Makeup made easy

By Kristin Larson, Special to the Tribune

Published March 22, 2006

If you're like many women, you have a bathroom drawer full of eye pencils, eyeshadows, lipsticks and blushes. You make an effort to wear makeup on some days, but mostly you leave home with your face bare.

And makeup professionals know why: You think there's no time and you're overwhelmed by a proliferation of products.

For the perpetually perplexed and time-crunched, the professionals we consulted say, looking put together should take no more than five minutes. The key is being organized, choosing products that multitask and remembering that your makeup needs are as individual as you are.

"Makeup is so complicated for people and [yet] it's so simple," says Bobbi Brown, CEO of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. "It's so easy if you take the time to make a small little box or bag that holds the things that work. On normal days, I can do my makeup in literally two minutes."

Gabriel Trujillo, co-owner of Sparkle Beauty Studio in New York City and a makeup artist to stars of film and music, says every woman has the power to be her own personal makeup artist.

"Good makeup starts with a good moisturizer and focusing on one good feature," he says. "Maybe that's lips or eyes or great skin. Each person has to approach the face in an individual way and play up [her] assets."

And that's just what our makeup experts recommend. Every woman should figure out her top 10 areas of interest, a list that will be different for every woman, they say.

If under-eye circles plague you, your list should probably include a concealer. If you have great skin, you might be able to get away with a tinted moisturizer and some blush or bronzer. Or perhaps you need to even out skin tone or brighten your eyes.

Some women may be wedded to certain products, such as lipstick or mascara. To that list, Laura Kenney, a beauty writer for Sephora, would add eyebrow mascara.

"By doing your brows with a brow mascara, it accentuates your bone structure, frames and almost brightens your eyes. So you can throw on some lip gloss and you're good to go," Kenney says. "It's a timesaver because you look polished right away."

Another way Kenney likes to save time is with products that do more than one thing, such as a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen. She particularly likes Cosmedicine Honest Face Skin Tint & Treatment ($35).

"A product like this gives you coverage, moisture, sunscreen protection and it has anti-oxidants like Vitamin C that protect your skin from the environment," she says.

A time-saving tip for applying eye shadow is to wear a light-colored shade all over the lid, with more added just under the brow as a highlighter, says Brown.

Trujillo suggests applying eyeshadows in soft, shimmery beiges and natural colors -- which look great on all skin tones -- before moving into color. The same goes for lip color. He recommends natural-colored and luminescent lip glosses, which flatter all skin tones.

"Soft, translucent colors are foolproof," Trujillo says. "I recommend experimenting on your own and paying attention to what looks good on you and the compliments you receive. That's a good indication of what looks the best on you."

Finally, a tip from Brown: She recommends cleaning out your makeup twice a year, in the spring and then again in the fall. That way, you can adjust products based on any color your skin may have picked up from the sun and throw out any expired products