Makeup Tips for Facing the Holidays: A Live Chat with Linda Mason, author of Makeup: The Art of Beauty

Tips on looking holiday great

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Live Events Transcript
Event Date: December 2003

As part of WebMD Weight Loss Clinic's Holiday Survival Guide cyberconference, makeup artist to the stars, Linda Mason, discussed how to shadow and contour your face into model perfection. She shared her top tips from her book, Makeup: The Art of Beauty, and answered questions about banishing blemishes, coordinating colors, and more.

The opinions expressed herein are the guest's alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Member question: I never wear makeup, but have to attend some rather formal holiday functions in the evening. This happens every year and makes me crazy. I know I need to wear some makeup, but don't really know where to start. Can you explain a simple routine that even a novice could follow? I don't want to spend a bundle on makeup that I'll only use this month and then won't touch again for a year.

Mason: A great product, obviously, is lipstick. A lipstick color can immediately make you look pulled together, and is very easy to do. For the color of the moment, you just go out and buy a bright red, and you'll look fabulous. If you are afraid of a bright red, there are soft burgundy shades available that are easy to wear.

Another thing you could do to pull that type of look together is to take a good look at your eyebrows and have them shaped. Or if they're fairly light, try to define them with a blond pencil. A blond pencil is very safe. That with the lipstick will give you a more finished look.

Moderator: How do you know which color is right for you?

Mason: I feel like a light burgundy is suitable for almost all coloring. Even most women who wear a brick shade also look good in a slightly bluer light burgundy shade, as long as it's not too blue or too strong, and that's why I'm recommending that type of color, as opposed to a brick.

Moderator: Should a novice go to the department store makeup counters to try to find the right color?

Mason: Yes. And try to get a little advice, or go to where ever you normally shop if you feel more comfortable, and check out the colors there. Take a look at your face. If you have concealer, a little powder with maybe a cream blush, and a little gloss and mascara, that is also a good way for somebody to look fresh faced. It has a lot to do with the personality and what you're comfortable with.

Experiment. Even just one color on your eyelid could be fabulous, but it has to be something different like a turquoise. Go slowly. Don't go out and buy all of your makeup at once. It could be a lip or eye color, but just buy whatever you are drawn to. Buy that within the next few days and try that color while wearing something you love wearing, and wear that color for a few days.

Then, if that happens to be lip color, take a look at the eye color. Don't think about matching; think about buying something that you are drawn to. You might need just a touch of blue or violet. The secret is just putting a touch of color next to the lashes, maybe in the outer corner of the eye, if you want to give your face a little lift.

Then, once you see that and you've worn the eye shadow with the lipstick, then maybe you can go get some blush. If you live a long way from shops, that could be a problem, but you could buy a lipstick color online.

Member question: I have always worn pink. I am 47 and have light beige skin. A brighter red or burgundy makes me look washed out. Is a frosty pink shade still okay and am I a bit too old fashioned?

Mason: No, you're not old fashioned. A lot of people are wearing frosty pinks. It depends on what you're wearing with it.

I think to modernize the light pink on the lips don't wear the frosty pink with blue or an iridescent violet. You could wear it with a smoky matte violet on your eyes, or a taupe would be nice. But try warmer, not too gray. What are you wearing on the eyes?

Member question: I'm not wearing anything on my eyes except mascara. And I wear the pink lipstick with everything.

Mason: That sounds fairly fresh. It's usually when you're wearing that type of lipstick with tan skin that it can make you look old. It sounds to me like it looks very pretty, and it depends on what you want to do. If you feel great in that, that's what you should wear.

Member question: Should you try to coordinate lip and cheek color?

Mason: It depends on what you have on your eyes. Definitely do it if you have a contrasting color on the eyes. For instance, if wearing pale pink, I'd wear pink on the cheeks, unless you coordinate your cheeks with your eyes, like a warmer shade.

If you have three points, you should try to keep two of those things in harmony. Keep the eyes or lips, or lips and cheeks in harmony. But if you have the eyes and lips in harmony, you could have a warmer cheek.

If you're tanned, have a warmer face, then it's better to stay with a warmer shade on your skin, as opposed to going to blue.

Member question: What can I do to emphasize my eyes? They aren't very large.

Mason: I always feel that if you put a darker shade, if you blend a deep shadow around the eye, then that usually enlarges them. You can draw attention to your eyes with a light eye shadow and brighten the face, but to really enlarge your eyes there's nothing better than a deep matte shadow, like that big smoky eye look that I show in my book. It is great to enlarge eyes. It is on page 90/91 of Makeup: The Art of Beauty.

Member question: I am on high-dose prednisone and consequently have rounded cheeks. My weight is okay, about 130 pounds at 5 feet 3 but my face makes me look bigger. Any makeup tips? I'm not a big makeup wearer, but this round face, uggg, I have Santa cheeks.

Mason: That sounds fresh and pretty. I would say emphasize them. Make the most of your eyes. If you enlarge and strengthen the eyes it sort of diminishes the rest. To slim the face the positioning of the blush can help:

  • The placement of your blush should just go under the cheekbone, low on the cheekbone. Feel your cheek, where the bone is, and use a fairly neutral shade of blush, low on the cheekbone, toward the end of the nose. It's not like the old contouring, just an adjustment of the blush placement. It shouldn't be off the bone, but on the lower part of the bone.
  • Start on the outer part of the face and blend inward.
  • For the evening, you can do things stronger, which your hair can help with, too. If you have it going softly on the face, that can diminish it too.
  • Be careful of not shining, because that will emphasize anything prominent. So use face powder.

Member question: Do you have any suggestions for the bags and dark semicircles under my eyes? I always have people tell me I look tired when I actually don't feel that way.

Mason: Wearing a great gentle cream blush can help. We focus on concealer, but sometimes it's effective to have a soft pink cream blush on your cheeks. It just brightens the face, which is distracting from the under-eye, tired effect. So begin with a soft cream blush to enliven your skin, and then you can use the concealer brush. Use a great concealer, which should be slightly lighter than your base. You don't have to put all under the eye, but most importantly, put it in the inner corner of the eye.


"You see very clearly all of the faults in the face. But other people don't see you that way. You're not fixed on a page."

If you have a light color, lighter than your skin tone, you can blend some base into it to make it more natural looking. Most concealers are cream and I prefer cream because you can blend them around there more easily. You need to apply a little translucent powder gently to the inner eye to keep this from slipping away.

Moderator: Over the years my age and weight really show in my chin/neck area. What can I do with makeup to improve my appearance and hide my chins?

Mason: First of all, make sure that your face is not darker than your neck. It should always be slightly lighter than your neck, because it makes the neck and everything there recede. Then you could always use a little darker powder, like a medium shade of powder.

I would say you could use a neutral blush and dust it around the jawbone and under the chin. It depends on how defined you are there. So put touches of a slightly deeper product under the chin and on the underside of your face, very gently.

You have to remember that when you look in a mirror, you see very clearly all of the faults in the face. But other people don't see you that way. You're not fixed on a page. You have to almost talk to yourself in the mirror to see if you need anything. You may not need anything.

Member question: I'm addicted to shimmer and glitter, but I'm 23 and don't want to look tacky. How do I use these things wisely?

Mason: If you have a great skin you can put it wherever you want and look fabulous. You could use it obviously on the shoulders, cleavage, cheekbones, and if you have a small nose you could use a tiny touch of it there. You could do it heavily on your lips; it depends on the occasion.

If you're 23 and you like glitter, I'd say go ahead and do whatever you feel like. Glitter is a lot of fun.

Member question: I'm biracial and I have a light skin tone; most makeup seems to be made for white or black skin. Nothing in between seems to be available.

Mason: You have to make sure you get something with a yellow undertone, and maybe you're choosing too pink and it's looking artificial. I have some great yellow undertone here, and I do custom blends, too. There are a lot of good things out there for your skin tone. If you want something custom blended, you can call me or look in my book.

Member question: My makeup tends to slide off during the day. Help!

Mason: You have to wear powder. You have to also check out your diet. And maybe you're staying up too late at night, drinking too much wine. If you're pregnant it very often doesn't stay on as well. There are a lot of reasons, but the only way you can really get something to stay on all day is to use powder.

If you don't have the right skin treatment, then no base will go on looking fabulous. You have to be cleansing correctly at night and using a night cream, or hydrating cream.

Member question: What is the best foundation brand to use for oily sensitive skin and has great coverage? I was told Estee Lauder. What do you recommend?

Mason: Clinique has fabulous liquid balanced makeup coverage products. There are other brands, but I'm sure Estee Lauder probably has a great base, too.

Member question: What is your favorite brand of makeup all-around?

Mason: As I have my own line it's a difficult question for me to answer. My line has everything I need in it, but a lot of lines have a lot of very good things. I have a small Internet site, but I have a big one going up in a month or two with all of my products on it. In general, though, I think the quality of products has, over the past few years, been skyrocketing. There's an enormous amount of choice and great quality products.

I think that you are going to have to look around, and not just be blinded by all of the advertising, and take a little time to see what you feel comfortable with. You can go to the department stores and take a look and see what the salespeople look like. When you work for a line, you represent the line. So they should be wearing the product, which is a good advertisement.

Member question: Do you have any makeup tips for changing my look going from work to a holiday party?

Mason: Most importantly, reapply your concealer and some powder. Powder would be on your nose, chin, forehead, and shine you could apply to your cheeks. That's just freshening your makeup up. Other ideas:

  • You could choose a beautiful bright red lipstick, or also try colored eyeliner, a blue or violet, to define your eyes.
  • You could use false eyelashes. You've got to get the right pair for yourself.
  • Some people look better with pale lips for the evening, and just strengthening the eye if you want to be soft and sexy.
  • If you want to be dramatic, maybe you'll go for the bright lipstick and strong eye, too. It depends on what you want to project.

Member question: Do you prefer loose powder, or is pressed powder okay?

Mason: Pressed powder is okay. It used to be a lot heavier, but translucent should be lightweight powder.

Member question: It's time for the annual family photo portrait. Do you have any makeup tips for being photographed?

Mason: First of all, tone down your blush, especially if you have strong lips and eyes. Then, add a little more concealer in the corners, and powder very carefully your nose, around your nose, your chin, and forehead.

If you are somebody who gets a little red because of festivities, make sure to have a heavier base than usual on your nose for extra coverage. Don't worry much about the cheeks, worry about your nose.

If you are wearing a darker lipstick, don't let it be too defined or too glossy. If it's a pale and softer color, then it can be glossy. But for red or a bright color, go easy on the gloss with it.

Member question: Every party this time of year involves grazing. What lipstick stands up to all that food?

Mason: There are a lot of lipsticks, but the more matte types stand up better. Define with a lip color that is matte, then powder over them. Max Factor has a lip fixer, but it depends on your taste. Also, don't eat oily foods; it will just take it off.

Moderator: Do you have any final comments or tips for us, Linda?

Mason: My book, Makeup: The Art of Beauty, which is published by Watson Guptill, has lots of things that you can try for the holidays. There's a basic section for those who feel safer with that. There's a great page where I show that the positioning of the color and the effect it has on your eyes. But even if you are a novice you could go to the glamorizing section and use some of those tips to apply your makeup.

Moderator: Thanks to Linda Mason for joining us. For more information about putting your best face forward, read her book, Makeup: The Art of Beauty. And for more information on nutrition and healthy weight loss, be sure to visit the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic and subscribe to take advantage of all the tools, tips, and expert help they offer.

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