21 Beauty Moves You Need To Master

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
When it comes to her beauty routine, we believe it's every woman's right — nay, responsibility — to experiment. How else are you supposed to find what works best for you (and what really, really doesn't)? Curiosity about primping can lead to the discovery of wonderful things. Hey, if we hadn't picked up that cranberry lipstick in the drugstore aisle in junior high, we might never have known the joy that is red lips. And, that, dear reader, would have been a crime.
With this in mind, we've drawn up the ultimate beauty bucket list: twenty-one things every girl needs to try. Now, we're not saying everything on this list is going to work or be ideal for everyone. In fact, there are likely going to be a few things that are totally wrong for you. But, it's the experience of trying something new that we think is important — how it makes you feel and what you learn from it.
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Keep reading for the trends, looks, products, and treatments you've got to try at least once in your life.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Get your foundation custom-matched.
No matter your budget, base makeup is almost always the most expensive part of your cosmetics bag. It also happens to be one of the hardest products to pick out. So, rather than waste time and money, identify a brand you love, and then go to the store or counter and have a professional find the perfect one for you.

If your skin tone isn't accurately represented by conventional foundation offerings, it's worth your while to seek out a custom foundation-matching service, like the one at Elizabeth Arden's Red Door Spa Union Square location. An attendant will use a high-tech device to take a "swatch" of your skin color, and a machine will use that to blend pigments to create an exact match. It may be a bit pricey, but in the long run, it will save you money, time, and frustration.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Master liquid liner, once and for all.
First things first: Liquid liner should not scare or intimidate you. It's makeup. So, let's quit with the excuses and finally learn how to do it properly, okay? There are about a billion tutorials and articles out there telling you how to use it. Set aside some time and test them out. Not every trick is going to be right for you, so try a few until you find the one you're comfortable with. Then, practice, practice, practice — no one in history has picked up a liquid liner and instantly drawn a perfectly symmetrical cat-eye their first time.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Uncover your perfect red lipstick.
We've written more than a few articles professing our dedication to and admiration for red lipstick. That's because nothing makes us feel more confident, sexy, and all-around awesome than a stellar scarlet on our pout. It's the LBD of makeup.

But, not every red is going to be right for you. Are you a red-orange kind of girl, a blue-toned diva, or more of a deep cranberry? Only one way to find out: Test 'em all. You can read all those articles about undertones this, and pigments that, but the best way to meet your red soulmate is to try a bunch of different ones and see which stands out (in a good way). You wouldn't buy a staple wardrobe piece without trying it on first, right?

Again, it may seem like an investment at the outset, but once you discover that go-to shade, it will all be worth it.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Get a haircut that makes you feel like a star.
Unless you are an unbelievably lucky individual, you've had a bad haircut experience. But, not everyone can say they've gotten a true superstar chop — the one that gets you all of the compliments.

Finding that cut can be a bit of a white whale. If it were easy, we'd all have one — but if you do your research and find a stylist you trust (more on that later), it is possible.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Get (gasp!) bangs.
If you're lucky, you'll be one of the small percentage of people — which includes Alexa Chung, Zooey Deschanel, and Jane Birkin — who look baller with bangs. If not, well, at least you'll be able to chime in next time all of your friends start complaining about how awful of an idea bangs are.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Find a hairstylist who knows your hair and your soul.
A good hairstylist is so much more than the person who does your hair — they are your confidant, your ally, and sometimes even your therapist. Finding one who understands you as a person is one of the most beneficial things you could do.

If you've already found them, then congrats to you. Hold on tight, and thank your lucky stars you have someone you can rely on to make you feel amazing. For those of you still on the hunt, start off by doing some research, reading up on buzzed-about salons and stylists in your area (here are some of our favorites in NYC, L.A., San Francisco, and Chicago) and asking people whose hair you really like where they get it done.

Once you've identified the pros you want to check out, go in for a consultation, which most salons offer for free. In our experience, meeting with a stylist is a great way to gauge whether they will understand your hair, your needs, and your style. It also allows you to articulate what you're looking for and communicate what you expect from the relationship.

Of course, nothing's ever a guarantee until you get the actual haircut, but doing your homework will put you one step further on the path toward finding hair bliss.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Finally learn how to do that %$^#& fishtail braid.
Nothing will make you feel more like a beauty badass than being able to effortlessly twist your hair into an intricate fishtail braid. Like many primping techniques, it takes practice to master, but once you do, you will feel pretty confident about your styling skills. Fortunately, we live in an age when the knowledge and skills are at your fingertips. Thanks, YouTube!
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Get a facial with a top-notch aesthetician.
We all aspire to great skin. As much as we'd like to believe that there's some lotion or potion out there holding the secret to a flawless visage, the truth is that it's a combination of care, problem-solving, an ironclad routine, and a little bit of professional knowledge that will get you the skin of your dreams.

With that in mind, we can't recommend the services of an experienced aesthetician enough. Sure, a dermatologist is going to be key in helping you troubleshoot medical issues like rosacea or acne, but it's an aesthetician who will teach you the proper methods to care for your skin.

Even if you can't afford to go regularly, book an appointment with a well-regarded pro at least once in your life to learn the fundamentals — everything from your skin type to your problem areas, to the right mix of products you need to use and the best way to apply them.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Invest in one really fancy beauty buy.
It should be something that makes you feel like a million bucks. Now, it doesn't have to cost a million bucks — just a bit more than you might normally spend on a beauty product. Whether it's lipstick, mascara, nail polish, or moisturizer, let it be a fancy-lady buy that makes you feel good whenever you see its pretty packaging or apply it.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Find a brow pro who understands that your arches aren't for over-tweezing.
What a difference good brows can make — their transformative powers know no bounds. Which is why finding a pro you can trust and who understands the intricacies of a great arch is priceless. Whether you're in need of waxing, threading, tweezing, or even tinting, find yourself an expert who will do everything they can to make sure your brows are always on fleek.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Discover your signature scent.
Or, if you're more of a "variety is the spice of life" kind of girl, then build yourself up a perfume wardrobe. Having a go-to fragrance — one you can rely on when you want to feel a certain way or create a specific mood — is an easy way to feel like a super classy dame. And, who doesn't love that feeling?
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Get that Mason Pearson brush already.
Yes, it's a hair brush. And, yes, it costs an arm and a leg. But, a billion hairstylists can't be wrong — and seriously, they all swear by this thing.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Go blonde — and, if you are blonde, then go anything but blonde.
We're in no way saying blonde is the ideal shade, or that everyone should always be blonde. But, something happens when those with darker hair take the plunge — a shift in the way they see themselves and others see them. The same is true for blondes who go, well, any other color. That feeling of transformation is one we think every girl should experience at least once in her life. Just be sure to get yourself a really good hair mask — your locks are going to need it after all that bleach.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Craft your very own 10-minute beauty routine.
Once you do, getting ready will never be easier or more enjoyable. Challenge your go-to beauty professionals and best friends to streamline your routine — because ain't nobody got time for unnecessary steps. You should know your face and hair like, well, the back of your hand.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Buy a non-red, non-nude lipstick.
Whether it's pastel, super bright, or some other off-the-wall hue, it should scare the crap out of you — and take you out of your makeup comfort zone. You'll learn to love it, promise.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Master the at-home blowdry.
As much as we'd like to pretend weekly blowouts are a necessary living expense, those DreamDry visits really add up. Save the dry-bar jaunts for special occasions and learn how to make good use of that gadget gathering dust under your sink.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Learn how to curl your eyelashes without pinching your lids.
We've talked to what feels like thousands of makeup artists over the years, and the one thing they all agree on is the power of curled eyelashes. Nothing makes your eyes look more awake and open. The secret to mastering the perfect, pain-free curl? Practice, patience, and a great curler.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Find your go-to zit-zapping miracle.
On those mornings when we wake up to spot a tiny volcano taking up residence on our chin, it's imperative to have a tried-and-true spot-erasing potion on hand that can take out that bad boy, and fast. Find that magic bullet and keep it within easy reach — it will make those mornings a whole lot less stressful.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Learn the fine art of no-makeup makeup.
If nothing else, do this just so you know that if you ever wanted to go (somewhat) bare-faced, you could.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Teach yourself how to do facial massage.
From what we've seen, facial massage really is the secret to supermodel skin: It seems like every girl with a gorgeous complexion swears by it.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Explore your natural hair texture.
It's so much easier to work with your hair instead of against it. Learn everything you can about how to work with it, enhance it, and celebrate it.
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