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The End of the Bronze Age : The Summer Face of '87 Is Powdered, Pearly and Refreshingly Pale


During bygone summers, when heat and humidity made blushers blur and mascara melt, many women abandoned makeup and faced the season wearing nothing but a tan on their faces. But recent findings linking the sun's ultraviolet rays to skin cancer have changed many people's minds about the sun-worshiper look. Fortunately, the revelations appear to have changed the course of makeup trends.

This summer's face is paler and more polished than previous looks that depended on a dark tan. And, as Mission Viejo makeup artist and salon owner Jeryl Geary points out, the new look is "more sophisticated because the color is applied artistically, rather than burned in by the sun."

But how do you keep a cool, peaches-and-cream freshness despite the excess oil and perspiration that accompany the year's highest temperatures? The cosmetics industry's answer is "summer-proof " makeup, such as Germaine Monteil's Visage Clarite, Clinique's Workout Makeup and Maybelline's Shine Free Oil Control Makeup. The foundations are formulated to retain a smooth matte finish and prevent "breakthrough" oily shine. Sheer opalescent foundations, such as Guerlain's Opalissime, impart a delicate, pearly finish. Others, like Workout Makeup, contain sunscreens and are designed to stay put even after swimming or exercise class.

This also will be the year in which many women rediscover pressed and loose powder. Clinique's Iris Model, senior vice president and director of education, says that even if you don't wear foundation, you must use powder to achieve the season's sought-after matte finish. And, she adds, powder "provides a barrier against pollutants."

Geary notes that some of the prettiest powders she uses at her Fresh Hair salon are tinted to add a hint of color. "I show clients how to use tinted moisturizers to protect the skin and then create a matte look with the tinted powder," she says. "It's a very sheer, sophisticated finish."

Two powdery looks prevail: a cameo-like paleness and a face glowing with tawny highlights. Among the season's palest dusts are Trucco's Creme Fraiche and Pink Divinity; Guerlain's Terracotta Bronzing Powder is one of the most intense.

But for recovering tanorexics who can't face summer without a tan, despite the medical warnings, bronzing gels and powders offer a sun-kissed look that washes off with soap and water. And unlike sunbathing, which can leave you with uneven darkness, "sunless" tanning products let you control the degree and distribution of color. Godfrey Rayner, director of education at Guerlain, suggests dusting Terracotta on shoulders, backs, necks, even legs and arms, for a sunny look that complements this season's flirtatiously skin-baring fashions. If you are willing to wait a few hours for a "tan," products such as Estee Lauder's Sun Self-Action Tanning Creme and Germaine Monteil's Soleil Self-Tanning Creme are designed to make the skin appear darker without baking in the sun.

To keep the skin fashionably pale and protect it from rays that can endanger you even when you're miles from the beach or swimming pool, cosmetics firms are offering portable sunscreens to use anytime the sun is out. Chanel's Protection Extreme Sun Shelter Face Block (SPF 15) and Germaine Monteil's Soleil Creme SPF 18 come in purse-size compacts and can be used over or under foundation.

Summer eye makeup is also pale and matte. To keep it from running, Geary suggests applying a water-based foundation or cover-up cream to the lids. "By covering the whole area from brow to lashes, you create a canvas for the new, paler eye shadows. Powder the lids, dust off the excess and proceed with the shadows. The colors will last for hours."

Model says that waterproof mascara won't necessarily prevent the raccoon-eyed look of smeared eye makeup. The trick, she says, is in the application. "Lashes must be completely enveloped, or mascara will smudge in hot, humid weather. Apply it first to the tops of the upper lashes, then underneath them. Let them dry and apply again."

The recurring message is choice: For the first time in years, you don't need a tan to look right this summer. Whether you opt for cameo-like paleness or the selectively sun-kissed look, the important thing is to shield the skin and keep it looking fresh. And protection during the summer of '87 will lead to young-looking, healthy skin for years to come.

Makeup by Wendy Ann Rosen / Cloutier; hair by Johnny Walker / Celestine-Cloutier; cosmetics by Clinique.

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