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Put Your Best Face Forward

Make-up application is an art form, there’s no disputing it. And Gail Sagel is one of the most talented and entrepreneurial make-up artists in Fairfield County. Faces Beautiful , her salon and studio, is a beauty mecca staffed by serious beauty devotees. Spend a half hour in Gail’s chair, and you’ll leave feeling camera ready. I speak from experience.

“When I look at your face,” Gail tells me as I settle in for my lesson, “I see exactly what I want to highlight. On you, it’s your eyes and your cheekbones. Everyone has a feature you want to draw attention to, and well-applied make up does this.” She sets to work immediately with a confidence that only comes from years of experience. Judging from her own beautiful face and expertly applied make-up, I know I’m in the best hands.

“Eyebrows are very important. They’re the frame on a great picture, and your eyes are the picture. So you need a good frame,” she says. “The arc of the brow should fall just past your pupil, not directly over it.” And with a few deft pencil strokes, she corrects Mother Nature’s oversight. The result is immediate and my face already looks more balanced.

“Like any framed picture, you need some matting to make the artwork stand out. Eye shadow is like those layers of matting. You have this white shadow on now, and it looks a little flat, so I’m going to change it up.” With the lightest touch, she applies some color. “When you mix pencil with shadow, the color sets, instead of falling off. Because you have blue eyes, I’m applying some browns and bronzes. To make eyes pop, you use colors on the opposite side of the color wheel. The overall look will still be very neutral, but your eyes will look bigger, brighter and bluer.” As she lifts the mirror to my face, again the result is dramatic, but the effect is still incredibly natural. I don’t look loaded down with heavy color, my eyes just look better. A whole lot better.

“When someone comes in for a lesson—we call it Creative Coloring—we can start with her own make up bag and just go through it,” explains Gail. “Everyone has something good in their bag. From there, we build. We teach clients how to better use what they already have. Or sometimes, women will come in and say, ‘I just need to start over.’ We can do that, too.”

Faces Beautiful offers more than make up. “All our skin care products are result-oriented,” Gail says. “I only carry products that will truly change your skin. I don’t sell the fluff. We’re also launching our own Faces Beautiful product line which we're thrilled about.”

In addition to her own skin care line, Gail has created a Faces Beautiful Mineral Make Up line. “Traditional make up is made from petrochemicals, from oil. Mineral make up is made from crushed minerals like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. It’s so much better for your skin. And it looks better, too,” she says. “But when people think of mineral make up, they think of those messy, loose powders that inevitably end up on your bathroom floor or in the bottom of your bag. The Faces Beautiful line is comprised of liquids, creams and pressed powders. We call it ‘No mess mineral make up.’ And because it’s so finely mixed, it actually settles into the crevices of your skin without clogging anything. It truly makes your skin look smoother.” After this introduction, I can't wait to give this miracle make-up a try. Gail pulls out a tube with a brush attached and in sixty seconds, she’s applied a light layer of liquid mineral foundation to my face. Another sixty seconds for the foundation to dry and then we check the progress in the mirror. I almost fall out of my seat. I haven’t seen my skin this smooth and seemingly wrinkle-free since before I became a mom. Again, the effect is completely natural-looking.

“I’ve tried to put all a woman’s beauty needs under one roof,” says Gail, as she walks me through the hair salon at the back. “We’re a full service salon,” she tells me. Keratin treatments, Brazilian blowouts, trims, highlights and color are just some of what her stylists do.

And what makeover would be complete without a little sparkle? “I’ve tried to pull together some great fashion pieces that won’t break anyone’s bank,” says Gail standing in front of a glittering collection of handmade jewelry. “I go to all the shows and really comb through for affordable quality. So your hair looks great, your make-up looks great, now you put it together with a fabulous pair of earrings or a statement bracelet and no one will even notice if you’re wearing last year’s shoes. Their eyes won’t ever make it that far.”

After thirty minutes with Gail inside this aesthete’s paradise, I look ten times better than when I walked in the door and I tell her as much. So does my photographer.

“That’s what we do here,” says Gail. “We make everyone a little prettier.”

Get gorgeous at Faces Beautiful in Westport, located at 139 Post Road East. For a list of all their services, including hair and facial treatments, check out their website .

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