From picking the right blush to plucking your brows, these pros give you the low-down on keeping your look fresh and flawless. It's time to clear out the cosmetic bag, and find products that accentuate your best features.
Use a cream or a mousse if your skin is dry, a powder or a gel if you're oily. "I personally use cream and powder together because it helps my blush stay on longer and looks more luminous," says makeup artist Laura Mercier. After foundation, she applies the cream, sets that with translucent powder, and then dusts on a little powder blush.
Since it sits on top of the skin, powder blush can make you look more made-up and sophisticated, Laura says. Cream blush is dewier and great for mature skin because it blends easily and looks very natural.
Carolyn Siegal, DPM, a podiatrist in Beverly Hills, recommends rubbing vitamin E oil or shea butter cream into your nails and cuticles once or twice a day and before bed.
You should also wash your hands with a nonsoap cleanser (chapped Hands Cleanser by C.O. Bigelow, $12, is a great one) or a hydrating soap (such as Softsoap Shea Butter Liquid Hand Soap, $2). As a last resort, apply a rich cream (like Dove Regenerating Hand Cream, $6) before slipping on moisturizing gloves, which you can wear to bed (Bliss makes a good pair: Glamour Gloves, $48). Don't forget to drink plenty of water!
Many chain drugstores will allow you to exchange a mistake. To increase the odds in your favor, take a careful look at your natural lip color, says makeup artist Cynde Watson. Go only a couple of shades brighter or darker.
As a rule of thumb, if your lips are thin, avoid dark shades, since they make lips look narrower—a natural shade of gloss will make your mouth look fuller. Conversely, if your lips are very full, be judicious with the shine. Stuck with a color that seems too intense? Use a lip brush to mix it with a clear gloss.
Put down the tweezers. Shaping your own brows is a little like cutting your own hair: You may know what you want, but it's best to leave it to a professional. Ask someone whose eyebrows you admire where she has them done, then get a consultation. If you like the technician's ideas, let her do an initial shaping, which you can then maintain by tweezing strays between visits every six weeks or so.
Pati Dubroff, a celebrity makeup artist, suggests wearing shimmer very carefully. "The tops of the cheekbones are a great place for shimmer, but be sure not to get too close to the 'squint' of the outer eye, where it can draw attention to fine lines," she said.
On the eyes, Pati applies shimmer in neutral tones on the center of the lid and the inner corner, and she warns about not using much on the browbone because that can look extreme. It's easier to use cream rather than powder shimmers, but avoid formulas with large flecks that can look like glitter.
About 70 percent of people have combination skin, which means that they have an oily T-zone and are normal to dry around their temples and on their cheeks. If you're one of those people, use a water-based moisturizer (water will be one of the first ingredients listed), and use it only where you need it. Just don't forget to apply a sunscreen all over your face!
Noncomedogenic moisturizers, which are water-based, are much less likely to clog pores than oil-based products. Other ingredients can cause irritation, like lanolin, propylene glycol and the lightener hydroquinone. If you tend to break out, look for a product that's hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested—the fewer ingredients, the less potential for problems. Many moisturizers are now formulated specifically for acne-prone complexions.
Liquid foundations tend to blend easily and offer a range of coverage from sheer to full. Use an oil-free liquid if your skin is oily; an illuminating one if it's dull or dry; a more highly pigmented full-coverage foundation if you want to cover breakouts or discoloration. Stick foundation is good for spot coverage—on your chin, for example, or around your nose.
Try a cream foundation if you want allover, long-lasting coverage. To keep it from looking too heavy, apply it with a foundation brush, which will spread it lightly, says Pati Dubroff, a Dior celebrity makeup artist. Powder and mousse, which give lighter coverage, look best on clear and evenly pigmented skin.
A creamy concealer is best, says beauty expert Bobbi Brown, because you will be using it on delicate, dry undereye skin. The product should feel moist, not oily or powdery. It should be one shade lighter than your skin, with yellow rather than beige or pink tones, because yellow tones blend well with any skin color.
Whether you apply it with your pinkie or a brush—it's up to you, says Bobbi. A brush is good for getting right up to the lash line and for the corners of the eyes, where a little concealer will seem to open them up; your pinkie is good for patting the concealer on. Bobbi uses both.