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Too much highlighter below the brow and you'll resemble a drag queen

Use too much highlighter below the brow and you'll resemble a drag queen. Invest the time to do your makeup or don't complain.

Clinique makeup artist Paul Innis is opinionated and vocal when it comes to his views on women and cosmetics. ``I hate, hate tattooed eyebrows!'' Innis says. ``What is the point? It looks like tattooed eyebrows, not little hairs!''

Innis was at Nordstrom in Valley Fair last weekend, taking consultation appointments and advising Clinique makeup artists on such matters as blush placement and eye shadow blending.

One of Innis' areas of expertise is in applying makeup on women of color. His clients and fans include Rosario Dawson, Daisy Fuentes and Naomie Harris. He's done makeup for Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen, too. He believes the right makeup can magically transform plain Janes into hot and confident Janes.

Before I met with Innis, I asked friends and co-workers of different ethnicities to give me a question I could ask that would address a specific need common to their skin type, coloring or facial structure.

Their questions and his answers:


Problem: Foundations don't match or look too matte and dark on skin.

Solution: Black skin absorbs rather than reflects light, so use a lighter-toned concealer on the T-zone of your face. ``If you're African-American, take a close look in the mirror. You'll see that your skin is naturally lighter in the middle of your face. Think in terms of a flashbulb from a camera going off in your face, and apply the foundation down the center of your nose and outward toward cheeks. Then blend carefully into the foundation that matches your real skin color.''

Asian Indian

Problem: Dark under-eye circles.

Solution: ``Indian women can be fair but still have the dark, shadowy circles under their eyes. Make sure to use a concealer that lightens and brightens and is rich enough for full coverage. Otherwise it can turn gray as it wears off, and the skin underneath starts to show through.''


Problem: Small eyes.

Solution: Apply a thin line of eyeliner along the upper lashes that extends past the natural eye, and be sure to flip the ends up. ``Otherwise, you'll look droopy.'' Line the lower lashes with a dark brown eye shadow that can be deliberately smudged to give eyes more depth and the illusion of size. ``Invest the time to practice applying eye shadow.'' If you're a novice, get advice from an expert. Makeup artists often make appearances at department stores such as Nordstrom.


Problem: Large pores and keeping neck and decolletage youthful.

Solution: Use pore minimizing makeup and primers to camouflage pores and ``don't put any shine on your face. Keep everything matte.'' Use the same skin care products on the neck area and be sure to use sunblock on every patch of skin that shows, including the neckline and chest.