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Which is more important: the quality of the makeup or how its applied?
The key to great, natural makeup is choosing the right product for your skin texture and tone regardless of price, says JoHanne Doyon, a makeup artist with the Montage modelling agency in Montreal. You can absolutely get just as a good an eyeshadow at the drugstore as from a prestige line, says Doyon, who has been making up faces professionally for 22 years and looks only 23, so she must be doing something right.

    A favourite makeup artist for fashion houses and magazines such as Elle, Clin d’Oeil and Marie Claire, Doyon also works with cosmetics companies including Giorgio Armani, Lancome, Este Lauder, Lise Watier, M.A.C and LOral. She says, If youre not a pro, seek guidance on the type of product, colour and application techniques at a department store beauty counter. And always buy the best brushes you can afford.

    “The combination of the right techniques and good quality brushes can make a huge difference, whether youre working with pharmacy brands or high-end brands.” Some luxury products are hard to beat, however. Doyon vouches for the foundation from Giorgio Armani the best shes encountered in all her experience. She also recommends M.A.C. and Biotherm bases.

    The best way to streamline your makeup application is multi-purpose products, Doyon says. Take a cream colour that can be used on eyes, cheeks or lips. Put a little bit on your cheeks, blend it in. Dab a little on your lips. You can put it on your eyes, too. Add a little mascara and youre out the door in five minutes.

QUICK POINTER:
Check out a store beauty counter for the right colours and texture; then ask for some application tips.

Theres a lot of buzz these days about organic and natural beauty products. Do they have any special benefits and are they safer to use?
Two experts we called were unable to say if organic or natural products are necessarily better. The newest organic line, Care, comes from no less an eco-crusader than Stella McCartney. Care, which promises not to compromise on luxury, sounds enticing: preservative-free ingredients grown organically without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, not genetically modified with high concentrations of essential nutrients. Organic is different than natural; organic means minimized toxins, according to Care.

    Paula Begoun, author of Dont Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me and known as the cosmetics cop because of her sometimes scathing criticism of beauty companies says, The organic natural craze is a marketing term designed to make some people afraid of other peoples products with no scientific basis.

    Montreal dermatologist Dr. Ari Demirjian says that the origin of the product does not determine whether a person will have an allergic or irritation reaction:
The fact that its organic will not lessen that probability.

    There are good and bad ingredients that are natural as well as synthetic, says Paula Begoun. Begouins Website (cosmeticscop.com) offers candid reviews of countless products. She says, “By the time a plant is processed so it can be applied to and absorbed into the skin and also doesnt become a moldy, bacteria-ridden mess it isn’t all that natural any more.”

    You won’t hear about possible harmful effects of plant substances from the natural companies, she notes. For example, if you searched published studies on soy products (soya) linked to breast cancer, you would get quite a number of studies showing a fairly significant high relationship between the two. Yet no one in the natural industry mentions anything about that.

    Dr. Demirjian says that organic products may have more of an environmental
benefit than an usage benefit, but that doesnt mean theyre not good.

BOTTOM LINE: Just because a company claims its products are organic or natural doesnt mean they are safer or more effective than conventional cosmetics.

Can my child use the same sunblock lotion as I do?
    Montreal dermatologist Dr. Ari Demirjian says there is ‘branding’ going on in the marketplace with regard to child-specific sunblocks.

    “Kids can use the same products after age six months. Infants should not be exposed to sun at all. All chemicals found in sunscreens are approved by Health Canada for use in both adults and kids. All children need to be covered up as much as possible with hats and clothing, with lotion applied only to exposed skin. Some pediatric dermatologists prefer physical sunblocks on kids aged six months to two years. Those products contain zinc oxide or titantium dioxide.”

BOTTOM LINE:
Look for products with broad spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays for both you and your two-years-plus child. That means it will contain Parsol 1789 (also known as avobenzone) or mexoryl. If the childrens product is for extra-sensitive skin, you might want to use it yourself. PC

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