Put your best holiday face forward

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Bobbi Brown makeup

Bobbi Brown makeup (Brent Lewis, Chicago Tribune / November 25, 2011)

•To fill in brows and avoid a heavy look, start in the middle, go to the end then — sparingly — apply pencil or powder to thickest part using tiny soft strokes to mimic hairs. A common error: Too-dark brow powder or pencil; go a shade or two lighter than hair. Eyeliner on brows will be too dark.

•A red lip is about attitude, a power move. And there's a right red for everyone; find it by trying many. Keep the red close to your natural lip line.

•Makeup artists swear by primer under foundation, on eyes and on lips for longer, smoother wear. Ellen isn't convinced.

Nars makeup costs for this look excluding brushes, primer and skin care: $359

Smoky eye for big-time partying

MAC is known for of-the-moment high-intensity makeup and to-die-for glam. MAC artist Angela Rhodes, 33, a recently divorced mom, had a date later in the evening, so she eagerly offered to act as model for her colleague, makeup artist Shannon O'Brien. Trust me that after O'Brien's magic, Rhodes was a knockout. It would take forever to describe the 24-step process that this makeup entailed, so let's go straight for the eye. Beauty director Sam said, "A smoky eye is one of the most requested looks. People come to us to ask us how to do it all the time." Here you go.

O'Brien starts the makeup process with the eye — not the foundation, as most women apply their makeup. She says the intense pigments she's using sometimes fall on the cheeks, and this way makes cleanup easier.

Your 12-step program for the smoky eye.

1. Cover entire lid with Powerpoint eye pencil in Prussian ($15) as eye shadow base.

2. Brush powder blush in Blunt ($19.50) into lid crease.

3. Apply dark shimmery blue from Snowglobe eye shadows "Cool" six-pack ($38) on lid from lashes to crease.

4. To open the eye, blend White As Snow crushed metal pigment ($38) in center of upper lid only.

5. Use pencil (from 1 above) to line lower lid beneath lashes.

6. Line inner rim of lower lid with Eye Kohl in Smolder ($15).

7. Apply No. 43 false eyelashes ($15) using Duo Adhesive ($8) (wait until tacky) to upper lid.

8. Use Full Lash Curler ($15) to meld false lashes with real ones.

9. Touch up eyeliner with pencil (see 1 and 5).

10. Generously apply Haute & Naughty Lash black mascara ($19).

11. Using light, feathery strokes, fill in brow with self-sharpening Eye Brows pencil in Spiked ($15).

12. Apply Studio Finish Concealer in NC42 (three shades lighter than skin tone) ($17) as highlighter under brow arch.

Take-away tips

•Use highlighter or concealer on cheeks, down the center of the nose, beneath brow arch — anyplace you want to "bring forward."

•To keep deep shadow colors intense, layer them on top of concealer or lighter eye shadow base on eyelid.

•Lining the "water line" (inner rim of lower lid) makes eyes look smaller — not usually desirable.

•False lashes are like wearing high heels and instantly change a day look to evening.

Total cost of MAC products used on eyes, excluding brushes: $214.50

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