The problem: Jenny Barr, 47, an elementary-school guidance counselor in Allentown, Pennsylvania (shown), has beautiful golden skin, but thanks to sun exposure and a birthmark on her cheek, it looked blotchy. BJ Gillian, a makeup artist based in New York City, wanted to even out Jenny's complexion while letting her skin show through.
First Gillian used an opaque, yellow-based concealer on two areas that needed camouflaging―the dark inner corners of Jenny's eyes and her birthmark. "Go for a long-wearing formulation that contains no wax or oil," he suggests. "It won't settle into fine lines and will stay put all day." Gillian used his fingertip to gently press on the concealer.
To add color, Gillian brushed bronzer over Jenny's cheekbones and across her forehead.
Products to try:
Revlon Colorstay Undereye Concealer, $9 at drugstores.
Clinique True Bronze Pressed Powder Bronzer in Sunkissed, $24.50, clinique.com.
2 of 4Bill Phelps
Upgrade: Play Up Lips
The problem: Jenn Parker, 27, a business analyst in Boston (shown), never wears makeup, just lip balm. "Jenn's lips are naturally pale, so a stronger lip color will add sophistication to her whole face, and it's almost as effortless as lip balm," says Gillian.
First Gillian lined and then filled in Jenn's lips with a creamy nude pencil. Tracing just outside the natural border of her lips created a slightly fuller shape, and the pencil "also gave the lipstick something to hold on to, so it wouldn't require touch-ups," says Gillian.
Then he applied a sheer golden plum lipstick with a slight shimmer. The nude pencil underneath softened the plum so Jenn would feel comfortable, not overdone, wearing it.Tip: To find a foolproof, natural lip color, pull down your lower lip and examine the tissue's tone (it could be pink, plum, or cocoa). Choose a lipstick that matches that tone.
Product to try: Cargo Plantlove Botanical Lipstick in Cece, $20, buy.com.
3 of 4Bill Phelps
Upgrade: Brighten Hair Color
The problem: Melanie Kuchinski Rodriguez, 30, an administrative assistant in West Orange, New Jersey (shown), had hair color so drab that the rest of her face looked washed-out. Melanie had never colored her hair before, so Joel Warren, a colorist and a co-owner of the Warren-Tricomi salon in New York City, wanted to change her color enough to give it a boost, but still make it look natural.
First Warren wove in some wheat-colored highlights.
Then he painted in muted golden lowlights (panels of color a little darker than the natural shade). "The highlights and lowlights together add dimension and contrast to her hair," he says.
To protect Melanie's hair color and make it last (blow-dryer heat and styling irons can turn highlights and lowlights brassy), Warren applied a strengthening cream to her damp hair before styling. "It closes the cuticles, so the color stays true," he says.
4 of 4Bill Phelps
Update: Define Eyes
The problem: Joy Gray Prince, 36, a new mom in Atlanta (shown), has little time to spend putting on makeup every morning, since she’s caring for her five-month-old daughter. The easiest solution? “She can look polished without a lot of effort by enhancing the shape of her eyes with liner,” says Gillian.
Working with a tiny eyeliner brush, Gillian lined the inner rims of Joy’s upper lids with a black gel liner.
Next, to create more definition, he dotted the same liner in between each lash along the upper lash lines. (This technique creates a more natural result than a thick, dramatic stripe of liner.)
Gillian used two shadows―a bronze and a plum―to play up the warm undertones in Joy’s skin. First he used a shadow brush to apply the plum shade to the lids. Then he smudged the warmer bronze into the creases with a fingertip
He topped off her look by applying two coats of black mascara to only the top lashes. “Coating the bottom lashes would close up her eyes,” he says. “This makes her eye area look lifted.”