How To Use The Right Products The Wrong Way

There's a time and place to carefully heed the directions on a beauty product — peels, deep conditioning treatments, anything involving needles. But then there are times when it's best to ignore the rules...
Thanks to working with pro makeup artists, manicurists, and hairstylists on the regular, we've collected a laundry list of beauty hacks that are not only highly effective and convenient, but they also cut down on the amount of products and tools you need to achieve the results you want.
From building volume, to making your lipstick last longer, we've rounded up 13 of our favorite "do this don't" beauty tricks. If misusing these products is wrong, then we don't want to be right.
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What: Under-eye concealer
Use For: Lipstick primer

You probably already know that patting a little concealer or foundation onto the border of your lips is crucial to keeping your lip color in place. But picking the right kind of face makeup is just as important. Opt for your favorite brightening under-eye concealer for this and you will not only extend the life of your lipstick and make application easier (it gives lips a drier surface, which is easier to work with), but you'll also create a radiant frame that acts as a reverse lip liner, highlighting your lipstick hue. Bonus: It's thinner than most concealers so it won't feel cakey. (This guide will explain more.)

Lancôme Maquicomplet Complete Coverage Concealer, $31, available at Nordstrom.
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What: Extension brush
Use For: Brushing through curls

They go by different names — extension brush, pin brush, wig brush — but they're in every hairstylist's kit, even if the stylist has nothing to do with fake hair. An extension brush's wide-spaced, thin metal bristles allow you to brush through fresh curls without ruining the style. Instead, the curl is loosened and softened, taking it from junior prom to downtown party in seconds. It's something a regular brush just can't do.

Sheila Stotts Wood Handle Removal Brush, $38, available at Reed Clarke.
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What: A lip brush with lid
Use For: Concealing on the go

Toting your entire face makeup kit is far from practical for everyday touchups, so try this trick when you want to keep your concealer on hand. Grab a lip brush with a lid, like this option from Real Techniques, pack the brush with concealer, then pop the top on and toss it in your bag.

Real Techniques Retractable Lip Brush, $5.99, available at Ulta.
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What: A small shadow brush
Use For: Manicure nail prep

Your polish of choice and the condition of your nails both have an impact on how long your nail color will last, but the most important factor could be how you prep the nail bed for lacquer. Removing oils and lotion completely will ensure the polish adheres properly to your nails, so add a small eye shadow brush to your nail kit for this purpose. (Cotton swabs are a no-no because they leave fibers on the nail that get caught in your polish.) Dip the brush in polish remover or alcohol, brush over nails, let them dry, then apply your basecoat.

E.l.f. Eye Shadow Brush, $1, available at Elf Cosmetics.
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What: Loose powder
Use For: Eyelash primer

Next time you're powdering your face post-foundation, don't forget your eyelashes. A quick dusting of loose powder before applying mascara soaks up any natural oils and beefs up the diameter of lashes, which allows your mascara to last longer and your lashes to look fuller.

COVERGIRL Professional Loose Powder, $4.95, available at
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What: A detangling brush
Use For: Volume and lift at the roots of hair

It was hairstylist Anh Co Tran who taught us this genius trick: A Tangle Teezer is the perfect tool to build volume at the roots of dry hair. As the last step in your styling process, massage the brush into roots to build thickness and texture. A regular brush can create snarls when used this way, but the stiff plastic bristles of a detangling option create lift without knots.

Tangle Teezer The Original Detangling Hairbrush, $15, available at Sephora.
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What: Skin salve
Use For: Highlighter

Makeup artists use skin balm or salve, such as the cult-favorite Eight Hour Cream, for anything and everything when doing editorial shoots, but our favorite trick is using it as a highlighter. Simply dab the balm on the back of your hand to thin it out, then pat onto skin anywhere you would want highlighter. (This formula is also the secret to those glossy eyelids in beauty editorials.) Just be sure to properly cleanse your face at the end of the night — which you should be doing anyway — as these formulas can your clog pores if not thoroughly removed.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant, $21, available at Nordstrom.
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What: Mascara
Use For: Brow tint

You can use your favorite mascara as a brow tint when you're in a jam — or when you want to try a set of super dark arches for a night out. It's a great way to frame a smoky eye or try a black brow on for size. Just follow these tips: Remove all excess mascara by running the wand over a clean tissue, then use a light touch. Keep a damp cotton swab or tissue on hand to clean up any mistakes, and opt for a waterproof formula if you have it, to reduce the chance of smears.

L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black, $7.79, available at
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What: White eyeliner
Use For: A brow grooming guide

It's a common occurrence: You sought out to clean up a few stray hairs and you ended up over-plucking your arches — again. To avoid this, simply use a while eyeliner to set some boundaries. (It's an old-school trick that has been overshadowed by the steadily growing eye-brow product market, but sometimes tried-and-true really is best.) How does it work? Thoughtfully trace a few lines or dots along the border of your brows before bringing out the tweezers, then hold yourself to your guide.

Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Eye Pencil in Pure White, $3.35, available at
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What: An old toothbrush
Use For: A brow brush

Lightly brushing through your brows after you apply product, whether pencil, powder, or pomade, is the key to a soft, natural look. Here's why a toothbrush beats a spooley brush for this: They don't get as dirty, since the fibers repel fuzz and makeup; the surface is bigger, and — best of all — you already own one.

Preserve Adult Toothbrush, $2.39, available at Buy It Healthy.
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What: Your go-to red lipstick
Use For: Blush

Next time you break out your favorite red lipstick, try this classic makeup artist trick: After your lip color is applied in full, blot a little product onto the pads of your fingertips and lightly blend into the apples of your cheeks. This will immediately brighten your complexion, balance the colors on the face, and perfectly complement your lip color. It's an easy trick that makes a huge difference. (Stick to mattes and satins; it won't work for anything high shine or glossy.)

M.A.C. Lipstick in Ruby Woo, $17.00, available at Nordstrom.
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What: Conditioner
Use For: Shaving your legs

Conditioner could be even better than shaving cream or body oil, and here's why: A small amount has enough slip to prevent irritation, and it won't gunk up your razor like oils will. While we don't suggest using your favorite formula for this, we all have a bottle or two we purchased, but didn't like for its original purpose, that are just taking up space somewhere.

Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Conditioner, $4.74, available at Walmart.
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What: White nail polish
Use For: A basecoat

Celebrity nail artist Michelle Saunders uses white nail polish as a basecoat when she wants to brighten her clients' manicure color of choice. The white makes colors appear brighter, and nudes more opaque.

Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Color in White Out, $2.99, available at Ulta.
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