Recently I unearthed old video footage dating back to the ’80s and was amazed at how many looks I went through, from vampy lipstick and a perm to supertan skin and surfer-girl blonde highlights. Change has always been easy for me, but I know that’s not the case for many women. So here is advice for the three most common beauty ruts I see. If you’ve found yourself longing for a new look, read on for instant makeup tips.
1. You look like you’re in a time warp
Symptom: Your beauty routine is the same as it was in high school—and it’s been 20 years since you graduated. Not only are you bored with your looks, but you’re also feeling a little out of step with the times.
Solution: Recognize that your looks have changed and your makeup should complement, not fight, your age. If you’ve been wearing pinkish foundation thinking that it gives you a youthful glow, it’s time to switch to one of the newer foundations with more natural-looking yellow undertones.
Toss the dark brow pencil. An eyeliner brush dipped in dry shadow is a more subtle way to fill in and define brows. It’s also time to retire your frosted lipstick. Switch to a shimmery lipstick or gloss that’s sheer enough to let your lips show through.
And if you have the time and a few extra dollars, bring your makeup bag with you to your favorite makeup counter and ask the artist to help you update it. She’ll check to make sure that you’re using the best formulas for your skin type and that the shades are the most flattering.
If you describe your style and the amount of time you spend getting ready in the morning, she can also help you create a daily routine that’s easy to follow and maintain.
2. You’re addicted to color
Symptom: You wear bold colors because you think you look drab without them. As a result, people notice your makeup before they notice you.
Solution: Your makeup should make the most of, rather than distract from, your looks. To that end, go for more muted colors instead of your usual brights. As a rule of thumb, muted tones have a touch of gray or brown in them.
For example, heather is a toned-down bright purple, and rose is a wearable take on hot pink. You can still get your bold fix by sporting red lipstick, but instead of pairing it with jewel-toned shadow or dramatic, smoky eyes, go for a neutral and simple eye look (like bone shadow and black mascara). Try this and you’ll find that you can still get the dramatic look you love without any of the garish side effects.
3. You’re scared of makeup
Symptom: You shy away from makeup because you think it looks unnatural or takes too much time, or you just don’t know where to start. The result: You may look more washed-out or tired than you actually feel.
Solution: Take baby steps and be realistic about the changes you’re willing to make. If you poked yourself in the eye with a mascara wand as a teen, you may never learn to love the stuff. But what about lipstick? The newest shades are more sheer and more flattering than you may remember. I consider covering dark circles and evening out the complexion almost necessities because they have more impact than any other techniques. Just apply a lightweight eye cream and then smooth on concealer with your ring finger.
If you’re willing to take the next step, try a tinted moisturizer; you’ll get hydration, sun protection, and just a little coverage—all in one product. Check the results in natural light to ensure a natural look. These two steps should take you about 2 minutes.
Adding one or two more steps will bring your total routine to an easy 3 minutes. Apply a coat of black mascara to open up your eyes, dust a pinky-brown (a natural-looking shade that requires no blending) blush on cheeks, or slick on a sheer lipstick or gloss. You won’t see the makeup–just you looking brighter and more polished.