Easy on the tinsel

Times Staff Writer

FORGET the vermilion lips, glittery cheeks and Sharpie-style black eyeliner. This season, holiday makeup is all about softness and light, defining features with diffused lines and getting your skin to glow -- without resembling a bronze statue or a disco ball.

L.A. makeup artist Troy Jensen, who has illuminated the cheekbones of some of Hollywood’s most glamorous women -- Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and Catherine Deneuve, among them -- says the new glow isn’t about looking like you’ve been baking on a beach (an obvious no-no), or affecting the snowy silver of tree tinsel. “It’s about getting natural warmth into the skin,” he said. “This isn’t a summer glow, but at the same time, we’re in Southern California. You don’t have to look like an ice princess.”

Any time you add shimmer to the skin, Jensen advises dialing down the color on eyes and lips. Using his sister, Karla Jensen, as a model, he showed us how to achieve a beautifully radiant (but not reflective) visage for the holidays:



Prep work

Your skin should be clean and hydrated before any blush brush touches your face. Jensen prepped Karla’s face with a greaseless moisturizer, eye cream and lip conditioner -- all from Chanel.

Get to neutral

Dot liquid concealer under your eyes, around your nose and anywhere else that belies a perfectly even skin tone. Jensen set Karla’s concealer with translucent powder but recommends Christian Dior blotting papers for touch-ups instead of powder, which can get cakey if applied too frequently.

Eye lights

“The thicker the eyebrow, the more youthful you look,” said Jensen, who defined Karla’s already shapely brows with a few feathery strokes of a blunt brown pencil. Next, he used an eyeshadow brush to apply a shimmering gold-taupe shadow (“Grab Me Gold” by Revlon) all the way up to the brow bone -- a flattering shade for all eye colors, he added.

Draw the line

Jensen used an angled, copper-colored pencil from Susan Posnick to line the upper eyelid, blending the liner into the shadow with a small, stiff brush. Next, he dampened a shadow brush and applied a soft line of the same gold Revlon eyeshadow across the lower lash line. He then retraced the line with the copper eyeliner, flaring the line out slightly at the outer corners -- a trick to keep eyes from looking small. After curling Karla’s eyelashes, he applied two coats of Benefit “Bad Gal” black mascara on the upper and lower lashes.


Get glowing

Most people who use a single, tan-colored bronzer end up with that orange, tanning bed look. Not pretty. To get a multidimensional glow, Jensen uses two different products. With an oversized powder brush, he swiped a shimmering pinkish-bronze powder (Guerlain’s “Terracotta” bronzer No. 3) across the cheeks, clavicle and the bridge of the nose. Then he went over the same areas with a bronzing gel, also from Guerlain, that he gently dabbed on with a wide concealer brush. Note: For pale skin, he recommends bronzers with more pink and peach tones than browns.

Lip service

Bold red lips are always fun and sassy but have become almost cliche for the holidays. So, rather than compete with Karla’s glowing skin, Jensen chose a soft pink lip liner (Guerlain’s “Rose Satin”) and a gold-flecked delicate pink lipstick (Estee Lauder’s “Ginger Fizz”). He topped the color off with a blue-tinged clear gloss by Victoria’s Secret “to make the teeth look whiter.”


First blush

Shimmering skin can look ghostly without a hint of pink in the cheeks. Jensen used a peachy powder blush (Chanel’s Irreelle blush in “Be-Bop”) on the apples of Karla’s cheeks. “Using a big brush for blush gives a softer look,” said Jensen, “but it also picks up a lot of color, so be careful how you dip it into the product.”

Final take

Jensen added false eyelashes to boost the look’s glam quotient, placing longer lashes in the middle, then tapering off at both ends to “give you that pop star look.” The end result: A sophisticated luminescence. Glitter has officially grown up.