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Tried and true makeup shades and looks can work year round—a classic red lipstick is just as stunning in April as it is in November. However, if you fall (pun intended) on the side of those who enjoy experimenting with different makeup shades and textures each season, this roundup is for you!
Fall is the perfect time to experiment with richer colors and formulas (especially those that wouldn’t last ten minutes in the summer humidity!). The Beautypedia Research Team is here with our top picks and favorite tips that focus on fall’s key makeup trends: Perfected complexion, rich eyeliner, and wine-colored lips.
With fall’s arrival, heavier coats and sweaters are a necessity for most, but the last place you should be showing off the layered look is with your foundation and concealer.
We’re not suggesting you literally go bare-faced—but just be careful to not create a heavier look. The right combination of concealer and foundation will leave your skin even toned, without announcing their presence to the world. Not only will you look younger, but you’ll have a perfect canvas for the bolder, deeper tones of fall makeup.
A great approach for most is to pair a sheer coverage foundation with a high-pigment concealer. This winning combination allows you to fake a flawless face that’s never overdone. Keep reading to discover some favorites that work overtime to conceal uneven skin, redness, dark circles and more.
Defy Dark-Circles. If you’re dealing with relatively tame undereye circles, opt for a luminous finish concealer. These lightweight formulas deflect light (without looking shimmery) and provide just enough coverage—opt for 1-2 shades lighter than your skin tone. Try Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Radiant Touch ($40) or Maybelline New York Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer ($7.99). For more coverage, try Bare Minerals SPF 20 Correcting Concealer ($20) or Mally Beauty Age Rebel Concealer ($26).
Camouflage an Uneven Complexion. For the face, pick a concealer that matches your skin-tone exactly, and avoid stick or solid formulas (they can exacerbate breakouts). These high-powered picks will cover just about anything, yet remain invisible on skin. Try NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($28), Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer ($32) or Revlon ColorStay Concealer ($9.99). Check out this article for concealer application tips!
Choose Your Foundation Wisely. With your concealer in place, you might be surprised at how little foundation you actually need. If your go-to foundation is a heavy cream or powder, consider switching to a liquid for a lighter, more natural look with a softer finish.
Consider Almay Smart Shade CC Cream Complexion Corrector SPF 35* ($9.99), Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm SPF 20* ($34) and Paula’s Choice Barely There Sheer Matte Tint SPF 30* ($17).
If you prefer (or need) more coverage than most medium-coverage foundations provide, try Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup ($39) or Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation ($42). Try buffing your foundation with a brush like Sonia Kashuk Synthetic Buffing Brush ($12) or Real Techniques Stippling Brush ($10). Prefer a sponge? Paula’s Choice Makeup Application Sponges are latex-free and reusable.
* If you’re going to use less foundation and your foundation contains sunscreen, then for maximum anti-aging benefits it must be applied over a daytime moisturizer rated SPF 25 or greater.
A perfectly lined eye never goes out of style, but there’s a fine line between chic and crazed when it comes to eyeliner—we avoid the “slept-in my makeup look” with this simple guideline: Keep it subtle for daytime and save the bold, inky looks for night.
Liquid liner works especially well for perfectly defined, precise lines. Two of our favorites are Lancome Artliner Precision Point Eyeliner ($30) and NYX Cosmetics The Curve Felt Tip Eye Liner ($15). Both formulas make application easier for the novice (a breeze for the experienced), and neither smudges or travels into lines around the eyes.
Gel liner is especially suited for drawing thicker lines and extended cat eyes. Gel formulas can make application a little tricky at first, so experiment with different brushes until you find the one that works best for you. Our favorite brush: Laura Mercier Angled Eye Liner Brush (Sonia Kashuk makes a nice one, too). Use it with Mally Beauty Evercolor Lasting Eyeliner ($25) or one of our favorite beauty bargains, Sonia Kashuk Dramatically Defining Long Wearing Gel Liner ($8.99).
Think liquid and gel eyeliners look too harsh? Try using an eye shadow in charcoal, dark navy, plum or brown shades instead. Diffuse it with a brush for a softer look. Paula’s Choice The Nude Mattes Eyeshadow Palette ($40) and Kat Von D Monarch Eyeshadow Palette ($46) both contain a brilliant mix of neutral toned shadows that make creating a range of looks a breeze.
We’re in love with the any skin-tone versatility of wine-hued lips for fall. Don’t be intimidated—whether dramatic effect or a subtle stain, there are numerous ways to wear this gorgeous shade no matter your style.
Despite the hundreds of lipsticks and glosses we try each year, the creamy matte lipstick is always a classic. Our top picks for merlot lips: NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Damned ($25) or NYX Cosmetics Soft Matte Lip Cream in Monte Carlo ($6). Both options stay put (no bleeding into lines around the mouth).
Prefer a subtle, stained look? Dab on the lipstick with your finger or lipstick brush and then blot with a tissue.
If you're more of a gloss fan, try the richly pigmented Korres Cherry Full Color Gloss in Rose Mauve ($17). It's a stunning option that layers well (but is perfect on its own, too).
If opaque lipstick or gloss shades are bolder than you'd prefer, try a sheer, wine-hued tone like Boots No7 Sheer Temptation Lipstick in Sassy ($9.99).
Keep the rest of your look simple to avoid looking overdone; mascara + neutral shadow is always a good choice.
The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here: The same type of in-depth research used to create this article is also used to formulate Paula’s Choice Skincare products. You’ll find products for all skin types and a range of concerns, from acne and sensitive skin to wrinkles, pores, and sun damage. With Paula’s Choice Skincare, you can get (and keep) the best skin of your life! See Paula's Choice Makeup.
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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:
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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and helping you solve your skincare frustrations with research-supported expert advice—so you'll have the facts you need to take the best possible care of your skin.
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