Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Five Little Makeup Tips That Make A Difference

It's always about the little things. I'm not going to tell you how important it is to avoid demarcation lines when applying foundation or blush, nor am I going to talk about blending your eye shadow (my personal rule about blending is that once everything is done and finished I take a clean brush and give my crease one more blending. It's kind of like the "look in the mirror and take one thing off just before leaving the house"). You already  know all of that and a lot more. The tips I'm sharing today are very little things that are easy to overlook though they make such a difference for me that I thought it's worth considering.

1. A good lighted magnifying mirror. They're terrifying and I doubt anyone enjoys staring at moon surface that is one's face monstrously enlarged. But this view is essential for at least two things: precision in applying eyeliner (especially since my eyesight is not what it used to be and I don't wear contacts), and getting a real idea of how my foundation, primer, and concealer interact with each other. The mirror shows streaks, flakes, questionable areas, and what really happens in my pores. It's the only way to truly judge a foundation as far as I'm concerned, as well as the true effectiveness of skincare. I use the Simplehuman 8" sensor mirror x5, and will probably add a small x10 at some point.

2. When it comes to eyelid primers less is more. I'm an enthusiastic advocate for primers. I use them on my face, lids, lips, and occasionally lashes. I never skip priming and will not consider doing a full face of makeup without this step. I've realized, though, how easy it is to apply too much, and I see the results occasionally on people's faces. I have yet to encounter an eye primer that requires more than the tiniest, almost pin-sized amount to create the desired invisible, smooth, perfect canvas. Annoyingly, whether you use a product in a squeeze tub or one that comes with a doe-foot applicator, the intuitive thing is to use the entire amount that comes out. That's at least twice what's needed, resulting in visible streaks, bleeding towards the lashes, pooling in the outer corners, and an even eye shadow application. The worst offender I know is Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer. The formula is fantastic and it comes in five shades, so it can camouflage hyperpigmentation on the lid. It fulfils every promise, but only if you scrape the applicator again and again and again, and then use a brush to pick a miniscule amount off it.

3. No matter how beautifully my mascara applies and how good it is, my lashes benefit from a quick go-through with a good lash comb. It's such a tiny thing that's easy to skip when in a hurry, but combing is the only way to completely separate the lashes, remove clamps, and create sophisticated  and elegant lashes. I know that retro heavy clumpy lashes were back for half a minute, but I prefer to avoid the 80s Aziza mascara look.

4. I like to start my makeup routine with exfoliating my lips. It doesn't matter what one uses: a homemade sugar-and-oil paste (messy and not my favorite, but it works), a balm/lanolin and a washcloth, or a commercial lip scrub (I like MAC and Milani, but will us whatever I've picked up while shopping for other things). Doing it removes flakes and also slightly prepares and plumps the lips for lipsticks. Treating the lips early one in the process gives them time to absorb some product, which helps prevent drying.

5. Good brows have both color and texture. When in a hurry it's tempting to go with the easiest, most fool-proof product one favors (for me that's Glossier Boy Brow in Brown with it's tiny brush and perfect-for-me color, but many prefer a clear gel or are so used to a specific pencil they can do it in their sleep). The thing is that achieving the perfect yet natural brows requires creating a three dimensioned realistic brow, not just filling in the gaps. This requires using two products of different textures that create a tiny bi of volume. It doesn't matter if it's pencil plus powder, powder plus gel, a pomade plus pencil or power--- whatever works. It's  that tiny bit of fullness that makes the brows look real and not painted-on.

Do you have small, almost trivial makeup tricks that make a world of difference?

The amusing image at the top is part of a beauty feature that appeared in the June 1972 issue of Vogue UK.


  1. Like you, I use an eyelash comb. I despise clumps!

  2. Thank you! Great tips, especially 2, 3, and 5. I tend to overdo it with eyeshadow primer, haha.

  3. For lashes I first use an eyelash curler (Shu uemura) & then an eyelash primer.

  4. Great tips, Gaia! I also seem to use too much eyelid primer.

  5. I've had to add a 10X mirror on suction cups to the 5X mirror for real detail and have a 100 watt LED on a gooseneck desk lamp arched upward on my dressing table for adequate light. Terrifying....but better than not knowing!

  6. I keep trying to remember to dab a bit of cream concealer into the inner corner of my eye sockets (as well as over my under-eye circles). That little step really makes a difference for me!

    Also, taking a few seconds to sharpen my eyeliner pencil just before I use it.

    And... yes to the magnifying mirror! (My mother gave me one, probably knowing that I was in denial and wouldn't buy one for myself...and it's been a game-changer.) ...and yes to wee eyelash combs!

  7. Great tips! My tip is to use an eyelash curler - even if I don't use mascara that day, it makes ALL the difference! And...a magnifying mirror. I have a small one that I bought at NM probably 15 years ago - its a 10X magnifier. I paid a lot of money for it (at the time - I know it's more now). I cannot do my makeup without it - if I broke it, I would panic, and then go online to find another. I don't care what it would cost.

  8. I so miss your blog! Are you coming back?

  9. Well done! I actually send this post to some girls I know are starting now or who complain their makeup never looks good. What I would add:
    1.Lip primer, Colour Pop and Milani have cheap ones that works wonders. I don't have lines on my lips so I can't say it will work for that, but it makes any lipstick last longer. I'm also experimenting with some Korean new lip topers, they're very interesting, especially for slippery lipstick formulas *cough YSL Volupté cough*
    2.Eyelash curler always(and a Etude House mascara primer for girls who lashes don't hold a curl)
    3.Tightlining. So easy and works for both "no make up" looks and strong liner.
    4.Flesh-colored liner on the waterline. Makes you look like you sleep 10 hours every night.
    5.Lining your lips when the lipstick is the main focus of the look. Once my friend had her makeup done with a professional and I swear the woman lined her lips so well everyone passing us, women and men, couldn't stop staring at her lips.


I love comments and appreciate the time you take to connect with me, but please do not insert links to your blog or store. Those will be deleted. The comment feature is not intended to provide an advertising venue for your blog or your commercial site.

Related Posts Widget