Kevyn aucoin mascara

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IMO, whether you’re a legit beauty pro or a total newb, you can always benefit from a few makeup tips. Why struggle with your cat’s eye or contour when there are so many easy hacks to make the process 100 times smoother? So in the spirit of sharing is caring, I went ahead and found the 21 best makeup tips and tricks of all damn time, including when (and where) to apply concealer, how to finally perfect your winged eyeliner (spoiler: it involves a spoon), and so much more. So grab your makeup bag and that one product (err, products?) you never learned how to use, and keep scrolling.

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Apply your foundation before concealer

Hot tip: The easiest way to level up your makeup routine is to try applying your foundation before concealer. Think about it: Starting with a foundation layer will help minimize any redness or discoloration–almost like creating a smooth base for the rest of your products. You can then go in with your concealer to spot-treat any zits or remaining redness, and you’ll use way less product in the process. Another plus? Foundation before concealer is a genius fix for preventing caking and creasing.

Maintain your eyebrows with a spoolie brush

On busy days when I don’t have time to fill in my eyebrows, I like to do the next best thing: quickly comb up my arches with a spoolie brush (aka those little mascara wands). And even when I do have time for powders, gels, and pencils, I still like to prep my brows with my spoolie–it takes 10 seconds max, and it’s an easy way to make sure each of my brow hairs is in the right spot before I go in with my products. Pro makeup tip: You can buy spoolie brushes in bulk for v cheap (I like the Cuttte Disposable Mascara Brushes) or go for something reusable (I’m a fan of Roma Beauty’s Brow-Fro Baby Hair, which also has a precision pencil on one end).

Don’t sleep on blush

It might seem like an obvious step in your makeup routine, but blush is the most underrated product IMO. A couple of sweeps of cream or powder blush along the high points of your cheeks will give your entire look a brighter, warmer finish with pure ease. “I use blush on all my clients–it gives the skin that fresh and rejuvenated look, and it adds the perfect amount of depth to the face,” makeup artist Lakeisha Dale has told Cosmo. And, no, that doesn’t mean you need to pick a bright-pink blush or anything like that–try going for something soft and glowy, like one of the picks below.

Melt your pencil liner to help it glide

Fact: Creamy makeup products blend better when they’re warmed up. So if your Kohl eyeliner pencil skips or tugs on your eyelid or takes multiple coats for a decent color payoff, melt it down slightly before you start lining. To do so, hold the tip of your kohl liner under the flame of a lighter for a second or until it gets tacky, let it cool slightly (swatch it on your hand to make sure it’s not too hot or melted), then watch the consistency change right before your eyes.

Make your eyeshadow pop with white eyeliner

Blend a white eyeliner pencil over your entire eyelid to make a sheer or less pigmented eyeshadow appear more vibrant on your eyelid. Then, put your eyeshadow right on top. The opaque coverage of the white liner will intensify any eyeshadow shade and make it pop.

Outline your cat’s eye

If you’re struggling with nailing your winged eyeliner look (also, hi, same, I feel you), try drawing the outline of the shape first and then filling it in. Extend a line beyond your lower lash line to create the bottom of your cat eye. Then, decide on the thickness you want for your wing, and trace the top rope from the end point of your flick to your upper lash line. Once the shape is mapped out on both sides and everything looks symmetrical, fill the open space.

Use a spoon as a stencil for a winged liner

If freehand drawing your cat eye isn’t going to happen for you, grab a spoon and use it as a stencil. Holding the stem of a spoon against the outer corner of your eye, use a liquid eyeliner to draw a straight line as the first step for your cat’s eye. Then, flip the spoon so it’s hugging your eyelid, and use the rounded outer edge to create a perfectly curved winged effect.

Hack a smoky eye with a hashtag.

A smoky eye can go from sultry to sloppy quickly if you don’t know what you’re doing. To keep it simple, use creamy eyeliner to draw a diagonal hashtag symbol on the outer third of your eyelid, then blend it with a sponge or a smudging brush. This will ensure that both eyes are symmetrical and prevent you from getting too crazy with the eyeliner.

Use a spoon as a mascara shield

Nothing is more annoying than making your eyeshadow look perfect, swiping on mascara, and ruining the whole thing with smudges. The fix? Hold a spoon so it’s hugging your eyelid, then apply your mascara like you normally would. As you sweep the mascara wand against your lashes and the back of the spoon, the residue will coat the back of the utensil rather than your skin. Genius.

Revive mascara with saline solution

Word of advice: Only use a mascara tube for three months. Beyond that point, it can collect bacteria and lead to eye infections and other unfortunate things you wouldn’t want to search on Google Images. But if your mascara annoyingly dries up within those first three months, add a couple of drops of saline solution into the flaky formula to restore its smooth consistency.

Heat your eyelash curler with a hair dryer

DIY your heated lash curler by blowing hot air on your eyelash curler. The added heat will help your lashes curl faster and keep their shape longer. Just hit your lash curler with a blow dryer until it heats up, wait until it cools slightly but is still warm (test it on the inside of your arm so you don’t burn your eyelid), then clamp down on your lashes to curl them.

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