Party Makeup: What Not to Do

Six common pitfalls that leave us looking more garish than glamourous
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PARTY MAKEUP PITFALL: Black liner worn corner to corner looks harsh.

Solution: "Make a color and formula switch," says celebrity makeup artist Joanna Schlip. She likes brown, but if you think that’s too blah for evening, eggplant and emerald are more daring yet still age appropriate. Also, ditch the hard-tip liner. A gel formula (it comes in a pot or as a soft pencil) stays put until you wash it off. Finally, line just your top lashes; tracing the lower lash line can accentuate dark circles. Try: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Gel CreamLiners ($11; drugstores); CoverGirl LiquiLineBlast ($8; drugstores).
Photo: Todd Huffman

More to Try

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Violet Ink ($21; click to purchase).
Nordstrom

PARTY MAKEUP PITFALL: Deep lip color settles into the little lines around your mouth.

Solution: "Replace your lipstick with a deep stain topped by lip balm," says Los Angeles makeup artist Molly Stern. "The stain won’t move, and the moisturizing properties of the balm will make the stain, which can feel dry on the lips, more comfortable to wear." Above all, scrap the lip liner, which is mega old-fashioned. Try: Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstain in Cherry Pop ($8; drugstores); Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss in Fatale ($32; chanel.com), left; Fresh Sugar Plum Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 ($23; fresh.com).
Photo: Todd Huffman

More to Try

Fresh Sugar Plum Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 ($23; click to purchase).
Sephora

PARTY MAKEUP PlTFALL: Shimmer powder sinks into crepiness, effectively shining a spotlight on it.

Solution: Limit the shimmer powder to relatively smooth areas of your face and body: the tops of your cheekbones, your chin, your jawline, your décolletage (and steer clear of your eyes, period). If you do OD, just sweep a translucent loose powder over the too-sparkly spots. This will tone down glitter and excess shine instantly, says celebrity makeup artist Laura Geller. Try: Laura Geller Shimmer Down Powder ($36; laurageller?.com).
Photo: Todd Huffman

PARTY MAKEUP PlTFALL: Heavy mascara causes spider-leg lashes.

Solution: To separate clumps, use a clean, dry toothbrush, or wipe your mascara wand on a piece of tissue (after your last coat of mascara), then drag the goo-free bristles through your lashes. And next time consider a set of false lashes instead. "They add instant dramatic glamour without any clumping or smudging," Geller says. She suggests using small strips just at your outer top corners (skip the time-consuming individuals-too hard for most of us to do, even with a magnifying mirror). Then top with one coat of mascara to help the falsies blend with the rest of your fringe. Try: Laura Mercier Corner Faux Eyelashes ($18; lauramercier.com), left; Dalton Fresh Coat Mascara ($20; qvc.com).
Photo: Todd Huffman

More to Try

Dalton Fresh Coat Mascara ($30; click to purchase).
Dalton Cosmetics

PARTY MAKEUP PITFALL: Sparse brows look naked next to your elegantly made-up eyes.

Solution: Even if you don’t normally shade in your brows, make an exception for cocktail parties. "Nothing ages a face like made-up eyes topped off by nonexistent brows," Schlip says. The effect? Alienesque. She suggests that brow-grooming novices fill in their arches with an ashy pencil; it blends with most hair colors. "It also lasts longer than a powder and is easier than gel for non-makeup artists to apply," she says. Just make sure the pencil is sharpened to ensure that your strokes are as thin as real hair. Try: Shiseido Eyebrow Pencil in Ash Blond ($20; nordstrom.com).
Photo: Todd Huffman

More to Try

Anastasia Perfect Brow Pencil in Ash Blond ($22; click to purchase).
Sephora

PARTY MAKEUP PITFALL: Gray, smoky eyes make you look more burned out than beautiful.

Solution: "Using an eye brightener or highlighter helps balance out sexy but dark eye makeup," Geller says. "Just dab the pearly cream in the inner corner of the eye and under the brow." The top third of your face will look brighter-and you’ll look more vibrant. Try: Laura Geller Wonder Wand Eye Brightener ($20; laurageller?.com).
Photo: Todd Huffman

More to Try

Mally Matte Wand Eye Brightener in Matte Light ($25; click to purchase).
Mally

More to Try

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstain in Cherry Pop ($8; drugstores). Click here for Makeup Solutions for Aging Skin.
Target

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