10 Secrets To Flawless Makeup

You can be born with great skin and hair — but great makeup? That's on you. (Or, it's at least on the professional makeup artist you hire to apply it for you.)

But regardless of how many tutorials you watch or techniques you try, have you ever wondered why you struggle for hours to achieve a perfect cat-eye while your best friend is always rocking a flawless flick? Or why your foundation seems to just sit on top of your face rather than making your skin glow, à la Beyoncé?

The truth is, women with great makeup do things a bit differently than the rest of us — and we went straight to the source to find out what those things are. Click ahead to read their tips and tricks, and prepare to take some serious notes.
1 of 11
If you're washing your face, slapping on some moisturizer, and going to town with your foundation, you're doing it wrong. "Backstage at fashion shows, skin can be a 20- to 30-minute process, then the makeup is two minutes," says Tim Quinn, makeup artist and national director of creative artistry for Armani Beauty.

Many women start by spritzing on a soothing toner or mask (makeup artist Molly R. Stern loves Jurlique's Rosewater Mist), then massaging in oils, serums, face creams, and eye creams in small, circular motions.

But if you can't layer on 20 products (or spare 20 minutes), at least carve out some time to carefully massage a hydrating serum or cream into your skin. Dehydrated skin will suck up any moisture in your foundation and end up making it looking fake and obvious, Stern says. (If you have severely oily skin, continue with your regular skin routine but don't skimp on that massage, which boosts circulation and makes the skin look brighter.)
Advertisement
2 of 11
Once you're ready to start layering on products, don't overdo it. "The majority of women use way too much foundation," says Quinn. If you can, buy a foundation with a dropper rather than a pump — as one pump typically over-dispenses the product (and you'll feel bad wasting it).

Then, blend a few small drops of foundation from the center of the face outward with a damp BeautyBlender or a brush. "That keeps it from soaking up the product and makes it look more natural, not like you tried to cover something," says Quinn.

And resist the urge to lay down a full foundation. Just apply it in the areas you need it, says Quinn. "It's meant to perfect, not to mask," he says.
3 of 11
While we're not suggesting you go and memorize the color wheel, having a basic understanding of it goes a long way. And with makeup, opposites attract.

Looking to cover redness? Go for a green primer. Struggling to disguise deep-blue undereyes? Shocker, orange concealer is your new best friend. And if you want to make your eyes stand out, it's the same thing. Bronze and gold shadows make blue eyes even more piercing, while aubergine and purple shades make green eyes shine.

For more tips on color-correcting — one of the biggest trends of 2016 — we've got you covered right here.
4 of 11
While color is certainly important, texture is everything. Choosing the right formula for your skin can make the difference between a dry, patchy-looking complexion and one that seemingly glows from the inside out.

Makeup artist Allie Smith suggests going for formulas that complement your natural skin texture. Those with dry skin can handle heavier creams, while those with oily skin should opt for thinner, long-wearing stains, liquids, and, in some instances, powders.

And if you don't stay in one texture family, always apply liquids and creams first and powders second. Otherwise, you'll end up with a cakey, clumpy mess — and nobody has time for that.
5 of 11
When it comes to more advanced techniques, don't give up on your first try. "Many women won't attempt something again because they tried it one time and it was too hard or it didn’t work," says makeup artist Amy Nadine, who works with Lauren Conrad. "You guys, it's makeup — just wipe it off and start over again!"
6 of 11
And don't be afraid to admit your mistakes, either. If your cat-eye comes out wonky, don't try to draw over it — just grab some makeup remover and touch it up.

"You have to lower your expectations of doing it in one swoop," says Nadine. "Maybe once a year I do a perfect cat-eye. The rest of the time [I have a ] pointed Q-tip. One end is dry and the other is dipped in eye-makeup remover. Depending on what I need to fix determines which side I use."
Advertisement
7 of 11
While we're all about experimentation, once you find what works for you, stick with it. "Look at Jennifer Aniston: She doesn’t do a smoky eye or a big red lip.…Same with Lauren Conrad: She'll do a lip pop every once in a while, but for the most part she has her look," says Nadine. "It's fun to play, but once you find it, you'll have such an 'ahhh' moment and you won't have to think about it every day."
8 of 11
Your makeup is only as good as the application of it — so it's important to respect your tools. If you use brushes, that means gently cleaning them weekly and storing them in a cool, dry place. If you use sponges, it means wetting them before using and keeping them squeaky-clean as well. And if you use your fingers (which is a preferred method of many women, including makeup artist Pat McGrath), it also means keeping them, duh, clean, as well as warming them up beforehand to get that dewy, seamless look you're likely after.
9 of 11
Think about the most stylish women in your life — their wardrobes are likely a mix of high and low pieces. And the same goes for women with great makeup. While it ultimately depends on your preferences, most makeup artists suggest investing in high-quality skin care, base makeup, and tools. "You wear your skin products every single day. When you break it down, you're paying pennies a day for wearing it, and it's worth it because it makes your skin look good and it's quality ingredients," says Smith.

But you should know that quality doesn't always mean designer. "You don't need to go crazy. I buy my brushes from the art supply store and it's 25% cheaper than buying a name brand," says Smith.
10 of 11
Then, head to the drugstore or a discount beauty-supply shop to stock up on color products like eyeshadows, liners, lipstick, blush, and mascara, says Smith. Not only are the products high-quality, but it's more fun and freeing to experiment with new colors and looks when you're not dropping your entire paycheck on them.
11 of 11
Advertisement