Real Girl Beauty

For every girl who's imagined herself as Lucky Magazine's "Lucky Girl." Or who's conquered her addiction to the bitchier-than-thou forums. Or who reacts every day to her Daily Candy email with the same: "Who can afford that?" Here are some heartfelt health and beauty tips from one Real Girl to another.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It Conceals. No, Wait! It Highlights. No Wait!

It does...both! Stay with me here. We'll start with the conceal (then the reveal!) (Do my rhymes make you squeal?)

Little did you know that Real Girl and Oprah have something in common. Unfortunately, it's not the billions of dollars (why not Oprah? Whyyyy?). No. What we share? Under-eye craters. Like Oprah (though thankfully less drastic), my cheekbones are situated in a way that causes constant undereye shadows. The bane of my facial existence. To fight my ever-present undereye circles, I use a two step process: I cover the entire undereye area with a concealer that matches my skin tone, and then I gently brush in a tad of slightly lighter concealer at the deepest depth of shadow. A good brush will help the blending process, and voila, darkness minimized.

But when I found Sephora's Light Touch Highlighter pen? I realized I should be using not only a concealer, but also a light refractor. Light refracting (or light reflecting) cosmetics have become hot, hot, hot in anti-aging products over the past couple years. These fancy pants pigments supposedly BLIND viewers to whatever your flaws are because hot damn, who can see anything with all that LIGHT being reflected back?

Um, yeah. I call it "sparkle." I've got quite a few light refracting eye products, and most often the effect is a slight shimmer. Some dewiness, some shine, some "sparkle." These products are fine for winter, but in the summer, please don't give me any more shine. Me and shine? We're best buddies in summer. Joined at the hip. And cheek. And forehead.

So the joy of Sephora's highlighting pen? There's no sparkle. This is a perfect summer highlighter for the deepest areas of your undereye circles. If you're lucky enough to have only slight darkness, you may be able to get away with using only the highlighter without concealer underneath. But most people who are looking to diminish undereye circles will want to continue using their concealer but then brush on a small amount of a slightly lighter highlighter at the darkest points. But a shade too much lighter? And the makeup is too noticeable.

BUT WAIT! Where else can you highlight? Where else can this product give your face an energetic look and lift without excess shine and sparkle? Here are the key places where I've been using my concealer pen as a highlighter only:

1. Inner corners of the eye. Man, it works wonders there. If you're feeling tired? A light brush of this product at the inner eye corner will perk your look right up. Unlike similar products, too, the lack of sparkle makes this item perfect for day.

2. The upper cheekbone. This one is a bit trickier to explain without a picture. Feel where your cheekbone begins right under your eye. Now start with your concealer brush below the outer corner of your eye (wherever the top of the bone is) and follow the angle of the cheekbone down toward the nose, until about the center of your eye. Oprah_copy_2Hmmm. Maybe Oprah can help me demonstrate.

Great highlighter placement, Oprah, but you chose a color way too light for you! And someone didn't blend with her concealer brush. Silly Oprah.

3. The cupid's bow on the upper lip. A dab in your divot will brighten up that pucker. (See Oprah.)

Okay, so we've covered the conceal and the reveal, and now it's time for the drawbacks and application tips.

First of all, I have yet to try YSL's acclaimed Touche Eclat. Truthfully, I've been worried that it'll fall in the shine and shimmer category of cosmetics. Also? It's $36 as opposed to Sephora's lovely $10 item. But in a past Real Girl post, our own commenter Ashley noted that she prefers the YSL product greatly to this cheaper version. So Touche Eclat users be forewarned.

Secondly, here is my least favorite thing about the Sephora Light Touch Highlighter: the pen part. Ohhhh, how I hate clicking products. You know the ones--twist the bottom, hear the click, wait for the product. Argh, there's too little! Crap, now too much! With a concealer/highlighter, the amount of product you use is crucial to the effect. You should be starting with very little and using great control to blend, blend, blend. For this, the Sephora pen mechanism is worthless. Please, Real Girlettes--if you invest in this lovely product, always use a concealer brush or your third finger (the most gentle) for greater control.

Lastly, it's unfortunate that this product will be immensely difficult to buy online. You just need to test it in person, as I did. I'm fair-to-medium, and I use "No. 3." Which color is that, you may ask? No friggin' idea. At the Sephora store, the colors are numbered only, not given stunningly original names like "light beige." However, should you not be 100% satisfied with this--like any--product from Sephora, they'll take it back and give you a refund no questions asked.

So, my lovelies! Concealers!! Hightlighters!! Sephora products! Lay them on me!

And thrill your,
Real Girl