bronzer

Contouring with bronzer sculpts and adds dimension, but with natural-looking results. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times / August 22, 2010)

As we near the fall season, we can't help but feel a little back-to-school-ish — a programmed impulse to show up looking our shiny new best. This is a good time to take stock of summer sins: the bevy of barbequed hamburgers, platefuls of Kettle Chips, indulgence of elderflower martinis in the summer moonlight.

If a few extra pounds have crept on, boost the exercise quotient and reduce the food intake to deal with it. But meanwhile, a few makeup tricks can make you look slimmer.

"The right makeup really can take off 10 pounds," says makeup artist and green beauty expert Paige Padgett, who has worked on television's "The Biggest Loser" since 2007.

Calculate shimmer

One thing Padgett says to give up in the quest for a slimmer look: putting shimmer or heavy illuminators on the entire face. Tim Quinn, national director of creative artistry for Giorgio Armani Beauty, agrees.

"You don't want to put shimmer products all over because then it just makes your whole face look round — use it strategically. It's the same thing as with fashion," Quinn says. "It's best to work with a couple of different textures rather than one slinky thing that may show off all of your curves in the wrong area."

The experts suggest limiting shimmer to accent areas, such as the top of the cheekbone and the eye area, to add dimension.

Lighten foundation

"When you're heavier, you think that you need to wear more clothes and cover up. And when they're feeling heavier, women do that with foundation too," Quinn says. "They load it on thinking it's like a safety net or something. But that just makes your face look full and heavier. Use a lightweight foundation instead." Added benefit: Lighter foundation is also younger-looking.

Foundation with a bit of light reflection isn't off-limits "because that doesn't necessarily mean 'shimmery,'" Quinn says. Just be judicious.

Bronzer: Your new BFF

Quinn and Padgett both say that contouring with bronzer sculpts and adds dimension to the face. "It is the No. 1 thing that you can do to look slimmer," Padgett says. But use a matte bronzer to contour, not a shimmery one. Quinn suggests sticking close to your natural coloring when you select a shade.

Use a brush or contour brush and apply in the shape of a 3, Quinn says. "Starting at the temple, take the brush and pull it down along the hairline and then you come in right under the cheekbone, right to the center of your face and then bring it back [to the hairline] and then right along the jaw line," Quinn says. You can also fill in the entire area on the underside of the chin. He even suggests carrying the bronzer down the neckline through the décolleté. Just make sure to blend, blend, blend.

Padgett suggests using a concealer two shades lighter than your foundation to fill in your nasolabial folds, running from the sides of your nose to your outer mouth, which can become more pronounced with a weight shift.

Rethink apple cheeks

"If you just put blush on the apples of your cheeks, that accents the roundness — especially if you already have a full face," Quinn says. "It just looks as if you have two round circles in the middle of your face."

Instead Quinn recommends applying blush a little higher and right above the natural cheekbone two finger-widths away from the nose. "If you pull it in too close, it's just going to make your face look round," Quinn says. Blend the blush into the bronzer so that you're not sure where one stops and the other starts. Take the blush to the hairline but not all the way to the temple, where the bronzer reaches up.

Groom your brows

"If you fill in your eyebrows and give yourself a little arch and angle, it makes your face look thinner," Quinn says. "But if you give yourself those arched eyebrows that look like the McDonald's arches, it just makes everything look too round."