I'm fascinated by the medical side of the beauty world, and love hearing about the latest study or treatment. That's what's so great about talking to plastic surgeon Dr. Stephen Colen; he's always just returned from an exclusive conference in Brazil or somewhere, full of new information that you can't just Google.
Unlike makeup which is socially acceptable, the more permanent stuff still carries a stigma, especially among younger women. As a beauty writer, I have friends and readers who confide in me constantly about wanting a little filler in their lips or a pinch of Botox between their brows, but they feel too embarrassed.
Effortless attractiveness is appealing, but high maintenance beauty is perceived as quite the opposite -- vain and repellent.
Last week when Lindsay Lohan's immobile face became a public joke, I felt strangely protective. I don't know her, and she doesn't need my sympathy, but something about ridiculing a young woman for using injectables seemed sort of cruel.
Perhaps because this kind of addiction hits close to home. I won't say I've never tried drugs, but they're not a part of my life. I'm indifferent to them. Even alcohol has become less appealing, which I credit to Olivia who has taught me that staying out until 6 am vaguely sober is more fun than drinking too much and waking up miserable. For me at least. Instead, what I'm prone to overdo is beauty treatments.
W magazine ran a fascinating article a few months ago about how these more medical beauty treatments can actually be quite aging on a young patient, which is obviously a deterrent. I try to curb my gravitation toward the latest in-office treatment, but I've still got Cat's beauty equation ticking away in my head.
Cheeks are my latest fixation. Both the angular, bony kind and plush, holographic ones are beautful to me, but I have neither. Luckily, there are a few different ways to enhance this area. Fillers are one option, but for the sake of moderation, I talked to makeup pro Suzy Gerstein about contouring instead.
We met last fall when Suzy did the makeup for xoJane's "The Right Fit-Sexy Shoes" video, and she made us all look like Photoshopped versions of ourselves. Suzy has worked with a million supermodels, and is always on some shoot for Vogue or Vanity Fair, but still takes time out on a Sunday night to answer my frantic beauty questions. Here's what she said about sculpting yourself some holographic cheekbones using just makeup.
"1. Prep your face.
Start with primer and if you like, a light layer of tinted moisturizer. I like the primer by Laura Mercier and M.A.C Face and Body Foundation for a sheer foundation perfect for under contouring.
2. Suck in your cheeks.
Make a "fish face" and apply the contour to the hollows of your cheeks. I use a foundation a couple steps deeper in tone than my client's skin to contour under the cheekbone. The key is choosing a shade without a lot of red in it. If you have acne-prone skin, stick to powder to contour. When you have acne and need full foundation coverage to conceal it, cream contour formulas are more difficult to apply (they tend to "move" your foundation since they are less stable). Better to set your base with powder so it stays put and then contour with a more stable powder formula that won't disrupt your foundation. In terms of technique, start on the outside of the face and work inward in a gentle, side to side motion, remembering that less is more. I like to also take a smidge of the contour into the temples, underneath the jaw line and even a hint down the sides of the nose so that the shading looks more consistent and believable.
3. Add highlighter.
Offset your shading cream/powder with a highlighter. I prefer cream and liquid formulas as I find the results more luminous. Simply tap on with your pointer finger and blend along the tops of cheekbones, on the browbone, down the bridge of the nose and in the cupids bow of lips. Those are the high planes of your face- the spots that catch the light and those to which you want to apply your highlighter.
The key to believable contouring is in the application. Hold your tools lightly; don't grip them super tight, which will deposit too much color on the skin and make it harder to achieve a good blend. When you're done, check your face in daylight and be sure you have no harsh lines. It should all look seamless, like a soft shadow. And when all else fails, blend, blend and blend some more."
There you go, done, cheekbones!
That was long-winded (and maybe too serious) for a Monday morning. I'm upset right now and feel like staying in bed and listening to Drake, 0kay? Tomorrow I'll be back with a fun video tutorial, I promise.
Anyway, how do you feel about in-office treatments? Do you obsess more about your appearance than you care to admit? And are you going to try out cheek contouring for yourself? Let's talk.
Follow Julie to the dermatologist on Twitter @JR_Schott.