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How to get Gwyneth Paltrow's Oscars glow

Makeup artist Pati Dubroff explains how she achieved the actress' look of 'healthy elegance' at the 2005 Academy Awards.

By Melissa Magsaysay

Los Angeles Times

February 27, 2011

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For Hollywood, awards season has stretched into a multi-event, multi-month marathon. But there's no doubt that for old-fashioned glamour, the Oscars take home the prize.

A few stars have tried extreme trends the night of the Academy Awards — think of Angelina Jolie channeling Morticia Addams at the 2000 Oscars. But celebrity makeup artist Pati Dubroff is a big proponent of skipping the trends and looking timeless. You can see that philosophy in the simple, elegant beauty of her clients — who also happen to be some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

Dubroff, recently named Clarins' celebrity beauty artist, has been the longtime makeup artist to Gwyneth Paltrow, Naomi Watts and Sheryl Crow. She believes in amplifying their natural beauty rather than slathering a mask of product onto their recognizable faces.

For the Oscars, "the look should never have a time stamp on it or be too much about a trend," Dubroff says. "The main thing is that the woman looks like the most incredible version of herself."

Paltrow is a fine example of Dubroff's beauty philosophy (OK, there was the one Goth moment she had at the 2002 Oscars when she wore heavy black eye makeup with a semi see-through black Alexander McQueen gown, but she is generally fresh-faced and understated when it comes to makeup). Paltrow's look from the 2005 Oscars is one that stands out in Dubroff's mind for the "healthy elegance" the actress exuded in a peach-colored, strapless Stella McCartney gown. Dubroff designed and achieved a soft makeup look for the fair-haired actress that complemented the dress without washing her out. She explains here how to achieve the look.

To prep skin, Dubroff starts with a light moisturizer applied to the outer areas of the face and Clarins Instant Smooth cream to the center of the face in order to minimize pores and reduce shine.

With a flat foundation brush, she sweeps a sheer foundation all over the skin, sometimes using a rosier or slightly darker shade on the outer areas of the face and a lighter shade toward the center. This technique begins to add contours to the face even before blush or bronzer. "Some people approach foundation as making the skin a blank canvas," Dubroff says. "But I like to build contour because, with all those lights on the red carpet, one color can look flat."

To combat dark circles and hollowness, she puts a light-reflecting concealer under each eye. By applying a thin line into the lowest part of the dark circle, Dubroff is able to bring out the eyes and brighten the entire area. A thick concealer with no shine camouflages blemishes and dark spots.

Next Dubroff sweeps a cream blush on the apples of the cheeks. "This will start to sculpt the cheeks, as well as add a layer so the color lasts longer," she says. By applying some cream bronzer into the hollows of the cheeks, she adds even more definition to the area. Make sure to blend both, so you're not left with a bronze and pink stripe on each cheek.

The eyebrows are left fairly natural, just combed and then filled in lightly with a blond pencil. Dubroff goes back over the pencil with a powder shadow of the same color to add a little more definition and staying power.

The most arresting aspect of Paltrow's look was her soft metallic eyes. To get the eyes to pop in a strong but not overpowering way, Dubroff applied a taupe-gray cream eye shadow into the crease of the eye and lightly along the outer corner. She advises bringing it down to the lower eyelid to create a soft contour across the entire eye. Then she used a cream eye shadow in a champagne-sand color on the center of the eyelid. Dubroff went back over the taupe-gray cream shadow in the creases with a matte powder eye shadow of the same shade for more depth and staying power. She did the same thing with the sand-cream-colored shadow, by sweeping a matte powder eye shadow in a bone color for lightness and a little bit of contrast.

With a mix of silver and gold shadow she added shimmer to the eye. First she swept it over the middle of the lid, staying away from the crease so the darker shade doesn't become muted and there is still depth to the eyelid. For a shimmery glow in Paltrow's inner-eye area, Dubroff brought the silver-gold shadow really close into the inner corner of eyes and under the inner eye. She recommends using a soft angled brush so you can control where the shimmer is going.

"The thing that separates a movie star from a regular person is individual lashes," Dubroff says, and she didn't skimp on Paltrow's lashes despite the pale-colored dress.

To do it yourself, start by sweeping lashes with black mascara. Then, starting at the middle of the eyelid, add individual lashes, filling in spaces in between natural eyelashes." I start at the middle because I like to open the eye first," she says. Wait about two minutes for the glue to dry completely. Then, with black liquid eyeliner, go over the very inner lash line to cover any spaces or glue and connect and define the lash line.

Next, lightly dust a translucent powder over the entire face to eliminate shine and set makeup. To add color back into the cheeks, sweep a peachy powder blush onto the cheeks and a powder highlighter over the tops of cheeks and over collarbones. "Use a cream highlighter on any bones you want to pull out," she says.

Dubroff used a rosy-toned lipstick that was similar to the natural color of Paltrow's lips. To apply lipstick lightly, don't glide it right on your lips; rub some on your index finger and pat the color on your lips. Then go over the lipstick with a lip liner the same color as the lipstick. Add more lipstick on the lips and over that, a hint of lip gloss. "It should not be too glossy, but more like a highlighter for the lips," Dubroff says. "The look is finished but not overly drawn in."

Dubroff says that although Paltrow is fair, there's no reason a brunet with a darker skin tone couldn't wear the same look. Stay within the same rosy family of cosmetics, but rather than using icy metallics like Paltrow's, go with warmer gold tones that complement a deeper complexion.

melissa.magsaysay@latimes.com