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Ask The Makeup Diva
Welcome to Ask The Makeup Diva™! Our resident expert, The Makeup Diva, answers makeup and skin care questions sent in by readers just like you.

Q: I have a semi-formal coming up and I don't know what makeup to wear. I have pale skin and I'm wearing a wine/maroon dress. What makeup colors should I wear?

A: When pondering the answer to your question, I'm trying to keep a few things in mind: 1) wine is a powerful color, so you should keep an overall "balance" in your makeup so that your dress doesn't overpower your pale skin; and 2) if you're attending a semi-formal, most likely it means you'll be keeping late hours and will want your makeup to last. So, with those items in mind, here are some suggestions.

If you are very fair, a product such as Physician's Formula Self-Defense Corrective Color in "mauve" moisturizes and gently tints your skin ($7.95). Continue with a foundation as close as possible to your own skin tone. Lorac's oil-free makeup ($30) offers even, lightweight coverage and a lovely finish. Profaces has created something I call "liquid velvet," a liquid-to-powder product dramatically different from any others I've ever used ($24.50). With beeswax and silica as two of its ingredients, it glides on, leaves your skin feeling baby-soft, and yet maintains a flattering matte - not cakey - look for hours. Oil of Olay's Complete Radiance crème-to-powder compact offers faultless coverage, controls oil, and allows your skin to look luminous, all at the same time (about $10.95 in drugstores, supermarkets, and discount stores.) Tuck some oil-blotting tissues (Clean & Clear's are a great value at $5.89) in your purse.

On to blush. You need a vivid color, but you certainly don't want to overdo it. Lorac's blush in "Soul" is an excellent shade, right with just about any color. Colorscience has a rather expensive but innovative blush which pumps out of a tube onto the bristles; two of the colors, "Apple of My Eye" and "Cheek-a-Boo," would work well, as this unique, highly pigmented, micronized formula is heat, perspiration, and most likely dance-proof. I used it all summer and found it worth the $40 price. Lorac's Lip and Cheek Tint in "Plum" ($14) would be a good choice as well. Like the other stains which are now in fashion (such as Nars, Benefit, Tarte, Origins, and Philosophy's Supernaturals), it can double as a lip base as well. Moreover, stain imparts a fresh-faced, nipped-by-cold-air look, rather than a cakey finish.

When applying blush, simply smile; the fleshy part of your cheeks is where you should begin your blush, sweeping upward toward your cheekbone. Moderation is the key, as with everything else. (For a treat, try the Profaces blush brush; you'll feel that your cheeks have been caressed rather than brushed.)

As for lips, think again of the stains to provide a stable, long-lasting base. Then cover with some of the season's most lovely colors, like Artistry Cosmetics (available from Quixtar.com) "Ruby" and "Garnet" ($15), Revlon ColorStay Liquid Lip "Brandy," "Chianti," and "Merlot" ($9.25 each), or Avon "Cherries Jubilee" ($6.50).

For a final touch, experiment with Physician's Formula "Pearls of Perfection," opalescent pastel beads which you blend, tap any excess from the brush, and apply to cheekbones, shoulders, and even décolletage. Good luck!


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