03/08/2013 08:32 pm ET Updated May 08, 2013

The New Celebrity Makeup Uniform That's Perfect for Real Life


Another award season has come and gone, leaving us plenty of examples of celebrity gorgeousness to gawk at and want to emulate. And you've probably read a gazillion how-to blogs about the trends set by Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Kerry Washington and crew. But I think there's a more long-lasting takeaway to discuss, what I want to refer to as the new celebrity makeup "uniform" -- neutral metallic eyes, glowy pinky cheeks and naturally gorgeous lips. This is makeup that enhances a star and brings out her beauty without stealing the spotlight. It's makeup that makes her the center of attention, not her eyeshadow or even her Chanel or Dior lipstick. It's makeup that's classic but modern, looks rich even if you buy it cheap, and because it's a "uniform" you don't have to think about it or worry about screwing it up. In my book I call this makeup "You Only Better Makeup," and whether you're heading to your own red carpet event or the closest you're getting to a carpet is the one in your living room, this is makeup you can wear and love and feel great in. A few tips to get you started:

The Better Than Natural Lip

Sure, I loved Jessica Chastain's daring red lip at the Oscars, but did you notice that most of the leading ladies who walked the red carpet went for a more neutral and natural approach? Easier said than done -- how many nudes do you already own that make you look more dead than diva? For real women, I suggest swapping the word "nude" for "natural" in your lipstick vocabulary. Nudes look pale and corpselike on most real women while a great natural lip color -- and a smile to go with it -- can light up your whole face. A few natural lip colors I've found that seem to work on most women:
If your skin is on the lighter side: Sonia Kashuk Velvety Matte Lip Crayon in Pinky Nude, $7.59 or CoverGirl's LipPerfection Jumbo Gloss Balm in Blush Twist, $6.99.
If your skin is medium: Topshop Lip Crayon in Wave Goodbye, $14 or L'Oreal Paris Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain in Pink Resistance, $9.99
If your skin is dark: CoverGirl QUEEN Collection Jumbo Gloss Balm in Pink Diamond or Radiant Rose, $6.99

Neutral Metallic Eyes

Rarely will you see lots of heavy black eye makeup on the red carpet; instead stars surround their eyes in metal-flecked versions of the colors you'd find naturally if you looked in their eyes with a magnifying mirror -- bronzy amber-like golds, deep charcoal greys, subtle purply mauves. I love using cream shadow sticks, because they're super easy to blend. Apply along and under the lashline and up into the crease and blend. Try NYX Cosmetics Glam Shadow Stick, $4.50 each or Sephora Collection Jumbo Liner 12HR Wear shadow sticks, $14.

Glowy High Cheekbones

Celebrities lift their cheekbones and give their faces a gorgeous glow using a technique I like to call a "Blush Sandwich." The first step is to add a little bit of cream blush in a pinky hue right on the apple of the cheek (think the meat of the sandwich), then apply a bronzer right beneath the blush (think the bottom bread), following the line of your cheek bone. Lastly, dab a highlighter right on the tips of the cheekbone, on top of the blush (think the top bread). Benefit has a product that does all of the work for you, combining a bronzer, blush and highlighter in one easy to use tube called fine-one-one, $30.

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