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Get flawless skin.

It's what every girl craves--healthy, pretty, glowing skill. But we'll let you in on a little secret.

You know that "I've never had a zit in my life" look models, celebrities and the girl next to you in homeroom are sporting? Chances are, it ain't Mother Nature. Usually, it's just really, really good makeup.

Foundation used to be scary stuff. Too heavy. Too obvious. Too ... downright weird. But there've been so many technological advances in the last year (Cover-Girl TruBlend has microscopic "holes" that let your coloring show through: Clinique Perfectly Real relies on "micro-mirrored pigment" to adjust to any skin tone), that anyone can have beautiful, natural-looking skin. Base is now so believable, people will wonder if you have anything aa all on your face.

The key? Choosing a just-right formula and shade for your skin. then fine-tuning by covering breakouts. under-eve circles and traces of blotchiness. Get ready to glow like a pro and put your best face forward.

THE RIGHT STUFF, THE RIGHT WAY

CHOOSE YOUR COLOR Most girls are baffled by which foundation shade best suits them. Some think the tanner, the better (hello, Paris). Pick a too-light shade and you'll look like a geisha. Too dark and you'll look like your face doesn't belong to the rest of your body. So how do you choose from the endless array of options?

Says makeup artist Dana Chasen of NYC Glow Skin Spa, "Your skin has a yellow, pink, olive or dark undertone. Seek out a foundation with that same undertone." Once you've found a few potential shades, swipe a sample of each onto your cheek (not your hand!), near your jawline. Do you see a line between your cheek and neck? If so, pass on that shade. Foundation should blend perfectly with your skin so you can barely see it. A quick check: Grab a hand mirror, and walk outside so you can see the true color in natural lighting.

APPLY IT LIKE A PRO Before putting on makeup, wash your face and hands (icky germs can cause breakouts). Next, apply a light moisturizer--this helps your skin stay hydrated and also lays down a nice base for even foundation application.

These days, liquid makeup blends easily but even great products need application sawy. Start by dabbing a pea-sized amount of foundation onto your forehead, cheeks and chin, then blend, blend, blend. You can use a foundation brush (see sidebox) or your fingers. Start from the top of your face, and gently work down and out (no telltale lines around your jaw or haiti). If you're using a long-wearing formula, dab and blend each area immediately--this type of formula sets quickly.

If you're covering up zits or under-eye circles, apply concealer after foundation. Use a concealer brush to apply directly on top of the problem area. Be sure to blend the edges into the foundation for a seamless finish. Exceptions to the rule? The only concealer you should apply before foundation is a yellow or green color corrector used to offset ruddy blotches. Gorgeous!

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

A girl only needs four key items for perfect makeup application:

A FOUNDATION BRUSH Every makeup pro we talked to uses a brush to apply liquid foundation. "Brushes are the key to makeup going on evenly in hard-to-get areas, like the nose and jawline," says Leslie Lightfoot, makeup artist for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Look for a quality tapered-end brush (we like Sephora Foundation Brush, $24, sephora.com). The bristles should feel soft over your face. Say no to scratchy tools!

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SPONGE WEDGES Use a dampened one to buff away sharp edges, mistakes or foundation build-up (Sephora Sponge Wedges, $6, sephora.com). Don't use them to apply the foundation, says Lightfoot: "Sponges end up putting too much on. Less is more."

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FACE POWDER Great for reducing shine. Used alone, it allows for natural-looking coverage. Our translucent powder pick? Body & Soul Face Powder ($30, bodyandsoul.com).

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FINISHING SPRAY Nervous about sweating it off at your Valentine's Day dance? A finishing spray--a fine mist to set makeup in place--is your savior. Try Model in a Bottle ($18, modelinabottle.com).

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PICK YOUR PERFECT FORMULA!

Magic in a bottle ... or a mousse ... or a compact ...

Liquid Foundation

Great for beginners! Mistakes can be sponged away. Best for marching skin color. Lotsa shades! Dont's use if you need extra coverage. We like Wet 'n' Wild Ultimate Cover Smooth Foundation ($3, drugstores).

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Mousse

Great for a light feel and powdery finish. Best for solid application control. Don't use too much of it! A little goes a long way. We like Maybeline Dream Matte Mousse (48, drugstores).

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Wet-to-Dry

Great for oily skin. It's moist with a slightly matte finish. Best for a satiny-smooth look. Don't use with powder. It will result in a cake-y effect. We like Smashbox Conversion Cream to Powder Foundation ($30, sephora.com)

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Foundation Powder

Great for coverage with a silky feel. Best for combating shine. Don't use on dry skin. The powder accentuats flakiness. We like Clinique Perfectly Real Compact Makeup ($22.50, department stores).

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Stick Foundation

Great for a wide array of shades and coverage. Best for spot-on application and touch-ups. Don't use all over your face. Too heavy! We like Stila Perfecting Stick Foundation ($30, stilacosmetics.com).

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Vicious circles

Under-eye dreariness Staying up all night cramming for your history test might leave you Iooking like a tired raccoon, but under-eye circles can also be hereditary.

The good news Lots of makeup companies have yellow-tone color-correcting products to neutralize circles. "Applying warm tones on top of cool tones cancels them out," says MAC makeup artist LaSonya Gunter, who has worked on models for the runway shows of Oscar de la Renta and Stella McCartney. Use a concealer brush or your ring finger (it applies the least pressure) to put small dots of color-correcter on the circle, then tap and blend gently (you don't want to stretch that delicate under-eye skin). Don't glob on a huge streak of product, just enough to counteract the blueness. Try N.Y.C. Perfect and Reflect Foundation Kit in Coot and Warm ($4 each, drugstore).

Breakouts? Take cover

The biggest mistake girls make when it comes to concealer? Turning a mole-hill into a mountain by gooping on way too much product, Chosen explains, "It's tempting to overuse concealer, but you'll just draw more attention to the area you're trying to hide." Pick a concealer slightly lighter than your base (we like Physicians Formula Magic Cube Concealer, $6, drugstores), then try this celeb trick: Moisten a cotton swab with eye-whitening drops, and put it in the freezer. Once the swab is super-chilly, hold it on the pimple for five minutes, The coldness takes down swelling, and the reduce redness. Finally, use a small pointy (you don't want oils from your skin mixing with the blemish) to dab on a light concealer. Zit, begone!

I WANT A PRODUCT THAT WILL ...

Reduce Shine

An oil-absorbing foundation will do the trick. Try Black Radiance Matte Souffle ($5, drugstores).

Minimize Pores

Matte formulas leave skin looking velvety-smooth. You can also try Clinique Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector ($27.50, department stores) under your favorite foundation or on its own.

Help Clear My Skin

Fear foundation is making things worse? Pick a formula with break-out-busting salicylic acid. We like Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil-Free Makeup ($11.50, drugstores).

Give Me Some Glow

Sick of flaky, pasty skin? We are, too. Look for a creamy formula with a hint of bronzer. Try Benefit Tinted Moisturizer in You Rebel ($26, benefitcosmetics.com). It works on almost all skin tones.

Let My Freckels Show

"Lightweight coverage lets your real skin color shine through," says Lightfoot. Try Sephora Tinted Moisturizer ($18, sephora.com).

Bust Blotchiness

You wake up, and your skin is all red and ruddy. Eek! Look for a color-correction makeup with a slightly green tint. Go for Bourjois Lovely Base ($20, sephora.com).

Last All Day

Look for a long-wearing silicone-based formula or one that comes with primer. Try CoverGirl Outlast Liquid Make-up ($9, drugstores).
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Title Annotation:SPECIAL COVERAGE REPORT: ANY SKIN CAN LOOK LIKE GREAT SKIN
Author:DePaola, Kara
Publication:Girls' Life
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2006
Words:1356
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