In the Mirror

Eye Makers

By Charlotte on November 14, 2011 6:42 AM

Big, blue and fringed with long, luscious lashes. My friend Margie Montague (now Thieleman) has the most gorgeous eyes.

Long an admirer, you know I was thrilled when she agreed to share the secret to her look-at-me lashes in high school. Unfortunately, however, my hopes of duplicating them disappeared somewhere mid-demonstration. That's when I realized they required at least two coats of blacker-than-black mascara, each followed by skillful separation of any clumping hairs with a straight pin, needle or other equally sharp instrument sure to send my mother screaming "YOU'LL PUT YOUR EYE OUT!!"


Since then, I look for simpler ways to keep the focus on my peepers. Here are some of my favorites for fall and beyond.



Get a Fresh Start

Waking up with raccoon-like smudges just won't do. To get gorgeous eyes, you've got to start with a clean canvas. I like a natural makeup remover that's strong enough to guarantee a fresh start without irritating my skin like:

Jason Quick Clean - 100.jpg 

Stay Dont Stray 50.jpg 

Before moving on, I always prime the entire eye area to even out my skin tone and help eye shadows stay put. A little dab of Benefit's Stay Don't Stray keeps concealer AND eye shadow looking I-just-put-it-on fresh all day.  $26 at Benefit.com

 Camouflage Creme 100.jpg

 If you're prone to dark under eye circles like me, Smart Cover Cosmetics Camouflage Crème is another must-try eye base. Besides hiding shadows, it softens those tiny lines and doesn't look dry. Plus, this waterproof quick-fix lasts and lasts. $16.50 at SmartCover.com


Charlotte - HGTV Shoot-200.jpg

Donna Decorates Dallas

makeup artist Chelsea Lee


Experiment with Color

For years, I've played it safe with nice, neutral eye shadows. I leaned towards taupes and avoided anything with too much color.


Then we began filming our little story for Donna Decorates Dallas. While helping me get camera-ready, makeup artist Chelsea Lee (she's so cute and fun that I want to adopt her!) tipped me off to the benefits of purple for hazel eyes like mine. Interesting!


Later, I asked makeup expert Gail Sagel, founder of FACESBeautiful.com, to help boomer babes like us in selecting eye shadow colors. Her advice: "Experiment! Try different shades to see what works best on your eyes, keeping in mind that skin tone has everything to do with it."


For a head-start knowing what will work, Gail advises using your eye color -- not your clothes -- as a guide: 

  • Blue eyes should stick with earth tones for maximum impact.
  • Green or hazel eyes can have fun with a purple or a gold-flecked earth tone. 
  • Brown eyes are the winner in this game; they can get away with pretty much anything!  
  • Everyone can benefit from using gold or white eye shadow on the inner corners of the eyes to make them pop. Purple is also a great color to try for every eye hue; its place in the color spectrum makes it a flattering choice for any skin tone.

Her words were just the encouragement I needed to begin exploring color. And thanks to travel-friendly, coordinated shade sets like these, I don't have to think much about it. They include step-by-step instructions that make it simple to take my lids out of neutral territory.


  • beautiful eyesPURPLE 100.jpgJosie Maran's Argan Beautiful Eyes - Talk about show stopping shades! Four high-impact eye shadows, a shadow liner that can be used wet or dry, and a mirror come in this pretty, mirrored case along with tips for achieving three different looks. There's no brush but I enjoy using this palette as well as the others listed below with EcoTools' Bamboo Eye Shading Brush. (It's excellent for putting on shadow base as well as shading, highlighting and blending.)

Josie Maran's naturally formulated powders contain Argan Oil plus floral and fruit extracts so they go on soft and help condition lids. The four BeauNEQuad-2cmpcts 100.jpgtiful Eyes collections include Nudes, Blues, Smokes and Boomer-rific Purples. $36 at Sephora and Sephora.com

  • Neutrogena Nourishing Eye Quad - This fade-proof foursome begins with an on-the-light-side base that provides UVA/UVB protection with SPF 15 as well as conditioning antioxidants. (You gotta love that!) Then there's a brow-lifting highlighter, crease and accent shades for definition, and a basic brush. The handy set comes in eight versions including Boomer Brief fav Moonlit Violet with its perfect purples. $9.99 at Neutrogena.com and retailers nationwide 
  • NYCES_INDVCC_0180_10_BCKSTGBRWN.jpegNYC Individual Eyes Custom Compacts - Each of these limited-edition eye makers offers an all-over primer, an illuminator, four jewel-inspired pressed shadows and a double-ended applicator. Choosing the right set is a no-brainer because they're designed to compliment your eye color. I've had fun trying the blue-eye-boosting Fall Makeover with its rich earth tones but there's also Designer Denim for Brown Eyes and Hot Couture for Green Eyes. $4.99 at drugstores and mass merchandisers nationwide; NewYorkColor.com for retailers 
  • Sally Hansen Instant Definition Eye Shadow Palette -- This trio of super-fine, ligThe Mountain.jpghtweight powders delivers silky color and dimension. Made to help you blend like a pro, the cool combo includes a medium shade for full lid coverage, a darker crease accent, an under-brow highlighter and a double-ended brush. Besides long-lasting color, you get the benefits of reparative antioxidant ginko biloba and skin-smoothing dog rose extracts. Although there are eight pretty palettes, I especially like the tawny browns in Mountain. $7.95 at drugstores nationwide; SallBecca Powder.jpgyHansen.com for locations 

Feeling more adventurous? Becca Eye Color Powder Shimmers can add instant glamour. These new shadows have a soft, super-fine shimmer that helps brighten eyes without taking them over the top. Shades range from fresh, snowy white to sultry, smokey black. Apply them with a brush for a subtle wash of color or with your fingertip for a more striking effect. Three to try: Satin (beige-gold), Organza (white highlighter) and Chintz (khaki gold). They're simply beautiful and come in the cutest little round cases (complete with a mirror inside) that remind me of a tire and hubcap!  $24/each at Beccacosmetics.com Donna 200.jpg

Designer Donna Moss stars on

Donna Decorates Dallas Saturdays on HGTV.


Make a Line

Although I'll always admire Margie's fabulous eye fringe, these days I'm doing my best to copy Donna Moss' cool cat-eye liner. Every time I meet with the beauty-queen gorgeous and mega-talented Donna Decorates Dallas star, I find myself studying her glamous eye makeup and making mental notes. (Yes, I know we're supposed to be focused on furniture but I just can't help myself.)  

To achieve this look, a long-wearing liquid liner like one of thImage of brush Jou 100.jpgese is essential:


Jouer's Liquid Shimmer Eyeliner - Blends soft, shiny color with skin-nourishing Vitamins A and E and green and white tea extracts. A flexible brush applicator makes outlining with this silky, fade-resistant formula a breeze. The only tough part is choosing between the three, rich shades: Fox (a navy-charcoal), Sable (a wonderfully sheer deep reddish purple-brown) and Mink (dark taupe). $22 at Jouercosmetics.com

 liquid-liner ybf 100.jpg

YBF Draw the Line - Has a fab, felt tip that helps the creamy liner glide on smooth. You can easily begin thin and build to a dramatic winged corner using basic brown-black Onyx or playful Perfect Purple. Or take your look to another level by layering both. $12 at Ybfstacey.com and BECCA Line & Illuminate Pencil in Madagascar 100.jpgHSN.com


Other top choices for lining and defining include:


Becca Line and Illuminate Pencil - Combines a creamy liner and a velvety, soft highlighter with just enough shimmer in one, convenient crayon. It doubles as a crème shadow and comes in five day- to date night-perfect shades, including Madagascar, a magnificent russet brown liner paired with a glittery gold highlighter, which works anytime. $23 at Beccacosmetics.com


NourishingEyeLiners 100.jpgNeutrogena Nourishing Eyeliner - Contains rich color for definition plus tiny light-reflectors that help make the whites of your eyes look whiter. (What a great idea!) The dermatologist-tested formula is enriched with olive oil, rainforest shea butter, Vitamin E and other good-for-your-skin ingredients. What's more, this clever pencil includes liner on one end and a combination sharpener-contoured smudger on the other. Although it comes in six shades, Cosmic Black is a natural choice. $7.99 at at Neutrogena.com and retailers nationwide



Flirt with Layers

Thanks to Margie, I remain convinced that layering is the secret to flirty, full lashes.


My three-step process begins with a white primer that builds and separates. Since I'm somewhat fickle, I alternate between Smashbox Layer Lash Primer ($17; Smashbox.com) and Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum ($28; Dior.com). I love both these quick-drying lash flatterers.


Next, comes two coats of long-wearing jet black mascara. After losing every last lash to chemo two years ago (talk about depressing), I'm all about healthy choices that stay put but are easy to remove when you're ready. That's why I rate these five glam-boosters as must-haves:


  • Jose mascara_press 100.jpgJosie Maran Instant Natural Volume Argan Mascara - Plumps, curls and increases shine. This water-resistant lash fortifier includes nourishing ingredients like aloe leaf juice, algae and soybean extracts as well as protein-rich Argan Oil, which conditions and encourages hair growth. (Bonus!)

Josie Maran's patented Triple V brush builds thickness, smoothes and divides lashes so they appear larger. $22 Sephora and Sephora.com ($1 goes to the City of Hope Cancer Institute to benefit women's cancer research, treatment and education) LongLash_Mascara 100.jpg


  • Lavera Long-Lash - Separates lashes and helps them look both fuller and longer. Besides preventing clumping, the innovative brush covers each lash with a blend of organic oils and waxes. $20 at Lavera.com and Target stores


  • Healthy Lengths mascara 100.jpgNeutrogena Healthy Lengths - Lengthens and strengthens lashes. This rice-protein-packed formula comes in regular and waterproof, which I appreciate because it doesn't run even when I'm suffering with allergy eyes or tearing up in some sappy movie. $8.99 at Neutrogena.com and retailers nationwide    


  • One-Stop-Shopping-Mascara 2 50.jpgRamy One Stop Shopping - Extends lashes and makes them appear fuller. Another great one for allergy sufferers, this water-resistant formula is designed to be kind to the most sensitive eyes. What's more, it goes on evenly and doesn't flake or cause lashes to bunch together. $19 at Ramy.com and Duane Reade look boutiques


  • YBF Mascara Duo.jpgYBF Aquafusion Xtreme Black Mascara - Adds nice volume, length and shine. The unique half-moon brush distributes beneficial Vitamin E and beeswax and helps emphasize each individual hair. You don't have to fear smudging because it's water-resistant. And it comes in an eye-catching red tube. $24.50 at Ybfstacey.com and HSN.com


We'd like to shout out a big "Thank You" to the all brands in this post who provided free samples for review and testing.

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ChickenBurritoBowlEverydayDiabetes 600.jpg

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Image credit: Colin Erricson

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If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

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