Makeup is an art. Whether you’re aiming for that fresh-faced, well-rested look or glamming up for a night on the town, you need to not only have the right beauty products but know how to use them properly. These six makeup tools are also the very things you’ve probably been using wrong throughout the course of your makeup wearing life. Don’t fret! Here’s a quick breakdown of the common misuses and the easy ways to correct them.
Remember when you were in school and you used a highlighter marker to make the most important parts of the text stand out? You didn’t highlight the entire page. That was a waste of marker and time, plus your peers totally made fun of you. Same thing goes for cosmetic highlighter. First, do not brush powdered highlighter or apply cream highlighter all over your entire face. You are not a vampire in a teen drama, you don’t need to sparkle and shimmer from every angle.
The entire point of highlighter is to accent your features and help create definition. On the highest part of your cheekbone, straight down the bridge of your nose, and a small dot above your top lip applied with a highlighter brush is all you need. Additionally, not all highlighter products are created equal. Highlighter comes in different shades and different tones for a reason. Find the one that is right for your natural skin tone and put it to good, but conservative, use.
For decades, literal decades, we have been using concealer wrong. All this time you thought you were supposed to cover up blemishes, discoloration and under eye-circles before you used your foundation. You had it all wrong! After you have applied your base foundation you should use color corrective concealer (green for blemishes and red spots, yellow or peach for dark circles) to balance out any discoloration.
For cream concealers dab lightly with a beauty blender and layer until you have created the illusion that this blemishes never existed. Be careful when balancing out dark circles because it can go from “oh you look really well rested” to “hey that’s a lot of makeup you got on there” real quick.
3. Setting spray
Yes, setting spray is a thing and yes it really works. Instead of having to reapply and touch up your makeup multiple times a day, and ending up with caked on layers of foundation and powder, use a setting spray to help set your makeup in place and keep it there longer. More layers of cosmetics means more stress on your skin. More stress on your skin leads to problems like black heads, pimples and skin irritations. Investing in a high-quality setting spray will do a lot more than just save you from going through your makeup products quickly, it will also save your skin.
4. Eyebrow pencils or wax
We get it, heavy brows are in. But for crying out loud, save the hearts of makeup gurus everywhere and back away from the brow fill-in. You should not fill in your eyebrows to the point that strangers on the street ask if you have stock in permanent marker. Weather you use a fine tip pencil or an angled brush to deftly create the perfect arch, this is not coloring class and even if your heavy fill-in is inside the lines you’re doing it wrong.
With an eyebrow pencil be sure to have a sharp tip and create individual hair strokes. If you’re using an eyebrow brush and wax, use an angled fine tip brush to give the same effect. When you’re going for a heavy brow you should still use a light hand.
5. Contouring palettes
For everyday use, a contour palette can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Let’s get this out of the way right now: What looks fabulous in carefully lit pictures and videos on social media pictures makes you look like an absolute lunatic in actual daylight. While the heavy contouring you see in online tutorials looks amazing on video, in person it just ends up looking like you’re walking around in stage makeup because, well…you are.
Contouring is possibly the most highly skilled and easily misused part of any makeup routine. Much like highlighter, what you really want here is to define your features, not create entirely new ones. Lighter tones through your T-zone, darker tones to create definition along your jawline and cheekbones. Then stop there before someone pries the palette out of your hands and you’re stuck in one dimensional makeup prison forever.
You have a gorgeous collection of highly specified makeup brushes; ones with angled tips, wide surface areas, huge poofs, and little contouring brushes, right? You use them every day and feel like a beauty guru with a billion followers on one of those social networking sites. One problem: You never clean them. Dirty brushes are bad for your skin and bad for your makeup. Every time you use you brushes they come into contact with the oils in your skin even if your face is freshly washed. When you don’t clean your brushes regularly you not only transfer those oils to your powers, blushes, eyeshadows, and such, but you introduce bacteria to your makeup as well. Of course that means you are also spreading bacteria around your face, too.
Make it a weekly habit to clean your brushes with a mild makeup brush cleanser made for cosmetic brushes and a reusable silicone brush cleaning pad. It will protect your skin, keep your makeup fresh, and prolong the life of your brushes.