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I recently had a lesson with an advanced student. She’s been a makeup artist for several years in the retail segment – working with “real women” doing makeovers, etc. – as well as being heavily involved with the business side of many makeup/cosmetics lines (being a corporate trainer, lunching lines, helping to develop product, writing ad copy, etc.). As such, she is involved with the Beauty Biz, but in a very different capacity than a media makeup artist like myself. Her primary concerns for the lesson were to learn some new techniques and incorporate some of the current trends into her retail business.

As anyone who has worked retail can attest, working with Jane Q. Public can be tricky. On the one hand the average woman wants to look current, and on the other she doesn’t want to change out of her comfort zone too much. Now clearly, I’m not talking about the hardcore makeup diva that buys all the new products, makes You Tube videos and Flickr albums of all her new looks, and spends more time in Sephora than I do. I’m talking about the average woman who just wants to look good; not too plain, but not clown like. Here are my tips for keeping your look current, or if you’re a makeup artist, nudging your client a lil’ bit out of her comfort zone.

1 ) Lighten Up, Brighten Up – In all likelihood, you’ve had your foundation for entirely too long. Not only has your skin changed, foundation formulations have changed dramatically over the last several years. And we’re not just talking about the “mineral makeup” revolution (and I’m not particularly a fan of mineral foundations). Traditional liquid, cream, and cream to powder foundations have all changed and there is one product out there that is perfect for you, I promise.

2 ) Please Use Blush – Blush has to be the most under-appreciated of the cosmetics arsenal because most women are more focused on eye makeup. One sweep of a brush can literally wake up your entire face. This includes women of color as well (see my article on Best Blushes for Darker Toned Beauties). It doesn’t take much, and I promise you won’t look clown like.

3 ) Get A New Lip Color – Again, this is one of those areas where women seemingly just get stuck. They get one color from 5-10 years ago that worked “great” and then that’s it. In reality, this is the least expensive way to revitalize your makeup wardrobe. If you only buy one new full lipstick and one new lip-gloss per year alone, and you’ve freshened your look.

4 ) Add COLOR To Your Eye Shadow – Yes, neutral is safer. But neutral does not have to mean boring browns and beiges. Peaches, pinks, brown-y pinks, bronzes, coppers, and greens can all be used to beautiful natural effect. Yes. They can. Really. Now we are not talking about products like the pure pigments from MAC or Make Up For Ever. However, most of the “current” makeup lines of today have many pretty and wearable colors in their eye shadow collections that can add just that splash of the unexpected to your makeup routine. When it comes to adding color in a way that’s fresh and not too much, formula is the key so look for sheer shadows with a touch of shimmer….

5 ) Don’t Necessarily Try These All At The Same Time – Less is always more, particularly when you’re trying something new. If you go for a colorful eye, keep the lips and blush more toned down, etc. Balance is the key to a pretty, fresh and youthful makeup look.

Don’t fear the makeup. Try something new every few months. If you hate it, wash your face and return the product. If you love it, you’ve opened up a whole range of makeup possibilities.

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