A good makeup lesson is hard to come by. How many of us have asked for advice at a department store cosmetics counter and come out looking like somebody's idea of a cheap date? (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
Bewildered by all the products out there, we asked two makeup artists to suggest a complete makeup application. One used high-end department store products, the other inexpensive drugstore brands. Both makeup artists achieved a polished, subtly made-up look, with a few differences in color choices.
First, we went to Cathryn Vanbreene, resident makeup artist at Barneys New York in Beverly Hills, who uses a variety of products available at her store. Then, we went to Julie Mollo, a Los Feliz makeup artist for TV who uses professional-grade cosmetics for work but says drugstore products are fine for everyday wear.
Vanbreene's services are free, although the cosmetics she uses can add up. Most of her clients are women, she says, who admittedly don't have a clue about makeup application. So, as their work or lifestyles demand more polished looks, they come to Vanbreene and gladly write a check for several products.
Mollo's rates as a TV makeup artist are quite expensive, but she has a videotape for regular women, "Make-Up Secrets Uncovered" (Digivision, $19.99), and a Web site, http://www.makeupsecrets.com.
She says drugstore products are a great alternative for women who can't or don't want to pay for the more expensive lines. And, cosmetics at drugstores are usually inexpensive, so your makeup mistakes won't be so costly. Of course, you can always return them. Mollo says that many drugstore brands have improved greatly in the last few years.
Vanbreene suggests reevaluating your makeup at least once a year. Both makeup artists said women should consider updating their makeup if they change their hair color. The two recommend investing in a good set of brushes. Vanbreene says a good set will cost $150 to $200. Mollo says to shop around at beauty supply stores and stock up from different makers.
Both artists suggested products for work and evening. The trick, both say, is in choosing the right color and product, and learning proper application techniques. The accompanying chart shows the use of higher-end products versus drugstore brands .
Barbara Thomas can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Concealer--Stila, medium, $16
Foundation--Vincent Longo Water Canvas, Sandy Beige, $40 (with $12 compact)
Blush--Philosophy Creation, $15
Powder--T. Leclerc Banane, $49
Eyebrows--Chanel Brow Gel, $28.50
Lashes--Stila Brow Definer, $15
Eyes, base and lids--Vincent Longo Honey Cream, $16
Lip Pencil--Body and Soul Havana, $16.50
Lipstick--Body and Soul, Rhapsody, $16
Lip Gloss--Fresh Amber Shine, $14 (over lipstick for night)
Concealer--combination of Joe Blasco red neutralizer and blue neutralizer, $9.75 each
Foundation--combination of Max Factor Lasting Performance Light Champagne and Toasted Almond (various combinations can work with or without tan), $8.29 each
Blush--Maybelline Natural Accents Blush, Nude, $3.79
Powder--L'Oreal Feel Natural compact powder, medium, $8.89
Eyeliner--Faber Castell The Ebony Pencil, $2.50
Eyelids--Maybelline Not So Nude Blush (mauve), $3.79 and Almay Easy-to-wear Chamois, $5.99
Lashes--L'Oreal Lash-Out Mascara in Brown Black, $5.29
Lip Pencil--Prestige Shimmer (entire lip penciled in), $2
Lipstick--over the pencil, Blistex DCT, $1.99; for evening, same pencil Maybelline Moisture Whip in Toasted Almond, $4.59