The 25 Most Important Beauty Skills You'll Ever Learn

Updated 10/14/16
J.Crew

Ask any woman who has (finally) perfected a cat eye or found just the right shade of highlighter how she feels afterward, and she’ll most likely say one word: powerful. In an effort to create more of these world-conquering sentiments, we’ve put together an extensive list of the 25 beauty skills we think every woman should learn and master.

Keep flipping to see what they are—and if you’re still shaky when it comes to some, we’ll show you the ropes!

Skill #1: Applying Bronzer Without Looking Like an Oompa Loompa

Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna $39
Shop

It’s all about the natural glow—key word being natural. Avoid bronzers that veer orange or sparkly, and instead, reach for matte taupe formulas. Here’s exactly how (and where) to apply bronzer in five easy steps. 

Skill #2: Contouring in a Natural Way

Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit $40
Shop

Contouring is an art—learn how to perfect it.

Skill #3: Highlighting All the Right Places

Chantecaille Liquid Lumière Highlighting Fluid $39
Shop

For example, above your cheekbones and below your brow bone. Lauren Andersen shows us this step-by-step to applying highlighter!

Skill #4: Applying False Eyelashes Without Screaming in Frustration

Ardell Natural Lash $4
Shop

Perhaps one of the greatest feats of all time, we know—but this makeup artist’s tip might just change your life forever.

Skill #5: Executing a Perfectly Flicked Cat Eye

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper $19
Shop

The most sought-after beauty skill, perhaps? Luckily, we’ve got a step-by-step guide and seven hacks to help you perfect your technique.

Skill #6: Creating a Daytime-Appropriate Smoky Eye

Sephora Magic Kajal Eye Pencil $27
Shop

Celeb makeup artist Joey Maalouf says you only need—wait for it—three products.

Skill #7: Tossing Your Hair Into a Cool-Girl Ballerina Bun

Beachwaver Co. The Wrap Up $12
Shop

Anyone can do a haphazard messy bun (a slightly textured ballerina bun, perhaps?). And it will easily take you from the office to evening.

Skill #8: Creating a Smudge-Proof Bold Lip

Ilia Neon Angel $26
Shop

Hint: Lip liner and concealer are involved. Need more clues? Here’s our handy-dandy guide.

Skill #9: Covering Panda-Reminiscent Under-Eye Bags

Eve Lom Light Illusion Concealer $40
Shop

Because faking a good night’s rest is one of our specialties.

Skill #10: Rocking a No-Makeup Makeup Look as Well as Beyoncé

Milk Makeup Eye Pigment $24
Shop

Okay, getting to Queen Bey’s level might be a stretch, but these tricks will help you get close.

Skill #11: Mastering “I Woke Up Like This” Hair

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray $44
Shop

Because you might as well take advantage of the fact that bedhead is chic, if only for now.

Skill #12: Wearing Lip Gloss Like an Adult

Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Gloss Lip Lacquer Lipgloss in Love Buzz $28
Shop

Because not all shine is bad. Scared you’ll look like a teenybopper? Just follow our grown-up guide.

Skill #13: Faking a Plump Pout à la Scarlett Johansson

MAC Lip Pencil in Spice $17
Shop

Before you go for the needle, why not consider one of these tricks?

Skill #14: Banish a Shiny Face in One Fell Swoop

Tatcha Original Aburatorigami Blotting Papers $12
Shop

Here’s what you can do other than blot the shine away.

Skill #15: Curl Your Lashes—and Get Them to Stay Curled

Shiseido Eyelash Curler $20
Shop

Our tip? Heat your eyelash curler before curling—it’s like a DIY perm for your lashes!

Skill #16: Staying Within the Lines

Vaseline Lip Therapy Original $2
Shop

We know it sounds like a crazy feat, but we’ve got one super-effective tool on our side: Vaseline. Here’s how to use it for a perfect mani every time.

Skill #17: Knowing What Foods to Put on Your Face

Fage Low-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt $2
Shop

It’s not as crazy as it sounds—we like Greek yogurt because it’s filled with acne-busting probiotics and clarifying honey.

Skill #19: Applying Perfume the Right Way

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium $90
Shop

Or rather, knowing which unlikely spots you’ve been missing all these years.

Skill #18: Getting a Streak-Free Faux Glow

James Read Tanning Mitt $10
Shop

First things first: Always exfoliate before putting anything with the words “self-tan” on it. If you look down and see streaks, try one of these tricks to even things out.

Skill #20: Removing Gel Polish at Home

SpaRitual Sanitizable Eco-Nail File 180/240 $7
Shop

Our love-hate relationship with gel polish has a simple, pain-free conclusion.

Skill #21: Correctly Grooming Your Brows

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz $21
Shop

Everyone wants brows that wow. To ensure yours are always in tip-top condition, here’s some valuable advice from four top eyebrow gurus. Curious about tinting your own? Our editor shows you exactly how to DIY at home. And of course, there’s always brow queen Olivia Culpo, who told us all her personal secrets for perfect brows

Skill #22: Mastering Beachy Waves

Bumble and bumble Surf Spray $27
Shop

Need help? Use one of these products if you’re not near an ocean.

Skill #23: Knowing How to Polish Up Your Look in a Pinch

Stila Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer Oil-Free SPF 20 $34
Shop

So you’ve been at the beach all day and now have to jet to a fancy dinner (lucky you). Save yourself a trip home and employ these tricks to take your look from beach to street.

Skill #24: Adding Instant Volume When Your Hair Looks Flat

Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray $26
Shop

Because everyone deserves to have bombshell volume.

Skill #25: Picking the Right Hairbrush

Mason Pearson Handy Mixture Nylon & Boar Bristle Hair Brush $150
Shop

If you’ve been using the same plastic hairbrush since your middle school years, it might be time to consider swapping it for one of these.

What do you think? Are you a pro at these? What other beauty essentials do you swear by? Tell us in the comments!

Related Stories