One of the more challenging parts of being a beauty editor is constantly having to remind friends and readers that I am not a blogger, vlogger, or makeup artist. Sure, I can make recommendations, relay advice from the experts, and help you apply your foundation, but I’m not a walking beauty dictionary and can’t answer every question under the sun.
However, there is a core set of random but all-too-common conundrums that need addressing, like knowing whether to apply your concealer before or after foundation and if there’s a proper way put mascara on your bottom lashes. Ahead, Mary Wiles, a London and New York–based makeup artist whose celebrity clientele includes Saoirse Ronan, Brie Larson, and Naomi Watts, and Shannon Pezzetta, celebrity makeup artist at Starworks Artists, offer quick-fire answers to 11 of them.
How do I apply mascara to my lower lashes?
Watts prefers to use a small square flat brush and apply close to the lash line to “avoid looking feathery and smudging.” Alternatively, Pezzeta likes to “use a tiny brush, add mascara to the end of the lash with the tip of the wand and use back-and-forth strokes at the roots.” Both methods work; it’s just a matter of preference … and the steadiness of your hand.
If I only have two minutes to apply my makeup, what should I do?
“You should curl lashes and then apply mascara, and then a BB Cream,” says Watts. “I like INIKA BB Cream, followed by a highlighter, and then finish with a time-saving dual-purpose tint, like INIKA Lip and Cheek Cream, that looks great on both lips and cheeks.”
And according to Pezzetta, you can also apply a quick layer of mascara, along with a natural-looking cream blush.
What color should my under-eye concealer be?
Both artists agree that concealer should be one shade lighter than your foundation. Watts adds, “Apply with fingertips, patting into the skin to blend in. Your foundation should match your skin shade and tone.”
How do I keep my eyeliner from smearing?
Both artists also agree that a water-resistant liner is the smartest way to avoid smudging and creasing.
Should I always apply my lip line before lip color?
Although she doesn’t always use it, Watts says that lip liner should always be applied first since it serves as a good base for lipstick and can prevent bleeding.
Which comes first: foundation or concealer?
The answer is unanimous: Foundation first, ladies.
Is it better to apply makeup with your hands or a tool (like a brush or Beautyblender)?
“I use both. It’s personal preference. Hands are going to soften and warm product more, which can help blend,” says Watts.
Is makeup primer actually necessary?
While Watts deems it necessary since it “creates a good base and keeps makeup in place longer,” Pezzetta thinks it can also depend on the person’s skin. For instance, she prefers to use it on skin with larger pores.
How often should I wash my makeup tools?
It’s pretty difficult to escape germs, so Watts advises washing every time you use them. “I wash them in Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap—cuts through the oil,” she says.
How do I prevent my eyeshadow from creasing?
Watts says to “use a makeup eye base or a fine face powder like INIKA to create a smooth oil-free surface.” And according to Pezzetta, you can also utilize a lid primer, like this one from Urban Decay.
What’s the difference between setting spray and setting powder?
Both versions hold makeup in place, but what differentiates them is the finish. “Setting spray gives more of a glow, and powder is matte,” says Pezzetta.