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.
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.
"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."
Padgett says that for brows to give you a slimming effect "they don't have to be thin — just brushed, trimmed and not too scraggly and then it will give your face a nice lift."
"Eyeliner with a kick at the end also gives the face a lift and has a slimming effect," Padgett says. Think '60s cat eye, but the line shouldn't be too thick. "We're not talking Amy Winehouse eyes," says Padgett, adding that for this look, don't line the bottom of the eye, but use lots of mascara.
Quinn recommends adding extra mascara or false lashes on the outer edges to give eyes a great lift. "It's still quite a popular look with Katy Perry and Angelina [Jolie] — that little bit of a winged eye gives a little extra length to the eye shape." Quinn recommends MAC's false eyelashes for winged ends or drugstore-bought half-lashes.
For optimum facial slimming, "curling eyelashes may be the single most effective and easiest thing to do to provide overall lift," Padgett says.
But a caution: Quinn warns that "when you're heavier you tend to make up for it by overplaying the eyes — which at times can make it look more theatrical than natural." In general, heavy darker shadows can make eyes look weightier.
"But for a slimming effect, a smoky eye is fine, if it's not too shimmery," Padgett says.
No cupid's bow
"If you have a full face and you use a bright matte color, a matchy-matchy defined lip liner can make your lips look smaller and your face look bigger," Quinn says. Also, although our experts say that lipstick looks more modern and hip, for slimming purposes you want to add a little bit of a gloss.
If you're at a healthy weight but not stick-thin, own it, says makeup artist Joanna Schlip, whose 2006 book "Glamour Gurlz: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Great Make-up and Gurl Smarts" aimed to keep young women from comparing themselves to the unreal and retouched advertising images. "Thank goodness for campaigns like the Dove campaign that expose how much we retouch — so a little bit of pressure is removed [from young women] but not entirely," Schlip says.
She tells of working on a photo shoot in Brazil with über model Giselle Bundchen.
"One of the crew guys was Brazilian and a woman walked by who was probably an American size 14/16 and he had no interest in looking at this top model and instead watched this girl walk by. The photographer said something like, 'Wow, she really changed your focus.' And the crew member said something like, 'Yes! Look at the way she works it!' And then referencing Giselle said something like, 'Yeah, she's beautiful, but my arm is bigger than her thigh.'
"It's not every guy's dream to have a woman who is microscopic skinny, and what he said — it was like her confidence trumped a top model. Own what you are, own what you wear, own what you do. And if you work it you will be surprised — it's the confidence that's attractive at the end of the day. A smile on your face will get you farther than any lipstick that you can put on."
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