All about brows: Your guide to bold styles

December 20th, 2013 | Contributed by:

All about brows: Your guide to bold styles

2013 could very well go down as the year of the eyebrow. Of course, not just any style of eyebrows was making a splash – it was the bold look that seemed to be everywhere. With starlets, singers and other celebrities sporting this trend and fashion models strutting down the runway with it as well, one thing became clear: Over-plucking is out. In fact, women began to pay more attention to their eyebrows in their beauty routine, reaching for pencils and stencils to achieve the right shape. Meanwhile “brow bars” opened up across the country, helping fashion-forward patrons to groom theirs to perfection.

While fuller brows may look easier to achieve and maintain than slender ones, there is still some work that goes into this look.

Follow these three simple steps and you’ll be rocking a striking shape in no time:

Step 1: Trim and tidy
Whether you have brazen brows that tend to look overgrown quickly or only have to deal with eliminating a few strays, you need to tidy up the shape before you go bold.

Start by sweeping a brow brush upward through the hairs. Look for any hairs that poke out above the arch, and then carefully trim the very ends. Then repeat the same process but brush the hairs downward this time. Don’t get scissor happy, either. Remember that you can always go back and trim more off – but if you overdo it, it’ll be hard to get the full look you’re going for.

Don’t put the brow brush down just yet. Comb it through your hairs upward and across once again to create some lift at the arch. This will help you to see the natural shape, which you’ll enhance in the next step.

Step 2: Fill in the gaps
You may see some sparse areas in your brows, or perhaps the hairs are so light that they almost seem to blend in with your skin. Either way, there are plenty of ways to boost your brows so that they stand out.

First, you need to prep them for the pigment. Founder of The Beauty Bar and brow expert to the stars Kristie Streicher revealed her signature feathered technique for tinting and shaping to Refinery 29. She recommended swiping a tinted brow mousse or gel through the hairs in an upward motion. Then, she suggested applying a second coat going in the opposite direction. The key is to press the tip of the applicator to each individual hair to make sure they all get coated. Afterward, it’s important to brush the hairs back to smooth them out.

Step 3: Color contrast
Now it’s time to reach for an eyebrow pencil that matches your natural hair color. Make light, short strikes in an upward motion to ensure that the look mimics the direction of your hair growth and the pigment doesn’t go on too heavy. One of the biggest mistakes that women make is applying the pencil to the skin, when actually you want to focus on the hairs themselves. It’s best to concentrate on the outer two thirds of your brows. Your brow brush comes in handy once again to blend and soften the color.

If the look you get with a pencil is too dramatic, you might opt for a brow powder, which creates a softer, feathered effect. If you can’t find the perfect color to match your hair, you can always blend several shades. Brush it along your hairs from the arch outward, avoiding the inner third of your brows. Then go back and gently blend the pigment toward the inner corners.

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The lowdown on the low pony

December 18th, 2013 | Contributed by:

The lowdown on the low pony

Sometimes you just don’t feel like going through the effort of creating an elaborate ‘do. You’re tired of flattening your hair into submission with your straightening iron, but you know that leaving it alone just won’t cut it. That’s where the hottest hairstyle of the moment comes in: the low ponytail. It looks stunning, but it’s surprisingly simple to achieve.

Ready to rock this effortlessly elegant hairstyle? Follow these steps:

  1. Start by making a middle part down your head with a comb. One way to make sure your part is perfectly centered is to place the comb at the tip of your nose and glide it up toward your hairline.
  2. If your hair has some unruly pieces around the hairline, use a flat iron to quickly smooth them down.
  3. Next, apply a shine serum to give your locks a glossy, lustrous look.
  4. Pull your hair back into the low ponytail, making sure that you can tie it right at the nape of your neck.
  5. After securing the pony with an elastic, use a pomade to slick down any flyaways.
  6. A mist of medium hold hairspray is an essential final step for making sure your pony looks polished all day long.

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Hair how to: Brunette with red highlights

December 18th, 2013 | Contributed by:

Hair how to: Brunette with red highlights

Blondes aren’t the only ones who can have a little fun. If you have darker strands and have been bored with your hair color, the problem may be that your color is one dimensional. Highlights aren’t just for those with golden locks, and can give brunettes the added intrigue they’ve been looking for. One of the hottest trends going into 2014 is red highlights, and they look especially striking in hair that is colored a deep, rich hue. When the light hits your locks, it will seem aglow – even on fire.

Eager to get this effect? Here are a few ideas to consider before you hit the salon chair:

For light brunettes
Whether you have a light chestnut or amber brown, you can still rock red highlights. The key is to choose the right shade that won’t clash with your current color, and only enhance it. Look to Jessica Alba, who has sported a warm brunette for years. In an interview with InStyle magazine, Jennifer Aniston’s colorist Michael Canale explained that her highlights provide subtle hints of a wine hue, which bring light and radiance to her natural color without overwhelming it. He noted that you’ll see the truest and brightest color on virgin hair. However, even if you’ve already color treated your hair, you can still achieve this look. It’s best to see a professional as highlighting over already-colored hair will rarely result in the color you saw on the box.

For medium brunettes
If your hair is a slightly deeper shade of chocolate or coffee bean brown, you can go for something more striking. You might consider getting just a few thicker “peekaboo highlights” for a playful but still bold look. Essentially, this requires highlighting the under layer of your hair around your face so that when you pull pieces back, the red pieces peek out from beneath. The best thing about this effect is that you can opt for a brighter, richer shade of red because you’re only coloring small sections of your hair. Plus, it gives you the option of flaunting the fiery highlights or hiding them depending on your mood or the occasion.

For dark brunettes
Lucky you – with such dark, nearly black tresses, you have the freedom to go for a dramatic look with your red highlights. Marie Robinson, whose clients include brunette beauties like Natalie Portman and Anne Hathaway, told Allure magazine that vibrant red ombré highlights are an edgy option that even Salma Hayek has experimented with. She suggested asking your colorist to lift the color on your mid length and ends several shades lighter than your natural color first, and also adding in a few warm brown highlights along with the red ones.

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Slicked back: How to get Hollywood’s hottest hairdo

December 17th, 2013 | Contributed by:

Slicked back: How to get Hollywood's hottest hairdo

There’s one hairstyle that’s sweeping Hollywood, and it’s not your typical ‘do. From Lea Michele and Khloe Kardashian to Miley Cyrus, fashion-forward celebs in every industry seem to want in on this trend. All of them have proved that this look is stunning on the red carpet and surprisingly wearable for everyday occasions, too. Not only that, but designers like Catherine Malandrino, Alexander Wang and Donna Karan had their models strutting down the catwalk with ultra slick hairstyles. The best part about this trend? It works on hair of any length or texture, from tumbling long curls to a cropped pixie cut.

Ready to take the plunge? This look is surprisingly simple to achieve. Just follow these steps to get the dramatic ‘do yourself:

For high intensity
If you want the wet look that Miley has been rocking, you need to start with wet hair. Celebrity stylist Aubrey Loots told HollywoodLife.com that after combing through your locks, you should reach for a styling cream or gel. Smooth it throughout all of your strands, combing through to ensure the product is evenly distributed.

Next, pick up a large barrel round brush and use it to pull back the top section of your hair. Turn on your blowdryer and blast the air in a backward direction, holding the round brush in place. This will give you the amped up volume you want while making sure that your ‘do stays polished. Finish with a mist of high shine hairspray to ensure your look is flyaway free.

For a subtler effect
Lea Michelle went for a decidedly less intense look. Her style was still slicked back, but had a certain understated elegance that works just as well for a formal affair as it does for a casual event.

To get the same effect, start with hair that has already been blow-dried or air-dried straight. Then, Loots recommended rubbing some styling cream into the palms of your hands and applying it only to the top and sides of your hair. Then spread the product using a fine-toothed comb, but make sure that you leave the ends dry. To make the hairstyle more laid-back, you can always secure your locks into a slick ponytail, too. Of course, a spritz of strong hairspray is crucial for ensuring your look stays locked in.

The most important thing to keep in mind with this ‘do, though, is that you need to be confident to pull it off.

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A step-by-step guide to pink ombré lips

December 17th, 2013 | Contributed by:

A step by step guide to pink ombré lips

The ombré effect made a big splash over the past few years, as many celebrities traded their perfect highlights and dye jobs for a grown-out, faded look. We all rejoiced because truth be told, it meant that we could wait a little longer in between salon trips and still look polished. Now, ombré is going beyond hair and becoming a major lip trend. While matte lipstick is no doubt still having a moment, an allover lip shade with consistent intensity can sometimes get boring. The best part about ombré lips is that with varying richness of pigment, you can dramatically boost the fullness of your pout.

Ready to draw attention to your lips? Here’s how to get this stunning two-tone look:

  1. You’ll need two shades of pink, one lighter and one that’s two to three shades deeper, for the ombré effect. The possibilities are endless, so feel free to play around with dusty rose, bubblegum pink and even electric fuchsia. However, it’s important that they are the same hue, so if you’re using an icy cool pale pink, make sure that your darker shade is in the same color family and also has cool undertones. Conversely, a golden or coral pink lipstick should be used in conjunction with a warmer dark color.
  2. Start by dabbing the deeper shade on the center of your lower lip. Press your lips together so that it smudges to the middle of your top lip as well.
  3. Now it’s time to apply the darker shade along the outer lined of your lips. Makeup artist Benjamin Puckey told InStyle magazine that he likes to use a firm flat lip brush, as this helps to ensure a precise line. This step is key because it provides definition to your pout.
  4. Next, it’s time to reach for the lighter color. Dab it into the middle of your top and bottom lips and blot them together one time. The paler tone will illuminate your pout, which gives you a plumping effect.
  5. Now that your ombré lips are complete, how do you finish the look? You want to make sure that your pout stays in the spotlight, so this isn’t the time for dramatic eyes or cheeks. Consider adding a light layer of pink blush to the apples of your cheeks for a fresh-faced flush. Then, create a subtle and sleek cat-eye with some liquid liner and you’re good to go.

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Dazzle That New Year’s Party with These Beauty Products

December 16th, 2013 | Contributed by:

Do's and don't's for dramatic lashesArrive at end-of-the-year celebrations with New Year’s-worthy looks and super-glam style. Makeup, hair, clothes and accessories are key, but prepping with indulgent beauty treatments will make you feel luxurious and beautiful. What better way to walk in oozing confidence and glamour?

Early in the Day

Allow plenty of time to relax. There’s nothing less radiance-inducing than rushing around and stressing yourself out, so clear your schedule in advance. Set the stage for a fun-filled evening with a pre-party soak.

The Bod Squad by Bliss contains all the essentials. Soften and relax with citrus- and sage-scented Soapy Suds and Body Butter. Feel slinky in your holiday outfit by applying skin-firming Fatgirlslim. Get your digits ready for hugs and hand-holding with High Intensity Hand Cream.

Party Prep Basics

Today is not the time to try new products or intense treatments. Skin sensitivities could cause all eyes to be on you for the wrong reason. Test new products well in advance to prevent bad reactions. If your skin is prone to redness, scaliness and rashes, stick with hypoallergenic products made for sensitive skin. MD MOMS Baby Silk is a fragrance-free head-to-toe cleanser that gently cleans adult skin too.

Sloughing Off

Exfoliating gives you radiant, baby-soft skin. Glamglow Youthmud gently resurfaces skin and triggers collagen synthesis for a younger look. Apply this or another exfoliating product early in the day for best results. Moisturize within two minutes of exfoliating to provide a smooth, glowing canvas for your makeup palette. Follow with a rich, intense eye moisturizer like Babor’s HSR Lifting Extra Firming Eye Cream.

Making Up is Easy to Do

Keep under-eye circles and other imperfections at bay with concealer. New Year’s parties demand a flawless look. If you weren’t born with perfect skin, consider a full-coverage option like Dermablend Cover Creme. Even if you usually go au naturel — makeup-wise, that is — tonight calls for a foundation made for your skin type. Heavy powder ages almost anyone, but a little bit looks polished and pretty. Apply a light dusting of translucent powder, avoiding the under-eye area.

Tonight is the night to break out that smoky eye or vamp-y red lipstick. Just be sure to perfect the look well in advance by practicing and watching online video tutorials. Put on your holiday best, spritz on a chic fragrance, stash some oil-blotting tissues, and you’re ready to ring in the new year in style!

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Do’s and don’t's for dramatic lashes

December 13th, 2013 | Contributed by:

Do's and don't's for dramatic lashes

Long, lush lashes are the ultimate beauty achievement, but this is no easy feat. While some were blessed with naturally voluminous lashes from birth, others spend a considerable amount of time trying to amp them up. There's so much to consider in your efforts, too. Which mascara will really maximize your lashes? How and when should you curl them?

If you're trying to up the intensity on your lash factor, keep these do's and don'ts in mind:

Do
Pay attention the brush, as it's a good indicator of what effect you'll get with the product. One with spiky straight bristles will separate your lashes, thus preventing any clumping. A big, bushy brush on the other hand will make your lashes look extra full. Want to give your lashes some curl? Then seek out a brush that has the curvature you need.

Start by applying your mascara on one eye, then switch to the other – but most importantly, let that layer dry completely before passing over with a second swipe.

Use an eyelash curler before you reach for mascara when you want a wide-eyed look. To get the best results, press the curler down at the roots for about five seconds and then continue to clamp down on the lashes for one second several times. 

Don't
Don't try to do it all when it comes to your mascara. It may not be possible to find a product that lengthens, thickens, curls and adds volume, so decide what your top priority is and then select a product that promises that specific benefit. Keep in mind that if you want some lift, you'll need to look for a curling mascara that has the right waxes and resins to bend straight lashes into shape. Or, if you're trying to extend the length of your lashes, you'll want to look for a formula that has nylon fibers in it.

Do not be afraid to wiggle. Carefully press the brush right up against the base of your lashes and then pull it upward, shimmying as you go. This motion separates your lashes while simultaneously ensuring that each and every lash gets an even coat of pigment. 

Avoid using a waterproof mascara all the time. Most of these formulas are rather difficult to remove, which can take a toll on your lashes and potentially promote breakage. For everyday use, aim for a traditional formula, and then bust out the water-resistant formulas for those special occasions.

Don't forget your lower lashes, either. You can focus on your upper fringe for your natural daytime look, but lightly brushing the wand along your lower lashes can add some drama and definition to a smoky eye.

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Pointers for maintaining a pretty pixie cut

December 11th, 2013 | Contributed by:

Pointers for maintaining a pretty pixie cut

This year, the pixie cut had a major moment. Everyone from Beyoncé to Jennifer Lawrence chopped off their locks in favor of this super cute 'do, demonstrating that it's actually ultra flattering for a variety of face shapes and features. Still, maintaining a pixie cut isn't necessarily easy. Having less hair to deal with can take some of the work out of styling, but you still need to put some effort in to make sure your tresses look polished. 

If you already went for a super short cut or are thinking about rocking a pixie, use these tips and tricks:

Consider your hair texture
There's no one size fits all pixie cut that works for everyone. You should definitely think about your hair type, and let that dictate the length and style. Manhattan-based hairstylist Julien Farel told Teen Vogue magazine that a super short cut can give fine hair some much-needed body. On the other hand, she pointed out that it's best to keep curly hair slightly longer to prevent frizz. Thick hair types have the freedom and flexibility to experiment with different lengths. However, layers are key to making sure the hair still has some natural movement.

Get a glossy sheen
Don't overdo it on the products with a pixie cut – in fact, less is more since you don't have a ton of hair. Instead, you want to focus on infusing shine into your locks so they look as healthy as possible, thus accentuating the shape of the cut. After showering, spritz some of Fekkai's Advanced Brilliant Glossing Sheer Shine Mist into your hair, which will give it a lustrous finish that lasts all day long without weighing it down.

Learn to love dry shampoo
Shampooing your hair every day is going to lead to a parched pixie, so it's best to give your hair a break by waiting a day or two. That's why dry shampoo should become your go-to solution when you're sporting a short 'do. Refinery 29 production assistant Chloe Daley admitted that she swears by this product for extra volume, even when her hair is clean. The key, she said, is to turn your head upside down when you apply it and massage it into your scalp. When her hair is looking particularly greasy, she simply sprays in some dry shampoo and changes her part. Reach for the​ Balm En Root Dry Shampoo to soak up excess oil, lift your strands at the roots and extend the life of your style between shampoos.

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The 6 Days of Beauty

December 9th, 2013 | Contributed by:

The 6 Days of Beauty

Of course you’re focusing on buying for your loved ones this holiday season, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a little reward, too. In fact, all the stress of the holiday season means you need some TLC now more than ever. While perusing the seemingly endless amount of hair and makeup products out there, how do you know which ones are best for you? Picking out a gift for yourself can be just as difficult as choosing one for someone else in your life. The fact is, the world of beauty is a complex one, and when you’re more educated about what different products can do, you can better harness the power they provide. You may need a few lessons before you buy new items.

Enter: The 6 Days of Beauty. Beginning this week, Beauty Bridge will begin sending out a series of emails with informative tips and tricks from head to toe. Worried that all your heat hair styling will cause frazzled ends? Wondering how to perfect a smoldering smoky eye? Curious about what bath elixirs will put you in a more tranquil state? Each one of these emails will provide you with advice and helpful recommendations so that not only can you choose ideal products for your needs, but you can use them to their maximum advantage.

Here’s a glimpse at what you’ll learn about:

Day 1: Perfect Winter Hair Products
Wintertime doesn’t just mean inclement weather – the frigid temperatures and dry air can cause a host of problems for your hair. That means that it’s time to switch up your hair products when the seasons change. Still, what kind of conditioner will give your tresses the moisture they so desperately need? What hair sprays can eliminate flyaways from your static-provoking hats? How do you protect your locks from damage when you’re flat ironing them into a sleek ‘do for a holiday soirée? It’s nearly impossible to navigate the world of winter hair products without a little assistance, which is why the first series is focused on this subject.

Every day should be a good hair day. Armed with some new knowledge about which solutions can best protect your hair through the coldest season, your strands are sure to shine.

Day 2: Dreamy, Sultry, Sparkling Eyes
With the shimmering snowfall outside and sequined party dresses all around, it’s natural to gravitate toward more sparkly makeup. However, glittery eyes require the right tools and tactics to work. If you’re aiming to amp up the glitz factor this season, the second installment of the 6 Days of Beauty is made for you. The key to getting an eye-catching look is to combine hues that complement one another, and apply them with precise techniques. It may not sound easy, but with the information provided in the 2nd Day of Beauty, achieving this kind of dramatic impact with your eye makeup will become second nature.

This series will equip you with the information you need to achieve anything from a subtle shimmery eye to a dramatic metallic smoky eye in mere minutes. That means it’s definitely a must for all your upcoming holiday bashes and events.

Day 3: Winter Skin Care Products
Just as you change up your wardrobe during the winter, you need to do the same for your skincare regimen. The proper combination of skincare products is crucial for protecting your skin from the harsh winter air. After all, flakes may be pretty during a snowfall, but they’re not so attractive on your skin. Whether you have dry skin or an oily complexion, picking ideal products for your type can ensure you don’t run into problems that wreak havoc on your appearance. In fact, some skincare products are specifically designed to alleviate the issues that inevitably arise during the winter.

This installment is designed to aid you in both selecting solutions that will address your specific concerns, as well as advise you about when and how to apply them. There’s no reason to forfeit your glow just because it’s no longer summer.

Day 4: Irresistible, Sensual Scents
Scent is a powerful sense: It has the ability to make you instantly more magnetic, even in a crowded room, and also make you far more memorable, even long after you’ve met someone. Are you looking to switch your scent for something a little more alluring this season? The realm of fragrances isn’t always easy to navigate. With so many different combinations of notes, it can be difficult to choose one. That’s why on the 4th Day of Beauty, we decided to give you a lesson on aromas. From feminine floral fragrances with passionate fruity undertones to woodsy scents with seductive amber and vanilla, there are a vast array of options at your disposal.

Maybe you want a rollerball to tote with you on the go, or perhaps you want to take the plunge with a full sized bottle of a new fragrance. If you find a scent you like, you may even consider going all out with a gift package that contains a lotion and a body wash in your preferred aroma. Either way, with our help, you’ll find a scent that keeps you smelling heavenly all through the season.

Day 5: Men Need Grooming
It’s time to face facts: men need to invest in certain beauty products, too. Of course, most guys will spend far less time in front of the mirror than girls do, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be mindful of the skincare and shaving products they use. In fact, men often face a lot more issues with their skin due to a higher testosterone level, meaning they’re more likely to battle blackheads and breakouts. Plus, shaving ushers in a host of other concerns, such as razor bumps. Fortunately, no man has to suffer through these issues. With the right products and practices, any guy can make sure their complexion is clear. Additionally, as men grow older, they may begin to notice a few wrinkles and fine lines begin to form. While this is an inevitable part of aging, there are particular products that can help to reverse these effects to help you restore your youth.

If you’re a guy who takes pride in the way you look, you’ll definitely benefit from the 5th Day of Beauty. Whether it’s softer, fuller hair you’re seeking or a smoother shave, there is a wealth of information in this installment to help you achieve your ideal appearance.

Day 6: Soothing and Relaxing Bath Products
Between running around from store to store for all your holiday shopping to hosting festive events, things can certainly get a little hectic during this season. That’s why it’s more important than ever to set aside a little “me time.” There’s something to be said for indulging in a relaxing bath after a long, stressful day. Not only can you alleviate some of the built up tension that negatively impacts your health, but you can also recharge your perspective so you’re in a better mood.

So which bath products will most help to calm your mind and body? Wait for the 6th and final Day of Beauty email to find out.

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Makeup hacks every girl should know

December 5th, 2013 | Contributed by:

Makeup hacks every girl should know

Let's face it – while you'd love to spend a ton of time in front of the mirror perfecting your look, you don't always have the time. Especially around the holidays or other particularly busy times of year, it can be tough to find a few minutes to do your makeup at all, let alone be highly meticulous with it. However, your beauty routine doesn't have to be stressful at all. Once you know the right shortcuts, you can easily achieve a flawless face.

Here are the must-know tips and tricks:

Eyes

  • One of the most common beauty goals is to look more awake – and it's actually an easy feat to achieve. Simply dab a pearlescent eyeshadow in a pale hue right in the corners of your eyes and you'll draw light to your eyes, causing you to appear alert and refreshed.
  • If you're using a bright eyeshadow and you really want the color to pop, up the intensity of the pigment by covering your lids with matte white eyeliner first.
  • Or, you might be more concerned with making sure your eyeshadow lasts. In that case, reach for a creamy gel liner and draw a series of horizontal and intersecting vertical lines in a crosshatch pattern across your lids, then blend in with a smudge brush for a budge-proof look.
  • You can apply mascara farther down at the base of your lashes by using a business card to gently pull the skin on your eyelid up.
  • Going for high intensity eyes? Before brushing on that second coat of mascara, dust some baby powder onto a Q-tip and brush it across your eyelashes to make the pigment adhere more effectively.
  • Bold brows are definitely in, but even the smallest strays can ruin the whole effect.​ PopSugar Beauty editor Maria Del Russo told The Huffington Post that spraying hairspray in a spoolie brush can help you to groom your brows a lot better by taming each and every hair. Not only that, but she noted that the pigment from a brow pencil will stick a lot better, too.

Lips

  • You don't need to go through a million steps to get a plumper pout – simply add a drop of peppermint oil to your go-to lipgloss.
  • Trying to get the perfect Cupid's bow is a challenge, so when you're applying lip liner, draw an "X" at the top of your pout with lip liner as a guideline to get an even shape.
  • The secret to making lipstick long-lasting is pressing a tissue to your mouth after applying it and then lightly brushing translucent powder over it.
  • When your favorite lipstick goes to pieces, don't panic. Del Russo recommended heating the fragments with a hairdryer, shaping them back together in the tube and placing the item in your fridge overnight.

Face

  • Is your complexion looking a little drab? Just reach for some baking soda. TheGloss noted that all you have to do is buff a tablespoon of powder on wet skin and you'll instantly get your glow back.
  • One of the hardest things about bronzer is figuring out where to apply it. For a natural look, contour by sweeping bronzer across your cheekbones, forehead and lightly down the bridge of your nose. 
  • Placement is also tricky with blush – but don't fret too much about expertly applying it. Simply bend over for half a minute and when you stand up, your cheeks will be naturally flushed, giving you a cue as to where to brush pigment on. Always tap the brush to eliminate excess pigment and as you apply it, blend the blush out toward the hairline.

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