Teen-agers are exercising their image options. Experiments during the mid-'80s with punky Technicolor hair and ghostly Death Rocker makeup produced the desired shock effect, but by 1987 many teens tired of being categorized by their appearance. And eventually, like all fads, New Wave looks simply got old. Now many California girls say they are moving on to colors that reflect a more fun-loving, youthful point of view.
They aren't necessarily following color trends dictated by fashion magazines. Stars like Cyndi Lauper, Patti LaBelle and Madonna are still big influences, but many are turning to well-scrubbed, classically pretty young actresses such as Sabrina LeBeauf and Lisa Bonetof "The Cosby Show" and Justine Bateman of "Family Ties" for inspiration. Even more significant, many say they are now taking their makeup cues from one another. And the looks that kids like this year are colorful and natural.
Although their European counterparts are wearing gold, copper and yellow lipsticks to offset heavily lined eyes and bright shadows, teen-agers here seem to be sticking with less offbeat colors. Some girls are emphasizing makeup patterns, rather than shades. Fourteen-year-old Molly Dowling, for example, paints vertical stripes on the middle of her upper eyelids, creating what she calls "cat eyes." But she doesn't limit herself to feline greens or blues: "If I'm wearing a yellow, black, red and white shirt, then I'll stripe my eyes with those colors."
Rachel Perry, whose Chatsworth-based Rachel Perry cosmetics are popular with many teens, says rock stars got girls interested in fanciful designs, such as the zigzags that singer Anita Pointer wore to the American Music Awards. "They are actually using their faces as canvases and painting patterns on them," she observes. Yolanda Hooks, a 15-year-old junior at Inglewood High, agrees. "You see lightning bolts coming out of the corners of eyes and crazy bright eye shadows."
But such artistry is strictly for the most adventuresome. Hooks says she is among the majority in her class who prefer a wholesome look. Her makeup includes pink and purple eye shadows and light raspberry lipstick.
The overall look may be natural, but there's plenty of color involved. Young women are big consumers of a new form of eye makeup that has flecks of several shades in one cake. Maybelline's Blooming Colors Whirlwind Collection, an inexpensive line that many teen-agers like, offers a shadow that applies several colors in one stroke. Maxi by Max Factor, another reasonably priced line, recently introduced Swirlstick, which imparts a multicolor sheen with one lipstick. "I want people to know I have makeup on," says Hooks, "but I do want it to look natural."
Samia Shoaib, 16, who attends Westlake School for Girls in Los Angeles, says she favors Chanel and Princess Marcella Borghese, two lines that are beyond the budgets of most teens. Lara Saltman, a freshman at Cleveland High in Reseda, says she and her friends buy lip glosses at swap meets for $1 apiece.
For other teens, acne-prone skin precludes flea-market specials. Beverly Hills skin-care specialist Aida Thibiant says many teens are at least as interested in healthy skin as they are in experimenting with makeup. "I am starting to see girls in my salon who are 13 and 14 years old," she says. "These girls have baby-fine skin, but they're already aware that they want to keep it that way."
Many girls who don't go to facialists are scrupulous about using drugstore products before applying their makeup. Molly Dowling says she relies on "the teen-ager's best friend, Stridex." For Lara Saltman, skin care means cleansing with PhisoDerm and exfoliating with Buf-Pufs.
Most teens have had disputes with their parents over makeup, but girls dabble with cosmetics anyway. Many admit that they'd rather learn from their own blunders than accept parental criticism. Shoaib, for one, says she's made quite a few refinements in her makeup over the years. "When I look back at the bright blusher I wore when I was 13," she says, "I scream."