After years of playing around with makeup and trying to find products and techniques that work well for me—with my makeup journey having started since I was in third grade with any makeup I could find in my mom’s vanity—I have figured out some makeup rules that I live by. With age comes wisdom after all! Below are 10 makeup tips that I had to learn the hard way so you don’t have to.
1. A good skincare routine is as good as makeup. And don’t forget the neck!
A well-balanced and well-maintained skincare routine is the secret to perfect-looking makeup. While I’ve made the mistake of doing the bare minimum with my skincare and compensated with piling on as much product as needed to hide my imperfections, I found that having good skin can make your makeup apply flawlessly. To achieve this, make sure to keep your skin hydrated and you’ll look like you’re glowing from within. Using serums, moisturizers and most importantly sunscreen religiously will not only improve how your makeup looks but most especially your skin too. And remember, oily skin needs moisture too!
2. Makeup will rarely be flawless, so less is always more
Achieving a flawless finish is pretty much impossible despite what social media will say, so the sooner I accepted that the better my make-up looked. I have found different ways to minimize the layers of products that I apply while getting maximum coverage to achieve a great-looking complexion. First, apply foundation or tinted moisturizer before concealing to create an even base and reduce redness, discoloration, and minor blemishes. Then you’ll only need to conceal over areas you’ll need added coverage. A pro tip is to apply and buff foundation with a brush then go over with a beauty blender to diffuse and blend any lines.
3. Makeup products you’re layering should work well together
Have you ever applied primer or even foundation and had the product looking patchy or pilling off your skin? This is most likely because the base of your makeup products doesn’t match. Whether oil or water, your primer, and foundation should share the same base. Take time to find out the ingredients of your products and you’ll thank me later. Just remember, if you’re using a water-based primer, then use a water-based foundation, silicone-based products with other silicone-based products, and oil with oil-based. Otherwise, they will repel each other, make it hard to blend, and would end up sitting on top of the skin, yielding a pilling effect. Pro-tip, try and push the primer into your skin rather than rubbing and massaging it in like a cream.
4. Exfoliate lips before applying lipstick
Using a lip scrub before any lip product will give you smooth lips that make a great base for your lipstick to look even. This is key especially when you’re using dark color lippies or a matte lip, to avoid the product clinging to dry patches and emphasizing texture. I recommend doing this together with your skin preps and following up with a moisturizing lip mask or a hydrating balm to prevent your lips from drying out.
5. Bronzer vs contour
While these two may look very similar, each powder has different uses. A bronzer is primarily used to bring warmth to the face whereas a contour is used to create dimension. So if you’re looking for that sunkissed glow, bronzer is your best friend. If you want to look like you have chiseled cheekbones or a snatched nose, then contour products are a must. This will all depend on the tone of your products. Your bronzer should have warmer undertones and sometimes come with shimmer for added glow, while contours are generally cooler in tone and are always matte. Bronzing is typically added to places where the sun would naturally hit for that healthy glow while contouring is applied strategically in certain areas to sculpt and create the illusion of a more defined face shape like your jawline, cheekbones, and your nose.
6. Concealing is not about piling on product but rather, color correcting.
I have gone through plenty of concealers both high-end and found in drugstores to find the perfect product to hide my (incredibly) dark circles. I have been on the hunt trying to find one that can provide the best coverage without my undereyes looking dry and cakey. I have found that the best way to cover the darkness under my eyes is to color correct and cancel out any color that I don’t want peaking through. And no, this doesn’t mean you need complexion palettes with greens and purples. All you need is a concealer with peachy undertones. Based on the color theory, this will cancel out the darkness under your eyes since orange cancels out blue in the color wheel. So adding a thin layer of peach concealer before adding your undereye concealer (I recommend going a shade or two lighter) will help cover those stubborn dark circles.
7. When doing a bold makeup look, start with your eyes before doing your base
There’s nothing worse than dealing with eyeshadow fallout when you’ve already set your base. To avoid this, always start with your eyes first. Simple I know but the number of times I’ve ended up with the dreaded “raccoon eyes” because of fallout is quite embarrassing. Starting with your eyeshadow for a foolproof and fall-out-free makeup look. Just wipe your face with makeup-removing wipes and you’re good to go! This is especially important when using dark pigments or stubborn glitters that tend to go everywhere.
8. Grooming your eyebrows can make for easier brow days
If you’re anything like me, then natural brows are your go-to. And the key to this is well-maintained eyebrows. While it’s a little high maintenance to constantly visit the threading salon for that crisp clean eyebrow look, here are some tips to help lengthen the time in-between visits. First, trim your brows when needed. I like to take spooly and brush up my brows to see if any hairs are growing past my brow shape. I then trim those and brush down my brows and do the same. Next, if I see one or two stray hairs, I pluck them for a cleaner look. These will result in cleaner and better-shaped brows especially if you’re going for the brushed-up brow look.
9. Choose the right brush
You would be surprised how big of a difference using the right brush would make. You can be using the same product and applying with a different brush and be getting a different finish every single time. Always remember, the results of any makeup product largely depend on the applicator. If you’re looking for a lighter finish, try going for a stippling brush or a beauty blender to apply your base–this will feather out the product. If you want a heavier and fuller coverage application, go for a denser and shorter bristled brush to be able to buff and push more product unto the skin. The same goes for eyeshadow, if you’re looking to pack color on your eyes, a flatter and more dense brush is the best choice, for blending a fluffy brush should be your go-to.
10. Double-cleansing is a must to remove makeup
If you’re still using makeup remover wipes to take off your makeup, stop and throw those bad boys away. There are plenty of reasons why these aren’t so good for you. One, they aren’t able to take ALL of your make-up off even though you’ve already washed your face. How many times have you tried applying toner only to find dirt on your cotton ball after swiping? Two, tugging at your skin while rubbing can create premature wrinkles. (yikes!) Three, it is just not good for the environment since those wipes take years to break down. What is the best option you may ask? Double cleansing. There is no other makeup remover out there that can take off any product as well as an oil-based makeup balm can. Using a makeup-removing balm to emulsify and break up the day’s dirt and grime then following with a water-based cleanser, can take off even the most waterproof makeup to leave your skin absolutely clean without harsh tugging or pulling.