Makeup: Solutions for problem skin

June 1, 2007

The right shade of makeup can camaflauge flaws in the skin

Key Points

Dlmost every woman wishes her skin could look a little better. Maybe your wish list includes less darkness under your eyes, or perhaps you have a pigmentation problem called melasma. Maybe you are trying to cover the blush of rosacea or acne scarring.

"One of the biggest mistakes many women make when trying to conceal a problem is applying too much makeup," says motion picture and television makeup artist Loretta James-Demasi. "It's important to remember that you are probably your own worst critic, and if you apply too many layers of concealing makeup you will actually attract rather (than) detract from your problem."

Ms. James-Demasi suggests exploring concealer foundation used by makeup artists on actors and actresses if your problem includes vitiligo, rosacea, melasma, broken blood vessels, or scars that regular foundation and concealer don't seem to hide.

DermaBlend and DermaColor may yield better results than the green-tinted makeup often recommended to minimize the redness of rosacea, Ms. James-Demasi says.

"In theory, green should work, but what I've found is that what works best for redness is a foundation and concealer that are in the yellow tones to counteract the redness in the skin. People also need to remember to match these products as close to their skin tones as possible. But, unfortunately, if your rosacea is pretty advanced, it won't produce the effects you're looking for."

DARK CIRCLE DILEMMA The "In theory, it should work" notion applies to another area as well.

"Another common problem that confronts many women when they look in the mirror is dark under-eye circles," Ms. James-Demasi says. "While many products claim to address this problem, which can be caused by allergies, age and genetics, I don't recommend using most of the products that claim to employ 'light-diffusing particles' to lighten the under-eye area. I just find that most really don't work."

One product she does recommend is Radiant Touch from Yves St. Laurent.

"I like it, but only for use as a quick touch-up during the day - but applied very lightly."

If under-eye circles vex you, she suggests buying under-eye concealers in a shade lighter than your skin tone. If the skin under the eye has a bluish/purplish tint, an orange-based concealer works best. She recommends the following method for application:

Ms. James-Demasi also advises those who use a cosmetic sponge to wash it daily, as sponges can harbor bacteria. Then, toss it after every three or four uses.

"The key to producing a natural look," she says, "is to always use less makeup and then apply a little more as needed. The same is true with blush. Heavy-handed application will have people looking at you, but for all the wrong reasons!"