The key to the examples you posted in your first post is the lighting. You can fake it with hours of PS but nothing comes close to getting it right in camera to give you a good start for a retouching session.
Here's my take. I took your retouched example which was a great start but a little flat for my tastes. Used curves to take out the reds and then a tad of desaturation. Brought the lips and pupils back through. Used the Amy Dresser Dodge&Burn technique to add some definition to the highlights/shadows and hair/eyes then finally a highpass radius 20 or so backed off to 25%.