Beauty

By Andrea Toochin

I remember the first time my mother bought me makeup. I was a lanky girl in dire need of blush, boobs, and a serious hair conditioner. Standing inside the one Bloomingdale’s in Massachusetts, which I happened to have lived five minutes from, I slumped by the Clinique corner while a bubbly sales associate painted my face. The wonder I felt after witnessing my pre- and post-makeup face is the same feeling I have today when I find a face cream that produces dewy skin, an exotic scent no one can place, or a fabulous pair of a shoes at a sample sale. The latest product line to produce this feeling is Clarins’ spring makeup launch, Touch of Magic.

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Touch of Magic is a group of products ranging from funky mascara to an oil-free makeup base. Compared to some of the other products, the Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch seems boring. This fast-absorbing, silicon-based product has an interesting consistency that comes closest to a balm. Though it works well alone, its true capacity is to smooth skin and fill lines so skin looks flawless with or without makeup. It’s the kind of product you’d use to help eye shadow last longer or to prevent powder from caking.

Speaking of powder, it’d be a crime to miss the Express Compact Foundation, a wet/dry product infused with vitamins C and E. This is Clarins’ attempt to help women with uneven skin tone and slight blemishes.

When I first tested the product, I wasn’t impressed. But, the second time around I had a revelation. Perhaps we ask too much of foundation. Maybe the point is not to mask redness or spots completely; maybe the genius in products like this one is that in the process of creating a beautiful, light matte finish, we replace a negative vision with a positive one. Our blemishes have not disappeared, but a newer, more refreshing image has taken over.

Well, now that we’ve gone metaphysical on makeup, let’s get down to the fun stuff. No collection is complete without eye makeup. This collection offers creative takes on everyday shades, like earth tones, pastels, and mainstays like gray and black. The creamy eye colors come in two shades, Sugar Pink, a pale shimmery hue, and Candied Blackberry, a rich bronze shade. Both are long lasting and potent, but nearly sheer when applied. The eyeliners come in similar colors, three to be exact: plum, gray, and bronze. Though the gray, purple, and pink hues are suitable for all skin tones, the bronze shades will work best on yellow-tone Caucasians, Hispanic, and African-American women.

Now, if you too never quite mastered the art of the smoky eye, you’ll be happy to learn the Color Quench Lip Balm is foolproof. Rosé adds a touch of color that’s safe enough for modest girls and newbies. Indian Violet is a deep purple that’s subtle enough to wear on any skin tone, but would look smashing on African-American women. Red Poppy is the vibrant color of ripe, juicy watermelon. Though it might be a bit much for some it’s exactly the shade I crave when wardrobes change and heads start to turn. Once applied, it pops; it’s the kind of color that could inspire even shy girls to party hard without hesitation.

Now, we’re down to the last two products, my favorites, the Quick Glow Puff Powder and the Wonder Volume Mascara. The puff is a bronzing powder that comes in a little container with a built-in sponge applicator and a mirror on the cap. Not only is it the perfect shade, but it’s impossible to botch. The built in mirror will come in handy when you apply the blue mascara, yes blue, that you can wear any time of day.

At this moment you are probably thinking, I work in finance, I wear black heels, there’s no way I’m going to wear cobalt mascara during the day. This is the moment I say the minute you try this, if you dare, you’ll fall in love with it. This mascara is like the funky pair of shoes that can change an entire outfit; without them everything looks drab and ordinary. This mascara adds just enough color to your face to make people blink twice, but it’s subtle enough to wear during the day. Granted, I’m a brunette and I work in a creative field, so I can’t vouch for those with blond eyelashes who write briefs or crunch numbers all day, but I can say, nighttime is the right time to try something new.

Touch of Magic products range from $17.50 to $36 and are available at all major department stores and www.gloss.com

Originally published March 2006
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