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Austin/San Francisco, TX/CA, United States
I'm a young Stylish Fashionista, basic Bad Ass with a really killer wardrobe. Working in Austin TX and San Francisco CA constantly surrounded by Chic people and Fab places. I hope you enjoy musing on the Fashion,Design,Photography and Events and everything else people would find Fab and Chic

Friday, January 7, 2011

Makeover 101: Brushing Up a Look for a New Year .

It's easy to get stuck in a makeup rut, using the same colors and shades on our face for years. Could we regain our game face for the new year with the aid of makeup pros? To find out, we booked consults at counters around Seattle to see how pros would tackle our 40-year-old face.

Sales of so-called prestige makeup, products sold mainly in department stores, have fallen in recent years to $3.16 billion in 2009 from $3.4 billion in 2007, according to market research firm NPD Group. For the first 10 months of 2010, sales were $2.6 billion, up 2% from that same period during 2009.In this particular cosmetics segment, free makeup touchups by pros, as well as paid special-occasion makeovers, help sell expensive products.

We started at LVMH cosmetics chain Sephora, which offers a 45-minute makeup consult by appointment with a $50 minimum purchase in all stores, as well as shorter instruction free of charge.

The Sephora artist—like all the artists we visited—started by asking what colors we wear and the look we were seeking, as well as our trouble areas when it comes to makeup. We told him we wear warm, bright colors by day and wanted a new look that makes better use of eye makeup.

Though the store was crowded, our artist gave us his undivided attention. He started with applying an eye foundation and showed us an eye makeup kit that included instructions on how to apply the shades. He used three colors on our eyes and showed us a trick for using luminous shades to offset dark circles. He brushed "wet" eyeliner onto our inner eyelids for a more natural look than a regular liner. As he added each new layer to our eyes, he showed us in the mirror how he'd achieved the look. He moved to the rest of our face, applying a pre-foundation "color corrector." We were impressed with how it calmed our ruddy skin. Next: bronzer, a two-tone blush, lipstick, and gloss. He wrote down all the products we liked. We were very happy with the results, which looked polished but not excessive. We were impressed with the artist, because he was fluent in multiple product lines.

Next up, we hit a one-day promotion at Macy's for another LVMH brand, BeneFit Cosmetics: If we spent $50 on product, we'd get a free eyebrow wax and a 30-minute makeover. The artist started with the "smoky" eyes we requested, which featured a smudge of grey shadow at the center of each lid. Despite our skepticism about the blue mascara he suggested, it really did brighten our blue eyes. He used wet under-lid eyeliner and he showed us the mirror frequently, especially while working on our eyes.

On our skin, he used a pore minimizer as a foundation precursor. He said that because we have fairly clear-toned skin, we could use the minimizer as our foundation and top it with a little powder for a lighter approach to foundation. He went ahead with traditional foundation and blush. He said we'd chosen our lipstick well. The makeover was quick, though the results weren't altogether "us"—more "downtown" chic than the informal look we wanted. While our rep set aside products for us we might buy, he didn't write down their names so we forgot some.

Our local Mac Cosmetics, an Estee Lauder brand, offered three types of makeup lessons. We went the deluxe route with a $100 60-minute lesson including hands-on tips, a free mascara, and a 20% discount on products for 30 days.

We were whisked into a private area to chat with our rep, who told us we needed makeup with a slight emphasis on yellow tones to counter our pinkish skin. After moisturizing our skin and assessing it, she began with our eyes, and told us throughout the consult she'd let us use the brush to try out her methods. She layered colors and "feathered" them with brushes on our lids. She unlocked the secrets of how to use concealing products: Rather than smear them across the entire area below our eyes, we should focus only on the area along the bridge of our nose and the outer edges of the eyes. She recommended against eyeliner on the lower eyelid—partly because of our dark circles but also because she said with our oval eye shape it's good to focus on the upper lid and lashes. She applied moisturizer before applying foundation, blush, and bronzer. She said we did a good job with our lips.

We liked that she not only wrote down products we liked, but applied products onto a paper diagram of a face so we could recreate our look at home. We liked that she admitted we don't have to always use specialized products; rather than buy a brow filler, we could use eye shadow. The up-sell was negligible.

Next, we went to a local Aveda Institute (teaching salon for the Estee Lauder brand) for a 30-minute session with a student aesthetician for $20. (Aveda retailers offer free touchups as well as special occasion makeovers for varying prices.) She was creative with our request for a light-weight daytime look, replacing traditional foundation with tinted moisturizer and loose powder. She taught us the darkest eye shadow goes in the crease, and showed us how she was applying each of the three colors she was using. She used a pale blush, one of the best blush choices out of the makeovers.

All in all, we were pleased with the look and speed of our makeover. At each stage, she showed us the mirror and took questions. We asked why she hadn't opted to use a concealer below our eyes, and she confessed she wasn't fond of the line's concealing products. She wrote down all the products she'd used for us, though there was no pressure to buy. For a student, we concluded, she had promise—and we were only out $20, less than the price of a department-store lipstick.

We had a lot of fun and picked up plenty of tips and tricks. For instance, the BeneFit artist told us that drugstore-brand eye moisturizer doubles well as eye makeup remover. Both Sephora and MAC taught us the right way to apply bronzer: With the lotion on your fingertips, trace a "3" on the right side of your face and an "E" on the left. Both Aveda and Sephora artists taught us that, though we have blue eyes and a pink-toned complexion, we can use brown eye products and slightly yellow-toned base to offset winter ruddiness.

by the wallstreet journal

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