Cheeky makeup is losing its luster Fashion: Subtlety rarely shows its face on the runways, but many cosmetics designers are now emphasizing a light touch with makeup.

April 03, 1997|By Tracy Achor Hayes | Tracy Achor Hayes,DALLAS MORNING NEWS

Truth be told, most "fashion" makeup never leaves the runways and magazines. Heavily lined mod eyes or garnet-red Evita lips may generate a buzz for a season or two. But for most women, the attraction of makeup is much simpler: We wear it to look healthy, glowing, polished.

And now, for once, fashion and reality are in accord. From the first wispy, fishtail dress that drifted down a Milan runway last October, it was clear that clothes weren't the only thing that had turned tender for spring. From the models' shimmering eyelids and pink-flushed cheeks to their glossy lips, the makeup was as dreamy and transparent as the clothes.

After years of emphasizing powdery matte and opaque finishes, pace-setting makeup artists such as Stephan Marais, Francois Nars, Laura Mercier and Bobbi Brown are giving skin a healthy glow with creamy blushes and highlighting sticks. The effect is light and luminous -- not overdone in shine and shimmer. Even the colors have a lighter touch -- pinks and peaches, malts and beiges, hints of silver and gold.

"Definitely pretty is it for spring," says Brown, best known for her exceptionally successful 6-year-old cosmetics line and her editorial work for clients such as Vogue, Mirabella, Glamour and Self.

However, she notes, "most women don't care that much about seasonal makeup trends, they just want to look pretty." Brown has just written "Bobbi Brown Beauty: The Ultimate Beauty Resource" (HarperStyle, $30). Unlike some guides, Brown's stresses individuality and a positive outlook as much as tips and technique. "I am convinced that confidence is probably the most compelling element of real beauty," she writes.

But if the blush-of-spring look is what you're seeking, here's what you need to know:


Healthy skin looks soft and hydrated, not heavily powdered or camouflaged. Start with moisturizer (Brown uses her SPF 15 Face Lotion). If skin is clear and healthy, skip foundation or choose the sheerest formula and dot concealer only where needed. The other big news: It's OK to blush again. Cream formulations give a watercolor-sheer wash of color and are easy to blend. Choose a shade that mimics a post-exercise flush, then just use fingertips to rub on apples of cheek. If you want to finish with powder, use it everywhere but over the cream.

To try:

Lancome Pommette Colour Touch Silky Creme Blush for Cheeks and Eyes -- creamy color in a pretty frosted glass pot

Nars the Multiple Bronzing Stick in pale Copacabana or golden South Beach

Prescriptives Virtual Skin Exact Makeup

Origins Slipcover Comfortable Color for Cheeks

Clinique Zero Base Sheer Colour -- for an all-over, low-watt glow

Clinique Blended Face Powder in Crystal Transparency


Moist textures and hints of shimmer are the news here. For the most forward look, shift from traditional powdered shadow to creamy formulations designed to pat on and blend with fingertips. Aim for a sheer, subtle wash of color that extends from lids to brows, or experiment with a bit of shimmer applied at the brow bone or just on the lid. Depending on your coloring, black mascara can be too harsh. Try black/brown instead.

To try:

Bobbi Brown Essentials Shimmer

Elizabeth Arden Eyecolor Naturals duo in Goldlit/Spice

Clinique Touch Base for Eyes in Up-lighting

Revlon Timeliner for Eyes in Glossing

Prescriptives Lashes Dramatic Mascara in Black/Brown and Eyecoloring Pencil in Goldie


Dark, dramatic colors and heavily pigmented opaque formulas still have a place, but it's mostly after dark. The news makers now are sheerer, paler colors -- browned pinks and peaches that almost match lips -- and formulas with high pigmentation but transparent texture. Start with a liner to make sure color won't slide, using a brush or fingertip to blur any harsh edges. Follow with transparent lipstick or a slick of light-reflecting gloss. Don't blot.

To try:

Laura Mercier Bitten Lips in Just Bitten, Baby Lips and Healthy Lips -- a formula that's half pigment, half gloss

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Almost Bare

MAC Lip Glass -- a windowpane-shiny colorless gloss in a tube

Elizabeth Arden HoloGlam Lipstick -- an iridescent highlighter for lips

Stila Lip Gloss in Lilac Shine or Pink Shine

Chanel Lumiere Neon Lip Glow compact -- four "hypershine" glosses to wear bare or over lipstick

Pub Date: 4/03/97

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