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Video: Put your best face forward

TODAY
updated 4/8/2014 5:41:50 PM ET 2014-04-08T21:41:50

Do you feel like you can't hide your dark circles? Have you ever covered up your blemishes with so much makeup your face feels like it's going to crack? In part one of our three-day makeup series, Bobbi Brown shares some in-depth tips on how to look your best.

Dark Circles
Choose a yellow-toned concealer that is one to two shades lighter than your foundation. For extremely dark circles (circles that have a greenish or purplish tinge to them), start with a pink- or peach-toned concealer, then layer on the yellow-toned concealer. Pass on concealer that's too light, is too pink or white, or is chalky or greasy. Never use concealer to cover blemishes. Concealer is designed to be lighter than your skin tone, so it will actually draw attention to your blemish. And skip concealer on eyelids because it will make eye makeup crease.

Always prep skin with eye cream to create a smooth canvas for concealer. Use a small headed brush with firm bristles to apply a generous amount of concealer under the eye, along the lashline and innermost corner of the eye. Gently tap the concealer with the pad of your index finger to blend it in. Try to apply as little pressure as possible. Tugging and rubbing will simply wipe concealer off. If you still see darkness, apply a second layer of concealer.

To avoid mid-day creasing, lock the concealer in place with loose powder. Use a velour puff or small powder brush to apply the powder. For the most natural look, use white powder if you have fair skin and yellow-toned powder if you have light, medium or dark skin.

Acne
A creamy, medium-weight cover-up or stick foundation is the best way to cover a blemish. Liquid formulas will be too sheer and won't offer enough coverage. Choose a shade that's the same color as your skin. To check, swipe the cover-up or stick foundation on the side of your face. If the swipe disappears into your skin, it's the right shade.

Use a concealer brush to spot-apply the cover-up or stick foundation just on the blemish. Pat with your index finger to blend. Then, set the cover-up or stick foundation with face powder applied with a velour puff or small powder brush. If you still see the blemish, repeat this process, layering cover-up or stick foundation and powder.

How to get flawless skin
Foundation is the best way to make skin look smooth and even. Over the years working as a makeup artist, I've found that yellow-toned foundation looks the most natural on all skin tones. To find your perfect match, swatch a few shades on the side of your face and check your reflection in natural light. The shade that disappears is the right one. If you have to apply foundation on your neck to make it match your face, you're using the wrong shade. It's a good idea to have two shades of foundation — one for the winter months and a slightly darker one for the summer when skin color tends to warm up.

Foundation formulas range from low-maintenance tinted moisturizers to moisturizing liquid cream foundations with more coverage. Here's a look at what the different formulas have to offer:

  • Tinted moisturizers and tinted balms combine the benefits of a face cream with the skin-evening properties of a foundation. They're a good choice for normal and normal to dry skin that needs minimal coverage.
  • Liquid and cream foundations are available in both moisturizing and oil-free formulas. They are easy to blend and can go from medium to full-coverage depending on how much you apply. If you go for liquid, be sure to shake the bottle first to make sure heavier parts haven't settled to the bottom.
  • Stick foundation is one of my favorite formulas because it's portable and quick and easy to apply. A good choice for normal skin, this travel-friendly formula won't ever spill and it can also be used to cover blemishes and scars.
  • Compact foundation, with its cream to powder formulation, is best for oily skin. To avoid looking cakey, look for one that's not too powdery. Many compacts come with different sponges that allow you to control the amount of coverage you get.

Use your fingers or a makeup sponge to spot-apply foundation where skin needs to be evened out, especially around the nose and mouth where there's redness. For full, all-over coverage, use a foundation brush to apply and blend foundation. To give foundation staying power and take away shine, finish off with a dusting of powder.

As for powder, pale yellow-toned powder is the most flattering on all skin tones. A big beauty myth is that translucent powder is invisible. I find that it actually makes skin look pasty and ashy. The same holds for purple, pink or green powders designed to “correct” color — they don't look natural, so stay away from them. Look for a powder with a silky, lighter-than-air texture. I use loose powder at home and pressed powder when I travel, since it's more portable. Use a velour puff to apply the powder and dust off any excess with a powder brush. Apply a fair amount of powder if skin is oily. Dust it just around the nose and forehead if skin is dry.

More From Today: The 6 Best Hand Creams For Softer Skin

How to get a healthy glow
I've always loved the healthy, outdoorsy look. When everyone was doing neon-bright makeup in the ’80s and early ’90s, I was into creating natural-looking faces that featured bronzed skin and flushed cheeks. It's still my favorite look today.

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Whenever I feel blah, I always reach for bronzer or self-tanner. It's the perfect antidote to sallow-looking skin. Bronzer comes in a handful of formulas: powder, cream (stick or compact), or gel. I prefer bronzing powder because it's quick and mistake-proof. Use a short, fluffy brush to apply bronzer where the sun naturally hits your face — your forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. Be sure to dust your neck and chest if you're wearing a bare top. For a dewy look, try a cream formula. Gel formulas give you a sheer, stained look and are good for oily skins. Use your fingers or a sponge to apply cream and gel bronzers the same way as the powder formula.

The most natural-looking bronzers have predominantly brown tones (with a bit of red) to them. Avoid bronzers that are orange-toned or frosted because they look artificial on any complexion. Most companies offer light, medium, and dark shades. Pick your shade based on how you tan naturally. For example, if you turn a medium golden brown in the sun, a medium bronzer is your best bet. The bronzer should blend easily and warm up your face. If the color looks too orange or obvious, try one shade lighter.

For a sun-kissed look that lasts a few days, try self-tanner. Before slathering yourself in self-tanner, do a patch test on the inside of your arm to make sure you're not allergic to the formula. To ensure that color develops evenly, be sure to exfoliate any rough patches before you apply the tanner. When applying self-tanner to your face, spread a thin layer to start. If you want to go darker, you can always wait until the color develops and do another application. Avoid your eyes and make sure to get your ears and neck so that there aren't any obvious lines. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after applying self-tanner, and allow enough time for it to absorb before getting dressed or going to bed.

If you wake up the next day to mistakes like too dark color or obvious streaks, you can fade them with a gentle exfoliant and lots of moisturizer.

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