Cakey foundation, clumpy mascara, and streaky blush can add years to your face. Get a fresher look with these pointers from makeup artist Alison Raffaele.
A better base
Before (left): Foundation can crust up when its applied to dry skin, which sucks the moisture out of makeup. And while women often think that a concealer one or two shades lighter than their tone will blot out circles, pale shades actually draw attention to shadows, turning them an obvious white or gray color.
After (right): The key to natural-looking base is hydrated skin. If your skin is extra dry, use a moisturizer before a primer. But for most skin types, a silicone primer is enough to create a silky base. Then smooth on a thin layer of color with your fingers or a taklon (a nonabsorbent, synthetic fiber) brush, and blend well with a damp makeup sponge, if needed. Concealer comes next. Dab on a shade that matches your skin tone over your foundationnot bare skinto meld it all together.
A subtle flush
Before (left): Applying your blush in a back-and-forth linear motion from cheek to hairline can create an unnatural streak of cakey color.
After (right): For an understated, rosy glow, choose a cheek color that mimics the shade you naturally turn when you flush and a formula thats transparent, not opaque. Powdered blushes tend to be easier to blend than creams or gels, but its really a matter of preference.
Before applying powdered blush, set liquid foundation with a light dusting of loose, translucent powder. (Otherwise, the blush will latch onto your damp coat of base and turn dark, stripy, and impossible to blend.) Then, using a clean, fluffy blush brush, touch down on the apple of your cheek and feather the color back toward your temples.
Before (left): Fearing that matte shadows will make them look tired, many women go to the opposite extreme and choose ultrasparkly formulas, which add years by enhancing the crepey texture of lids. Black, thick eyeliner, overdone brow filler, and goopy mascara can also make this area start to visually sag.
After (right): When it comes to eye shadow, you should avoid anything labeled "frost." Instead, try a sheer, powdered eye shadow with a hint of finely milled shimmer (rather than chunky glitter). If you prefer cream shadows, top them with a loose, colorless powder to prevent creasing. For the most youthful look, skip rainbow-bright hues in favor of universally flattering champagnes, brown-based grays, and pinkish-bronze tones.
Lightly line the rims of your upper and lower lids with a brown or bronze eyeliner for subtle, eye-opening definition. Next, apply a coat of volumizing mascara; wiggle the wand at the roots of your lashes and pull it up toward the ends. For brows, use two different colors to fill and shape: a shade very close to your brow color for the areas where you have hair, and one slightly darker for spots where you dont. If you use the same color all over, your brows will look dark and unnatural.
Naturally plump lips
Before (left): If you match your lip liner to your lipstick shade, it can result in a noticeable rim around your mouth.
After (right): The real secret to younger-looking lips? Skip lip liner altogether and opt for a sheer gloss or lipstick. But if youre married to your bright- or dark-colored lipstick shades (which tend to bleed) or if your lips have lost their shape over the years and are in need of soft, subtle definition, then choose a lip liner that matches your lip tone, not your lipstick.
After tracing the border, fill in the entire lip with the pencil. This not only will create the best base for your color but also will make the lip liner less obvious if your lipstick fades.