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Want to break out of the same old beauty routine but not sure where to begin? The holidays, that time of year famous for festive fetes, friendly gatherings, and raised spirits, are the perfect time to experiment and try out new things: a different color on your lips, a new look on the eyes.
But how do you sort through the makeup choices out there? Should you accent only one feature, or play up eyes and lips in one look?
To keep it simple, I've recommended three makeup looks to try this season -- and the easiest ways to wear them. The whole idea is balance. Your face has basically three areas to emphasize: eyes, lips, and cheeks. You never want to be full tilt in all three areas at once.
In general, when you wear a strong lip color, it's best to keep the rest of the face soft. Strong mouth, soft eye. Strong eye, soft mouth. One of the looks I love is color on the lips and cheeks with a barely-there shimmer on the eyes.
Remember, though, no matter what you do, have fun. Break the rules! The season is busy enough without having to worry about your makeup.Sugar and Spice
A soft golden glow is the perfect look to complement the festive lights of the season. Warm hues like gingerbread, pumpkin, copper, and champagne spice up any look, and offer a "just-back-from-the-tropics" flush -- not bad for those of us who haven't seen the sun since Labor Day!
My favorite way to achieve this look is to play up the eyes and leave cheeks and lips radiant with natural-looking shimmer. A dark shade of brown eye pencil goes on the lash line, blended with a smudge brush. Then the eyelid gets a sweep of a coppery brown or bronze shadow. Finish with a bit of light golden shimmer shadow where the inner corners of the eyes meet the nose to brighten and open up the entire face.
Keep lips soft with sheer colors in the same family -- sienna, champagne, even a sheer red -- to add healthy color that won't compete with the eyes for attention. Finish with bronzer or a warm peachy blush on the apples of the cheeks for that sun-kissed look. If you desire more color, add a light dusting of bronzer or blush at the temples and on the chin. Be careful not to overdo it. Remember, you want people to notice you, not your makeup!
Purple is a great party color and makes a bold statement when applied correctly. Here, the lips take center stage.
To achieve a sexy mouth that lasts through an entire evening, line and fill the entire lip with lip pencil. Filling in with lip pencil gives you an even layer of color across the lips and offers much longer wear. After filling in, take your lip brush and go over the entire lip to make sure color is evenly placed. Then add a dusting of powder directly over the pencil (or put a tissue over the lips and dust over that) to really set the color.
Experiment with lip colors such as sheer grape, sugar plum, or shades of fuchsia and magenta. Try sheer gloss for a subdued shimmer; for the more adventurous, try a lip color that offers fuller coverage.
Finish with foundation on the eyes to even out skin tone, and add a hint of midnight blue liner along the upper lashline. Then, soften this look with a bit of coordinating eye shadow, such as an amethyst or navy blue for a modified smoky eye. This look will beautifully balance out the purple hue without overpowering the face.
Here's a great example of how to highlight each of your features -- eyes, cheeks, and lips -- without looking "done up." As long as you stay within the same color family, you can evenly balance the face and create a soft, monochromatic look.
Start with a shimmering pink blush on the apples of the cheeks to get that just-in-from-the-cold healthy flush. Add a mauve, rose, or aubergine eye shadow to keep eyes aligned with the rosy palette. Top with a bit of black mascara.
Finally, finish the look with a dab of lip color in shades such as plum, burgundy, or rose. Look for sheer lipsticks and glosses to keep the look soft and sexy, not harsh. To keep this color in place, first line and fill lips with pencil in a matching shade.
The result should be fresh-faced and a balance of evenly placed soft color, like you are barely wearing makeup at all!
Sonia Kashuk's book, Real Beauty, is available at bookstores nationwide.