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Major missteps on the road to beauty
by Carolyn Brundage Beauty Mistakes

In life, sometimes the things we get wrong outweigh the things we do right. When it comes to beauty, this is the unspoken role.  Case in point: I once met a woman, a clothing designer, who struck me as stunning, smart, and savvy.  She also did the strangest thing with her lip liner. She drew it around the outside of her lips and topped it off with a cupid's bow. To this day, when I hear her name, I think of those lips.  When we met, I just couldn't focus on anything else.  My mind whirled with questions: Does she think that looks good?  Doesn't she have friends and aren't they obligated to help? What do her lips really look like under all that liner? The fact is, on our prettiest days we walk a bit taller and shine a bit brighter. When it comes to putting your best face forward, perhaps more important than knowing what to do is knowing what not to do.

Beauty Blunder #1: Pencil thin brows

Step away from the tweezers, ladies. Pencil thin, over plucked brows are officially out, not to mention universally unflattering. While anorexic brows are usually self-imposed, some women do find themselves at the hands of an overzealous professional. No matter who's to blame, it's time to stop the madness. Tweezing can be particularly addictive, but there is help out there.   The first step is admitting you have a problem.  A quick test: if the thickest part of your brow is less than ¼ inch thick, you're probably an addict.  It's time to quit cold turkey.  That means NO tweezing or waxing for three weeks. Your brows need time to recover and you need to rediscover what normal, healthy brows look like.  In the meantime, fill in sparse brows with a brow pencil and shadow.  Start by brushing brows upward.  Then, color brows with an extra sharp pencil in a shade lighter than your natural color. Fill in sparse spots with short, small strokes. Do not draw a line. Next, apply a brow powder using an angled brush.  Finally, set with a clear brow gel. One of my favorites is More Brows, a gel that's applied after pencil or shadow to give the appearance of thicker, fuller brows ($30 at Sephora.com).

BeautyBlunder #2: Foundation mismatch.

The goal of a good foundation is to give the look of effortlessly perfect skin.  If selecting the right shade of foundation is so simple, why are so many of us getting it wrong? Blame it on bad lighting or just bad choices, there's no excuse for a foundation mismatch. Your makeup selection should be based on two key factors: skin type and skin tone. To test colors, try applying three different shades on separate areas of your face, near the jaw line. Next, compare your selections in natural light. You've found the right match when no one but you knows you've got it on. Not sure what your skin tone is? A quick trick is to hold both a white shirt and a cream shirt up to your face. If you look best in white, stick with cool hues. If cream is your color, warm shades are sure to complement.  Application is key and one of my favorite tools is a foundation brush.  Place a dab of foundation on the back of your hand and then dip the brush into the foundation and apply to the face with long, feathery strokes.  One to try is MAC's 190 Foundation Brush ($32 at maccosmetics.com). Using the brush, be sure to blend outwards.  A professional grade foundation brush helps ensure that even finish and flawless look we all crave.

Beauty Blunder #3: Lipliner overload.

Back to that overzealous designer I met. Here's what I should have told her: your lips are not a landing pad nor should they look like one. We've all seen this facial faux pas, some of us have even fallen victim to it. Perhaps the word lipliner itself is a misnomer. Trust me, the last thing you actually want is a line around your lips. The key to pucker perfection? After applying lipliner, use the same liner to fill lips in. When your lipstick fades you'll be left with lips that are all one hue. A liner should be used to emphasize the natural shape of your lips.  Any attempts at creating a new mouth with a $10 lip pencil are sure to fail, otherwise no one would pay to plump up their lips with Collagen. Lipliner can also be terribly unflattering for those with vertical lip lines, something we all tend to get with time.  For this, I recommend using a product such as DuWop's Reverse Lipliner.  This colorless pencil prevents lipstick from feathering and creates ideally shaped lips without the harsh edges ($19 at duwop.com).

 
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