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Do us a quick favor: Take everything that you know and love about "romantic" makeup and trash it. You don't have to do a conventional look for Valentine's Day — you know, the classic smoky eye and brick-red matte lip that used to be synonymous with sexy — if you don't want to. But whether you're going on a hot date, or treating yourself to the best burrito bowl that money can buy, you can and should spice it up, celebrity makeup artist AJ Crimson says. "Play up your assets," he tells us. "You don't have to reinvent the wheel." Just take a look at his Instagram. The pro, who's worked with the likes of Fergie and Brandy, specializes in natural contour and bold, in-your-face lips — both of which he did on me, above.
If you've got a deep skin tone, then you know the struggle of finding a perfect foundation match. Luckily, Crimson's own Artist Kit in Warm/Deep has six shades to choose from — most notably, a rich chocolate brown, which he says is the darkest on the market. "A girl who's South Sudanese could use it," he says. "When I started the line, I started with the deepest color first. I really wanted to make sure that girl was represented. In makeup and cosmetics, she's forgotten a lot of the time." To find your natural contour, Crimson suggests whistling, and then sweeping downward in the hollows of your cheeks.
And for the lips, Crimson likes to layer. On me, he used his own S+M Sultry and Matte Lipstick in Crimson Rose, skipping the liner to work with the natural line of the lip. Using his finger, he pressed a bit of Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadow in Intergalactic in the center for depth, and Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Blitz in the middle for shine. "Because it's a matte, it's really going to grab your color. To finish, he lined my corners with S+M Sultry and Matte Laquer Lipgloss in Fantasies.
For all of Crimson's tricks, watch the video above.