Makeup Secrets You Haven't Heard Before

Everyone has a favorite makeup tip that’s a little under-the-radar or off the deep-end — or both. You know, those eyebrow-raising bits of advice that sound more like old wives’ tales than beauty miracle workers and are typically passed on in the darkest corners of the ladies’ room after a few drinks.
Maybe your stepmom taught you to zap honking hormonal zits with a Q-tip and a bit of Visine, or you once tried the old mayonnaise-as-a-hair-mask trick for kicks — and it actually worked, so you’ve sworn by it ever since. Most of us have heard the bit about how Preparation H cream, in spite of its, um, less-than-glamorous original purpose, de-puffs those pesky tired eyes in a pinch.
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Then, there are the solutions that are right in front of your nose, like using eye cream to wipe away that stubborn waterproof mascara, or employing a bit of tape to remove leftover glitter from your face. But, makeup artists have been holding out on us — there’s a whole host of insider tricks they use that they haven’t shared with the rest of us. Until now, that is.
Here, top makeup artists weigh in on the out-of-the-box beauty fixes of the future: Tips and tricks that will not only change the way you do your makeup, but might change the way you look at certain household products the next time you’re in the grocery store.


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Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
Get Lips Like Angelina’s
In the pursuit of a more voluptuous pout, there’s a fine line between fuller lips and fish face. It might seem practical to trace a bit outside of the lines like that makeup artist in Bloomingdale’s or pile on the iridescent lip gloss to pump up the volume, but overdoing it, either with pigment or product, is usually a mistake.

Instead of going the route of more is more, makeup artist Beau Nelson suggests using a shimmery pale highlighter to create the effect of larger lips. “Trace the outer edge of the top lip with a highlighter, concentrating the product at the Cupid’s bow and fading out towards the outer edges,” says Nelson, adding that NARS Illuminator in Copacabana — a pearlized cream highlighter — is perfect for creating this effect.

“The highlighter is more natural looking than a lip liner and easier to apply,” says Nelson. “The light reflecting off the outer edge of the lip creates an optical illusion of plumpness and definition.” After you’re done applying the highlighter, fill in the lips with color to the edge of where the highlighter starts and voila! You’re ready to pucker up.
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Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
Create Instant Bodacious Brows
Nineties fashion might be back in a big way, but those brows you overplucked in junior high are still gone for good. And, while there is a plethora of brow-related products on the market today, pencils and mascaras can only go so far. Not to worry: Makeup artist Troy Jensen, who beautifies the likes of Miranda Kerr and Riley Keough, has a foolproof way to boost brow volume using a multi-purpose product that, chances are, you already have in your makeup kit.

“To get a thicker brow, dust a bit of translucent powder using a small brush over your brows before setting them with a tinted brow gel,” says Jensen. “It immediately boosts the brow hairs and amplifies your natural brow shape even if you have fine or thin brows. Then just fill in any sparse areas with a pencil to get the definition you need.” Jensen says he’s partial to Shiseido’s Translucent Loose Powder for its weightless, sheer finish.
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Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
Massage The Years Away
It’s basically common knowledge that a good deep-tissue massage can help relax tense muscles, increase circulation, and add a bit of je ne sais quoi pep to your step, but who ever thought that the same kneading and rubbing would do the same for your face?

Emma Watson’s makeup artist Geoffrey Rodriguez swears by the simple, budget-friendly facial massage to tackle a tired complexion and ensure that makeup goes the distance. “Facial massage is a very effective and relaxing way to elongate tense, tightened facial muscles as well as stimulate circulation in the skin, which helps the complexion to give off a more radiant glow and will also help minimize deep lines,” he says.

Rodriguez starts with Tilth Beauty Eye Wondrous Serum on the eye area and then finishes the five-minute (max!) process by massaging Pai Organics Rosehip Oil into the rest of the face. “I’ve found that foundation tends to last longer when I’ve massaged a client’s face, probably because the skin is well-hydrated,” Rodriguez says, adding that, when performed regularly, facial massage will also aid in lymphatic drainage.
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Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
Save That Shattered Palette With a Simple Step
We’ve all been there: You’re rushing to get out of your apartment in the morning, groggy and bleary-eyed thanks to four hours of sleep. You reach for your favorite, shimmery eyeshadow palette in the hopes of looking at least a tiny bit more awake, and before you can say Chanel Les 4 Ombres, your prized (and pricey) palette has crashed to the floor, leaving a smattering of broken product in its wake. Crushing, in more ways than one.

But, before you throw 60 bucks down the drain, there’s a simple trick that will bring all four Les Ombres back to life, according to L.A.-based makeup artist Alexis Swain. “If you accidentally drop an eyeshadow palette or unpack your makeup case after traveling only to find your favorite product broken into a million pieces, just saturate the compact with isopropyl alcohol — which you can find at any beauty supply,” says Swain. “Once that’s done, take a clean paper towel and gently press onto the broken shadow to absorb the alcohol, blush or bronzer and let it dry.”

Once the alcohol evaporates, which typically takes no more than a half hour, the product re-solidifies, according to Swain, and your broken compact will be like new.
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Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
The Europe-Only Product You Need Now
Top makeup artists are constantly travelling the globe, and while they’re racking up all of those frequent flier miles, they’re also being exposed to some of the lesser-known miracle products on the market today. Makeup artist Sara Glick swears by the all-natural treatment Homeoplasmine (which is not sold in the U.S. but can be purchased online) when she’s looking to add that “extra something special to a look.”

Homeoplasmine has a gentle, smooth texture that Glick uses in several different ways to create a softer, dewy effect on the face. “I’ll mix it with lipstick or combine it with different eyeshadows to create a wash-of-color effect,” she says. “It’s also one of my favorite ways to tame unruly eyebrows and give them a healthy sheen or add a natural glow to your lashes without using mascara.”

For brows, Glick suggests applying a bit of the product — equivalent to the size of a half a pea — on the back of hand and working the ointment into the brow starting from the inside outwards. For lashes, apply a small amount with your fingers and work from root to tip.
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Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
Surgery-Free Instant Cheekbones
Many of us have flirted with the concept of contouring, the process of creating shadow and definition on the skin via a carefully placed and blended product. But, what translates in the hands of Jennifer Lopez’s makeup artist is not always an attainable goal for the average beauty junkie. In fact, it can seem best left to the experts — if done at all.

Not so, says NYC-based makeup artist Tracy Alfajora, who not only encourages contouring but suggests brown eyeliner as an easier alternative to the traditional powder methods, which can easily take on a heavy or matte effect if done incorrectly. “Take the brown eyeliner and draw two stripes under the cheekbone, closer to the ear,” says Alfajora. “Then massage the product in with fingers to give a more defined look.” Aflajora favors Lancôme Crayon Kohl in Black Coffee or the Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk Eye Pencil #12, but admits that, “a Cover Girl brown eye pencil will work just fine!”
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Photo via Amazon; Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
Spoon Your Lower Lashes
Anyone who’s attempted to recreate the wide-eyed, lash-happy effect of the ‘60s mod eye look has probably stumbled along the way. Sure, we’re all fairly adept at coating our upper lashes in a sufficient amount of mascara, but the lower lash area can often feel like no man’s land, or in the very least, a laundry list of mistakes waiting to happen.

Jasen Kaplan, who’s been doing Lydia Hearst’s (among many others) makeup for years, suggests holding a simple plastic spoon under your lower lashline to shield the skin under the eyes. “I tell my clients to hold a plastic spoon between their undereye area and the bottom lashes,” says Kaplan. “It allows you to accomplish a much thicker coat of mascara without getting black all over the eye.” Kaplan suggests using a waterproof mascara and avoiding using too much eye cream when working with the lower lash area. “It will keep the product from smudging underneath the eye,” he says.
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Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
Get Lipstick-Ready
One has to look no further than about every pop star on the planet, from Rihanna to Lorde, to know that deeply pigmented, matte lipsticks are everywhere these days. But, applying a coat of MAC RiRi Woo or NARS La Paz isn’t exactly as easy as one, two, three. Just like with any dramatic beauty look, there’s a bit of prep time that goes into creating the optimal conditions, and step numero uno is starting with super supple, moisturized lips.

L.A.-based makeup artist Sunnie Brook Jones has a foolproof (and fast) way to get there without developing an addiction to Carmex. “Take a clean mascara wand — either recycle your old wands by washing them off or buy new ones at your local beauty supply story — apply lip balm and rub the wand over your lips to exfoliate off dead skin,” says Jones. “After, rub the lips with a clean towel and you’re ready to take the stage.”
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Foolproof Your Foundation
Headed to the beach for a long weekend or an outdoorsy trip and still want to look effortlessly flawless? Milk of magnesia, the popular cure for stomach ailments, also acts as the perfect primer, according to NYC makeup artist Angela Peralta. “If your makeup needs to stay put and flawless all day, apply a thin layer of milk of magnesia to your skin,” she says. “Let it dry completely before applying foundation and your makeup will last at least 12 hours.”

Peralta learned the trick while shooting music videos on location at the beach. “We are often dealing with the elements such as extreme hot weather, wind and rain, which can affect how the makeup wears,” she says, adding that milk of magnesia works best on normal, oily, and combination skin and helps minimize pores, evens out skin tone, and keeps foundation from oxidizing and changing color.
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Photo via Amazon; Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
Cat-Eyes for Dummies
Regardless of how many YouTube how-to video practice sessions you’ve got under your belt, creating the perfect cat-eye can be comparable to attempting to walk a straight line when you’ve had a few too many. Consider the tiny canvas of the eyelid, and the shakiness of the typical human hand. Then, add the slippery formula of liquid liner to the mix and you’ve got a task-at-hand, literally.

But, makeup artist Allie Smith says cat-eyes can be easy with the help of one iconic office supply: the Post-It note. “Post-Its are great straight edges to create a really straight, graphic line on the eye,” she says.

Smith suggests cutting a standard size Post-It in half to create equal size “sticky” pieces and applying it above the lashline (make sure the lid is concealer and cream-based product-free so the Post-It will stick; powder is fine). “Take a moment to carefully place the Post-It and check for balance,” says Smith. “Make sure that the edges match up on both sides.” Then, start from the outside of the eye and work inwards with liquid liner, using the edge of the Post-It as a boundary. Take a moment to let the product dry and remove the Post-It. “From there you can draw in the rest of the liner if needed and add a flick at the corners,” says Smith. “It’s super easy and effective!”
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Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
De-Puff With Soda Pop
Motivating in the morning is rarely an easy task, but when you glance at your reflection in the mirror and barely recognize the puffy-eyed monster staring back, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Luckily, Dior celebrity makeup artist Ricky Wilson has an easy, quick fix for puffy skin (specifically the pesky pillows that form under your eyes overnight), that helps both reduce swelling and prep the skin for concealer.

“I’ll hold a cold can of Diet Coke, or any soda, really, over puffy eye areas before applying concealer to help de-puff swollen eyes,” says Wilson, adding that concealer can only help so much on those rough mornings. “It only covers skin variations, not puffiness,” he says. “Usually I’ll have my client hold the can there for a minute or so under her eye and that’s enough to reduce any swelling.” Wilson suggests Dior Skinflash Radiance Booster Pen for finishing up that “wide awake” look.
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Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
Create Fiery Eyes — Literally
As the go-to makeup artist for some of music’s most cutting-edge (and fashion-forward) talent, Amy Chance knows a thing or two about eyeliner and, not surprisingly, she has a trick or two up her sleeve when it comes to creating a longer-lasting, more pigmented eye look.

“My favorite eyeliner pencil is Chanel Le Crayon Kohl,” says Chance, “but like any eye pencil, the end can be rigid and tug on your eyelid, causing skips when you were hoping for a perfect line. When I’m on set, I try to keep things professional, so I’ll warm up the tip of the pencil by holding it up to the vanity lights, but when I'm doing my own makeup [at home], I prefer to briefly hold the flame of a lighter to the sharpened end of my eyeliner pencil. You’ll immediately see the end soften up.”

Chance suggests giving the product a second to cool off a bit and then gliding it along the lashline for “intense definition (with no skips). For that full-on rocker look, use the softened eyeliner pencil in your water line for “intense color pay off that will last all night,” says Chance.
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Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
Lush Lashes Minus Mascara
Looking for a way to bring out those eyes without going the typical route of applying a few coats of mascara? L.A.-based makeup artist Elle Leary swears by an easy trick using eyeliner and a simple lash curler.

“When my clients want that ‘no makeup’ look, my favorite tip is to bring the lashes out with gel eyeliner and a lash curler,” says Leary. First, take the lash curler and paint the liner (such as Smashbox’s Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner) on the sponge area of the lash curler. Wait about 10 to 15 seconds to let the liner dry slightly. Then, place the curler as close to the lash line as possible, hold for a few seconds, and release. After, apply a few coats of clear mascara to finish the look. “It creates the perfect full lash and defined lashline but the look is a bit more natural and edgy,” says Leary.
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