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Don't be held captive by outdated beauty standards. We say forget yesterday's beauty rules! Here, today's realities:
Rule: Redheads can't wear red Reality: There was something to this beauty rule years ago, when most red lipsticks had a blue base that made them pinkish when applied. The pink in the lipstick clashed with the delicate pink undertones of a redhead's complexion. But today there is a wide spectrum of reds, including golden and brownish-red hues that enhance the natural tones in a redhead's hair and freckled skin, according to makeup pro Bobbi Brown. New reds to try: Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Burnt Red ($18; visit Bobbibrown.com) and L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipcolour in Red Hot ($8.25).
Rule: Oil-free products are the only option for oily skin Reality: "When you strip oil from your skin's upper layers, it just prompts the skin to produce more oil," says Susan West Kurz, president of Dr. Hauschka Skin Care. Unlike mineral oil, which sits on the surface and can clog pores, botanically based oils can actually help prevent blemishes, as they are quickly absorbed by the skin. This not only softens skin, but helps normalize oil flow. A few choices: Decleor Aromessence Ylang Ylang Purifying Concentrate (use morning and night before moisturizer; $42, for stores, decleordirect.com ); Dr.Hauschka Skin Care Normalizing Day Oil (use in the morning as your moisturizer; $26.95, to order, 800-247-9907); and Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil (use at night before moisturizer, $39).
Rule: Don't tweeze above your eyebrows Reality: Any stragglers above your brows can create a shadow, and as a result, the shape of your brows won't look as clean and defined. For mistakeproof grooming above the brow, New York-based makeup pro Lea Siegel suggests this trick: Brush brows into place, then go over them with a white makeup pencil. Strays above the whitened area can be tweezed without disrupting the line of your brows. Pluck one hair at a time, using a good pair of tweezers. One of our faves: Tweezerman Slant Tweezers ($18; to order, 888-647-7377).
Rule: The best place to spritz on fragrance is behind your ears Reality: Fragrance expert Jo Malone, founder of Jo Malone London, says that your favorite scent will be most alluring -- and less overpowering to others -- when you spritz it down the center of your body, from below the collarbone to between the breasts. The natural body heat you generate in these places warms up the fragrance, which helps it last longer. Try a spritz in your hair, too; your hair's natural oils will help fragrance cling to your tresses. (But don't do this if your hair is highlighted, because alcohol in the fragrance could distort your haircolor.)
Rule: Don't wear lipstick without a lipliner Reality: Most shades, especially creamy formulas, look more natural if you skip the liner. To help lipcolor go on neatly, New York City-based makeup artist Genevieve suggests that you apply it with a lip brush. (Use a lipliner when your lipstick is a very dark or super-bright shade: Deep hues have more pigment, which tends to wander, and liner creates a barrier.)
Rule: Oily hair doesn't need a conditioner Reality: Hair can be oily at the scalp and dry at the ends. Just avoid rich conditioners that weigh down hair, says Yves Durif of Yves Durif Salon, in New York City. To add shine, try Durif's post-shampoo rinse: Mix one part apple-cider vinegar with 20 parts water; apply to ends; rinse. Or use an oil-free conditioner like Frederic Fekkai Apple Cider Clean Conditioner ($18.50; visit Sephora.com) and Neutrogena Clean for Color-Defending Conditioner ($4.99).
Rule: The apples of your cheeks are the only spot to apply blush Reality: If you have a perfectly oval face shape, stick with the apples. For the rest of us, makeup pro Alyssa Evans for Nubest & Co. Salon, in Manhasset, New York, offers these strategies. Square face: Brush blusher just under the cheekbones. Round: Sweep blusher along cheekbones, up toward temples. Heart-shaped: Start at outer eye corners and glide toward temples.
Rule: You must match foundation to the skin on your jawline Reality: Most of us have some redness or some discolored, blotchy areas. Testing foundation on the face could leave you with a shade that's too pink. To even out skin tone, match a shade to the skin on your neck, suggests Lea Siegel. One skin-flattering formula we love is Origins Nude and Improved Bare-face Makeup with SPF 15 Sunscreen ($15). Its soft-focus diffusers help your complexion glow in any light.
Rule: Blue eyeshadow looks dated Reality: Caking on bright turquoise shadow is a sure way to say you're stuck in the '80s. But cool silvery or smoky shades of blue imparts a fresh and modern look. The trick is to keep the rest of your makeup soft, advises Bobbi Brown -- no loud fuchsia lipstick! Try pairing a subtle blue shadow with a navy eyeliner. Some of spring's prettiest blues: Aveda Shadow plus Vitamins in Perception ($10; for stores, 800-328-0849) and Revlon Illuminance Creme Shadow in Moody Blues ($6.50). -- Carol Straley