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    Dear Sharon: I am faced with a beauty crisis that may ruin my love relationship. I always line my lips with a dark brownish lipliner and fill in the center with a pale pink lipstick. I have been wearing this style of lipstick for years because I think the very dark outline makes my mouth appear fuller and sexier.

    Now that I am about to meet my finance’s parents, my turncoat tells me to “86 that brown-line thing because it looks tacky!” Tacky, does he suddenly think I am tacky? Where has he been all along? Why should I change my makeup just to meet my future in-laws? — Between the Lines


    Dear Between the Lines: Wake up and smell the coffee, or in your case, wake up and stop looking like you were caught in a liplock with a bag of espresso beans! Dear sweet sister of well-meaning style, the dark hard-edged lipliner sharply “defining” an extremely pale mouth is really best kept to porn queens who are into a different kind of “style” anyway.

    Somewhere, somehow, someone came up with some kooky idea that a big brown rim really does make for a sexy and alluring pout. Perhaps, on a stage 100 feet away from the viewing audience this extreme contrast may. But, in real life, a swarthy lip boarder looks plain weird.

    I am sure you honestly didn’t mean to commit a beauty no-no, you merely were stuck in a bad habit that you weren’t even aware that you had. Your poor prince of a guy was probably too embarrassed to mention your lipstick to you before or maybe he was sooooo mesmerized by what came out of your lovely lips that he was caught up in a romantic blur.

    Now, faced with meeting his parents– whose approval he obviously wants to have– he is asking you to change your image a trifle. Indeed, it is a lousy moment for him to call you something as harsh as tacky, but honestly, it is about time you blend the lines a bit, so to speak.

    The funny thing about image mistakes is that usually we are not even aware that we are committing a first-degree fashion police felony. But, with a little awareness, we can all adapt our erring ways. In your case, make your lips more approachable. Soften the line of your lipliner by blending it with a sponge-tip pencil and then apply a similar color lipstick over it, so the outline is barely visible and the result is far more natural.

    Keep in mind that any “rule” of beauty can be broken for a cutting-edge editorial effect. What we see in magazines is sometimes strictly to excite, entice, and inspire– not to actually copy per se. As far as real-life goes, unless you are model-cute and hanging out in a club, best efforts are to wear makeup to enhance your features in the most natural and least jarring way– with a little nod to a modern trend, of course.

    However, there are some beauty no-no’s that no matter what, are best avoided:

    • Clumpy Mascara– Mascara should thicken, lengthen and darken in a fashion that mimics real lush eyelashes.
    • Lining Your Inner Eye In Blue– It only “brightens” eyes on stage and looks freaky and runny in person.
    • Cakey Makeup– You know the kind, it gets caught in your wrinkles, ugh!
    • Foundation That Stops At Your Chin– Avoid the makeup mask by blending the color down your neck.
    • Slashes Of Contour Powder– The idea is not to look like you were sideswiped by the makeup van, but you honestly have high cheekbones.
    • Dark Roots– Only work on early Madonna or punk kids.
    • Wooly Or Over-Plucked Eyebrows– Eyebrows balance your eye shape and face; they should not overpower or under whelm.
    • Dragon Lady Nails– If you need your knuckles to use a telephone, your nails are too long.
    • Obvious Plastic Surgery–There is some truth to too much of a good thing.
    • Perfume That Precedes You And Then Lingers Behind In A Room– Only dogs need to leave their scent.

    When in doubt, the key to looking beautiful is blend, blend, blend with a gentle hand.

    Copyright (c)2000 Sharon Haver

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