Reducing stress, adding color can combat effects of aging
A makeover sounds good, in theory. But it isn't until you find yourself in a chair under bright lights that it dawns on you: Before you can be transformed, you have to be critiqued.
At the Red Door Salon & Spa at the Mystic Marriott, I met Lindsay Ebbin, Elizabeth Arden's director of makeup, for a personal makeup consultation.
Before I even sat down, Ebbin's eyes were on me, as if taking measurements. But his assessment was much gentler than some of those harsh reality shows. He likes to take in your personal style, he explained, praising me for not being too "matchy-matchy," but informing me my posture was uneven - one shoulder was higher than the other (who knew?).
And he gave helpful explanations: Stress and the increasing use of technology can affect posture and weigh on the face, he said, explaining the hidden evils of cell phones, increasingly causing eye and neck problems and strain, he said.
"Everybody's challenged with working," Ebbin said.
He said our devices can even lead to skin problems like adult acne because they come in contact with our faces constantly, and many people don't think to sanitize them.
Once my makeup was removed and hair pulled back in clips, so he could see the light reflected off my face, he asked: "What do you like and what don't you like about your face?"
Ebbin later explained his ideology: that everybody has a feature that's beautiful, and he tries to figure out how to make it come to life and convey that to everybody else.
Working as a shampoo boy in Canada, Ebbin started out meeting some friends on fashion shoots, and soon found himself "in the kitchen" making lipsticks. He learned color theory - how to make and interpret color, and now teaches a class at the Fashion Institute of Technology. He's a spokesman for Elizabeth Arden but also an expert on trends and has worked with supermodels and celebrities.
We ultimately agreed to emphasize my eyes, wide-set with a little droop Ebbin said, and, when I pressed him on it, a little tired-looking. He "picked them up" with shadow in a C-shape in a blue-green color called "bubbles." Don't be afraid of color, Ebbin advised, adding that shades of blue are making a huge comeback.
Since many women don't use the right color foundation, Elizabeth Arden uses a custom color computer, which uses an optimal light reader to measure the light that is reflected off your face. The probe at your cheek seems a bit like a dental tool, but it's not at all painful.
The computer asks a series of questions about coverage and skin type, until it finally pumps a bunch of reds, whites, blues and yellows into a tiny bottle and mixes it like paint. The final product goes on like a liquid but dries like a powder so it's not cakey. Always use a brush to put on foundation, he said, to apply it evenly and get into nooks and crannies.
He believes strongly in anti-aging products, which make your skin healthier over time and are brightening, though Elizabeth Arden's product called Prevage, is pricey (1.7 fl. oz. is $155). He also says to use eye makeup remover - half water and half oil every night. Around 40 percent of women go to bed without taking off their eye makeup, which can lead to infection.
After being cleansed and primed, covered in foundation, concealer, powder, brow powder, two shades of eye shadow, eye pencil, mascara, blush, lip color, lip pencil and lip gloss, I was finished. But Ebbin managed to maintain a minimalist style that was still manageable.
Ebbin says women are like a superpower now, very driven, in many cases more than men.
"Soccer moms are reinventing themselves," he said. "Changing it up is not a bad thing."