Flawless skin can be yours: makeup expert offers tips and advice

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!