The flurry of back-to-school shopping can be crazy, especially with a preteen: What's the latest fashion trend? What's the coolest backpack to lug around? And for the girl who finally gets to wear makeup to school, what's the perfect makeup?
After 40 years of teaching grooming, etiquette and modeling to girls throughout the Metroplex (plus experiencing back-to-school madness with my own daughter), I can tell you with certainty that choosing the right makeup for young girls is likely the hardest task of them all.
For the girl just starting to wear makeup to school, the idea is to achieve a natural, soft and pretty look that is age appropriate. They should stay away from harsh lines and bright colors on the eyes, lips and cheeks and instead go for a soft glow.
Longtime makeup artist Tressia Bond, a favorite of movie stars, models and actresses, often works with the first-time makeup wearer. Bond, whose Arlington studio is at Burt Grant Salonspa, says the right look for girls just beginning to wear makeup is simple: Use a light mineral-based powder, soft eye colors and a light blush for a natural but current look.
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"It's all about keeping first-time makeup application easy," she says.
Megan Feaster, beauty specialist with Beauty Brands, suggests taking "baby steps" when starting to wear makeup. Feaster's professional advice: "Start with the basics, then, as you get a little older, add a few more products."
Sephora's Courtneigh Owens says she often witnesses debates between mothers and daughters about the amount of money to spend on first-time makeup.
"Girls want to spend more and moms want to spend less," she says. "We try to please both mom and daughter by directing them to boxes of fun shadows, tubes of lip gloss -- all natural-looking and affordable -- so that everyone is happy."
Here are some suggestions from the pros, myself included, on specific products and tips to help enhance any girl's natural beauty with cosmetics.
For the face
Fresh looks call for face tints and powders. Wear makeup that gives you sheer coverage that isn't heavy and doesn't look masklike.
For a tint that will last even during gym class, without the heaviness of a foundation, try this color-tinted oil-free moisturizer by Stila. It's lightweight and sheer and has an SPF of 20 built in. Comes in 10 tones, from fair to deep. (Shown: light.) $34, Beauty Brands.
For a natural look, try a mineral powder. Glo minerals pressed base gives you both coverage and a natural look. Comes in 21 shades. (Shown: honey-medium.) $39, Burt Grant Salonspa, 808 W. Abram St., Arlington, 817 460-5544, www.burtgrant.com.
For the cheeks
Get that natural rosy glow with a powder blush.
Maybelline's new Dream Bouncy blush feels lightweight like a powder, yet it melts into skin like a cream. Use either your fingertips or a brush to apply. Color shown: rose petal. $6.44, Wal-Mart.
Looking for a blush with staying power that looks natural all day? Lorac Satin Baked Blush is perfect for the active girl. Color shown: velvet rope. $24, Ulta.
For the eyes: mascara
Ask any makeup artist, actress or model and she will tell you that eyelashes are the secret to looking great.
Maybelline's Mega Plush Volum Express mascara is a gel-mousse formula that doesn't get brittle as the day wears on. Color shown: soft black. $6.29, Walgreens.
Maybelline Great Lash continues to be long-lasting with natural coverage. Color shown: brown. $5.49, CVS Pharmacy.
For the eyes: shadows
For eye shadows, stick to soft and pretty colors.
For the girl on the go, this Sephora shadow palette compact, far left, is perfect for a purse, backpack or gym bag. It's smart and cute all in one. Color shown: pastel peach to pinks. $15, Sephora.
Get a touch of shimmer with this brush-on Sparkle Eye Dust, complete with its own brush, by NYC. Color: champagne. $4.49, Target.
This Glam'Eyes HD by Rimmel London, with its Union Jack design, has creamy, easy-to-blend shadows in pastel colors. Color shown: English rose. $5.69, Ulta.
For the lips: gloss
Pick a shade of gloss close to the natural shade of pink on your lips.
Smashbox's O-Gloss has a special formula that goes on clear and then instantly transforms into a custom shade of pink; comes in just one shade. $23. Nordstrom, 1101 Melbourne Road, Hurst, 817-590-2599, www.nordstrom.com.
Throw this fun Sephora wand of glosses, with lots of color choices, in a backpack or purse for a soft lip every time. Color: soft variety of pink to plum. $10, Sephora.
If you want shine and hydration, too, you will like this Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss by Tarte, which contains nourishing maracuja oil. Color shown: Tipsy. $21, Beauty Brands.
For the lips: color
All those elementary-school coloring techniques will come in handy with Clinique's Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Balm. The soft pink shade goes on petal pink, and the lilac shade of violet changes to a perfect natural shade on your lips. Colors shown: Voluptuous Violet and Woppn' Watermelon. $15 each, Macy's.
Susan Huston is a freelance writer and stylist and the owner of Susan Huston Fashion Concepts; www.susanhuston.com