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The Eyes Have It: Expert Eye Makeup Tricks

Expert tricks to help you look wide awake and well rested -- even if you're not.

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David Tsay
Dr. Denese Wrinkle Rx Extreme Retinol Eye Gel
Jack Miskell
David Tsay
David Tsay
Jack Miskell
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Lush Lashes

Boost your roots.
Applying liner at the base of lashes makes them look thicker. "It creates the same effect as the old wiggle-mascara-at-your-roots trick, without the mess," explains Raychel Wade, makeup artist for La Prairie in New York City. Using a fine-tipped pencil (or a freshly sharpened traditional one), dot the skin between each hair.

Feed your follicles.
When applied to lashes daily, prescription-strength Latisse ($100/month) "adds length and thickness in two months," says Elissa Lunder, MD, a dermatologist in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and a FITNESS advisory board member. Get the Rx from your doc, who can tell you about any side effects.

Layer your mascara.
Forget faux lashes -- swiping on two different formulas offers the same effect. "Use a thickening mascara, then a lengthening one," says Wade. Wait 45 seconds between coats to avoid clumps.

Two mascaras are better than one. Start with Maybelline New York Great Lash Big Mascara ($6.15, drugstores), then top it with CoverGirl LashBlast Length Mascara ($7.49, drugstores).

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Erase Wrinkles and Creases

Say retinol.
Contrary to what you've heard, prescription retinoids like Renova should be used near the eyes. "Apply up to the lower lash line as well as to the sides," says Robert Guida, MD, a plastic surgeon in New York City. (Avoid upper lids, where skin is too thin.) If you're sensitive, downgrade to an OTC retinol.

Dr. Denese Wrinkle Rx Extreme Retinol Eye Gel ($49.50, contains retinol and vitamin C, another doc favorite for fighting sun-damaged skin.

Peel in the p.m.
Exercising outside sans sunscreen is a recipe for wrinkles. Pro peels, which stimulate collagen, are the best way to reduce lines, but at-home versions used twice a week can also be effective, Dr. Guida explains. Use as directed and apply at night so just-buffed skin won't be exposed to burning UV rays.

Pair cream with color.
Dry skin sucks up makeup, causing pigments to settle into creases and crow's-feet, says Wade. Pat on a pea-size drop of lotion first, blot with a tissue, then proceed with concealer.

Dab on Origins GinZing Refreshing eye cream ($29.50, before your makeup.

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Brighten Up

Blend better.
Dark circles are mainly genetic, and camouflaging them can look cakey. The fix: Apply a thin layer of cover-up with a fluffy blending, not concealer, brush. "Its dome shape swirls on skin for an airbrushed finish," says Keri Blair, senior makeup artist for MAC in New York City. Do this after putting on foundation. "Base cushions concealer, so it slips on without tugging the delicate skin," Blair says.

To illuminate, blend Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Conceal & Brighten ($35, with the MAC #217 Blending Brush ($22.50,

Brush on bronzer.
Our faces cast shadows, and the eyes are a prime location for them. "Apply bronzer to your hairline and cheekbones," recommends Jose Rivera, lead makeup artist for Sephora's Pro Beauty Team. "The contrast shifts light to the eye area, so it looks brighter."

Darac Beauty Feature Focus ($39.50, pairs bronzing cream with highlighter, great for neutralizing the eyes' bluish inner corners.

Stop the itch.
Got allergies? "Frequent rubbing can break the fragile capillaries around the eyes, causing undereye circles," says Yael Halaas, MD, a plastic surgeon in New York City. An antihistamine can help solve the discoloration problem.

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Skin Soothers

Cleanse like a pro.
Slowly swipe a pad from the outer corners of your eyes to the inner corners, gently pressing on the tear duct for three seconds, says Philippe Allouche, creator of Biologique Recherche Skincare. The motion helps drain excess fluids, minimizing next-day puff. Also, avoid gel removers; their ingredients can sometimes cause swelling.

Ideal for sensitive eyes, Mary Kay Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover ($14, gently cleanses.

Be cool.
Anything cold can nix inflammation, Dr. Lunder says. Place chilled spoons or green- tea bags soaked in cold water underneath eyes for 10 minutes. Even better: roll-on serums, which have cool, massaging tips.

Send bags packing with Neutrogena Instant Eye Reviver from Ageless Restoratives ($19.99, drugstores).

Skip the salt.
Foods with soy sauce and some soups can bring on bloat. Limit sodium to 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams a day. A workout can help too. "Sweating flushes out water, which will de-puff," Dr. Halaas says.

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Eye Spy

You've got: Translucent lids

The scoop: Your skin is on the sensitive side. "The thinner your skin, the less resilient it is to outside aggressors," says Kim Fair, head aesthetician at Depasquale Spa in Morris Plains, New Jersey.

Switch to: Fragrance-free face cleansers and creams as well as mineral-based eyeshadows; they're free of potential irritants such as perfume and synthetic pigments.

You've got: Itchy eyes after using a new mascara

The scoop: Your body may be sensitive to gluten. "Hydrolyzed wheat proteins, commonly used in beauty products, can cause a skin reaction in people who have an allergy to gluten," says Dr. Lunder.

Switch to: Wheat-free cosmetics and skincare products; read the ingredients lists before buying.

You've got: A tiny white pimple in your crease

The scoop: You're using creams and makeup that contain too much oil. "These blemishes are typically clogged pores called milia," Dr. Lunder explains.

Switch to: Products labeled "noncomedogenic" (aka, safe for pores); a hot compress will help draw out the plug in your skin.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, November/December 2009.

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