It’s awards season everywhere you turn as critics’ associations and entertainment industry societies celebrate the best in movies, television and music of 2008. Today, the “pre-show” — where entertainers are snapped in all their finery as they enter the hall for the main event — have become displays of glamour avidly eaten up by those of us who don’t have to borrow two dozen gowns and jewels worth millions to get through our daily lives.

Every once in a while, we mere mortals find ourselves having to glamorize ourselves for an event — a wedding, New Year’s Eve, or even a night out on the town for Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t take a professional stylist or the artistry of Pat McGrath to make you look as good as any of the actresses/models/singers at the red carpet events. All you need are a few tricks of the trade.

Start with your skin; exfoliate your face and body with your favorite scrub, then moisturize well. For those of you who like the tan look, a light application of self-tanner is better than reaching for L’Oreal Sublime Bronze in deep dark. If you’re a pretty pale princess like me, try a lotion with soft shimmer to highlight cleavage and collarbones.

Primer will help your makeup stay for the duration of your event — I use Benefit Lemon Aid on my eyelids and sometimes a silicone primer like Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer on my face. There are lip primers, but filling in your lips with pencil before applying color can have the same effect.

Add a luminizer to your foundation to give your face a soft glow. Try Laura Geller Liquid Candlelight or Stila All-Over Shimmer. Just a drop will do — you don’t want to look shiny and sweaty in photographs.

Pink-toned blushes photograph well — consider Benefit Posy-Tint for lips and cheeks or Tarte Cheek Stain in Flush. If you prefer powders, NARS Orgasm is a peachy-pink that works well with many different skin tones or try Make Up For Ever Candy Pink 85.

However you like to wear your eye makeup — dark-winged eyeliner only like Angelina Jolie or full eyeshadow and liner like Debra Messing at this year’s Golden Globes — consider false eyelashes. As I’ve said before, learning to wear them is a practice-makes-perfect task, but one well worth the time. MAC has a great new collection, called Lash & Dash, of exaggerated spikes and fringes. An easier choice for beginners to try would be Sephora’s house brand of lashes that has a half-strip along with a full-strip in one package. Individual clumps are easily applied to the outside corners with long-lasting glue.

When you see celebrities on the red carpet, they either play up their eyes or their lips — rarely do they highlight both. If you go for simple eye makeup, choose a great lipstick in deep red, fuchsia or plum. Put a dot of clear or matching lip gloss just in the centre of your lips to play up a pout. And if you’re like me and make your eyes the focal point, wear a great neutral lippie like MAC Viva Glam 5 with a matching gloss.

No matter how you wear your hair for your bombshell look, shoulder-dusting earrings will draw even more attention to your gorgeous face.

It’s doesn’t take much to let your inner bombshell out — give yourself a chance to shine too!

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