A week's worth of watching the "Oprah Winfrey" show has brought two surprising revelations to our attention.
First of all, we noticed that the studio audience is remarkably well-versed in self-help psychobabble, never hesitating to urge troubled guests to face reality, get counseling or simply mind their own business.
Second, there was all that bright blue eye shadow on the women in the audience. These were not subtle, well-blended rims of smoky, gray-blue shadow. These were wide, arcing rings of bright baby blue, covering the eyelids from one corner to the other and from the lashes right up to the brows.
There was so much of it that we began to wonder whether bright blue eye shadow was an attendance requirement. Warning: No one admitted without too much blue eye shadow.
But then we remembered that Oprah doesn't wear bright blue eye shadow. And neither do other stylish women.
Consider the cover of the September Vogue, which features Linda Evangelista, the hottest model of the moment. Her eyes are an enviable shade of glittering blue.
It isn't bright blue eye shadow that makes them stand out, however. Evangelista's eye shadow and brow makeup are brown, a shade that provides a pleasing contrast to her blue eyes and makes them stand out.
The same is true in other pages of the magazine. Blue-eyed Paulina Porizkova sports plenty of brown eyeliner but not a speck of blue eye shadow in a two-page ad for Estee Lauder makeup. Blue-eyed Christie Brinkley has an even subtler look in her ad for Cover Girl nail polish.
We know what you're thinking. Christie and Paulina and Linda are so gorgeous that they don't need any eye shadow, blue or not. You, on the other hand, have the kind of looks that need a little help here and there.
That's fine. Bright blue eye shadow is not going to provide it, however. In fact, the wrong shade of blue eye shadow can make you look tired and washed out. (After all, what color are the circles under your eyes? We rest our case.)
Well-applied neutral eye shadow can work wonders though. Here is a sure-fire plan from makeup artist Joey Mills, who describes his techniques in "New Classic Beauty" (Villard Books, $19.95).
You'll need two colors of shadow, one darker and one lighter, in tones that coordinate with your hair, eyes and skin. The lighter shade will be pale gray or gold, subtle caramel or cinnamon. Brush this color all over the lid and up to the brow. Blend well.
For the darker shadow, try a smoky shade such as burgundy, charcoal, brown, olive, gray-blue or teal. Brush on this color in an almond shape, starting at the center of the lid and extending along the crease toward the temple. Blend well, until there are no lines of demarcation.
You've no doubt already noticed that the above list of suitable shadow colors includes gray-blue and teal, which are blues in disguise. Keep in mind, though, that these are subtle versions of these colors, not eye-popping bright ones.