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Back-to-school beauty with Bobbi Brown

From the right cleanser for your skin to the perfect shade of concealer, makeup expert Bobbi Brown shares some pointers for pupils and professors.
/ Source: TODAY

Class is in session for all of you in need of extra help when it comes to basic back-to-school beauty. Artist, author, and TODAY beauty editor Bobbi Brown is at the head of the class with some quick and easy tips on how to look great for teachers and students alike.

Clean, fresh, natural-looking makeup sends the right message at work — that you mean business. Looking professional and school-appropriate is simple and achievable. All it takes is knowledge and a few easy steps. If you’re new to makeup or pressed for time, try concealer, blush and lip gloss for an instantly pulled-together look.


  • Skincare is essential for skin that looks and feels its best. Before applying makeup, cleanse and moisturize with the right formulas for your skin’s needs. Diet, weather and stress can affect skin on a daily basis, so adjust your skincare routine accordingly.

  • Cleanse dry skin with a cream-based face wash that moisturizes as it cleanses. For oily skin, choose water-based gel cleansers with oil-fighting ingredients.

  • Moisturizer is the key to fresher-looking skin, and it creates the perfect base for makeup. For normal skin, use a lightweight moisturizing lotion or cream. When skin feels dry or sensitive, use a rich hydrating cream or balm. For oily skin, choose an oil-free formula that hydrates and helps control oil production.

  • Hydrate the delicate skin around the eyes with a lightweight eye cream to ensure undereye concealer goes on smoothly and evenly.

Step 1: Concealer

  • For the most natural look, choose yellow-based shades of concealer, foundation and powder. When a shade is skin tone-correct, it will blend flawlessly and look like skin.

  • To lighten dark circles, apply concealer under the eye, up to the lashline, and on the innermost corner of the eye using a concealer brush. Smooth and blend concealer by gently patting with fingers.

  • For extra-dark circles, start with pink- or peach-toned corrector, then layer on concealer.

Step 2: Foundation

  • To find your perfect foundation shade, swatch a few shades on the side of your face and check the colors in natural light. The shade that disappears is the right one.

  • Use your fingers or a makeup sponge to spot-apply foundation where skin needs to be evened out (around the nose and mouth where there’s redness). For full, all-over coverage, use a foundation brush to apply and blend foundation.

  • To cover blemishes, spot apply stick foundation or a blemish cover stick in a shade that matches your skin exactly. Pat with your finger to blend.

Step 3: Powder

  • For crease-free, long wear, apply loose powder in pale yellow (choose white if you’re fair) over concealer using a small fluffy brush or mini powder puff.

  • Apply powder in your skin tone-correct shade to the rest of the face using a powder puff or powder brush.

Step 4: Blush

  • Smile and dust a neutral shade of blush on the apples of cheeks with a blush brush. Blend up toward the hairline, then downward to soften color.

  • For a longer-lasting look, layer a pop of bright blush (applied just on the apples of cheeks) over the neutral shade.

Step 5: Lipstick/Gloss

  • Start with clean, smooth lips. If needed, gently exfoliate lips with a damp washcloth.

  • Neutral lipstick shades, sheer formulas and gloss can be applied directly from the tube. Use a lip brush to apply darker and brighter colors that require precise application.

Step 6: Lip Liner

  • For natural-looking definition and to keep color from feathering, line lips with a lip liner after applying lip color. Use a lip brush to soften and blend any hard edges.

Step 7: Brows

  • Using a slant-tip tweezer, pluck stray hairs between and below the brows. Pull hairs in the direction they are growing, in one quick motion.

  • Define brows using eye shadow (match it to your hair color) applied with an eye brow brush.

  • To apply, begin at the inner corner of the brow and follow its natural shape using light, feathery strokes.

  • Set unruly brows in place with a gel-based brow shaper.

Step 8: Eye Shadow

  • Sweep a light eye shadow color from lashline to browbone using an eye shader brush.

  • Dust a medium eye shadow color on the lower lid, up to the crease, using an eye shadow brush.

Step 9: Eyeliner

  • Line upper lashline with a dark eye shadow color applied with an eye liner brush. For a longer-lasting look, dampen brush before dipping into shadow.

  • After lining the upper lashline, look straight ahead to see if there are any gaps that need to be filled in. If you also line the lower lashline, make sure top and bottom liner meet at the outer corner of the eye.

Step 10: Mascara

  • Choose your mascara formula based on your needs and desired effect. Thickening mascara gives individual lashes a denser look and is ideal if you have a sparse lash line. For lashes that are enhanced, but still natural-looking, choose defining and lengthening mascara. Water-resistant mascara is a good choice if you want a long-lasting look.

  • When applying mascara, hold the mascara wand parallel to the floor and brush from base of lashes to tips. Roll the wand as you go to separate lashes and avoid clumps.

  • If you choose to curl lashes, be sure to do this before applying mascara; curling lashes after mascara makes them more prone to breakage.

Students: With a few exceptions, most teens I know stress about their skin and having the occasional breakout. Genetics and hormones play a big role in how skin looks and feels, but so does caring for skin with the right skincare products.

  • Get into the habit of washing and moisturizing your face every day, and it will eventually become as automatic as brushing and flossing. Always remember, though, that a zit can always be covered up; it’s not the end of the world.

  • If you have oily skin, you should opt for an oil-free cleansing gel and lotion; if you have normal skin, try a foaming cleanser and moisturizing lotion with SPF 15; and lastly, if you have dry skin, you will benefit from a creamy cleanser and moisturizer.

  • Once a week, try an exfoliating scrub to get rid of dry, flaky skin, or face masks, which are available in hydrating and deep-cleaning formulas.

  • When it comes to makeup, teens don’t need a lot to look their best. Try to keep it real, simple and approachable. Skip all-over foundation and get a stick foundation or blemish stick that matches your skin tone exactly to cover blemishes.

  • A pressed powder compact is an easy way to touch up oiliness that builds up on your T-zone throughout the day.

  • Keep color simple: Sheer, neutral colors on eyes are easy to wear and mistake-proof.

  • Blush is flattering at any age, so pick a shade that looks like your cheeks when they’re naturally flushed. Try a cream formula as it tends to look a little more natural then powder.

  • All you need on lips is lip gloss or a lip stain in a shade that looks like the color of your lips.