We could watch beauty bloggers and vloggers do their thing all day long (and let’s be real—we pretty much do), but for some reason, our work just never comes out looking as amazing as the pros. Sure, makeup artists dedicate their life’s work to perfecting the craft, but it also seems like they’re blessed with a little makeup magic.
But is it really magic, or is it just some insider info? Probably a little bit of both—but we’re rolling back the curtain on some pro tricks that will serious take your makeup game to the next level. Give these hacks a try. You won’t be sorry.
1. Create a radiant base with Embryolisse Moisturizer
A staple in every pro makeup artist’s kit, Embryolisse’s Lait-Crème Concentré is a rich moisturizer perfect for all skin types that hydrates and preps the skin, leaving a gorgeous, dewy glow.
2. Get rid of redness with eye drops
Eye drops contain ingredients that constrict the blood vessels in your eyes, therefore making the redness go away. This same principle applies to pimples or other redness on the face as well. Just saturate a cotton swab with some Visine Original Eye Drops and dab it onto the specific area. In a few minutes, the redness will be gone.
3. Brighten up skin with peach or apricot toned primers
Peach and apricot toned primers, such as Smashbox’s Photo Finish Color Correcting Foundation Primer in Apricot are fantastic for brightening up dull and tired skin, especially for those with darker complexions. The colored tint in the primer helps correct hyper-pigmentation and is also excellent for counteracting blue or purple-toned dark circles.
4. Powder in-between primer and foundation
One way to make sure your makeup lasts all day is to set your primer with a powder before applying foundation. It sounds odd (since we’ve always been told to never apply liquids on top of powders), but it actually works. Apply your regular face primer and dust a lightweight translucent powder over top. By doing this, you are locking it in, ensuring that the primer won’t slide around and disturb your foundation. But remember, moderation is key—applying too much powder will make the foundation application cakey.
5. Use a BeautyBlender to apply foundation
If you look in any makeup artist’s kit, it’s almost guaranteed you will find a BeautyBlender. This revolutionary makeup sponge’s patent-pending shape allows you to access every contour of your face. It is meant to be used damp, allowing for a flawless application and ensuring that makeup never looks heavy. It also comes in a variety of colors and even mini-sizes.
6. Make “peach fuzz” disappear
Every woman can relate to the struggle of applying foundation only to have all the baby hairs on your face be emphasized. If you’re not into the idea of shaving your face, there is a little application trick to ensure that peach fuzz stays invisible. After you apply your foundation and powder, take a makeup brush and run it along your entire face in a downwards motion. This will make sure that those baby hairs lay flat against your skin.
7. Apply cream blush, bronzer, and highlighter underneath foundation
But doesn’t that defeat the purpose of applying it? Not exactly. By applying a cream bronzer, blush and/or highlight underneath a lightweight foundation, you’re creating that natural “lit from within” glow that we all desperately want.
8. Use HD powder sparingly
Ever see pictures of celebrities where it looks like someone threw baby powder all over their face? That’s what happens when flash photography mixes with too much HD powder. Some will say that it should be avoided completely in these scenarios, but that’s actually not the case. HD powders are made from 100% silica that reflects light. When they are applied to dry skin and a flash photo is taken, they give off the white cast we’ve seen so many times before. The trick here is to use these types of powders sparingly and in places where there is moisture, such as the T-Zone where we tend to get oily. This allows the powder to dissolve into the skin and assures that flashback won’t be a problem.
9. Color theory
Color theory is the foundation of good makeup application. Most of the time we actually use the wrong colors and undertones for our skin. To master color theory, look to a color wheel. Opposite colors, such as red and green, cancel each other out. So if you have a red pimple, applying a green toned concealer first will make concealing it 10 times easier. It’s also important to take into consideration the undertone of your skin, your eye color, and what works best with them. For example, purple makes green eyes pop and golden hues work best on warmer skin tones.
10. Use thin, hairlike strokes for natural-looking brows
The best way to create natural-looking brows when your hairs are sparse is to use thin strokes that mimic the natural hairs. Use a small, thin, angled brush, a tiny artist brush, or even a slim brow pencil, like Anastasia Beverly Hill’s Brow Wiz to create small strokes in the direction your brow hairs grow. Set with a texturizing brow gel, such as Benefit’s Gimme Brow, to create a fuller, more natural effect.
11. Eyeshadow placement for larger eyes
If you have smaller eyes, eyeshadow placement is key in faking a wide-eyed look. Avoid using dark shades on the lid and the waterline, as they close off the eyes and make them look even smaller. Instead, use a light color in the inner corner and a nude pencil on the inner rims of your eyes. Also, when applying your crease color, try blending it upwards in the inner corner towards the front of your brow. This opens up the inner part of the eyes, making them appear larger.
12. Fake elongated, feline eyes
Everyone wants sexy feline eyes, but unfortunately, not all of our eye shapes are naturally like that. However, there are a few ways to fake it. A classic winged eyeliner is the number one way to achieve beautiful, elongated eyes. If you have rounder eyes, try using a dark pencil in the lower waterline, dragging it all the way into the inner corner. Another small trick is to take a dark eyeliner (black for drama or brown for a more natural, everyday look) and create a small, triangular point on the inner corners of your eyes, following their natural shape.
13. Castor oil to grow brows and lashes
Admit it, you probably over-tweezed your brows as a teen and are now kicking yourself for it. But now, a natural and effective way of growing out brows and lashes has been discovered. Castor oil is rich in ricinoleic acid and Omega-9 fatty acids, which nourish the hairs and help growth that has been inhibited. Just apply a few drops every night to your brows and lashes using a disposable mascara wand or a Q-tip and watch as they become longer and stronger.
14. Rosebud salve for a healthy, glowy finish
What’s the secret behind Rosebud salve? This multipurpose product is perfect for soothing irritation and can be used basically anywhere on the body. Use it as a balm for glossy, smooth lips, or apply it on your lids and cheekbones for a healthy, dewy glow.
15. Blot and use powder to make lipstick last
The key to making any lipstick last is to layer. Start by lining and filling in your lips with a nude lip liner or one that matches your lipstick. Then, apply a light layer of lipstick with a lip brush. Hold a tissue over your mouth, blot the color, and dust a light layer of translucent powder over top. Repeat the process one or two more times for lip color that won’t budge.
Originally published January 2015. Updated August 2017.