Want some ideas on how to brighten up your cheeks? Looking for tips to help you create kissable lips? In the final installment of "Makeup 101," a three-part makeup series on "Today," beauty editor and makeup guru Bobbi Brown shares some advice on how to look your best. Here are her tips.
I am absolutely crazy about blush and I think it makes everyone look prettier. And not to mention the fact that it's an instant face brightener. Your most flattering shade of blush should look like your cheeks when you're naturally flushed (or after you've exercised). Blush comes in a few different formulas:
Powder blush is the easiest way to fake a natural flush. Powder blends well and works on the majority of skin types. Mistakes like too-strong color can be corrected easily with a dusting of face powder.
If you have really dry skin, choose a cream blush. The emollients in this formula do double duty, moisturizing skin and helping color glide on effortlessly. It gives skin a nice glow, but isn't particularly long-lasting.
Cheek tints/gels offer sheer color, but they take some trial and error to blend just right. If you layer on too much you run the risk of looking splotchy. This is a good choice for anyone who has very oily skin.
Here's my signature technique for applying blush. Start by dusting a neutral shade of blush on the apples of your cheeks. (Smile: The meatiest part of your cheek is the apple.) For the most natural look, blend up towards the hairline, then downwards to soften color. Follow with a pop of brighter blush (applied just on the apples of the cheeks). This layering technique will also ensure that your color lasts all day.
How to color lips pretty
Lip color is an easy way to change your look from day to evening and season to season. Use the natural coloring of your lips as a guide when choosing a lip shade. The most flattering shade will be one to two tones darker than your lips. If you are fair-skinned, choose shades of beige, pale pink and light coral. Medium skin tones look best in brown-based shades of rose, mauve and berry. Pick deep plum, chocolate and red if you have dark skin. When choosing your lip color, think about how it's going to balance your eye makeup. A light, neutral lip is the perfect contrast to strong eye makeup. A bright or deep lip is a good complement to simple eye makeup.
Start with clean, smooth lips. If you have dry flakes, gently exfoliate them with a damp washcloth. Moisturize your lips with lip balm or eye cream (trust me, it works). Allow a few minutes for the balm or cream to fully absorb before you apply your lip color. Neutral colors and sheer formulas can be applied directly from the tube. Use a lip brush to apply darker and brighter colors that require precise application. For natural-looking definition and to keep color from feathering, line lips with lip liner after applying lip color. Soften and blend any harsh edges with a lip brush.
How to wield a brush like a pro
Any makeup artist will tell you that the right brushes are just as important as the makeup itself. Depending on where you go, you can spend anywhere from under $10 to over $50 on one brush. In general, the brushes sold by makeup artist lines are the best quality and worth the investment. If you're willing to do some legwork, you can also find good brushes for less money in drugstores, beauty supply stores, even art supply stores. There are a few things you should look for in a brush, regardless of where you shop. The bristles should feel soft against your skin, not scratchy or rough. Try the brush by running it across the part of the face that it's designed for to see how it feels; this is more important than whether it's made of natural or synthetic material. Run your hand through the bristles to make sure they don't come out easily. Brushes sometimes come in different handle lengths, so hold the brush in your hand and make sure it feels comfortable.
These basic brushes are a good place to start if you're new to tools:
Concealer brush. This makes it easy to apply concealer on hard-to-reach areas like the inner corner of your eye and along the lashline. You can also use this brush to spot apply cover-up on blemishes.
Blush brush. The wide, rounded shape and angled sides of this brush apply the perfect amount of powder blush on the apples of cheeks. It gives you a seamless and natural-looking flush.
Eye shadow brush. The small, fluffy bristles of this brush pick up the just the right amount of eye shadow for your upper lid.
Eyeliner brush. This is the easiest way to draw a line that's just right — not too thick or thin. This brush can be used dry with eye shadow, or damp for more definition and for longer lasting liner.
Think of these as intermediate brushes. They're nice additions as you get more comfortable with your routine:
Powder brush. The tapered head of this brush covers all the contours of your face, making it easy to dust on loose powder for an even, flawless finish.
Bronzer brush. It's quick and easy to fake a sun-kissed glow with this broad brush. Use it to apply a seamless, streak-free dusting of bronzing powder.
Eyebrow brush. Use the angled head of this brush to apply eye shadow to brows, shaping and filling them in for a natural look.
Eye shader brush. This wide brush, which is shaped to cover the entire eye area, makes it quick and easy to apply a light eye shadow base.
Lip brush. The small, firm bristles of this tapered brush make it easier to apply darker lip colors with precision. After lining lips with a pencil, use this brush to soften and blend the lines.
Brow groomer brush. Use this toothbrush-style brush to comb brows into place for a polished look.
With proper care, a good set of brushes can last you a lifetime of use. Clean brushes regularly, at least every two to three months (more often depending on use). Use a gentle soap like baby soap or baby shampoo to remove makeup and residue. Start by dipping the tip of the brush head in lukewarm water. Squeeze a small amount of soap in your palm, then wipe the wet brush in your hand to pick up the soap. Gently massage soap through the bristles. To rinse, swirl the brush tip in water. Pat bristles dry with a towel and shape as needed. Lay brush on a counter edge to dry.