THE FACE OF summer has been liberated. There's no pressure to play up eyes or lips or to be bronze all over. Natural is the message; makeup is the medium.
Colors are toned down, delicate, often with a mere hint of metallic sheen. The artificial-looking, heavy-metal finish that was prevalent in 1987 has become a subtle shimmer. Bronzes, golds and silvers are used only to "warm" the skin.
Francine Stessel of Trucco Cosmetics calls these low-key metallics "an accessory for lightly tanned skin." She adds that the season's pastel palette of eye shadow, lip color and blusher is all the color needed, even for naturally pale skin.
Even though fashion designers--from Christian Lacroix to Donna Karan--have declared the dark tan passe, Max Factor beauty director Bob Salvatore says it's unrealistic to expect California women to completely eschew sunbathing. "Maybe that will happen in five summers, but you can't tell a Southern Californian to go from bronze to chalky. We live in the sun."
But Roy Karrell, president of Visage Beaute cosmetics, views the situation slightly differently. "Tans make the skin look like an old shoe," he says. The idea is to have a summery glow while avoiding the dangers of sun exposure. "A porcelain look in the summer has a tendency to seem almost unhealthy," he says. "We need to see skin that looks warmed. " He suggests applying a light dusting of bronzing powder over light foundation. "To make someone look younger, you use a lighter foundation," he says. "Then add the warm glow."
For the first season in two years, the fashionable face is in balance, with "eyes and lips colored with equal intensity, neither overpowering the other," Salvatore says. So if the lips are a delicate pink, the eyelids are barely shaded with light lilac or blue. Karrell suggests keeping the eyes "natural, without obvious color, perhaps with just a touch of gold or platinum shadow. Then pick up the same shimmer in a natural lipstick."
Instead of dark eye liner extended beyond the corners of the eyes, which was part of last year's '60s revival, the emphasis now is on long, natural-looking lashes. Soft liner, whose sole purpose is to enhance the lashes, should be worn close to the roots of the upper lashes only.
Yenda Barrios of Torrance-based Kao Sofina cosmetics tells clients to smudge the eye liner before applying shadow.
"You end up with a very subtle line, but the eyelashes look much thicker," she explains.
The choices for blusher are translucent pinks and melons. Less cheek color "creates a youthful, Brigitte Bardot, ingenue look," says Redken spokesperson Ann Mincey.
Karrell suggests that translucent blusher be applied not only to the cheekbones but also across the bridge of the nose "to warm the face in the same places that the sun would. That's the most natural summer look."
And under it all, women can wear a base with built-in sun protection. Foundations such as Kao Sofina's new liquid UV Foundation SPF 8 and Max Factor's Sun Smart SPF 6 promise to protect the wearer while letting her enjoy the sun-kissed look that Californians love.
Photographed by Davis Factor III; hair and makeup: Joanne Gair/Cloutier; model: Lisa Hampton/Elite