add color via a liner or shadow with more of an upward slant it makes the eyes look brighter and more rested.

The last one I want to share is a way to enhance the mouth.  Have you ever taken a close look at photos of Liz Taylor? Zoom in on her mouth. Specifically at her cupid's bow- that's the little dip in the center top of the upper lip. You can see in her photos that it's highlighted- almost always. This trick makes the upper lip look fuller. 

This one is easy to master, and there are lots of different products to do it with. As with any highlighting, you can use a foundation or concealer a few shades lighter than your skin, you can use a pencil, or an eyeshadow or highlighter powder with a small brush. A concealer or pencil will give you a more pronounced and heavier highlight, and generally speaking, an eyeshadow or highlighter powder will give a softer, more natural effect.  Look at photos of models and notice all the different ways this is done and try different effects. 

To me, these techniques exemplify the purest purpose of makeup- small, subtle changes that simply enhance what's already there. Everything else you apply beyond that is about self expression.  As my makeup teacher told us "it's makeup- have fun!"

Happy Dressing!