The 15 Most Unusual Tips From Hollywood Makeup Artists

Updated 03/12/18

If it wasn’t for professional makeup artists, we never would have discovered the magic that is a damp Beautyblender, or how to contour without looking like a paint-by-numbers art project. Makeup artists offer a wealth of beauty tips we’ll never stop tapping. Some of those tips are so simple and straightforward that it’s almost laughable we didn’t think of it first, and then others make us a pause for a moment. These makeup guidelines are a bit more out there, but they work.

Open Your Eyes When Applying Eye Makeup

Opening your eyes to apply makeup may not seem like an unusual tip, but when it comes to liner- and eye shadow–heavy looks, many women close their eyes. Celeb makeup artist Kira Nasrat says keep them open. If you tilt your head back slightly, you’ll be able to see the full eyelid and still be able to see what you’re doing (and where you should be doing it).

Replace Your Eye Shadow Primer

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Inner Rim Liner $20
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Ever feel like eye shadow primers just don’t cut it? Steal this trick from Denika Bedrossian. Apply one of those inner rim–brightening eye pencils to your eyelids and smudge it out with your finger. You’ll get true-to-tone eye shadow or just brighter eyes sans shadow.

Rethink Your Product Order

Nyx Studio Finishing Powder Translucent Finishing Powder $7
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Want dewy, glowy, radiant skin? Silly question. To get it, Patrick Ta, Erik de Soto, Afton Williams, and basically every other makeup artist out there wants you to switch up the order in which you apply makeup. For a natural flush, apply cream blush before foundation. Williams says your foundation or tinted moisturizer will diffuse the color seamlessly. Try smoothing your face primer over your foundation, too. De Soto says this trick will give you a glowy finish. Ta suggests setting your makeup with a translucent powder, and then applying highlighter to get dewy skin without the greasy factor.

Conceal Your Brows

Cle De Peau Beaute Concealer Broad Spectrum Spf 25 - Ocher
Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer $70
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Sparse brows can find a solution in an unlikely product: concealer. Pat concealer on any bare spots your brow powder isn’t catching. Then, go over those spots once more. This way the powder has something to grip and the gaps will fill in.

Turn Any Lipstick Into a Stain

F75 Concealer Brush
Sigma Beauty F75 Concealer Brush $14
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For that stained, just-bitten look, you don’t need to buy an actual lip stain. Just take any lipstick and press it into your lips using a flat brush (makeup artist Benjamin Puckey recommends a concealer brush). Use your finger to blur out the pigments even more.

Reverse Your Brow Gel Application

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel $22
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Maybelline global brow expert Maribeth Madron says the best way to apply brow gel is to start at the tails and work your way to the front. With this reversed technique, you really coat each hair, adding more definition and hold. Try it this way and you’ll end up needing less pencil or powder.

Go a Shade Lighter to Conceal Scars

Fiona Stiles Full Cover Perfect Finish Concealer $24
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When covering up uneven skin like a depressed acne scar, go a shade lighter with your concealer. Celebrity makeup artist Wendy Rowe says this will lift the scar and shadowed area up to the match the rest of your skin, creating the illusion of even skin.

Apply Your Blush in the Shape of a V

Becca Mineral Blush $32
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Dick Page suggests applying your blush in a V-shape right on the apples of your cheeks for the most natural-looking flush. It’s simple. First, brush down toward the center of your cheek, then up and back toward your temples. Be sure to smile when you do so—it helps you hit the right spot.

Mist

MAC Prep + Prime Fix+ Finishing Mist $26
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To keep your skin looking like skin (and not like makeup), finish with a mist. Afton Williams likes to use a finishing spray because it helps settle the makeup, making your skin look less makeupy. Your favorite rose water spray will do the same.

Brush Your Brows Down

The BrowGal Skinny Eyebrow Pencil $23
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Instead of brushing your brows up and away before you start filling them in, makeup artist Kate Lee likes to brush them down. When you fill in your brows this way, you’re able to clearly see the maximum shape of your eyebrow and the highest point of your arch. Try it this way and you’ll avoid the overdrawn, penciled-in look.

Use Oil to Thin Out Your Foundation

Josie Maran 100 Percent Pure Argan Oil $48
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Celebrity makeup artist Beau Nelson adds a small amount of argan oil to his brush when applying full coverage foundation to increase the emollience of a heavy foundation and create a dewiness on the skin. This tip works great for foundation sticks and concealer you want to sheer out.

Prep and Set Eyeliner With Powder

Naked Skin Ultra Definition Loose Finishing Powder
Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Loose Finishing Powder $34
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If you want your waterline eyeliner to stay put, Wendy Rowe says prep it and set it with powder. Before applying eyeliner, brush setting powder under your lash line. That powder will act as barrier, preventing your eyeliner from moving south. After applying your eyeliner, set it with powder in the same shade to seal the color in place. 

Use More Than One Brush to Contour

Nars #21 Contour Brush
NARS #21 Contour Brush $42
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Makeup artist Luis Casco says one brush for your contour and highlight doesn't cut it. Whatever you're doing on your face needs to be blended with a clean brush. Same goes for sponges. You can't control the amount of makeup you're using if you don't have separate tools for application and blending. 

Bronze Your Neck

Vincent Longo La Riviera Sun Face & Body Brozer $32
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Bronzing the outer perimeter of your face is step one. Carrying that color along your jawline and down the sides of your neck is the very important step two. It ties your whole face together, warms up your features, and, most important, has a slimming effect. 

Apply Eyeliner in Tick Marks

NYX Cosmetics Gel Eye Liner & Smudger $6
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For liner that comes as close to the lash line as possible, Dick Page says to apply it in short strokes. Rather than attempting a straight line, brush in toward the inner corner of your eye and down toward your lower lash line.

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