White Lies

Confess. You’ve done it. You’ve stayed up late on a school night. You only got a few hours of shut-eye before an early day at the office. Maybe you drank too much at karaoke night. Or perhaps you were just way too into Twilight to put it down and go to bed. Either way, there’s been a time or two when you woke up looking, well, tired.

Lately I’ve been noticing how pronounced the dark circles under my eyes have become. Overly tired is certainly not a youthful look. No matter how cute an outfit may be, it is definitely overshadowed by purple smudges below bloodshot eyes. So, my mission as of late has been to find a way to look well rested.

Just a little white lie.

Turns out, the trick to this white lie is white liner. Flipping through January magazines, all the beauty looks I liked had one thing in common – bright-eyed models, sporting white liner. It is surprisingly subtle, and instantly makes eyes look brighter and more awake. I bought a cheap Wet N Wild pencil last weekend, and am now officially hooked.

To give yourself some extra help in the no-I’m-not-hungover-and-sleep-deprived department, use your white liner in conjunction with these other eye-brightening tricks, and you’ll be looking more lively in no time.

1. Curl your lashes, curl your lashes, curl your lashes. I know I say it all the time, but it makes a huge difference. Your eyes will look twice as wide, I swear.

2. Dab on some concealer. A little on the yellow side is good for under eyes, as it helps counteract the blue tones. I like L’Oreal True Match Concealer. And be careful not to apply too much – nobody wants that streaky concealer ring around their eyes.

3. Use a highlighter. A light reflecting highlighter on your cheek and brow bones brightens your complexion and makes your eyes look about 1000 times more awake. Right now I can’t get enough of Benefit High Beam. Try the travel size for $10 (available at sephora.com).

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Where There’s Smoke…

There are few looks as timeless and coveted as the smokey eye. When done properly, it’s a smoldering, sophisticated look that makes your eyes pop and puts a swagger in your step. When done poorly, it can look like you are in desperate need of sleep, you’ve been punched in both eyes, or, worse, you simply just don’t know how to apply makeup. None of these is good.

My go-to eye look is sort of a smokey cat eye. It’s subtle enough to be appropriate in just about every situation, but steamy enough to make me feel HOT during those times when I really want to be able to stop people dead in their tracks with nothing more than a glance. I’m not sure I ever have, but feeling like I could is the real power that comes from the smokey eye.

First things first: I start by curling my lashes and applying concealer below the eyes. As mentioned above, this look can run the risk of making you look sleepy or bruised; try to avoid that by hiding any real signs of sleep deprivation. I always curl my lashes first so that I don’t get any makeup on my lash curler, and because it slightly changes the look of the eye and I want to make sure I apply makeup accordingly.

Next, I sweep on a light beige or shimmery nude eyeshadow. Apply it all over lids, from lashes to brow bone. Two of my favorite shadows for this are Lancome Color Design Eyeshadow in Nutmeg and Stila Eyeshadow in Kitten. Kitten is a little sparklier, so Nutmeg is my pick when subtlety is key.

Now for the fun part: liner. I have used regular pencil liner and gel liner (never liquid – I’m just not that brave), and both can be good tools, but my favorite way to line my eyes is with powder eye shadow and a sponge-tip applicator. I’ve used dark purples, greens, and blacks, and really depending on your eye color, what you’re wearing, and how brave you feel, any dark shadow can work. The color I use most frequently is Make Up For Ever Diamond Shadow in Diamond Black. Carefully tap the edge of the sponge-tip applicator in the shadow. Use it to deposit the color right into the lash line, all along the bottom lashes. Do the same on the top, starting between a third and half of the way across the lashes and moving out towards the outer corner of the eye. Where the two lines meet, I like to wing the shadow slightly upward, creating the subtle cat eye look.

Using either my finger or the applicator, I smudge the lines a little, making the look more or less smokey depending on the event or situation.

Finally, I add a coat of black mascara to open up my eyes and tie the look together.

Voila! A subtle smokey eye.

What’s in a Name?

A few years back a friend of mine pointed out that the majority of the makeup I buy comes with a cool name. She laughingly pointed this out one day while we were getting ready to go out for a night on the town. While she painted her nails a color named something like “brick” and dusted on eyeshadow in a shade called “desert brown,” I was happily painting my face with my all time favorite makeup palette, Too Faced’s “The Temptress.”

It got me thinking, particularly when it comes to makeup, what’s in a name? Obviously the chicest, most fun name can’t make a lousy product a good one, but, I have to admit, I’d rather apply a product whose name is dripping with sex appeal than one whose name conjures up images of vultures and a cactus.

I have collected a variety of sass-inducing beauty products over the years, and I will confess to using them to boost my mood and confidence in addition to whatever increase in beauty they can contribute. Here, a few of my favorite sexy products:

– I’ve mentioned it before but I have to bring it up again. Ladies, if you don’t own Nars Orgasm blush by now, do yourself a favor and buy some. Yes, it has a naughty name, but the truth is this sheer pink blush looks fantastic on every skin tone I’ve ever seen it on. It goes on light, and you can layer it on for a darker glow or keep it sheer for a subtle one. There’s a reason it’s been a cult classic for years. It’s the second best way to get that glow.

– Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Lust. A metallic purple eyeliner might sound scary, but trust me, it’s not. This stay-put liner is one of my secret beauty weapons. Smudged lightly under the eyes it’s a subtle way to make my eyes pop. Or, when I’m feeling more bold, I use it to create a cat eye. Either way, who wouldn’t feel sexier after lining her eyes with lust?

– Too Faced Lock Down Ultimate Creaseless Cream Eye Shadow in Bedroom Eyes. One of my more recent beauty finds, this cream shadow is made with Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance, a primer that keeps your eyeshadow from creasing and smudging all over your face. Bedroom Eyes is a shimmery golden brown that stays put, even in hot and humid weather. And every time I wear it someone tells me I have beautiful eyes. Sold.

– My last pick is brought to us by OPI, a brand that in my opinion has mastered the art of naming products. My current favorite is their Nail Lacquer in An Affair in Red Square, a vampy red that stays put and looks absolutely fantastic, the perfect blend of classy and sexy.

And really, isn’t that what we want from our makeup?