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There's no need to contort your face

By Al Varela

Dear Al: My boyfriend is always teasing me about the funny face I make when putting on the my lipstick and tells me that the colors I use are too dark. Is there a right way of putting on my lipstick? How do I choose colors that are right for me?

One of the most popular things for little girls to do is to play dress up and make funny faces while they help themselves to a liberal application of mom's bright red lipstick, that usually ends up covering more than just the lips.

But, you're a big girl now, so it's time to refine the habits you have grown accustomed to when applying your lipstick and choose colors more suited for you.

It's time to stop putting your lips through dabbing, puckering and open-mouth motions while you apply reckless swabs of lipstick. As you age, these motions can manifest themselves into wrinkles around your mouth.

The most effective method of lipstick application is with a brush. Lipstick brushes allow you to paint your lips with more precision for a nicer look.

Lipsticks today come in matte, gloss and frosted finishes. And they have come a long way from the day's of being made from discarded fats. Today's lipsticks are made with the likes of bees wax, oils, perfumes, sun protection factors, precious emollients and some even have St. John's Wort.

Color variations of lipsticks go from red to orange to brown and everything in between. Look at the colors you are using now. Choose a couple of great colors--one for the day and one for the evening. The fall and winter colors this year are brighter and bolder. They are reds and wines, and some even have a bit of brown in them to make them more wearable.

A quick test you can try after applying your lipstick is to squint your eyes. If what you see in the mirror is screaming--"dark, overpowering lips"-- then that color is too much and you'll need to find a better choice.

Also, remember to exercise your makeup etiquette, and never reapply your lipstick at the dinner table. Instead, excuse yourself to the ladies room for your touch-up.

Learning a better way of lipstick application and making a better color selection should be a joyous experience for you and your boyfriend, one that he can seal with a kiss!

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