Sunday, May 4, 2014 at 06:53PM
[Your Name Here]

            Think of holiday makeup looks, and red lips and lots of gilding might come to mind. After all, it is the season of visions of sugarplums dancing through your head. Yes and no, says Jame McKay, Senior Makeup Artist at M.A.C. Cosmetics at their Toronto Head Office. “There are pastel pinks and gold, but with an edge. The look this winter is like a modern day Marilyn Monroe. The eyeliner gives it a more Bridget Bardot Look.”

            On the runways of Fashion Week in Toronto, New York, London, and Paris, makeup applications referenced the designers' visions: minimalist with graphic accents. Calvin Klein, for instance, showed lots of black and white designs featuring fabrication details that looked almost like holograms. Proenza Schouler sent laser cut black leather detailing down the runway, while tailored looks were presented by Ralph Lauren. Where the clothes were glamourous, the edgy makeup look provided a modern contrast.

            A defining element in this look is eyeliner. There are plenty of options in formulations and textures: gels, pencils, pens, and powders. Mckay suggests using a small angled brush with a powder. Gently pull your eyelid up and away with your other hand to create a taut surface on which to apply the liner, and use feather strokes to push the liner powder down along the lash line. You can achieve the same kind of look using a gel formula that dries to a powder finish. Gels, by the way, have a lot of staying power and are less likely to run or smudge when you are creating a graphic look.

            For that Bridge Bardot effect, flick the liner up and out at the outer edge of the lash line. McKay doesn't advise lining the lower lash line if you have dark circles, as this will only accentuate them and make you look tired. “You can make a check mark or any other shape using a bit of tape as a stencil along the lash line, “ she says. Think Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, or singer-songwriter Adele and you get an idea of the possibility of shapes and sizes of lines.

             For an everyday look you might want to stop the liner at the edge of the outer eyes, perhaps  with a little upward wing, but for a big night out try giving your look a boost with some false lashes. McKay likes to use the M.A.C. Number 7 lashes, from which she cuts a small section of the inner lashes. She applies this one third portion of the false lashes to the outer one third of the actual eyelashes. Add just a touch of shimmer on the lids with iridescent cream shadow or M.A.C. Strobe Cream. Finish off the look with plenty of mascara.

            With all this focus on the eyes, avoid covering your entire face with makeup. Applying a mask of foundation to the entire face is a common mistake made by a lot of older women,  a look that is dated and aging. “Check out the new shades and textures you see in magazines, “ advises McKay. “There are lots of choices now, and you can ask our pros for help. Our staff know the products really well.” Illuminating and shimmer products are now sheerer than previously, and those formulas with very fine particles can be worn by most people. Moisturizer and primer keep things plumped and dewy looking, but if your skin is on the dry side, choose creamy textured or oil based foundation. McKay suggests applying a bit of foundation under the eyes, perhaps around your mouth, to wherever you need to 'spot cover', and then blending it out, and finishing with M.A.C. Fix + Spray.

            Our dry winter climate means all but the oiliest skins can probably skip face powder, but with all the black in our wardrobe at this time of year, bronzer and lip colour can give the face a hit of much needed colour. Just as fashion is having a moment with gold, M.A.C. has some of the prettiest palettes out there. Pink and gold is flattering to just about everyone, says McKay. Natural looking flushed cheeks and radiant skin are the beautiful backdrop to this look.

            While younger women can get away with being more adventurous and creative in playing with eye makeup, everyone can wear bright lip colours. As in fashion, it comes down to individual self expression. McKay points to Nicki Minaj as an example of someone who plays with colour and creates different looks. “Lots of people can do that, “ she says. But if you aren't into channeling the singer, you can experiment with different saturations and textures, from light to neon, frosted to matte. Simply blot the intense colour down somewhat, and apply a gloss over top to complement the strong eye look.

            A trend everyone can get in on is at the tips of our fingers. Nail art is exploding, and at M.A.C. pale mint green nails are framed with a thin black line of polish, referencing those Marilyn-esque eyes winged with black eyeliner. Statement nails are a fun way to experiment with a trend. While makeup and hair looks currently give a nod to the slightly bed-headed bohemian look of icons such as Jane Birken and Bridget Bardot, nails decorated with graphic details give your look an up to date edge.

            The spirit this season is very pretty, modern, but with a little bit of toughness. McKay says it can be as simple as throwing on a few false lashes, adding eye liner and mascara, touching up your face where needed, swiping on some bright pink gloss, and then you're out the door. Sounds like the perfect recipe for a sweet holiday.

First published in Red Deer Advocate December 2012.

May not be re-printed without permission of author.






Article originally appeared on Chrysalis Writing Service (
See website for complete article licensing information.