Holiday Makeup Tips- Dara Klein

In my last post, I mentioned that I would be publishing the full transcript and responses from three of my beauty experts.

Dara I feel very fortunate to bring you our first expert, makeup artist and educator Dara Klein. 

Based in New York city, Klein has traveled the globe as a makeup artist and worked with celebrities such as Lake Bell, The Pussycat Dolls, Paula Abdul, and Jennifer Coolidge.  She has participated in New York City Fashion Week for the past nine years, working for designers Diane Von Furstenberg, Nicole Miller, Alice Roi, Banana Republic, Lily Pullitzer, Nanette Lepore and many more.

After years of honing her craft and being trained by some of Hollywood’s top celebrity makeup artists, including: Jeanine Lobell (founder of Stila), Gucci Westman, and Sam Fine; Dara Klein launched Dara Mascara.  Dara is now training individuals, professional makeup artists and hosting large seminars to help “de-mystify” the world of makeup and “teaching women how to take the cosmetics and tools they already own and learn specific techniques for their face.”

Now that you know a little bit about Dara, let’s hear what she had to say when I asked her some questions for my Holiday Makeup Fashion Lesson last week.

Q: What colors are right for me (ex. how do women pick the right shades that compliment their eyes and skin tone)?

A: Holiday and New Year’s accessorizing isn’t just about your jewelry and shoes.  Accessorizing with makeup can tie your whole look together and evolving your application technique is just as important as evolving your outfit choice.  You’re not wearing the same daring number you were perhaps when you were 21.  Makeup should evolve as well- starting with shimmer products.

Now that you’re in your 30’s, focus on placing shimmer strategically where you have smaller space on your eye as opposed to shellacking it under the brow a la 1998.  Focus on defining the lash line with a charcoal or pewter as opposed to black and adding a few individual lashes on the outer corner to open the eye.  Defining the lash line, lends itself to product moving less and changing as the night progresses- it’s a sure way to make an impact without overdoing it!

Choosing shades:

Choose harmonizing color combinations for the eyes that are monochromatic- the more the color reflects “skittles” on the eyes, the more you notice the feature and not the makeup- especially with age. Keep the colors light, medium, and dark within the same shade range and you’ll see the features come alive. A lot of brands have nice white/silvery/pewter combinations for holiday which always work on almost every skin tone.

One rule of thumb– the warmer, more olive-y the skin tone, the further you want to stay away from shimmery shades of white. If you’re looking to wear silver and you have a warm skin tone- make sure the shade is deep enough so it does not read ashy on the skin. Emphasize the lash line with black liner really tight in the lash line and lots of black mascara.

Harmonizing your cheek and lip, like your shoes and your belt (for lack of a better example b/c most of these fashion ‘rules’ are a little dated:) will keep the makeup looking enhancing for example if you are all about the smokey eye and you choose a pink cheek and a nude-y beige lip- the overall look will work better when you commit to a nude-y pink shade to better harmonize with the cheek. So no matter what’s going on with the eyes- keep your cheek and lips matching and you’ll make more of an impact for your efforts!

Q: Am I too old to wear trendy shades?

A: Not at all! The evolution with age and makeup comes with the technique, not the shades/formulas necessarily. Keep the extreme frosts/shimmers away from ‘crepier’ parts of the lid/brow bone, so as to not emphasize any texture issues.

We all hear ‘less is more’ with age and all this means really is softening up with the amount of product you’re applying at one time as opposed to eliminating the types of product you wear. For example, my 70 year old mother still wears a full face- foundation, concealer, blush, powder, etc however, I have taught her how to lighten up on her brush technique and build the product as needed instead of trying to get in on all in one swipe. This is particularly important for colors that are ‘trendy’.

Every woman can wear shimmer somewhere on her eye- the smaller the space the more intense the texture of the shimmer can be to really enhance the space. The only time this does not apply is when a) the skin on the eye is too loose/crepey or b) the person prefers matte. Color wears differently as we age, so pick a focus feature- such as lash line or lips and try a trendier liner or brighter lipstick instead of trying to change up a whole eye shadow combination!

Q: How do I apply eyeshadow, blush, foundation etc.?

A: When applying eyeshadow: Use a full brush for an all over shadow from lash to brow and gently sweep up the eye as opposed to side to side. This eliminates all the product collecting on the side of the eye/temple and flaking all over the place.  Pat product onto the back of the hand first which eliminates fall out.

The best brush to purchase for a ‘wash’ of shimmer, matte base shadow, etc is what’s referred to as the “ponytail” brush. This is the full, soft, black haired brush every line makes which is crimped at the base of the ferrel of the brush and is full and almost round until the very tip which is tapered to a point. It is fluffy and easy for blending as well as rolling underneath the eye to set eye concealer with powder.

Cheeks: I always tell women to place the cheek color where the face is flat or has no bone structure. If you have high, protruding cheek bones and you slam some blush on those apples and sweep vigorously back and forth with a flattened blush brush from a gift with purchase from 1995, your application will be less than modern. Smile and find the area that is not as prominent and place the color with a soft, dome shaped blush brush blending down and back toward the hair line. Absolutely NO road striping please!

Foundation: The wrong shade is actually better than the wrong technique. A common mistake women make is applying their foundation like moisturizer and blending it in only to use too much pressure, and now you’re taking it off as your putting it on, and it does nothing for your complexion! Use a little drop on the back of your hand and pull from the edge of the dollop as opposed to dipping your finger into the whole drop. This will keep the foundation blending once you apply so you can apply AND blend with the same finger- too much product results in what I call the “5 finger rub”- using all your fingers to remove and blend at the same time is a sure fire sign you have too much product. Start in the center of the face and SKIP the ear to ear coverage. No one looks at you from the side and if they do they’re only noticing the ‘mask effect’ of your foundation!

Q: What are the key tools necessary to get the best evening look?

A: Best Tools for an Evening Look:

Lash curler- love Billy B’s. Everyone swears by Shu- but Billy’s is curved more to fit a rounder eye as opposed to an almond, wider shape which fits an Asian type shape with the Shu Uemura lash curler

Small liner brush- I am a HUGE fan of Face Stockholm cake liners with the angled liner brush to apply. Every evening eye will look dramatic and MODERN with a defined lash line and these are the most simple liners to use without venturing into surgical steadiness needed for liquid liner.

Black mascara- layer and layer to emphasize the defined lash line. Don’t skimp on the mascara. Use a defining, volumizing like Lancome Hypnose or Oscillation or Diorshow Unlimited.

Smudgees- these are my favorite things EVER- pre moistened q-tips. Brilliant. Do your eyes first, clean up underneath and apply complexion afterwards. Carry around in your purse for any corner of the eye smudges.

Individual lashes- Plunk a few on the outer corner of the eyes and get that extra flirty eye. Looks really good with a defined lash line a la Marilyn Monroe.

Beauty mark- Easiest accessory to create and all it takes is a small stipple with the tip of a dark brown liner- I love Lancome Le Crayon Khol ‘Black Coffee’.

Lip brush- skip the lip liner ladies. So 1992. Use a lip brush to enhance the shape of the lip with a lipstick and keeps the lips looking soft and supple not applied. The most aging look can be an over drawn lip with sharp liner-y edges.

Q:  Are there any rules that women in their 30s, 40s, 50s+ should be following?”

In your 30’s:

Modify your foundation application. It’s not about the studio fix any more packed on with a sponge. Fine lines lend themselves to product settling and this looks aging. Switch to a Tinted Moisturizer and apply a loose powder through the t-zone instead.


Change your formulas and invest in good brushes. Use cream blush instead of powder and apply between your foundation and powder- barely using on your cheeks. If your eye shape is changing switch from pencil liner to gel to avoid running and PLEASE avoid wearing brown, raisin-y type lipsticks that look very drawn and lifeless on the face. Creamy cheeks with a sheer color on the lips will wake up your complexion.

50’s +

Time to work the lash line- keep the liner tight in the lash line- no skips or obvious skin showing between the lash line and lid. Keep your foundation that has great coverage and you love and lighten up on how you apply- blend it up underneath the eye so you can skip eye concealer.

Make sure you’re correcting your skin tone and the color you put on will work 10 times better (this can be said at any age) broken capillaries and ruddiness or sun damage takes away from color application and can result in the ‘just woke up in my makeup’ look. Your skin will determine how good your color shows up and enhances your features!

To learn more about Daramascara or how to schedule an appointment, got to

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Filed under Aging, Cosmetics, Fashion Lesson, Fashion Sensei, Fashion Writer, personal shopper

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