After a couple of decades of flirting, you've probably got your moves down-whether you're more the kind to woo a guy with slightly daring direct eye contact, a head-thrown-back laugh, or a light touch of your hand on his arm while talking. These moves have probably evolved over the years as you got to know yourself better and really understand what works for you.
But how about your beauty routine? Are you still relying on the same eye-lining techniques and heavy-duty-hold hair mousse you used during the dawn of your dating days? If so, it's time to revamp your routine. Think about your best feature-are you the kind of woman who often hears, "You have such beautiful eyes"? Are you more likely to get a "Grrrrrreat hair!" compliment? Or perhaps it's your complexion or your smile that wins guys over. Whatever the case, we've got the scoop on how to play up that feature in a way that suits your life stage. Try this advice to look full-throttle fantastic - and feel more confident than ever - on your next night out.
Playing Up Your Eyes
Keep it soft. We bet when you're at a bar, you don't like it when a guy uses a hard-sell pick-up line. Well, the same general principle goes for eye-lining too: Stay away from obvious lines! Steer clear of the kind created with a liquid liner or a black eye pencil. Instead, go for a soft but smoldering effect with powder shadows applied as liner with the tip of a sponge applicator or an eyeliner brush-the kind that comes with most eye shadows works just fine.
Get colorized. Forget those neutrals-browns and grays just won't give you the fresh, sexy look you're after. Laura Geller, owner of Laura Geller Makeup Studio, loves soft pink and violet shades. "They're the most flattering and flirty," says Geller, "and they intensify whatever eye color you have." Apply your color with a light touch over the lid (no need to go all the way up to the brow bone) and dot a touch of shimmery ivory or gold shadow right in the middle of the lid as a highlight to amp up the allure a little more.
Lift your look. If you, like many women past their 20s, feel as if your eye makeup pulls a disappearing act, here's some advice. For eye shadow that goes into hiding in the creases on your lids, try anchoring it with a base. The color will really cling. Feel as if your eyes look tired because of slightly droopy skin on the brow bone? Consider some subtle shading instead. Geller's favorite trick: Apply a soft shade of taupe from your lash line all the way up into your crease, then highlight under your brow bone with a sheer pink shadow for a pretty, wide-awake look.
Make mascara work overtime. While some women prefer soft brown mascara for everyday use, on a date, get into the black-"It gives you the biggest bang for your buck," says Geller. Apply mascara to both top and bottom lashes, giving a few extra swipes to your upper, outer corners. That extra emphasis there will draw your date's gaze up and out, which delivers a youthful effect.
Having Touchable Hair
Get in condition. Your hair is probably harder to manage than it used to be: First, your scalp is producing less oil, which naturally conditions your hair. And those gray hairs (who, you?) are coarser than your other strands. Rehydrate at least once a week with a protein-based deep conditioner, and do pick a gloss-boosting serum on your big night out.
Love your length. The thinking for hair length used to be forty = shorty; long hair was somehow believed to be unseemly for a woman "of a certain age." Just tell that to Demi Moore, Sara Jessica Parker, and Julianne Moore, whose long locks are their beauty trademarks. Similarly, you should feel under absolutely no pressure to crop your hair a little closer every few years. But you don't need hair down to there; it's about what works best for your face shape, fashion sense and lifestyle. A style that suits many women is one that hits at the bottom of your neck - with layers cut in around your cheeks and chin - creates a long, swingy look that you'll love.
Seduce Him With Your Smile
Skip the "man-eater" mouth. Lots of us were conditioned to believe that a date means it's time to break out the classic, really red lipstick. But today the look is lighter and softer-and that's a good thing. Light colors and reflective formulas make the mouth look fuller-just what lips need as they tend to get thinner with the passage of time. No one's advising you look like a tween with gobs of glittery gloss; instead, make your lips looks fuller with "pale shades and a little shine," says Geller. "The sheerer the better."
Make sure it stays put. To keep any gloss from sneaking off lips and into those itty-bitty lines around the mouth, use a lip liner the same shade as your natural lip color. Think of it as your lip-gloss guard rail that'll keep the color and shine where they're supposed to be!
Revel in Radiant Skin
Go for the glow. And that means putting your powder compact far, far away. To get a dewy look and soften any fine lines that may have surfaced, Geller recommends a liquid foundation with light-diffusing particles; these reflect light away from imperfections, so your skin has a natural, alluring glow. Apply the foundation with a sponge or brush, starting with a little on your forehead and bringing it down to your jaw line. The best way to avoid an obvious line of foundation demarcation? "Pick the right color," says Geller. Apply the makeup to your jaw line, then step outside into natural light to make sure it's a match.
Blush a bit. If you're lucky, no blush would be necessary on any of your dates: Your guy's mere presence would make your skin flush naturally. But since you can't count on always encountering that kind of chemistry, apply a cream-based blush (the kind your mom used to call rouge) to the apples of your cheeks (the plump pads that you see when you smile). Skin needs more moisture as you get older, and while a powder blush might fade away, a cream blush stays put.
Now you're ready to go out there and have a great date, knowing that you've subtly showcased your best features. And since these tips are so low-maintenance, you won't have to steal away to the ladies' room for touch-up work… by trying them, you've just bought yourself a few extra minutes of date-night fun!
Caroline Carter writes often on beauty for national magazines. And she wouldn't head out on a date without her trusty tube of peachy lip gloss.
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