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July 26 2014

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Pati Dubroff Decodes The Mysteries of Holiday Makeup

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Now that the holidays are upon us, there are parties to attend, Champagne flutes to clink, and all manner of bold makeup to experiment with in the spirit of the season. Still, a few slip-ups with eyeliner and lipstick can spoil the fun. With that in mind, we challenged Clarins celebrity beauty artist and face painter extraordinaire Pati Dubroff to resolve our trickiest holiday makeup situations. Here, a permanent member of Gwyneth Paltrow’s go-to glam squad shares her tips for navigating the social scene with aplomb.



The Challenge: The invitation card says “festive.” What does that mean in makeup terms?

The Solution: “Go for bright lipstick for sure. There is no better way to dress up and be ‘festive’ than with a shock of color. I’d recommend a red like Clarins Rouge Prodige True Color & Shine in Red Prodige, a bold pink like NARS Pure Matte in Carthage, or a tangerine, such as Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color in True Coral.”


The Challenge: The occasion calls for some celebratory glitter. Is there a way to oblige and keep is classy?

The Solution: “A dash of glitter on the eyelid can look cool when it’s not overdone. The trick is to match or harmonize the sparkle to the eye shadow color on your lid. Make Up For Ever makes great loose glitters in a big shade range. But it doesn’t belong on the brow bone, and be careful with the face—for this area, think products with shimmer, not glitter.”


The Challenge: Skin that can weather even the most powerful high-def cameras. Does such a thing exist without digital retouching?

The Solution:“Striking the balance between coverage and natural is the key here. Start with skin that has been moisturized but is not too oily or slick. Tissue off any residue from moisturizer, then apply a primer like Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch. It minimizes pores, fills in lines, and diffuses imperfections. Next, work in fine layers of a foundation, like Clarins Skin Illusion Natural Radiance Light Reflecting foundation, using a brush from the center of the face toward the outer cheeks—focusing only on where it’s most needed and leaving the rest alone. Brighten under the eyes and prevent shadows with Clarins Instant Light Brush-On Perfector, using your fingertips to blend everything, so it looks like the product actually belongs to skin. If you have any stubborn blemishes, dab on a dense stick concealer, like those from Clé de Peau. Do a swirl of cream blush on the apples of cheeks to bring a healthy flush and finish with a light dusting of loose powder through the T-zone. It sounds like a lot but this takes less than 15 minutes!”

The Challenge: Matching your eye makeup to your printed party dress. Do or don’t?

The Solution: “You should, but it shouldn’t look like the eye shadow has been stamped from the same cloth as the fabric. Instead, stay within the color family and pinpoint an element you want to highlight, such as an embellishment on the outfit or a piece of jewelry, and bring that color to the face. An example: If you’re wearing a hot peach or blush print, stick with copper or bronzy eye shadows.”

The Challenge: Upstaging the other smoky eyes in the room. How best to proceed?

The Solution: “Add jewel tones for an elegant touch that complements your eye color. If you have blue eyes, do black liner and sapphire eye shadow (either NARS Matte Eyeshadow in China Blue or the deepest shade from Clarins Eye Quartet Mineral Palette in Indigo). For green eyes, I like gray liner and an amethyst sheer eye shadow (Burberry Beauty Eye Enhancer in Midnight Plum #19). Brown eyes look amazing with chocolate liner and ruby shadow (try Tom Ford Beauty Eye Color Quad in Burnished Amber).”

The Challenge: Black-tie-caliber eyelashes. Should you break out the falsies or stick with plain old mascara?

The Solution: “I’m not going to lie: Fake lashes are tough to do. Try curling your own lashes and applying two coats of a very black mascara. Once mascara is dry, add individual lashes. I like to mix the short flares and singles from Ardell or Kre-at-Beauty Sweets Individuals. Use a tweezer to dab the lash into the glue and then aim for the spaces between your natural lashes, getting as close to the base as possible. A magnifying mirror helps a lot. Time and patience are also key.”

The Challenge: Makeup that lasts through the after-holiday party. How can you avoid runny mascara and fading lipstick into the wee hours of the morning?

The Solution: “Skin and lips need to be dewy, not greasy. Use a light lip balm, like Clarks Botanicals’, under your lipstick and don’t layer on too much or your color will run. Another trick is to put Clarins Instant Smooth Line Correcting Concentrate around your lip line to help lipstick stay on lips and not bleed outward. For mascara, go easy on the eye cream since too much can actually make your mascara smear.”

The Challenge: Morning-after makeup. Is there anyway to mask the mal-effects of a truly epic soirée?

The Solution: “If your eyes are puffy, do my favorite ice trick: a glass with a few ice cubes, a touch of water, and two teaspoons. Once the spoons are well chilled, apply to eyes for a few minutes and marvel at the difference. If you don’t have time for that, apply a pale creamy eye shadow to the lids and inner corners. Go with champagne for pale skin, soft gold or peachy nude for medium skin tones, and a warmer gold or bronze for darker skins. Curl and apply lots of mascara to the upper lashes to wake up the eyes. For an extra boost—that also counteracts bloodshot eyes—trace a buff-tone eye pencil like NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Rue Bonaparte on inner rims.”

Photo: Courtesy of Clarins

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