Getting that celeb makeup artist look

In-demand makeup artists - the ones who jet between Paris and Milan for the fashion shows and to New York and Los Angeles for movie premieres, award shows, and photo shoots at a moment's notice - know a thing or two about pressure.

If the supermodel-du-jour arrives on the catwalk with an unsightly blemish, they have to make it disappear. If an over-scheduled, jet-lagged actress is doing her tenth media appearance of the week, it's their job to make her look fresh, vibrant, and positively well rested.

Every lash must be in place, every cheek subtly flushed, every lip perfectly glossed - all while creating the illusion that the model or celebrity in question is naturally (that is, sans makeup) of-course-I-was-born-this-way stunning. From under-eye circles to dull, lifeless skin, they've seen - and better yet, fixed - it all.

We've put together the makeup scoop from behind-the-scenes pros and their best tips for looking flawless - without looking the least bit overdone.

Make a fresh start
The cardinal rule in makeup is to begin with a clean canvas, which means thoroughly cleansing and moisturizing the skin before even thinking about colour. Applying makeup on clean, moist skin will allow for a smooth, even finish. If the skin is dehydrated, certain makeup can cake around fine lines. If the skin is oily, makeup can go on patchy. Be weary of using a moisturizer with glycolic acid, since the foundation will not go on smooth and the makeup will wear off fast.

Banish darkness
Everybody has some amount of darkness under the eyes, and, unfortunately, the older you get, the worse it gets because the skin becomes thinner. To help with darkness under the eye, think pink. The skin under the eyes tends to be blue, so you need a concealer with a pink highlight to help counteract it. Other colours are usually too light or too yellow - and not at all effective. A concealer that is too light makes you look cakey and white under the eyes, and pale yellow can look sallow, almost grey. Puffiness can also be problematic, and no amount of concealer can hide it. To get rid of it fast, you can saturate two cotton balls with cucumber toner and place them over the eyelids for 5 minutes. The toner cools, refreshes, and tightens the skin, taking the puffiness away. For maximum effect, chill the toner in the refrigerator before using.

Zap zits
It's a fact: zits don't discriminate (even the most cleansed, toned, and exfoliated complexions aren't exempt), and they love to make an appearance right before a special occasion. Bad timing? Yes. Hopeless? Thankfully, no. To deal with breakouts, try a green concealer. The green will cancel out and tone down the red in a zit. Either apply the green concealer first and then top it with one that matches your skin tone (if it's too light or too dark, you're simply calling more attention to the problem), or mix a touch of green into your regular concealer or foundation before applying. For precision and a natural-looking result, always use a small brush to apply, especially a few days post-breakout. When a pimple is healing, the skin around it is dry and flaky. Concealer on the dry skin draws more attention to the breakout.

Create a faux glow
There's nothing prettier than a fresh and rosy glow, but using loads of blush is not the way to get it. For a pretty flush of colour, mix Cheeky (a shiny, sun-coloured loose powder from her eponymous makeup line, but any powdered blush or bronzer will work) with foundation and apply to the cheeks for a sun-kissed effect. People will think you just came back from vacation. Because you are mixing it with your foundation, the colour looks very natural. Unless, that is, you apply the mixture to your entire face. Apply to the cheeks only! Anything more will look clownish and not at all believable.

Find your true colours
Accentuating your eyes starts and ends with colour choice - but to help make the right, most flattering one, first determine if your complexion is cool or warm. It is a common misconception that fair skin is cool and dark skin is warm. This is not always the case. In general, fair to medium skin tones qualify as warm if they have a greenish olive cast and have more green than blue veins on the inner wrist. Cool complexions have a pinkish cast and more blue veins than green. Dark skin is classified the same way: warm-toned dark skin has a golden or chocolate hue and, again, more veins tend to be green; cool-toned dark skin has a bluish or red cast and the veins are predominately blue. Cool colours (like pastel pinks and peaches) look most natural on cool complexions, just as warm colours (like earthy oranges and greens) do the same on warm complexions. Another trick is to look for flecks like gold, bronze, or copper in the eyes or hair. Use a little of the same colour shimmer on your eyes.

Red carpet style rules

Although talent does still count for something, a fashion or beauty misstep at an awards show or movie premiere can upstage even the most Oscar-worthy performance. When merely looking good is not an option, celebrities call on an entourage of hair stylists, makeup artists, and fashion experts to raise the bar. Here, the pros who make all the A-list stars look drop-dead gorgeous share the tricks and tools of their trade, so you can get the red carpet treatment at home.

Smiles, everyone!
Any trip down the red carpet starts and ends with a beautiful smile - and brilliant white teeth are a prerequisite. Crest Whitestrips® Premium is clinically proven to remove up to 14 years of stain buildup in only 7 days. And the take-anywhere compact makes whitening on the go a breeze.

When in doubt, trust a classic
At A-list award shows like the Golden Globes, actresses often channel old Hollywood glamour. And what is a key feature of old Hollywood glamour? Enchanting red lips, which never seem to go out of style.

Less is more
Sculptured, very styled hair is de rigueur for high profile celebrity appearances. But be warned - go easy on hairspray, mousse, and gel. You don't need to throw a million products in your hair to make it look good.

Concealer is a girl's best friend
Bottom line? You must wear concealer. Eye shadow - even light-coloured ones - makes under-eye shadows worse. To camouflage them, try first applying an eye cream (something light that absorbs easily and isn't greasy). Follow the cream with a yellow-toned (the best colour to neutralize darkness) concealer and a touch of yellow powder on top.

Details make the difference
Deborah Lippmann, creator of the Lippmann Collection (a complete line of nail care products and polishes), jets between New York and Los Angeles weekly to keep the fingers and toes of celebrities in tip top condition. The look of the moment is nails with a little length - about ¼ inch past the fingertip - with a softer, more rounded feminine shape. says the manicurist. This spring, try lilacs, lavenders, soft whites, and pinks with a little shimmer and iridescence.

Luminous skin is in
All the makeup in the world can't hide tired, sun-damaged, over-dry skin. To avoid damaging your skin from the sun, wear sunscreen every day. It's our most important defence against aging. Follow the instructions on the label and don't forget to reapply often. For quick fixes on the day of a big event, try the following:

  • zucchini slices: 10 minutes on the eyes reduces swelling and puffiness
  • plain yogurt: massage onto skin and let sit for 15 minutes, then wipe off with warm water and voila - a bright, glowing complexion
  • cold water: splash for a fresh, radiant complexion

Makeup should compliment...not match
Colour may often be all over the red carpet at award shows, but the makeup don't often follow suit - exactly. You don't need to match your eye shadow with your dress. What you want to do is create a harmonious look that enhances the colour of the dress and the eyes That means using soft golds, deep browns, lavenders, and silvers on blue or green eyes, and really warm colours like bronzes and rusty oranges on hazel or brown eyes.

Don't try too hard
Tumbles of waves, finger curls, and sleek chignons make for beautiful hair, but not if they're overdone. You want the style to be interesting but not overpower the overall look. If it looks like you spent all day on your hair, you've failed. And too much time blow-drying or flat ironing can undermine all of your efforts by leaving hair full of split ends and flyaways. Protect the hair from heat styling by using products that act as a barrier. Thermal sprays, serums, and mousses all shield the hair and give the benefit of that "finished" look.

Staying power is everything
You're only as good as your last touch-up. Your makeup has got to last, and one way to do this is to use quality products and tools. Here's a tip: to keep lipstick on all night, fill in the lips with a lip pencil and then apply lipstick.

Be yourself
Beauty is not a cookie-cutter thing. Don't create rules for yourself. Pick and choose between products and techniques that work for you. Empower yourself by taking advice and incorporating it into your own personal style.

Instant makeover: 7 ways to look (and feel) better

After a winter spent battling the elements - brutal wind chills, sub-zero temperatures, and Sahara-like dry indoor heat - we all are dealing with our share of beauty woes: dull, chapped skin or limp, lifeless hair to name a couple. If you're longing for a head-to-toe makeover but are short on time, try one of the following 7 little pick-me-ups. They're quick and easy and, better yet, guaranteed to improve your appearance almost immediately.

White now
Seven days is all you'll need for a whiter smile with Crest Whitestrips® Premium, which is clinically proven to remove up to 14 years (yes, years) worth of stains in only one week. These ingenious clear strips not only use the same enamel-safe ingredient as dentists, but they are inconspicuous enough to wear almost anywhere, anytime. Plus, they remove stains beneath the surface of the teeth - something ordinary whitening toothpastes simply cannot do. The result is whiter teeth for 12 months.

Fringe benefits
Women across the country are flocking to salons to get themselves bangs. Cutting bangs can give you a whole new look by drawing attention to the face and showing off the eyes and cheekbones. The look right now is an edgier, graduated bang that starts shorter near the part and gets longer - very sexy and pretty. And it works on short or long hair.

Lighten up
Applying foundation incorrectly can make you look old and tired. The worst offenses are picking the wrong colour or using a formula with too much coverage. Here are two rules you can follow: 1) If you have yellow-toned skin, use a warm-toned foundation; 2) If you have pink-toned skin, use a cool-toned foundation. Using the right colour can make you look luminous.

Instant lift
For an instant facelift, try shaping your eyebrows - it makes a huge difference. Don't be overzealous, though - the most common eyebrow mistake is over-tweezing at the head and the tail. The trend right now is a more natural-looking brow. Not pencil thin or too arched.

Bronze goddess
A sure sign of the end of winter? Gorgeously tanned skin - and the spring runways are full of models sporting just that. Thanks to bronzers, risking the negative effects of the sun (premature aging, skin cancer, and the like) to get a golden glow isn't necessary. For that I-just-stepped-off-the-beach look, you can start by dusting the entire face with powder to ensure an even, blotch-free result. Apply the bronzer as you would a blush - from the apple of the cheek move outward and upward creating brightness. Use a soft circular motion and move the brush from the cheeks outward to the temple and blend colour through the hair line up across the forehead. Finish with a sweep of colour along the jaw line and neck (a white neck will ruin the whole look), and a touch on the nose and under the eyes.

Brand new hue
Thanks to improved technology (less harsh, more conditioning ingredients and easier application techniques), the at-home hair colour business is booming - and for good reason. At a fraction of the price of salon colour treatments, at-home colour kits allow you to add highlights and dimension, deepen tones, or do something even more daring (like going from blonde to blazing red) in about an hour - a small time commitment for such a big difference.

Rosy glow
For a worn out, dull complexion, microdermabrasion is a great 30-minute fix. It's a non-surgical treatment during which micro-crystals and a handheld vacuuming device are used to polish the skin. This exfoliating procedure removes the top layers of dead skin cells, leaving fine lines, acne scarring, and age spots less visible. More information on related products at http://www.3dwhite.com/

Secrets to a great portrait

Want to know how to take a great portrait? The best portraits aren't about clothes or a background.

They're relaxed, natural, and capture the essence of their subject. A good photographer makes it happen by following three rules:

  • know your subject
  • create a comfortable environment
  • keep it simple

Having your picture taken is intimidating for many people, so it's important to feel comfortable, both with the photographer and the setting in which your photo will be taken. Spend some time talking with your photographer. It will give him or her a chance to get to know you better, and it will help you feel more relaxed as well.

Once you're comfortable, you're off to a great start. But before you make an appointment, here are some pointers to help ensure you'll end up with a portrait you'll love.

Dress for success
Comfortable = confident. So choose an outfit that is flattering and comfortable to wear. Wearing clothes you feel great in will make you feel more relaxed and confident - and confidence makes for a fabulous portrait.

Concerned about colour? Well, stick to neutral tones, but if it's your favourite and it's flattering, go ahead and wear it. Just be conscious of your environment - wearing a white blouse against a white background, for instance, isn't the best idea.

Less is more
This goes for makeup and jewellery. Keep jewellery simple so it enhances rather than detracts. A simple chain necklace or a pair of diamond studs is always flattering. For makeup, try using light and natural makeup that enhances your features. Just remember - the brighter the lights, the more makeup you will need.

Use the right light
The right lighting can make all the difference in a portrait. Avoid overhead lighting, as it can cast shadows over your face and give the appearance of having bags under your eyes. The best light is afternoon light. The sun is softer and has a warmer colour, which creates great skin tones. Your photographer can create "afternoon light" in the studio, or you can take your photo shoot outside.

You don't have a "best side"
What you have is best features, and your photographer knows how to make the most of them. Photographers use light to their - and your - advantage, using it to slim a nose or brighten beautiful eyes.

There are two photo secrets that every celebrity and model knows. First, put one foot in front of the other with your front leg slightly bent. It's the most flattering pose for any figure, making your torso and legs appear slimmer. Second, tilt your chin slightly upward and you'll never have to worry about the camera giving you a double chin.