7 Makeup Tricks Models Know (That You Don't)

Updated 06/11/19

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These days, “model behavior” can mean a lot of things. It can mean putting your best face forward; it can also mean knowing the anatomy of a perfect selfie. It can mean following a strict diet (even if that diet consists mostly of pizza—hi, Kendall), and it can mean listlessly sitting around backstage and possessing cheekbones that make the rest of us shed actual tears in wonder and envy. To beauty editors, however, we’ve found that “model behavior” usually has one common factor: knowing your makeup stuff.

Sure, models are skilled in the art of sitting for hours and getting their makeup done—but we humans are like sponges when it comes to hot tips, and models are no exception. After all, when you’re sitting in the chair of makeup legends such as Pat McGrath or Tom Pecheux, you put your iPhone down, stop Snapchatting the dog filter to your friends, and pay attention.

Ahead, we’ve gathered seven of the most glorious, most game-changing makeup tips we’ve learned from models like Gigi Hadid and Miranda Kerr. Ever wonder how to get Anja Rubik’s smudge-y, sleepy smoky eye? What about Alessandra Ambrosio’s signature nude lip? Keep scrolling to find out all of that and more—we suggest taking notes.

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#1: Skip Mascara for a Grungier Look

Anja Rubik is a fount of makeup knowledge, and one of our favorite tricks she shared was the fact that she skips mascara when she wants to get a lived-in, smudgy smoky eye. “Sometimes with mascara, your eye becomes a little too pretty, too girly,” she says. “If I’m going for a grungy look, I usually do no mascara at all.” Instead, she takes Burberry’s Eye Shadow in Almond ($29) and rubs it all over her eyelid for a smoky effect. As a final step, she says she even taps some of the eye shadow on her lips. “It’s a trick [makeup artist] Wendy Rowe showed me,” she explains. “You apply a little bit around the shape of your lips, and it makes your lips pop out.”

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#2: Know (and Fake) Where Your Brows Start

Our contributor Lindsay Ellingson learned quite a few things after over a decade in the beauty industry, but one of the simplest (and most effective) has to do with her brows. “One great tip I learned backstage is gauging where your eyebrows should start,” she told us. “Line up your pencil [vertically] with the side of your nose. If your brows don’t reach your pencil, you can fake it by drawing in a few eyebrow hairs.” She uses her brand Wander Beauty’s Frame Your Face Micro Brow Pencil ($21) to pencil in tiny hairs and extend her brows in the most natural way.

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#3: Use Nude Liner Instead of Lipstick

Brazilian bombshell Alessandra Ambrosio gave us a peek inside her makeup bag and told us that she’s all about a nude lip. “I think [it’s] very sexy,” she says. “Sometimes, I’ll just apply lip balm over a nude lip liner.” If that’s the key to getting her signature nude pout, we’ll gladly bid our nude lipsticks adieu.

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#4: Use Black and White Lipstick

When we caught up with Gigi Hadid at Maybelline’s L.A. beauty event, we couldn’t help but compliment her on, well, everything—but especially her plum lipstick. Turns out, the secret was adding a slight ombré effect with black-and-white lipstick to really accentuate her lips. “I’m wearing [Maybelline’s Color Sensational The Loaded Bold in Raisin], and then we also did the new white shade in the middle and black on the corners,” she told us. “It just gives so much depth to the lip. I think that having the black and white gives so much more opportunity to play around with those colors.” (See more of Hadid’s beauty secrets and the final lip look.)

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#5: Forgo the Eyelash Curler

When we shot Miranda Kerr in her picturesque Malibu home, the supermodel doled out plenty of beauty advice (and made us gluten-free muffins). One of our favorite beauty hacks? “If you don’t have an eyelash curler, you can curl your eyelashes with a spoon,” Kerr tells us. “That’s what my friend [makeup artist] Rose-Marie Swift taught me.”

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#6: Swap Lip Liner for Concealer

Joan Smalls, never one to shy away from a bold lip (proof: the purple look she wore to the 2014 Met Ball), says her secret for getting a precise line each time is swapping lip liner for concealer instead. “After applying a proper red lip, clean up the line with concealer afterwards to keep it looking super precise,” she tells Fashionista.

Use an angled brow brush to trace the concealer around your lip line for easy application.

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#7: Say Bye to Your Brushes

Jaime King has graced the pages of Vogue and worked with the world’s top makeup artists, so our ears perked up when she shared her favorite makeup tip on set for her The Close-Up shoot. “The main trick that I’ve really learned from [makeup artists] like Mary [Greenwell] and Pat [McGrath] is using the fingers,” King says. “And people forget. People think they have to apply makeup with brushes, but skin-to-skin is a lot of the times the best because the warmth of your skins warms up the makeup. Using your fingers to really meld in concealer is a really great way to put concealer on.”

Have you tried any of these model-approved makeup hacks? For more of our favorites, see six Brazilian models’ best beauty tips.

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