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Expert Advice: Makeup Tips for Beautiful Eyes

My friend Giella produces her own custom-blended cosmetics for the high-end department store Henri Bendel in New York City. I asked Giella for her expert advice for using makeup to enhance your eyes, especially when it comes to getting rid of dark circles and bags.

Here’s what she had to say: Concealing dark circles is always a challenge. Here are some rules: Light colors give a more pronounced look, and dark colors recede. It’s important to get the perfect combination of light and dark colors to disguise dark circles. Typically, concealers are too light, and that just makes circles more apparent. One tip is to blend two colors: one color that has a peach tone to cancel the skin’s blue and another that is lighter to brighten the eye.

When blending, always use a concealer brush. It makes it much easier to control the coverage. A synthetic brush, made out of Taklon, has the feel of silk but the firmness of synthetic hairs. A brush will also warm up the concealer when stroking it, making it easier to apply. You can paint it on very lightly by using the tip of your brush, or you can use the flat side of the brush for a larger area. Remember, put concealer only where you need it. For example, you may not need it completely under your eyes. Typically, the inner corner of your eyes is sufficient. After applying the concealer with your brush, tap it with your ring finger (tap, tap, tap) until it disappears. Do not rub.

Skin texture can make bags or circles look more pronounced. If skin is dry and dehydrated, eyes look much older, so keep the area concealed and hydrated. Use nourishing oils with anti-inflammatory properties to condition skin:

*Grapeseed oil is an excellent healing oil that contains linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid. It is a pale green moisturizer that is lighter and more absorbent than most oils. It is a good choice for those with nut allergies.

*Another good oil to try is emu oil, a natural oil with anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties. The product is obtained from the fat of emu birds from Australia. Emu oil also contains essential fatty acids.

*Kukui oil comes from the candlenut tree. This rare Hawaiian plant oil is high in essential fatty acids for the maintenance of healthy skin. It is light and nongreasy and easily absorbed by the skin.

*Avocado oil lubricates and nourishes the skin and is a rich source of vitamin E. Avocado oil has the highest penetration rate of any plant oil, making it an excellent base for skin preparations. It also is antibacterial.

*Soybean oil has long been used in cooking, but lately this oil has grown in popularity for its use in cosmetic applications such as soap, body butter, lip and body balms, face creams and lotions, etc.

*Soy butter is another delicious addition for the skin. You can use it alone or mix it in with your concealer. It is a soft material that spreads easily on the skin, making it easier for concealer to glide on.

If your eyes are prone to puffiness, try keeping your concealer and/or creams in the refrigerator. Coolness helps reduce inflammation. A new lightening powder on the market comes from Phyllanthus emblica, or the Indian gooseberry. It is mostly helpful when dealing with hyperpigmentation. It can be added to eye cream or concealer to actually lighten dark circles. Significant lightening has been seen after 8 to 10 weeks of use.

Vitamin A’s Role in Beauty

Recommended Dietary Allowance: WOMEN: 700 RE (2,333 IU), MEN: 900 RE (3,000 IU)

Vitamin A is a natural skin smoother. It is also important to healthy bones, teeth, hair, and fingernails. The active form of vitamin A (retinyl palmitate, a storage form of retinol) is found only in animal food sources. However, the precursor of vitamin A is beta-carotene, a plant compound with antioxidant properties. Your body can convert beta-carotene into vitamin A. While it is possible to take too many vitamin A supplements (do not exceed 10,000 IU per day, and exercise caution if you are simultaneously using a vitamin A–based medication, especially if you are considering pregnancy), it is not possible to overdose on beta-carotene.

Five Good Whole-Food Sources of Vitamin A
1. Beef liver, 3 oz. 9,196 RE
2. Chicken liver, 3 oz. 4,211 RE
3. Cheddar cheese, 1 oz. 86 RE
4. Egg, 1 boiled 84 RE
5. Swiss cheese, 1 oz. 65 RE

Five Good Whole-Food Sources of Beta-Carotene
(Which the Body Can Convert to Vitamin A)
1. Pumpkin, canned, 1 cup 5,382 RE
2. Sweet potato, baked with skin, 1 2,487 RE
3. Carrot, raw, 1 medium 2,025 RE
4. Mango, 1 medium 805 RE
5. Spinach, boiled, 1/2 cup 737 RE

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