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Trendy makeup

Nancy Crossman took her fashion cues seriously in the 1980s.

With eyes glistening with rainbow eyeshadow, thick black eyeliner and navy eyelashes, she was the epitome of Madonna style.

"We all looked the same," the Moncton woman says with a laugh while recalling hair whipped into spiral perms. "When I look at pictures, we are all nearly identical. It's hilarious." There may be comfort in numbers. Millions of women follow cosmetic trends that, like fashion, are ever evolving and tend to represent specific moments in time. Each season, fashion runways showcase the newest, most modern looks with variations on colours and application methods. The succeeding interpretations of them tend to be popular as quick, easy, painless and inexpensive ways to help women update their style.

By age 30, most women find the hemline that flatters, the eyeshadow that suits and the haircut that works. Then, they get comfortable. And very dated.

Conversely, the most au courtant and stylish women in history never stayed still. Rather, they flowed from one decade to another by picking up a different waistline, losing a bouffant hairdo and exchanging Burgundy Wine lipstick for Whisper of Pink gloss without any period of mourning. Remaining chic, it would appear, is all about moving on, diplomatically discarding looks that you love but that will date you.

"Makeup is all about feeling better, looking better," says Kimberley Gautreau, owner of Kimberley the Studio in Moncton. "It's about caring for yourself." For the trendiest looks this spring and summer, focus on the eyes. It's said that a true geisha can stop a man in his tracks with a single glance, heightening the status of the so-called windows to the soul. A fresh, naturally sheer look looks fresh now, with a highlighter in the tear duct of the eye. As shown during the Chanel and Dior shows, there is a modern take on the play of light and shadow inspired by movies, studio work and black-and-white photography. It's easily accomplished by highlighting the inner corner of each eye with an opaque white liquid shadow (or a more subtle beige) and gently smudging. Then, using a white kohl pencil, draw a line on the inside rim of the lower lids as a brightener.

So-called Twiggy eyelashes - long, voluminous, thick lashes - are making a strong comeback. For those who are lacking in the lash length department, a mascara that has a formula with fibres can help since the miniscule fibres build onto existing lashes. Fake lashes may also be used, both the single lashes and the longer strips. Start by curling your real lashes and applying mascara by tilting the chin up slightly and the head back slightly while lifting eyebrows up, as though you were asking a question. This makes it simple to run the mascara brush along the length of the upper lashes from the base to the tip without smearing.

With shadows, the newest cosmetic combinations seem to be bold blues, greens or gold on the eyes, with the main colour chosen to match clothing. Most eye-colour kits come with three to five different shades inside, but not all need be applied at once. Years ago, highlighter was applied to the brow bone (the area right underneath your eyebrow), the darkest shade went on the crease of the eyelid and a midrange light colour followed on the lid itself. At times, a little bit of darker color was added to the outer edge to give a wedge shape to the eye. These days, the look is less studied, with a lighter tone on the brow blended into the lid colour.

"Most people will do a neutral on the lid, a different colour in the centre of the lid and a darker colour at the corner to open the eye," says Megan. "A neutral light goes on the brow bone and all are blended so it appears very natural." Colour choice matters. Bright colours can look garish in summer, so the aim should be to look for faded hues that remind you of a favourite T-shirt that turned from cobalt blue to a water pool colour. Translated into makeup, the result becomes a seethrough or sheer look that can be worn on the eyes, lips and cheeks. "A soft line is much more flattering," says Kimberley.

For women over 30, blending these soft colours upward right above the middle of the eye - where the iris is when you're looking straight ahead - will give an automatic lift to complement the arch in the eyebrows. Use a lighter tone for the brow bone and blend it carefully, stopping at the eye crease. A thin line of shadow is also now used instead of a liquid liner near the upper lash line."It still looks like a line, but it is much softer," says makeup artist Megan Robertson, manager of Faces Cosmetics in Moncton. "You want a very soft, natural look." Finish the eye area with clean, natural-looking brows.

As the frame of the face - and especially, the eye area - they look most modern in a gentle arch. This is said to be a great asset for anyone over 30 because it provides an automatic lift to the face. To begin, brush brows down and, if they require filling in, do so with eyeshadow rather than a pencil. Set unruly brows in place with eyebrow gel.In the yin-and-yang of an overall look, strong eyes should be balanced by softer lips or vice versa. The update to the thousands of shimmering lip glosses already on the market is that cosmetic companies are now paying attention to brilliance and a pearled effect in addition to shine.

A light, babydoll pink is wearable for everyone, say makeup artists, as is a neutral liner filled in with a shimmery gloss. "The sheen should not be too bright," cautions Megan. "Lips should be like a bubblegum pink, but in a sheer, or a golden to pibk bronze."

When it comes to skincare routines, be sure to start with a clean palette. Wash your skin following your normal routine and apply a light moisturizer with sun protection on the face; the delicate eye area also requires a moisturizer since it has almost no oil glands.

Exfoliating the skin every few days will help improve its appearance."You can put all the fillers and Botox you want on your skin, but if your skin does not look healthy, you are not getting optimum results," explains Rachel Gautreau, a nurse specializing in medical esthetics at Bellissima Medical Aesthetics in Moncton. "When you age, everything slows down, including the cells on your skin so using a line like Obagy (a prescription therapeutic skincare line) helps by speeding up the process so your skin looks and acts younger."

One way to fake a summer tan or accentuate an existing one is to use a powder or liquid bronzer on the face,or to rely on a self tanner. Almost every brand - whether at the low end or high end - is boasting a variety of products to re-create the glow one gets from the sun but without any of the skin-damage risks. "It's the safest way to tan and having a light wash of colour is nice in summer," says Megan. "Sometimes, you can wear less makeup with that extra bit of colour, too."