Articles By Angela Lukach


It’s full-on summer in the northern hemisphere (with apologies to any readers Down Under) so it’s time to talk sun protection. No lectures this time; just top-to-toe tips and the best sunscreen products for the season!

Hair SPF 101

The sun can be damaging to your curls, so it's important to use good healthy hair habits during the summer. For those of us who color our hair, sunlight can cause fast fading and unpleasant side effects like brassiness. Sunscreen for your hair isn’t as good as the products designed for face and body—it’s difficult to get enough SPF into the formulations. Hats and bandanas made of tightly woven fabrics are going to offer best sunscreen for your lovely locks.

While regular sunscreen can (and should) be painted down a part in your hair, there are some products designed to shield your curls from the harmful rays. Phytologie makes a line designed to protect your hair from the sun, though it is pricey, and California Baby has two leave-in conditioners with some natural sunscreens in them.

If you’re putting your hair up (maybe in a “pineapple” through a crown-less hat), don’t forget to put sunscreen on the tips of your ears and the back of your neck. Your lips are thin and can burn easily, so make sure you protect them too. Lip balms offer the best sunscreen protection as long as you choose ones with a high SPF rating.

Wear Sunglasses!

As weird as this is going to sound, your eyes can actually get sunburned! Big dark glasses won’t only help you bring out your inner movie star, they’ll also help prevent crow’s feet around your eyes as time goes on.

Skin Basics

I carry extra sunscreen with me to reapply to my hands. With all the fear out there about germs these days, we wash out hands so often, this is where sunscreen disappears first. And the skin on our hands is so thin that this is where aging appears first.

If you’re wearing pants and flip flops, have you remembered to put sunscreen on your feet? There’s nothing more painful than a sunburn on your feet when you have to go to work wearing something more substantial than sandals!

Coppertone has mousse formulations of SPF 60 available this year, including their popular Water Babies line. They are very lightweight, absorb quickly and feel relatively non-greasy compared to heavy creams.

Most major sunscreen companies have improved their “water resistant” formulations to last longer, and Neutrogena has invented a product line called “Wet Skin” that can be sprayed right on after you get out of the pool or shower. (New FDA regulations now prohibit companies from marketing sunscreen as “waterproof.”)

If you’re looking for something more natural than chemical to protect yourself, Alba Botanica hoffers some of the best sunscreen products for adults and children that promise to be more soothing to your skin.

Finally, there is a newer line of mineral makeup designed by the founder of Bare Escentuals. Sold as “Colorescience Sunforgettable”, the SPF 50 powder foundation is supposed to offer more protection than all other mineral makeup on the market.

Final thoughts

Overall, no matter what you’re wearing and how you’re covering up, have a sun-safe summer!





A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on the train heading to Toronto for the first holiday weekend of the summer. I always take reading material for the short trip to Mom's house—usually a fashion magazine. As I was flipping through the pages of the June 2011 Allure, I stopped short at an advertisement for makeup house Tarina Tarantino. The product being promoted is called “Sparklicity Bronze Shimmer Dust” and the model in the photograph looks like she's been dipped in bronze dust! It was a bit disconcerting.

Those of you who've been with me the past seven years know that I'm pale, pale, pale; and also that I'm not totally opposed to adding some bronzer to my routine in the summer. But I don't think it's necessary to turn yourself into a statue in order to get your (fake) colour for the warmer months.

Pick the Right Tone for Your Skin

Choose the best self tanners suitable for your skin tone. Jergens Natural Glow is the product that kick-started the trend toward more subtle fake baking. It comes in two shades (light and medium) and can be used daily to build up colour just as the sun would if you were out in it every day. There are different formulas for face and body.

For Darker Tones

For those with darker skin tones, or those looking to achieve a darker “tan,” try L'Oreal Sublime Bronze. A few years ago, I used this to get colour before a Hawaiian-theme party and looked like I had spent weeks sunning myself!

Best Self Tanner Products for Summer 2011

  • Physician's Formula – Summer Eclipse Bronzing Powder
  • Too Faced Aqua Bunny Cream to Powder Splash-Proof Bronzer
  • Clarins Mosaïque Summer Bronzing Compact
  • MAC Skinsheen Bronzer Stick
  • The Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Gel

Spray Tans

If you don't want to go the “do it yourself” route, many salons today offer “spray tans.” One method has you walk into a booth and being coated from head to toe in tanning product. These can take time to show up, like the Jergens, or they can be tinted to give you immediate colour along with more developing over time.

The major name brand in this field is Mystic Tan. Prices for this vary depending where you are in North America; it runs about $30 Cdn in my city. Or you can have a “tan technician” literally spray paint you in the bronze or golden tint of your choice. The June issue of Allure" lists salons offering this service in major American cities on page 114. Prices vary wildly from less than $40 to upwards of $120.

Liquid Bronzers

Liquid bronzers generally coat you evenly, but won't look as natural as taking a powder bronzing product and using a large, fluffy brush to to apply colour in the same areas the sun would. Touch it to your forehead, the bridge of your nose, your cheeks and a light dab on the chin. Sweep bronzer across your collarbone and down your clavicle, too.

Toning Foundations

If you want the all-over colour offered by liquids or creams, consider adding something like a bronze, brown or golden illuminator to your foundation. NARS makes a lovely (if pricey) one in a shade called Laguna.

Finally, just in time for summer, Benefit has come out with a third shade in their line of lip and cheek stains. Chacha-Tint joins the original crimson Bene-tint and pink Posie-Tint. It's a mango-orange shade perfect for pairing with your faux-tan!

Final thoughts

Stay cool!

Canadian fashion doyenne Jeanne Beker wrote in her first column for "The Toronto Star" about her love of a pair of Jimmy Choo stilettos in a nude shade that are ideal for giving the illusion of a longer leg. She wasn't going to let the fact that the shoes seemed to be a bit small stop her from enjoying them.

But there's a cheaper, less painful, way to get the natural makeup look this spring—in cosmetic tones that are anything but boring even if they are on the beige side of life.

urban decay naked palette

The Urban Decay Naked palette is hard to find, but worth it if you do.

Eye Shadow

For everyone with an eye colour other than hazel or light brown, the indispensable shade is going to be a medium golden brown. It will especially enhance blue or green eyes and bring out the warmth in dark brown and black eyes. If you can get your hands on the Urban Decay “Naked” palette, you'll find a perfect brown for you in there. Since it's always sold out at UD and Sephora, the Too Faced Natural Neutral Eye Kit is a good substitute.

Don't forget that dot of shimmering peachy-pink at the inner corners of the eyes and on the brow bone—or wherever else you'd like to call attention. Stila has taken their eye shadow Kitten colour into other products in their line: a glitter eye liner, a primer, a powder all-over-color, a smudge-pot cream eye shadow and in two lip glosses.

stila kitten eye shadow

The Stila Kitten eye shadow.


Shades of blush should stay on the lighter side of brown, or try light bronzers like Benefit Hoola and Ultra Flesh Metalika Bronze & Glow Collection—5 cream-to-powder colours in a palette, so you can customize your colour.

Lip Color

MAC Cosmetics has teamed with Lady Gaga for yet another addition to their family of Viva Glam charity lipsticks. Gaga 2 is a pale neutral beige in a creamy formula that is a far cry from the blue pink of Gaga 1. A matching lip glass is also available. But if you feel like something classic, channel your inner Catherine Deneuve with NARS Belle de Jour lipstick, a sheer nude beige. For those with darker skin tones, NARS Tanganyka gives a similar effect.

Skin Care Tips

Skin should be fresh and flawless if you're going to sport the natural makeup look. Aim for dewy instead of dry; too matte will make you look sick instead of sophisticated. Try these healthy skin tips to keep your complexion fresh and light.

Perfectly groomed brows are an essential part of any look, especially one running along in neutral. Anastasia of Beverly Hills offers 6 shades of brow powder from cool blonde to ebony.

If you want to splurge to get your neutral makeup fix, Bobbi Brown is the Queen of Neutral. She has more subtle gradations of nude beige lipsticks and tan and brown eye shadows than any other major cosmetics line.

I'm crazy about my garden and spend a lot of time out there at this time of year; in addition to all the yard maintenance, there are new plants to put out. Even with gardening gloves, my hands often end the day caked in dirt. But I found a secret weapon to clean every trace of mud and grime away that leaves my hands soft, smooth and smelling wonderful!

Cake Beauty of Toronto has a hand scrub product called “milk made” formulated with sugar, grape seed, coconut, sweet almond and avocado oils. It has a faint vanilla-grape scent and a little goes a long way. There's also a matching hand lotion. In the United States, it's available from Sephora and several websites. At home in Canada, it's also available at Sephora, some Bay Stores and select Chapters-Indigo locations.


Tokidoki Soda Shop Palette

On the “Non-Hair Discussion Board” at CurlTalk, I have spent much of the past four months complaining about the winter that just ended. We got one heck of a lot of snow here in London, even by Canadian standards! A normal winter sees us get 220 cm (88 inches) in total. By February 2nd, we had hit 235 cm (94 inches), and there was so much more by the end of March.

It’s time for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere to cast off the sweaters, socks and thermies and welcome spring! Here’s what’s hot for 2011:

The Tokidoki Soda Shop Palette – I admit that I am a sucker for the packaging from this Italian (NOT Japanese) company. It’s cutesy and sort of animé and the kind of thing a person 1/3 my age would probably like. This reusable tin box contains 9 eye shadows, an eye liner, a nail file in the shape of Tokidoki character Sandy, a character magnet and a sheet of stickers. ($49 US exclusive to Sephora).

OPI for Sephora Nail Polish Collection “Glee” – 7 colours inspired by the characters of the hit television series. $9.50 US for each full-size polish, or a set of 6 minis (minus the lime green shade) for $24 US, also exclusive to Sephora.

Benefit has a new block blush called Bella Bamba. This is a watermelon-pink shade with gold undertones ($28 US).

Orange is the IT colour for lips this spring —try the Josie Maran Magic Marker Lip & Cheek Stain in shade Jive ($19 US) or Make Up For Ever’s Lab Shine Lip Gloss in shade D20 ($18 US).

Kat Von D True Romance

Kat Von D True Romance

If you’re going to do bright lips, it’s best to tone down your eyes. The Urban Decay “Naked” eye shadow palette sells out as fast as it gets to stores, so several other companies are getting in on the act—Too Faced has a Natural Eye Collection ($35 US) or you could try the Lorac Private Affair Palette that comes with a mini eye primer, sponge-tip applicator and 6 eye shadows ($38 US).

Or try a pastel like the Hello Kitty Charmmy Eye Shadow Stick in shade Cream Puff—a shimmering lavender ($16 US).

Kat Von D has her “True Romance” eye shadow palette available in a pastel version called Truth—8 soft shades of greens, peach, and lavender. ($34 US at Sephora) And there is the Tarina Tarantino Floriculture Palette, also 8 shades of eye shadow to take you from day to night ($38 US).

I am one of those people who tends to wear the same perfumes year-round, but for those who like to switch to lighter, fresher, scents, there are a few new ones this year, most notably Jennifer Aniston Lolavie. The notes for this fragrance are listed as: citrus grove accord, rose water, night blooming jasmine, wild violets, Amazon lily, musk, amber and sandalwood. Fragrance blogs are reporting that it is “beachy” in nature.

For fans of Bath & Body Works scents, the new addition to their lineup is Carried Away. The description from the company says that it contains “lush raspberries and juicy pear nectar with white jasmine and whipped vanilla” along with bergamot, Meyer lemon, mandarin, freesia, tuberose, violet, sandalwood and musk.

I’m just looking forward to the lily of the valley that blooms in my garden!


Carrots contain the phyto-chemical carotenoid

Your mother was right

As if you needed yet another reason to eat vegetables, new research shows that your skin actually looks healthier with the glow you get from eating foods rich in carotenoids.

Carotenoids are phyto-chemicals that create the orange, red and yellow pigments in many fruits and vegetables. They are mainly involved in the production of Vitamin A in the body. In recent years, carotenoids have been discovered to have anti-oxidant and immune-enhancing benefits. Studies indicate their efficacy in anti-aging products (retinol) and preventing cancer.

You’ve probably heard that if you eat a lot of carrots, your skin will turn orange. This happens to be true; it’s even got a medical name—carotonemia. But you have to eat one heck of a lot of carotenoid-rich foods in a short period of time for this to happen. One enterprising gentleman in Germany ate nothing but carrots for two weeks to see what would happen and the palms of his hands turned orange-ish. The blog about his experience can be found here: The Orange Man Project.

While it isn’t advised that you eat such a restrictive diet designed with the express purpose of turning yourself orange, a recent study conducted at the University of Nottingham in England, shows that the golden cast to fair skin that comes from a diet rich in carotenoids makes skin look better. The researchers found that study subjects looking at the participants’ faces found those with the yellower tone to be more attractive and healthier in appearance. This behaviour has been noted in other species, too.

In addition to their presence in carrots, carotenoids can be found in cantaloupe, apricots, papaya, mangoes, peaches, red peppers, tomatoes and, surprisingly, peas, spinach and kale.

Of all the carotenoids in existence (more than 500), lycopene is one of the most important to humans. Found in abundance in tomatoes, lycopene has been found to be of benefit in protecting skin from sun damage. As I wrote in February 2008, lycopene has been discovered to be the most potent combatant of something called “singlet oxygen.” Singlet oxygen is produced during exposure to ultraviolet light, and is a primary cause of skin aging. In a study reported on BBC, a test subject ate increased amounts of tomato paste to gain increased natural protection from sun damage.

The health benefits of eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables are well-known. Not only will you feel better, all indications are that you will look better, too.

It seems that mom really did know best when she told you to “eat your vegetables!”

The study: Ian D. Stephen, Vinet Coetzee, David I. Perrett. Carotenoid and melanin pigment coloration affect perceived human health. Evolution and Human Behavior, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2010.09.003

Leaping Bunny

It’s a new year this week for dozens of countries in Asia, and, according to the animal-based zodiac used in that part of the world, it’s the year of the rabbit. If you are a rabbit (or cat in Vietnam), you are supposed to be “… articulate, talented, and ambitious… virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Rabbit people are admired, trusted, and are often financially lucky. They are fond of gossip but are tactful and generally kind. Rabbit people seldom lose their temper. They are clever at business and, being conscientious, never back out of a contract.” (Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco)

The rabbit is also the symbol of The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics. This coalition of eight animal-protection groups came together in 1996 in response to growing consumer demand for verifiable standards on animal-testing of cosmetic products. Until that time, companies could simply say “sure, we’re cruelty-free and don’t test on animals,” but there was no way of measuring these claims.

The standard used by CCIC is stricter than that in use by the cosmetic/personal care companies themselves. Most say that they don’t test on animals, and that is true. However, CCIC requires that animal-testing be cleared from every stage of production, including the ingredients used to make a product. This is why the brands of the big makeup conglomerates like L’Oréal, Lauder Corporation and Proctor & Gamble (Cover Girl and Olay) are not bunny-certified. For a company to be certified by the CCIC, they must submit to independent audits of their processes and renew their commitment to them annually. Companies do not have to pay to be certified; they submit an application and an audit is carried out by the CCIC to ensure their compliance with the standards. However, if they wish to use CCIC's leaping bunny logo on their products, they pay a fee to license the logo.

Products certified by CCIC are not necessarily vegan. Their focus is on certifying animal-testing claims. Since ingredient lists are a legal requirement for most companies producing personal care goods, it’s easy for consumers to find that information and decide themselves whether or not a product meets their personal standards. Sephora online, for example, lists ingredients for every product on the site, as does CurlMart.

The leaping bunny logo is recognized in Canada, the United States and most European-Union countries. However, the great majority of the companies that are certified are smaller cosmetic manufacturers. The only major brand name makeup and personal care product companies certified are Aubrey Organics, Burt’s Bees, Dermalogica, Hard Candy, Kiss My Face, L’Occitane, Paul Mitchell, The Body Shop and Urban Decay.

The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics' website has a comprehensive list of personal- and household-care product companies available. There are also pet-care companies listed! You can download a shopping guide or order a pocket-sized one to take with you. And there are links to websites of CCIC-certified companies to help you locate these products where you live.

If this is an issue close to your heart, look for the sign of the Bunny!

It's no secret to readers of this column that I own a LOT of makeup!

But I'm one of those people who tend to wear the same things over and over again; MAC eye shadows in Mulch, Bronze and Satin Taupe, Stila Kitten and Caryl Baker Visage (a Canadian company) in African Violet.

Stila Eye Cosmetics

Stila Purrfect Eyes

Always black mascara and lipsticks in pink-brown shades like MAC Viva Glam 5.

It's easy to get stuck in a makeup rut; you find something that looks good on you and tend to go to that same colour/style over and over again. As the saying goes, “Why mess with success?”

The best reason to change up your look is a change in your life circumstances. Graduating school and starting out in the working world requires a level of polish that you probably hadn't thought of before. While makeup is not a requirement for work, the right amount of carefully applied mascara and a discrete swipe of lipstick can go a long way toward conveying professionalism. You might think it shouldn't make a difference, but as Stacy London and Clinton Kelly point out over and over again on the TV show "What Not to Wear" we are all judged on how we look and we never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Perhaps the best reason to change your makeup is the simplest one—getting older.

Natural Makeup

Natural makeup Is one way to go

For most of us, changes in our skin texture and tone require change in our skin care routines and how we use makeup. The lighter and frostier formulas we could sport as teenagers generally give way to matte finishes and stronger colours as we age. Then back to lighter shades as we get even older!

As I wrote over two years ago, makeup rules for “older” women tend to revolve around the word “don't.” And even though many of those “rules” no longer apply, clinging to the tried-and-true can be as aging as wearing frosted baby blue eye shadow.

For the new year, I've resolved to break out more of the colours in my arsenal. The neglected greys and greens and navy blue are calling my name. In fact, I got a head start last month when I went to a Christmas party and wore a simple, Marilyn-Monroe-inspired eye look using only Stila Oasis (a brown-tinged shimmering gold shade), MAC Showstopper as liner and false lashes. The face that looked at back at me was strangely fresh and somehow younger-looking.

In 2011, I resolve to:

  • wear my dark red lipsticks more often
  • use less eyeliner, and
  • wear different colours of eye shadow.

What are your beauty resolutions for 2011? Tell me below, in the comments section!

Bobbi Brown Makeup Collection

Sultry Eye Palette, part of Bobbi Brown's new Smoky, Sultry, Smoldering Collection.

Bobbi Brown has used her friends as models in her books in the past. This year, the founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics asked them and, in some cases, their daughters, to be the faces of her fall campaign.

According to her website: "Bobbi’s mission has always been to give women the tools and skills to look and feel their absolute, most confident best."

She asked her customers to send in videos describing how they go from feeling “pretty” to “pretty powerful”.

I am torn on this.

On the one hand, we know from many sociological studies that beauty is a powerful currency in our society. The beautiful make more money, are treated better all around in terms of service, and are deferred to in ways that the rest of us will never experience. They are believed to be smarter, nicer and better people than the average human; even if this is not the case. All due to an accident of genetics determined by millimeters of symmetry.

North American society already gives girls and young women the unrelenting message that to be “beautiful” AND (especially) thin is a necessity in order to succeed in life. Do we need to have another major cosmetics company suggesting that “pretty” gives us power?

On the other hand, why not concentrate on the second word in that phrase—powerful?

Since we concentrate so very much on appearance in western societies, why not let young people know that personal power is the most valuable asset they possess? This power can be in terms of physical strength and fitness no matter a person’s size, using one’s brain power to excel at school and in a chosen career, or through strength of character—just being a flat-out decent person.

It seems to me that the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty and their Self-Esteem Fund is designed to help with the concept of personal power.

bobbi brown pretty powerful

I know that a lot of people have difficulty with a company that sells beauty products being involved in such an endeavor. It does appear to be hypocritical—anti-aging hair products being marketed to 50+ women, and anti-cellulite creams on size 12 models, for example.

I’m also aware of the backlash stating that Dove is “promoting obesity” by using those size 12 models. Since none of those women are clinically-obese, can one not make the argument that using the six-foot size 0 models is promoting eating disorders? One only has to read Crystal Renn’s biography Hungry to understand what the fashion and beauty business does to the health of the women (teenagers) in front of the cameras.

Bobbi Brown offered makeovers to the winners of her “Pretty Powerful” campaign. Dove offers self-esteem workshops to girls across North America.

Speaking only for myself, I wish Dove had a campaign like that when I was growing up. I grew up in a house where I was never good enough in any way; my hair was always “wrong” and I was even nicknamed “Two-Ton-Tessie” when I was thin. Is it any wonder that I’m a 50-year-old fat woman who wishes she could win the lottery just to be thin and beautiful?

For those of you with daughters and granddaughters, little sisters, nieces and young cousins, and even mentees through the Big Sisters or Boys & Girls Clubs, do them a favor and concentrate on “powerful” in all its forms. It will give them a more beautiful tomorrow.

It’s December and that can only mean one thing: Rouquinne’s Holiday Gift Guide!

Over the life of this column, the makeup companies have gone into holiday season marketing in a BIG way! From a few palettes and gift sets (mainly from fragrance companies), there has been an explosion in gifts for the makeup junkie in your life. So much is now available that I can’t mention it all here. Two years ago, I started an accompanying topic on the CurlTalk Makeup Forum—Rouquinne’s 24 Days of Beauty—where each day from December 1 to December 24, I feature a beauty gift not mentioned in this column. Now, on to the show…

MAC Tartan Tale Collection

MAC Tartan Tale Collection

Stila Color Wheel Eye Shadow Palette

Stila Color Wheel Eye Shadow Palette

This year MAC Cosmetics HAS gone overboard with their holiday offerings: 25 gift sets are available in the “Tartan Tale” collection. There is also a tartan teddy, a teddy key chain and the Kids Helping Kids cards and gift tags; truly something for everyone.

Stila entered the gift race in mid-October this year. If you can still find it, the Color Wheel Eye Shadow Palette features 37 shades of eye colour, two double-ended brushes and a 16-page tips and tricks book. ($38US at Stila or Sephora)

Sephora Fragrance Sampler

Sephora Fragrance Sampler

Sephora’s Fragrance Sampler set has expanded from one featuring their best-selling perfumes for women to 10 including their signature nail polishes, a mascara sampler and another featuring 10 lip glosses.

Benefit Some Beauty to Love

Benefit Some Beauty to Love

Benefit’s Some Beauty to Love is a pink and green purse-shaped box containing Coralista blush, a mini-Eye Bright pencil, a sample-size Bad Gal mascara and a sample size of That Gal primer. ($29US at Sephora)

Buxom Beauty Love at First Sight

Buxom Beauty Love at First Sight

Buxom Beauty’s Love at First Sight kit contains six mini-eye liners in turquoise, purple, white, black, dark brown and gold. ($28US at Sephora)

Urban Decay Little Sins

Urban Decay Little Sins

Urban Decay has put all four shades of their primer potions together in a package they call “Little Sins”. Greed is an exclusive colour to this set—a pearly gold shade. The mini-primers will set you back $29US at Sephora.

Too Faced Enchanted Glamorland

Too Faced Enchanted Glamorland

Too Faced Enchanted Glamorland contains 15 eye shadows, a mini-primer and mini-glamour gloss, La Vie En Rose blush and Snow Bunny bronzer along with three face charts. Another Sephora exclusive at $49US.

Lorac Croc Collection

Lorac’s Croc Collection

Lorac’s Croc Collection is a mini-train case in faux crocodile skin containing a neutral eye and cheek palette, Nibblin lipstick (pearlescent rosy red), a mini black eye pencil and mascara and a lip gloss in shade Naughty (also pearlescent rosy red). ($40US at Sephora)

Ojon Shine & Protect Winter Collection

Too Faced Enchanted Glamorland

For your hair, there is the Ojon Shine & Protect Winter Collection; four pieces including shampoo, conditioner, glossing cream and glossing mist designed to keep your lovely locks hydrated during a dry North-American winter. Also a Sephora exclusive, the set is $44US.

Avon Mark Rock the Box

Avon Mark Rock the Box

Finally, for the budget-conscious, there’s Avon Mark Rock the Box. The box itself contains four eye shadows and two lip colours for $18US or $22Cdn. But you can up the ante and add Get Bright Highlighter in Natural, Glow Baby Glow lip gloss in Pink Crush, Make It Big mascara in Raven and No Place to Run eyeliner in Jet Set along with the box set for $28US/$36Cdn. From the Avon website or through your friendly neighbourhood Avon lady.

beautiful skin

In between all the emails about new fall colors and techniques for makeup, I noticed an interesting trend; an emphasis on skin that is “flawless”. You might have seen this featured in the September issue of "Allure" magazine. Not only does Laura Mercier have an ad campaign (What is flawless?) within its pages, there is also an article ("Immaculate Complexion" by Elizabeth Siegal) that aims to help you achieve the look.

Very few people have perfect skin past puberty—most of us get some kind of skin eruption in our teen years that cause blemishes that have the potential for scarring for years afterward. When I was a teenager, I had acne on my cheeks that left me with brown spots that lasted until well into adulthood; it took chemical peels in my early 40s to eliminate them completely. Before recent advances in foundation and concealer formulas, hiding imperfections like this usually required putting on a LOT of makeup—and it looked just plain awful!

The first step to flawless is finding a foundation that matches your skin exactly. This is sometimes easier said than done for those of us who are very, very pale or very, very dark. MAC has long been known for offering a good range of colors; Make Up For Ever has 26 shades available in their High Definition foundation alone; Illamasqua out of England has 16 shades starting at pure white; and Becca has 15 shades from Porcelain to Mink.

Makeup gurus Pat McGrath and Bobbi Brown both suggest the same thing to achieve the flawless look—warm liquid foundation in your hand and rub it into the areas of your face that need the coverage most using your fingers. I’ve done this for years and often get compliments on my less-than-perfect complexion.

The Mercier campaign features the company’s signature product—Secret Camouflage concealer. Concealer should go OVER foundation anywhere you need extra coverage; for most people that’s around the nose and under the eyes. It can also be dabbed on with the fingers, but for hiding blemishes, use a small, pointed concealer brush to apply the product, then blend with your fingers.

In the "Allure" article, Pat McGrath recommends applying highlighter strategically all over the face, not just at the corners of the eyes. She also suggests only applying powder to the T-zone instead of all over.

If you’re intent on being “practically perfect in every way”, you might want to consider a home airbrush makeup system. Luminess Air and Temptu are two makers of systems, the first available through QVC and The Shopping Channel (in Canada), the second available at Sephora. These systems sell for upwards of $150 US and have limited ranges of foundation that come with them. Temptu can only be used with their own “foundation pods” (2 for $55 US in 12 shades), but the Luminess system allows you to pour in any liquid foundation – a good thing since they also only have 12 shades of makeup available.

Once you’ve perfected your complexion, color news for this fall emphasizes neutrals for eyes. The Urban Decay Naked Palette has been selling out on their site and at Sephora since its introduction. It contains 12 beautiful neutrals in matte and softly shimmering formulas to take you from day to night.

And that’s my idea of perfect!

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