In simpler times, getting ready for Valentine's Day meant spritzing on your favorite perfume and buying a pretty new lipstick. Now, it's about shellacking your features in glitz and gloss and Vajazzling your nether regions. Call me old-fashioned, but that's not my idea of romance. Nor is it Tim Quinn's, Giorgio Armani Beauty's celebrity makeup artist. So I turned to him for some tips on how to create a romantic Valentine's Day look that's soft, elegant, and above all, flattering.
1. Set the mood. "Listen to romantic ‘60s tunes while getting ready rather than Ke$ha, which can make you want to put on heavier, clubby makeup," says Tim, who also stresses the importance of proper lighting. "Most women apply their makeup in bright light, but then you get into a dimly lit restaurant, and suddenly it all looks like too much. Once you've finished your makeup, lower the lights and check to see if you need to tone down anything."
2. Don't cast yourself in bronze. "As much as I love a good spray tan, this isn't the occasion for it," says Tim. "For one thing, it looks so obviously fake in the winter. And romantic makeup is about not looking like you're trying too hard. If you're feeling pale, dust a powder bronzer on your cheekbones and around the perimeter of face for a touch of warmth." Try Armani Sheer Bronzer.
3. Be radiant. "You know how women's skin looks in old soft-focus photographs?" says Tim. "That's what you want to achieve: A finish that's polished but not matte." He creates it with Armani's new Micro-Fil Loose Powder in Dew Rose (above, bottom, a shade available only internationally—U.S. shoppers, try Luminous Silk Powder instead). "Dust it all over your face with big fluffy brush; it creates the prettiest sheen, as if you're lit by candlelight."
4. Ditch the heavy eye makeup. Yes, smoky eyes are sexy, but being able to see your big, bright peepers is even sexier—just ask any guy. Of course, most of us can't imagine going out to dinner without a little something on, so Tim suggests a soft tone-on-tone combo of pale pink shadow (try Armani Maestro Shadow No. 6, above, top) brushed on the lids with a mauve color (such as Armani Maestro Shadow No. 25) swept in the crease. "This adds definition without looking like you're wearing a lot of makeup," he says. "Then, softly line your eyes top and bottom with a brown pencil like Armani Smooth Silk Eye Pencil in No 12 Brown Black, smudging the lines a bit, and finish with Armani Eye To Kill Mascara." Tim adds this is one area where you should stick with black: "Unless you have extremely light blond lashes, brown mascara doesn’t do much of anything."
5. Think pink, not red. "Bright red lips are, in theory, cute for Valentine's Day, but they're not that romantic because, like smoky eyes, they're too overt," says Tim, who instead prefers a juicy watermelon lip color like Armani Rouge d'Armani No. 512. "Pat it on with your finger for a diffused finish," he says. "And don't add gloss—stained lips look more tender."
MODEL PHOTO FROM STYLE.COM