09 February 2007

Work to happy hour transition: Makeup

Having just spent four hours at back-to-back happy hours at Panache and Elephant & Castle - two very different bars with two very different crowds - I feel justified in making the blanket assertion that DC women don't understand how to perform an office-to-bar makeup transition.

No matter how many or how few times you touch-up your concealer, bronzer, eyeliner or lip color during the work day, come 6pm, your look is going to be more Chloe Sevigny than it is Natalie Portman.
In other words, let your colleagues go ahead of you, step into the restroom, and re-fresh and re-vamp your tired morning makeup job.

I'm not necessarily advocating starting from scratch and toting around travel-sized bottles of eye makeup remover, face wash, under-eye and winter moisturizers in your daybag, but I am saying drinks at the bar is not the same as a bagels in the conference room. Your colleagues and fellow bar patrons deserve to see you looking your best.

So unfasten those top two buttons on your silk, short-pouf-sleeved oxford, spritz some fresh Sake on your wrists and neck, and refresh your makeup according to these tips.

Touch up your face with as little concealer and under-eye concealer as you can get away with. If you have dry spots, be sure to spot check with lotion a half-hour before you're ready to apply your pre-bar makeup. There's only one thing more distracting than flaky skin bits on your face, and that's flaky makeup-y skin bits on your face. Don't be lazy -- lotion first.

Cheek enhancer:
This is the time to really use your cheek enhancer in a way you can't during the work day. Since most bars have dimmed lighting, a well-applied bronzer swipe can really highlight - or help create the illusion of - supermodel-worthy cheekbone contouring. The absolute master at this technique is Jennifer Lopez. In pictures of her in daylight with day makeup, she's still beautiful but her cheekbones don't particularly stand out. On the red carpet, however, her bronzer is applied so perfectly that from any angle you'd swear those sharp lines beneath the apples of her cheeks were naturally carved into the landscape of her face.

Using a big, soft brush (generally not the one that comes with your bronzer/blush), sweep the color on with a gentle upward stroke just on and above the apples of your cheeks. In summer, you can use a dash across your nose bridge, but don't try this in the cooler months -- it'll look blatantly superficial.

Unless you used your Laura Mercier Eye Basics, by 6pm your contrast shadow is probably only half where it started, while the other half has crept up to the upper part of your lid, blending into your base shadow along the way. To correct this in a pinch, simply dab a bit of that travel-size eye makeup remover on your finger (come on, you know you have it), clear the canvas and start over.

On your lashes, I'm always an advocate of painting on that second coat of mascara, but if you do this - add a wet coat to a dry one - be sure to have a lash comb on hand to separate the clumps that will inevitably crop up. Eyeliner isn't mandatory, but again, because of the dark lighting at your destination, it's probably a good idea to at least add a light, very-close-to-the-lid line on top. And if you're feeling a little spicy, balance that top line with one on bottom and add a slight "cat-eye" effect by connecting the two in the outer corners like Rachel Bilson did in the picture above left.

As long as you've fancied up your eyes, there's no real need to brighten your lips, but again, the option is always there. When I left the office tonight, my red pout had faded considerably and due to my incessant water drinking, my "Shanghai Express" had been driven to the outer edges of my lips making it look more like lip-liner than full-on color. I had two options, the first of which was to wipe my mouth clean and replace the red with a clear balm, and the second of which was to re-apply the color.

Given what I said in my earlier post about taking today to pretend I was in Manhattan, it isn't too difficult to guess which of the two options I chose. For my PM lip-look, I went darker and more dramatic, closer to the lip Scarlett chose here at a Chanel event last December.

In closing, even if your post-work trip to the bar is just to relax, not to impress, there's no need to show up looking like you've just worked a nine-hour day. A few touch-ups here and there, requiring at most five minutes completion time, will not only make you look better and feel better but drink better, too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So THIS is what you were doing during all those trips to the bathroom? I thought it was the Heineken lights.