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Is Your Makeup Aging You?

Cakey foundation and glitter - get over it! Ning Chao learns insider tricks for looking forever young.

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"Too much powder can make a person look older, too," observes party photographer and Glamour Girls author Patrick McMullan, who has watched the world's most famous women grow up in front of his lens. "It's particularly hideous at the end of the night. Heroin chic [heavy black liner and powdery white skin] might have looked very cool on a 19- or 16-year-old model, but on a 30-year-old woman, it just looked worn out."

A dewy finish to the skin is more forgiving. "Cream formulas with moisture look softer and prettier," says Starr. He suggests spot concealer instead of allover cover-ups, and blotting papers for a shiny forehead, nose, and chin. Powder is a no-no, except for the eyes, where cream formulas can settle into the crease of the lids. Instead of black-rimmed eyes, a neutral shadow and dark-chocolate pencil enhance without drawing attention to fine lines.

Always approach shimmer with caution, warns Hutton, who started her own makeup line when she couldn't find products friendly to her over-40 complexion. "Formulas with shiny particles act like airport runway lights, illuminating every line, wrinkle, and pore," she says. "Best for the under-25 set." (Which reminds me of the pearly, light-diffusing lotion I recently slathered on around my eyes, making me look like a sleep-deprived possum.)

Be cautious, too, with contouring, which hollows out facial regions already losing their youthful plumpness. "There's a lot of volume loss with age," says NYC plastic surgeon Haideh Hirmand. Instead of shading, switch to highlighting. Using paler hues, accentuate under the brows for a mini lift, and dust a lighter blush along the cheekbone (carefully avoiding any crow's-feet under the eyes) to plump cheeks. "Between ages 25 and 35, women have lost their baby fat and have grown into their looks," Hirmand adds.

Let's hear it for grown-up faces and beauty's evolution. Says Starr: "Women want to look younger right around the time they start looking their best. They look amazing, but they miss it because they're focusing only on what's gone." Whether or not this is my "best" beauty period, wearing sheer makeup that shows me off is starting to make sense. Why cover up? I'm staying in this sweet spot as long as possible. I'll let you know how I feel at 35....

Brush Up on Beauty

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