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Ask any beauty expert and shell tell you that applying makeup is an art and can require the steady hand of a painter. But mastering the basic techniques doesnt require years of training (though it certainly helps!). Here, celebrity makeup guru Julie Harris, who counts Anne Hathaway, Eva Mendes, and Madonna among her clientele, lets you in on some of her top expert makeup tips that you can try at home, plus a few of her favorite cosmetics.
Before applying makeup, she says, its important to figure out what colors best complement your skin tone and eye color and give your look that extra wow factor. Heres how.
Consider Your Complexion
Whether you are fair-skinned, possess an olive complexion, or have dark skin, you should stick with the makeup colors that will truly make you shine.
Fair skin: Women with lighter complexions need to be careful with blush they need only a hint of it since their skin is probably already rosy. So opt for soft colors pale pinks, peachy pinks, and nearly-nude hues. A tinted moisturizer one shade warmer than your natural color will give the skin a nice glow. As for lips, bluish reds and pinks are best.
Medium/olive skin: If you have a medium skin tone like Eva Mendes or Jennifer Lopez, choose bronzy, brighter, and warmer makeup colors. Using a bronzer on the cheekbone and brow bone will give the skin a beautiful shimmer. On lips, go for corals, peaches, orangey-reds, and gold.
Dark skin: This complexion has the potential to look ashy, so its important to avoid pale colors in favor of reddish browns and burgundies. On some African-American women, areas of the face may be slightly darker than others (for example, around the mouth), so the focus should be on evening out the skin tone with a corrective concealer. Lips may be accentuated with mahogany, deep purple, or brown lipsticks. For a softer lip, line the mouth with a lip pencil in a shade thats close to your natural lip color, then fill in with a taupe-y nude lipstick.
The Eyes Have It
When choosing eye makeup, use the color wheel as your guide, says Harris. For example, blue and orange are complementary colors (theyre opposite each other on the color wheel) so if you have blue eyes, gold and coppery tones or peachy colors will really make them pop. Likewise, green-eyed beauties should use makeup with a red base, such as violet, for standout eyes. Women with brown eyes can wear virtually any color, but plums are especially flattering. Avoid going tone on tone with eye shadow despite what you may have heard to the contrary, few women call pull off blue shadow on their baby blues.
Applying makeup like a pro is all about preparing the canvas, then layering and blending the color properly. According to Harris, take first things first. Before digging into your makeup bag, you need to start with a clean surface. Cleanse, tone, and moisturize the skin, and then add color.
Harris says to start by applying foundation in a color one shade warmer than your natural skin tone. She says that blending with your fingers warms the foundation and creates a sheerer, natural appearance. Next, use a corrective concealer on blemishes, under your eyes, and to lighten any dark areas. A dual-tone product like Laura Merciers Secret Camouflage lets you adjust the color as needed. Try not to go too light under the eyes or when covering pimples. Remember: Light colors enhance imperfections; dark colors make them recede. Then you can apply translucent powder. The secret here is to dip your makeup brush into the powder, then pat off the excess on the back of your hand so the look isnt too powdery. Its better to be slightly dewy, especially in the summer.
More Expert Makeup Tips
Want more tricks of the trade? Here are some bonus tips on makeup application from Harris:
A natural face. For a more natural form of coverage, skip the foundation (not all women need it all over!) and use a tinted moisturizer (try Laura Merciers Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20), followed by a bronzy powder along your temples and cheeks.
Bright eyes. Banish bluish tints on the inner corners of the eye with brighteners like Givenchys Mister Bright or YSLs Touche Éclat.
Eyeshadow do. Apply eye shadow with a good fluff brush not the Q-tip-like applicators that come with the palettes for a softer, well-blended look.
Lush lashes. For thick, dramatic lashes, use an eyelash curler before applying a gel-based mascara, like Cliniques Naturally Glossy Mascara in Jet Black, followed by a coat or two of Lancôme Hypnôse, a creamy volumizing mascara. Keep the look feathery, not clumpy, by wiggling the brush at the root, then using a metal eyelash comb like Tweezerman Folding IlashComb to remove any excess mascara.
Blush basics. When applying blush, use upward strokes from the cheekbone to the temple with a big fluffy brush (better to blend with). You can use a smaller brush to add just a bit more color to the apples of your cheeks. Soft, almost-nude hues like Giorgio Armanis Blending Blush Duo in No. 1, which has a golden tone, are ideal for an everyday look.
Sexy red lips. For subdued red lips, use your fingertips to apply a dab of the bright hue only to the center of your lips, then blend toward the outer edges with a lip brush. Its more of a stained look less harsh, more sensuous.