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Isn’t it glam? Brush up on makeup skills, tools

TODAY Style editor Bobbie Thomas shares ideas, tips and new products that will give your makeup routine a little face-lift.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

With summer’s end in sight, and your natural glow destined to fade, it’s the perfect time to consider brushing up on your beauty skills. After all, fall is the season of the painted face! But you don’t need a glam squad to test out the trends or revamp your routine. Bobbie Thomas, TODAY Style editor and author of the Buzz for “In Touch Weekly,” shows you how to get a little do-it-yourself help, and answers some of your crucial beauty questions along the way.

In-person practiceCelebrity makeup artist Napoleon Perdis has opened the doors of his professional academy in Hollywood, giving every woman the opportunity to enhance her makeup skills. He’s leading the way with DIY training, teaching us how to highlight our best features and apply products like a pro. But even if you can’t get to his classes in L.A. any time soon, assistance is available right under your nose. Check out local salons and beauty schools for some how-to help, or even stop by a department store beauty counter, where a makeup artist can offer valuable advice.  The key is to ask the professional to apply makeup to half of your face, while you follow  up by filling in the other half under their direction. That way, once you get home, the strokes will feel familiar. 

Products that preach

Many brands are reaching beyond their products to prepare you with in-depth instructions. The Master's Class Expert Eyes Set from Smashbox comes with an instructional DVD and everything you need to create a “smoky” or “pretty” eye. And with the push of a button, Stila's new Smoky Eye palette literally talks to you. A recorded voice spews out one-minute step-by-step instructions on how to create your desired look. The four-pan palette was so popular that its first run completely sold out! But it will be back on shelves this fall, along with two new talking palette shades ($40; stilacosmetics.com).

With eyebrows, when it comes to adding some oomph, you want to be careful not to create a “drawn-on” look.  Rather than using a harsh pencil, brush on your color with a powder. Look for kits that come in various shades to match your hair color, like Vanitymark's Ultra Brow Kit ($75; vanitymark.com) or Red Earth's Absolute Brows Brow Perfecting Kit ($22; ulta.com).

And if you’re looking for the latest runway trend, spread your wings and try winged eyeliner. Be sure to practice with a steady hand or pick up a stencil, as this technique demands precision. Liquid and gel liners like Boots No. 7 Liquid Eye Liner ($9.99; Target.com) and Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Zero-Smudge Liquid Liner ($19.50, Macy's stores) will help you draw on this defined look with ease. 

Hair-removal helpAnd finally, a few of our viewers found themselves in a hairy situation. I recently addressed hair-removal tips in my TodayShow.com Style Buzz article “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow,” but in case you missed it, there’s a great product launching in September that you may want to know about. The no!no! by Radiancy is a brand-new at-home hair-removal device unlike anything else available in the U.S. It can be used just like a razor, but it's designed to reduce hair density over time, like the results you would get from a laser. By using a heating element to disrupt hair growth, you get instantaneous removal, as well as long-term results. And the best part? Reps claim it’s pain-free. ($249; Sephora.com).

Bobbie’s Buzz: Many of you asked for my personal application secrets, and I wanted to take the time to share a few favorites. I do all of my own makeup for TODAY, but I’ve had the benefit of learning from some of the best artists out there, and here’s what I’ve picked up.  First of all, I swear by mineral makeup. It gives you flawless coverage with added benefits like SPF and antioxidants, plus it lasts longer than other makeup. My second secret — it’s okay to fake it!  I love false eyelashes, and use them to define the eye without adding a lot of makeup. I use Ardel No. 124 — they blend in well and look natural! Wink, wink.