Blending contour is another skill set that takes an artist’s intuition to finish. Indeed, most people who can paint a stunning face are artistically inclined. But don’t let that stop you from picking up a couple of tips makeup artists have imparted.
Don’t Pump the Mascara Stick
If there were a cardinal rule in makeup, it might be this one. Do not, under any circumstances, pump the mascara wand. Pumping the wand feels right, and if we’re being honest, we have all done it. Alas, it is a huge makeup no-no.
Pumping the stick puts too much product on the brush, to start, so you’re going to be clumping it on. It also adds air, causing it to dry out. Dried mascara will flake and clump, these are results absolutely no one wants. Don’t do it!
Do Use Mascara Like This
Now that we know how NOT to use the mascara wand, here’s how to wield it correctly. The best way is to pull the mascara wand out gently, evenly, and gradually. As the brush begins to approach the opening, briskly turn the wand handle right and left, in back-and-forth circular motions.
Pull it out while continuing to make the back-and-forth motion. Finally, apply it with eyes focusing downward into a mirror. Use vertical as well as horizontal strokes.
Don’t Wear Makeup Every Day
Let your skin renew. Wearing makeup every single day can prevent your skin’s natural renewal process. It takes approximately a month for skin cells to die and make room for new cells. Wearing makeup every day slows the process.
It also opens up a higher risk for breakouts. Plus, acne will last longer. And if that doesn’t convince you, wearing makeup every day can cause premature wrinkles.
Do Take Care of Your Skin
The first great thing you can do for your skin is to skip wearing makeup altogether, at least one day per week. At the same time, make sure you follow a good skincare routine.
Moisturize, cleanse, and tone daily. First, cleanse your face, then tone for balance, and lastly moisturize. Stay hydrated. Drinking water will help keep your skin smooth.
Don’t Use Eyeshadow Incorrectly
Do not match your eyeshadow to your clothing, it’s an old and unflattering trend. Don’t use too much, packing on the shadow will make your eyes appear smaller. Brown is the safest color to use because it is neutral.
Do not put on too much shadow. After dipping the brush in the color, tap it to let free excess powder. Do not use only one color of eyeshadow, a complementary color is necessary.
Do Follow These Eyeshadow Tips
Always blend. There should be a natural mingling of color. Always apply eyeliner before eyeshadow but apply eyeshadow before mascara. Some makeup artists like to do eyeshadow before blush and bronzer. This is to avoid getting particles of shadow into the complexion makeup. Color matters.
Be aware — brown, blue, green, and hazel eyes are complemented differently, certain eyeshadow colors are perfect while others do not match the palette of specific eye colors.
Do Not Apply Blush Like This
Applying blush is counterintuitive. Most girls, when they first get a hold of a blush compact and a brush, will dab the rose-colored powder directly onto the cheeks at the highest point, also known as the apples of the cheek. This is incorrect. Another common mistake is to smile before you brush the product on your face.
The color ends up in the wrong place, dropping too low when you relax your facial muscles. However, there are some detractors who insist you smile while applying blush.
Do Use the Correct Blush Color
Not all shades of blush are complementary to every person’s skin tone. For a dark complexion, you will want to use dark shades like brick red, raisin, or bright orange. For olive-color skin, rose or orangey-peach will be the best bet.
For medium skin, apricot, berry pink, or plum blush is the right match. Lastly, for fair skin, stick with soft pink or peach-colored blush.
Do Apply Blush Like This
First, you will need a large blush brush. It should be dome-shaped, fat, and fluffy. It’s time to apply blush once the primer, the foundation, the concealer, and the bronzer/contour are applied. Blush should give your face a lift, so it is applied upward, toward the upper cheekbone, to where your ear meets the cheekbone.
The first step is to load the brush. Dab it onto your cheeks, starting at the apple. From there, do a sweeping motion to the upper cheekbone. This is the basic method. There are specific techniques based on the different face shapes.
Don’t Do This With Eyeliner
There is one thing you should never do when using eyeliner, whether liquid or pencil. Do not apply eyeliner directly to the bottom lower lid, above the lower lashes. Darkening in that area makes your eyes look smaller, giving the effect of closing the eye.
Another negative aspect is that a makeup pencil can harbor bacteria and an eye infection may make your lower eyelid skin red and sore.
Do Not Use Old Mascara
The most obvious problem about using mascara that is well past its expiration date is that it goes on clumpy, and your eyelashes get that lumpy look. A less intuitive issue regarding the use of old mascara is that it can harbor germs and cause an eye infection.
The general rule of thumb for mascara shelf life is to throw it out after about six months.
Do Use This Mascara Hack
Since mascara is applied last, the risk of smearing part of your makeup masterpiece is high. One wrong move and you’ll be starting over with eyeshadow primer. But not if you use this clever spoon trick.
Just hold the scoop of the spoon, over your top lid where your lashes meet, with the curve of the bottom facing out, and apply, risk-free.
Do Try These Eyeliner Tips
Another use for a spoon while applying makeup is to use it as a guide for liquid eyeliner. If applying eyeliner freehand is not an option for your makeup skill set, you can try to create a cat-eye look like this. First draw a straight line on your lid, tracing the handle of the spoon.
Next, place the round of the spoon onto your lid. Follow the spoon’s curved line. If this doesn’t work, you can try using tape to shape the cat-eye curve.
Do Follow These Steps for Creating Cat-Eye Look Freehand
If you’re up to this eyeliner challenge, try following these steps. First, draw a line angling up and out from the corner of the eye. From the top of the line to your eyelashes, draw another line that forms an elongated triangular shape. Then take your liquid eyeliner and fill in the shape.
Next, connect the shape to your lash line about halfway down. A wet cotton swab works for cleaning up the lines.
Do Prime and Prep Eyelids
Before getting started with eyeshadow, take one very important step. Prep your eyelid. Get an eyeshadow primer and apply it to the lid. It makes the shadow application flawless and keeps it impeccable all day long.
Once the primer is on the lids, apply a small layer of powder into the crease of the eyelid. This will help avoid creasing during the day, especially if you have oily lids.
Don’t Use Liquid Foundation on Eyelids
Applying liquid foundation to eyelids makes lids look cakey or crusty. This product is too heavy for the delicate skin around the eyes and will make it look wrinkled as the day goes on. Another problem is that when eyeshadow is added to the lid it will accentuate the cakey look.
Always use a primer instead. One alternative is to use loose foundation powder, but the primer is much better.
Do Use these Eyeshadows for Brown Eyes
Since brown is a neutral color, there are virtually no limits to eyeshadow colors that will compliment brown eyes. The colors that ideally complement brown eyes are deep purples, browns, orange, coppery orange, bright teal, and magenta.
Dark purples give eyes a dramatic look, browns give depth and accentuate eye color. Coppery orange brings warmth and passion. Bright colors like teal, magenta, and cobalt blue bring out a bolt of color.
Do Use these Eyeshadows for Blue Eyes
For blue eyes, use bronze, rust, gold, light pink, orange, or purple. On the color wheel, orange is the natural complementary color to blue. In this range, there is gold, champagne, lavenders, and soft pinks.
Gold or bronze makes blue eyes pop. Champagne is practically made to suit blue eyes which also works as a highlighter. Soft pink and lavender can make blue eyes stand out.
Do Use these Eyeshadows for Green Eyes
To best colors that compliment green eyes, are colors from the red to peach scale. Peach works nicely because it brings vibrancy to green eyes. The silvery and cool shades of grey are perfect.
Browns and mauves highlight earth tones of green eyes, and green, in any shade, accent green eyes. Choose the shade of green eyeshadow that best matches your eye color.
Do Use these Eyeshadows for Hazel Eyes
Since hazel eyes seem to combine green and brown eye color, there are gold and yellow highlights making fuchsia and dark pinks the ideal shadow colors for hazel eyes. But hazel eyes look great with lots of colors too. Mauve, burgundy, deep plum, navy, green, and browns all accent hazel eye color.
Pinks are perfect, the deep reds of burgundy look great on everyone, deep plum and navy dramatize eyes, and greens and browns accentuate hazel orbs.
Do Apply Highlighter This Way
Too much highlighter will make your face look packed on and cakey. Just the right amount of highlighter makes your complexion finish with a pop. Apply a very small amount. The goal is for it to give the face a natural, luminous glow. The best places to add it are just above the cheekbones, down the bridge of the nose, and brow bones. Also, on the inner eye corners.
Overdoing it leads to a fake-looking outcome. Before you start, of course, prime and apply foundation. Set those with powder, then add blush and bronzer.
Don’t Make These Highlighter Mistakes
So your face doesn’t get washed out, choose the correct color. Fair complexions should use a highlighter in champagne tones. Olive skin is best suited with a peachy highlighter shade. Darker skin should be highlighted with bronze tones. Do use the same brush for foundation as for highlighter. Don’t over-apply, as it will leave your face looking greasy.
Using a cream-based highlighter on top of a powder foundation is not going to work because the foundation gets wiped off when the highlighter is added. Try a powder highlighter.
Do Use Non-Comedogenic Ingredients
Comedogenic ingredients are found in many makeup products. It is not that easy to steer clear of them but doing so will help skin avoid breakouts since the ingredients are pore-clogging. It is commonly found in foundation, moisturizers, blush, bronzer, and finishing powder.
There are too many ingredients to list, but some that are easy to recognize and very common are lanolin, palm oil, coconut oil, wheat germ, sodium Laureth sulfate, and carrageenan.
Don’t Shave off Eyebrows Completely
Shaving eyebrows is an actual makeup trend. It opens up a blank canvas to draw any eyebrow shape with sleekness. However, shaving eyebrows is not recommended. Eyebrows are there for a reason. They absorb perspiration before it drips into the eye, they shade the eye, and they catch debris and dust.
Eyebrows grow naturally to frame and shape your face. Also, you’ll lose a key outlet for non-verbal expression. Worry, surprise, and other emotions will be wiped off the map.
Do Fill in Eyebrows
Now that we know how important eyebrows are, here is how to fill them in and make them look perfect. You’ll need two eyebrow pencils, one dark and one light, an eyebrow mascara for sculpting, and a concealer. With the brush side of the eyebrow pencil, brush eyebrows upward. Use the darker eyebrow pencil to fill in the outer brows at the arch.
Then use the lighter pencil to fill in inner brows with short strokes. Apply brow gel to hold them in place, like hairspray, using short, upward strokes. Finally, trace the outline of the brow with concealer and blend well.
Do Not Apply Bronzer Like This
First, do not use the brush that comes with the bronzer, it’s too stiff. You will need a large, fluffy brush. Do not apply bronzer onto a wet foundation. If you don’t let the foundation dry properly it causes a streaky appearance when powder bronzers are used. Another common mistake is to use bronzer as a contour.
It is not for sculpting cheekbones, it’s for providing complexions an all-over glow. Even though it is supposed to give an all-over glow, do not apply it all over your face like foundation.
Do Use Bronzer This Way
There are plenty of ways NOT to use bronzer, so what is the correct way? After the foundation dries, dip the brush into the bronzing powder with a swirling motion and brush it onto your forehead with broad strokes. Go down the bridge of your nose, and onto your cheeks. Then, in sweeping broad strokes, apply bronzer in what is known as the “3-formation.”
Start at your forehead near the hairline and sweep down to your cheekbones. To finish the 3-shape, sweep back to the cheeks and around to the jawline, with the brush sweeping just under the jawline.
Don’t Use Dirty Makeup Brushes
Using makeup brushes repeatedly introduces elements that you do not want to have on your skin. Oil, dirt, and bacteria build up in your brushes, and using them can increase the chances of acne.
Applying makeup to enhance your appearance can have the opposite effect of making your complexion blemished.
Do Wash Makeup Brushes Frequently
Makeup brushes should be washed weekly, ideally. But, let’s face it, that is an unreasonable and time-consuming goal. Unless you’re experiencing acne frequently, you probably do not need to wash your brushes quite that often. A goal of monthly brush cleaning is advised.
Just swirl the brush end into warm water with gentle soap, rinse, and let dry. Or you can buy makeup brush cleaners from cosmetics brands.
Don’t Pull Your Skin While Applying Makeup
Stretching your skin to put on eyeliner or other makeup is a bad idea. It is a habit that will lead to premature wrinkling because the skin around the eye is very delicate.
It is also an ineffective method because applying makeup to the skin when it is stretched changes the line you intend on creating.
Do Apply Makeup Gently
Since the skin around our eyes is the most delicate and is damaged easiest by pulling and stretching, you should gently apply makeup. When using an eyeliner pencil, instead of stretching the eyelid, it is better to delicately pull the skin from the far corner of the eyelid.
Using liquid eyeliner may make it simpler to apply and therefore there is less reason to stretch your lids. Remember not to pull at those delicate areas while removing makeup as well.
Do Use Concealer Like This
The concealer comes after the foundation and before the bronzer step. Concealer is used to finish the work of the foundation. Applying anymore foundation becomes cakey, so concealer is used to patch up those areas.
Usually, it’s used under the eyes and over blemishes, or any place that needs more coverage. Use a blender brush to the edges to create a smooth and soft finish.
Do Not Use Concealer This Way
Do not apply too much concealer. Too much product will result in creases on your face. A tissue can be used to absorb excess concealer. Also, to properly apply concealer, you will need to use the correct tool to blend it. Blending is a very important step that prevents creasing from happening, so use a makeup sponge to smooth out the lines of the concealer.
There is a learning curve for blending with the sponge, so you’ll need some practice. Too much blending can remove all the concealer, and not enough creates creases, which, again, we'd like to avoid.
Do Your Lips Last
And do them right. Lipstick should be the finishing touch. You want the color of your lipstick to match the color of your blush. But before you apply color, exfoliate. This will keep lips smooth. Also, use lip balm for softer lips. After exfoliating, use a lip primer. Concealer substitutes well. Let it dry.
Next, lip liner should be used to cover the lips. Dab on lipstick. The product should not be wiped on, just dab repeatedly and twist. To keep color on all day, finish your lips with translucent setting powder or setting spray.
Don’t Neglect Skin Tone
Don’t forget to consider your skin tone when picking out a Lipstick. People who have darker complexions can wear dark lipstick colors like black and dark berry. They can even get away with wearing tow-tone lip color. But people who have light skin should never wear those dark colors.
Anything with blue should also be avoided for pale skin. Peach or red colors do the work for lighter skin.
Do Outline Lips with Lipliner
Lipliner is generally going to be just a shade darker than the lipstick. It should be applied around the mouth, tracing just outside of your natural lip line. Don’t trace too far outside your lip line because that creates an unnatural look.
Applying just outside the curve will make your pout look full and plump.
Do Not Use an Eyelash Curler on Wet Eyelashes
Curling lashes after applying mascara is a big mistake. The lashes will stick to the eyelash curler, and you will regret it. You may lose a few lashes too. Another mistake that is easy to make is using a dirty curler.
Clean off the surface of the curler with makeup remover and a cotton pad every few months. The silicone inserts should be replaced every so often as well.
Do Follow These Eyelash Curler Tips
When curling the lashes, squeeze the curler gently and slowly. Don’t pull. Just a slight squeeze should be enough, if not you could lose lashes and wind up with the over-bent look. One easy way to get the best results is to heat up the eyelash curler first. Use a hairdryer and warm up the makeup tool for a few seconds at high heat.
It works like a curling iron. You can buy a heated eyelash curler (pictured), but this might be a cost-cutting hack you may want to do yourself to save the $25 it costs.
Do Follow These Brow Tips
If you are into upping your eyebrow game, there are products and tools that you’ll need. For shaping and combing brow hairs, use a gentle eyebrow gel. For defining and filling in sparse spots, pick up a small, angled brush and some brow powder. For applying eyebrow pencil, use quick, short, hairlike motions on the brow. No drawing a line, please.
Using an eyebrow stencil works great for staying within the lines — it works like a template. Finally, use concealer, a shade lighter than your skin tone, just below your brows.
Do Not Make These Eyebrow Mistakes
Eyebrows can appear stunning by shaping and shading them, but not if you make mistakes. Do not shape brows into a pointed Dr. Spock arch. Pointed eyebrows give an angry or surprised look. Rather, a smooth arch, starting diagonally up from your pupil, is the most natural look.
Also, don’t make the unnatural mistake of squaring off the brow start point, blend it in. And, on the other end of the brow, don’t draw a line down too far to avoid an awkward tail-like look.
Do Try Threading
Plucking eyebrows leads to problems. The help of tweezers should be reserved for plucking errant hairs, not for shaping. One of the best ways for achieving a perfect brow shape is by the threading method.
It is the most precise and can even remove hairs from below the skin’s surface and those that are too short to be removed in other ways. It’s going to take some practice if it’s new to you.
Do Not Use Too Much Concealer Under Your Eyes
This is an important makeup tip to heed. It is tempting to pile on concealer under our eyes, where dark circles or bluish skin color plague this delicate skin.
But you don’t want to look like a panda bear or end up with cracked and dried, bleached mud-like textures marring your complexion. Apply a fine and creamy product. Start at the inner eye, and blend gently.
Do Use This Concealer Idea
While you have the concealer out, here is another tip. It can be used as an easy fix-it trick. When we make mistakes, whether it is by a misguided mascara wand or with a frustrating lipstick smudge, instead of using makeup remover to delete the mistake, try using a dab of concealer.
Use a short angled, pointy brush and conceal the misfire. A cotton swab could work too.
Do Not Make This Eyeliner Faux Pas
Liquid eyeliner is not that easy to use. Mastering the coveted wing with an eyeliner wand is even tougher to pull off. Beware of the gap. In this process, there are two lines to make the wing. A straight-out line on the bottom and a longer, curved one on top. Notice the space between the two lines.
That area above the corner of the eye must be filled in. Use a very thin liquid liner brush to darken that area of the lash line.
Do Pay Attention to Lighting
Try to find the best lighting possible for applying makeup. Natural light is best. The worst is using a dimly lit area powered by fluorescent lights. Pink and yellow lighting is also terrible. Outside of natural light, a well-lit mirror lit by LED lighting is ideal. Regular bulbs, as long as they have 1100 lumens, are also recommended for applying makeup.
Lighting is very important because, in darker environments, we will tend to pile it on. When you go outside or into a well-lit area, it becomes glaringly obvious that makeup was way overdone.
Do Not Go Monochrome With Eyeshadow
Besides the various colors that complement our eyes, there is another aspect of eyeshadow that is vital. Do not wear only one shade on the lid. It makes your appearance flat. The eye shows no dimension, it is less dramatic, and it is less dynamic. Use a darker and a lighter shadow of the same tone.
Start with the darker powder at the corner of the eye and blend it across, about halfway. Apply the lighter shade starting at the inner corner of the eye and blend it toward the darker shadow.
Do-Not-Fail False Eyelash Tips
Trim false eyelashes to fit your eyes. Some makeup artists recommend cutting it in half. Make sure you trim from the outside, the longer and thicker end. Add mascara to your own lashes, then wait until it dries before getting the eyelash glue out. Do not apply the fake lashes too soon. Put a thin line of glue on the falsies and let it dry somewhat.
Do not use too much glue — that is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Apply lashes with tweezers from the top, at an upward angle. Do not apply the lashes straight on.
Do Not Apply Too Much Contour
The rule of the contour is “less is more.” With that in mind, we’ve left contouring for last because it is an advanced makeup technique. It takes practice. The first thing you should NOT do is apply too much contour.
The blending step is the most difficult part, but first, it helps to know that the contouring effect is achieved with two shades: a darker color (the contour) and a lighter shimmer. The lighter color goes on top and the darker under the cheekbone. This is where the blending comes in.
Do Try to Learn How to Contour
Start with a palette of contour powder, coordinated with your skin tone. Contouring creates a shadow effect to elegantly construct structured cheekbones. Layer it on slowly. Follow your bone structure when applying contour (darker color). Makeup artist Andrea Whittle tells Bustle, “Roll your brush up into the cheekbone so you can almost trace that line, making it a no-brainer where the brush should go.”
You will need two brushes, a large, angled fluffy contour brush, and a somewhat smaller round, firmer contour brush. For contouring your nose, use a tapered eyeshadow brush. FYI: Face types vary. Differing contour techniques correspond with each face shape.