The Perk-Up Artist makeup palette
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My college friend Sarah is hitting a milestone birthday this year. The number shall remain secret. The ladies in our dance group want to shower her with gifts, and they’re thinking makeup.

“Eve, can you work your magic and find out for us what’s new out there in Makeup Land?” pleaded Mitzi. My kind of adventure!

“We have our new Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector [$39.50],” offered the Clinique saleslady at Macy’s. “It has antioxidants in it, and it brightens the dark circles under your eyes. At about 12 weeks, the circles will be about 30 percent lighter. You put it on under your foundation. It has a metal applicator on it, so you can massage under the eye.”

A must-have suggestion from my Clinique lady: “The Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, which is a clinically proven serum that helps reduce dark spots, discoloration, and evens skin tones [$49.50]. You put it on day and night, and in the daytime you want to wear it with a sunscreen.”

Over at the Benefit section, the saleslady pointed out the Perk-Up Artist Complexion Corrector ($30). “It is a three-color compact: the corrector, the cover, and the brightener. It helps with imperfections on the skin.”

What caught my eye, though, was the “artist” on the box: long 1970s hairdo, aviator glasses, and a long mustache — Sarah would love it.

Another eye-catching package from Benefit: Peek-A-Bright Eye Illuminating Kit. With a flirty wink on the cover, the kit contains three shadows, a creamy brightener, and two brushes ($32). Who wouldn’t like to brighten their day or face?

At the Lancome counter, I found eye shadows. “We have the new Color Design line of eye shadows,” informed the saleslady ($24.50). “They are a pressed powder and come in 15 different shades, 24-hour wear. A lot of golds, pinks, purples, silvers, and there’s a nice sea-foam green. They’re packaged in a little pod and they will last way longer than a regular shadow....

“Genifique Eye Light Pearl is our new serum,” she continued, “that you use before your eye cream. It helps with puffiness and dark circles [$68]. Use it in the morning and at night....

“We also have a new Hypnose Drama Lash Mascara that’s more of a shimmery, silvery mascara. The character on it is Betty Boop [$26]. The mascara is my favorite,” she added.

“We just launched the Perfectionist Anti-Wrinkle Serum,” said the saleslady at the Estée Lauder counter ($65 for one ounce). “It’s our anti-wrinkle lifting serum, and what it does is what we call ‘supercharge your skin.’ It will suddenly help you with the lines and the wrinkles, and you’re going to feel them being plumped, your skin is going to feel smooth, look fresher, younger, all the stuff we want. And in just about four weeks, 96 percent of women showed a significant reduction in the looks of lines and wrinkles using the serum.

“There’s also a new product called Vivid Shine and the main stars of it are the Vivid Shine Luminizer lipsticks [$25]. There are four of them, and you can use them alone or layer them on top of your lipsticks. The Gunmetal is a deep gray color, and it deepens whatever color you have on your lips or, if used alone, turns the lip a shiny grayish tone. The Pearlescent is a pearly tone, and the Foil is kind of a champagne silvery color, which makes it a little lighter. There is also a golden one called Lamé. All four you can use on top of your lipstick or alone....

“The Pure Color Gelee eyeshadows,” she continued, “can be used wet or dry for a metallic look. Just a few drops, or a spritz on your little cotton pad or concealer brush, and it intensifies the color [$24].”

A necessity from my Estée Lauder lady: Advanced Night Repair Anti-aging Serum. “It’s our number-one-selling product ever. It repairs the skin. It’s been around for 30 years. They guarantee if you use it every day for a year that you’ll look better for your next birthday [$55 for one ounce].”

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