I’ve been playing with make-up for the better part of 4 decades, so didn’t think there was much left to master in my bag of beauty tricks.
Until last spring, when I had a professional make-up artist take stock of my face.
Faced with a school fundraising event that night and 3 hours of sleep, I found myself barefaced and haggard. The only weapon within reach was an old lip balm with a missing cap at the bottom of my bag.
So in a desperate act of financial tomfoolery, I threw a beauty Hail Mary and scheduled a blow out and professional make-up application at Sharon Dorram. Gabriele is my regular go-to blow out guy for special occasions, but this was the first time I blindly paid someone a small fortune to freshen my face.
“I’m going to a school thing (you know, other mothers and teachers), so I want to look rested and pretty.” I told her. “But not hot pretty, nice pretty. Inspiring a little envy would be nice though. Can you do that in 45 minutes?”
Clearly no stranger to the landscape of New York City moms, she looked me squarely and said, “Are you kidding? I can do that in 35”.
She wasn’t a just make-up artist; she was a beauty Fairy Godmother. Faster than I could say bippity-boppity-boo she transformed me from dreary urban working mom into a luminous PTA Goddess.
Better yet, she taught this old dog some new tricks that changed my make-up life forever:
I’ve shared this tip before, and it’s still one of my favorites. The trick here is blending the two different types of foundation and the Beauty Blender.
- Begin with a good primer (we know this).
- Dilute a drop of foundation with a few drops of tinted moisturizer and blend. This also helps customize the color, but she also mixed two different shades of foundation to get the shade just right.
- Apply with a lightly moistened Beauty Blender sponge. Press and dab, press and dab all over your face until it’s well blended.
- Lightly press with a tissue to bind it to the skin for the most natural look.
- My go-tos: Beauty Blender Sponge, Laura Mercier Primer, Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in Nude, Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk in #5 and not pictured here but equally loved is Koh Gen Do foundation.
In olden times, I would do this with a white pencil to theoretically brighten the whites of my eyes. But you know what? I looked like a crazy racoon with scorching white around the inside of her eyes. The trick is to do this with a peach pink, not white. My go-tos: Nars Larger Than Life Pencil in Rue Bonaparte or Benefit Eye Bright.
Keep in mind, I’m a brown-eyed girl so keep this may not work as well all you hazels, greens and baby blues out there. Still, my eyes looked ginormous, bright and stayed that way until midnight.
- Using an eyeliner brush, press dark brown matte eye shadow into your upper lash line.
- Then, line your eyes with a deep navy kohl pencil on top to set it. Again, dotting it on to avoid applying too much.
- Lastly, take your eyeliner brush and smudge/blend with the dark brown shadow over the kohl layer.
- Keep it simple on your lower lash line; line the outer half softly with the dark brown shadow.
- My go-tos: Bobbi Brown Eyeliner Brush, Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow in Black Chocolate, and Bobbi Brown Long Wear Eye Pencil in Black Navy.
This is my favorite trick of all time for looking awake and 5 years younger. Doing this cleans up the smudges nicely and gives you a clean lower lash line.
- Put on all your shadow, liner and top lash mascara. Lightly line your lower lash line with shadow if needed
- Apply a color corrector with a concealer brush if your eyes need a little boost. Personally, I look like a Twilight extra without concealer so I always need the extra help.
- Then, lightly apply a concealer with the brush and blend, blend, blend, blend, blend. I skip the powder because it can make my eyes look crepey.
- As the final touch, lightly apply your lower lash mascara
- My go-tos: Bobbi Brown Color Corrector in Light Peach and Creamy Concealer in Warm Beige.
It’s no brainer that nothing screams early 90s like a visibly lined mouth, but I’ve noticed the older I get, the more my lips lack definition so I need a little help.
- Apply a pinky sheer lipstick with a lip brush (the color guidance applies to girls over 35+ more so than the youngins)
- Then, carefully fill in the areas of definition you think you need with the pencil in a color that’s as close to your natural lip color as possible.
- Top with gloss as needed.
- My go-tos: I like Cle de Peau Beaute Lip Luminizer in Fig Tart and their gloss in their Lip liner in 101.
I left the salon ready to rule the world provided I could get a glass of liquid courage in my hand the moment I walked into the event. I would bid at the silent auction with confidence and navigate the slurry of alpha moms, recalling that oldie but goodie from Billy Crystal:
“Nando, don’t be a schnook, it’s not how you feel, it’s how you LOOK”