What Beauty Tips Have Stuck with You?

By: Jen Shoop

*Note: Sephora’s launching its tiered holiday promotion starting today. VIB Rouge get 20% off today through 11/15; VIB enjoy 15% off starting 11/9-11/15; and beauty insiders earn 10% off 11/11-11/15. In the post-scripts below, I’m sharing my top picks for this promotion!

Often, when I’m writing about beauty and skincare products, I’m startled by how often I say: “A makeup artist once told me…” Do you feel the same way? As though beauty tips and perspectives are stalagmitic, gradually accruing over time without your ever noticing? Below, sharing a few that spring to mind today:

+You don’t need to apply foundation all over your face. It blew my mind when a makeup artist applied foundation only to my t-zone and then blended outward. She insisted I didn’t need full coverage and that this would yield a more natural effect. I’ve followed suit ever since! Bonus points: you save product this way. I will say that not all foundations work well with this approach — it has to be a consistency that blends nicely and skin must be richly hydrated and primed first or you could end up looking a bit splotchy. My approach is to apply serums and moisturizers (my full skincare regimen here), then an illuminating primer, and then swipe Westman Atelier’s foundation stick across my brow, between and under my eyes, around my nose, and on my chin — all my problem areas for redness/blemishes. Then I use an Artis Oval 7 brush to blend it all in, but I don’t really apply any foundation along my hairline, jaw, cheeks, etc. I find this means my freckles still stand out and it looks like I’m not wearing any makeup when I am.

+You can’t hide a dried-out blemish. It’s inevitable that you’ll be blemish-free for weeks and then the minute you have a big event, you wind up with several imperfections! My mother gave me a Bobbi Brown makeup book in my tweens and the one tidbit I remember was her saying that, contrary to common sense, you should not dry out a zit if you need to cover it up. She advised hydrating the area so that it can be smoothly covered by concealer (and Cle de Peau’s is the absolute best).

+It’s OK to apply with your fingertips. A makeup artist from Chantecaille reassured me that sometimes fingers are your best tools, especially for applying tinted moisturizers and dabbing undereye concealer. It can be so hard to get a natural look otherwise.

+Use the “windshield wiper” approach for contoured eyes. Whenever I get my makeup done (which hasn’t been for a long, long time), I always ask them to focus on the eyes and keep the rest of the makeup simple. I tend to prefer a dramatic eye versus a dramatic lip, and I also find eye shadow difficult to apply. However, when I’m on my own, I use the “windshield wiper approach” a Laura Mercier artist once taught me. That is — apply a neutral/base color all over the eye first, then apply a darker color along the lash line, in the far corner of the eye, and along the crease of the eye, blotting as you go. (So imagine you’re making a sort of stretched-out carat sign along your lash line, in the far corner of your eye, and then along the crease.). For some reason she described this as a windshield wiper. It really does yield a dramatic and easy-to-attain effect. An eye palette like this one or this one (which I own and love) is perfect when you’re first trying out since all of the colors are sort of mellow and blendable. A light higher stakes if you’re using a dark purple/black eye shadow as the darker color!

+Apply eye makeup first. Instead of applying foundation and concealer first, do your eyes. This means that if/when you smudge or if extra product falls onto your cheek, you can quickly clean it without needing to re-do your entire face!

+Soften your look with facial spray at the end. To keep things from looking to “cakey” or “done,” apply a face mist (i love this Caudalie) all over your face and gently dab to blend after you’ve finished applying makeup.

+If you’re going for a bold lip, do a more neutral eye — and vice versa (bold eye, neutral lip). Otherwise you start to enter “overdone” territory.

+There’s no such thing as waterproof mascara. Is this true? I’m not sure. But several makeup artists have insisted it does not exist.

+If you’re wearing a matte lipstick, you need a primer. A makeup artist described Mac’s lip primer as “velcro” for lip color. I’ve followed suit ever since.

What other nuggets of beauty and skincare wisdom do you have to share with the class today?!


+My most recent batch of honest reviews of hyped beauty products — I’m overdue on an updated installment!

+Beauty products I’ll never quit.

+Which beauty products do you splurge versus save on?

Shopping Break: My Picks from the Sephora Promotion.

sephora beauty sale picks

+These caviar sticks are so easy to apply and so chic for holiday festivities. I have these in moonlight and khaki and they are so perfect for evening.

+If you buy nothing else from this blog, try Westman Atelier’s Foundation Stick. It is just so, so good. It glides on and blends beautifully and looks hyper natural. (Provided your skin is well-hydrated prior.) It is probably my favorite beauty discovery besides the Revlon One Step in the last decade. Well — I also have to rave about Clarins’ Double Serum. If you get those three products, you’ll be a happy camper.

+I was initially so-so on this Saie highlighter just because I already have so many other highlighting products in my makeup bag, but midway through summer, I started dabbing it along my collarbone and decollatage and it is SO gorgeous on the body! A tiny pump is all you need to get that “did she just get back from vacation?” vibe. Anyhow, I used it so much this summer, I finished the bottle, which is saying a lot for a beauty product, and will be repurchasing, especially for shoulder-baring holiday outfits.

+I never pay full price for Tata Harper face wash, which I have been using faithfully for years now, because I always wait for a promotion like this to stock up.

+I’ve been hearing really good things about this exfoliating body wash. I’ve never found one that I love for any reason beyond scent (i.e., I don’t think any leave my skin particularly lustrous), so I’m curious to test.

+I’ve enjoyed Saie’s clean mascara (one of the best mascaras I’ve ever tried, clean or not) and toyed with the idea of splurging on Chantecaille’s ridiculously priced formula but will be heading back to old faithful: Armani’s Eyes to Kill. My longtime favorite. Slightly more dramatic/thick that Saie, which is honestly how I like it. I love a lot of mascara.

+If you’ve ever wondered “do I really need a primer?”, this formula will answer the question for you. My mom turned me onto it; she calls it “her spackle.”

+This exact color of lipstick (16- nude boise) has been in my cart since I saw it on beauty icon Courtney Grow.

+Guerlain’s bronzer is the bronzer to end all bronzers. I’ll never even try another bronzer. I used Nars Laguna for years and — what was I doing? Guerlain is infinitely superior in formula, pigmentation, etc. I also find the palette never cracks/crumbles, which was a big problem for me with Nars.

+I have loved Ouai’s texturizing hair spray for years now but my talented hair stylist here in D.C. (Ismail, at George Salon at the Four Seasons) uses Oribe’s formula and who am I to argue with genius? I will be buying this, especially since my new shorter do can be styled with textured waves to get the Hailey Bieber effect.

+Gifts: I’ll be using the discount to buy one of my girlfriends this MUST-HAVE face mask (I know I’ve talked your ear off about it, but it is fantastic) and another one this set of Westman Atelier mini sticks.

+A fabulous face mask — one of my top fives of all time!

P.S. This $25 brass-effect drink tub is in my cart at the moment. More fantastic Target finds here and here.

P.P.S. Who is in your personal canon?

P.P.P.S. Some seriously fabulous recent finds.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

22 thoughts on “What Beauty Tips Have Stuck with You?

  1. Definitely put mascara on the lower lashes, just a light coat. Also, tight lining upper lids fills in that space between the lid and the lash. A skin colored eye pencil along the lower lid wakes up the eye and takes away redness. Also I swear by eyedrops to look awake and fresh! Start every day with Vitamin C serum and sunscreen and every night with a retinol (as tolerated)

    1. Hi! The skin-colored eye pencil is such an interesting trick — I’d never heard that one! What brand do you use?! Intrigued!


  2. This isn’t a tip per-se, but I have incredibly fair skin. As a teenager on the hunt for a bronzer, I could NOT find one that didn’t make me look like an Oompa Loompa. The lovely lady at the Dior counter told me to stop looking and to embrace my pale skin. That was easier said than done but I’ve truly grown to love it. Once I color matched with the translucent setting powder for a brand. Their palest color was too dark. Learning to embrace my skin color and features rather than focusing on fitting into trends has been critical and I highly recommend for all!

    Also, I get almost all of my skincare from my dermatologist or derm NP. A lot of skincare is overpriced and it’s better to invest in quality products (Cetaphil) and prescriptions (Retin-A) rather than ones with pretty packaging and marketing.

    1. Fabulous tips, Melinda. I love how that woman at the Dior Counter so unexpectedly changed the trajectory of your day and your perspective on beauty products and maybe even helped build your self-confidence as a teen. What a wonderful thing to have said!


  3. Not a tip, but a request for tips – does anyone have a recommendation for a SUPER moisturizing chapstick that won’t break the bank?? Or other way to combat dry lips at work? Looking for something in stick form that I don’t have to touch! Dry lips are killing me this season and all the Laneige overnight lip masks in the world don’t keep them hydrated all day – and I don’t want to reach my grubby fingers into a pot!

    1. Hi Dana! I actually do have an answer for you. I *swear* by Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream on lips in the winter. You can buy it in a lipstick form:

      but I use the tube and just apply straight to lips:

      Both can be applied sans fingers, but the lipstick format is probably easiest. This stuff has a strong scent that takes some accommodating — medicinal, sort of bandaid-esque, to be honest, but it really works. My mom’s used it for decades and has applied it to everything from abrasions to diaper rash to chapped lips, of course.

      I swear by it! I also like to use the Sara Happ lip scrub every few days during the winter to help with this problem:


    2. Hi Dana!
      My lips used to get so dry in the winter they would crack and bleed, and the only thing that’s worked for me is Weleda Skin Food lip balm! And it’s only $8 🙂

    3. Hi Dana,

      I’m a big fan of Kiehl’s lip balm for dry lips! The cranberry scent at holidays is divine but they are all top notch.

      Also, try exfoliating them at night before applying the mask.

      Good luck!

  4. Two tips:
    1. Apply mascara on top of lashes as well as under.
    2. After using your under eye cream, and under eye concealer (CLE DE PEAU is the best), use Laura Mercier’s SECRET BRIGHTENING POWDER to finish.

    1. Clarification:
      I was suggesting a coat on the top of the upper lashes, and then on the underside of the upper lashes.

  5. Interesting comment about waterproof mascara. I find most waterproof mascaras to be nearly impossible to fully remove! At least not without seriously irritating the delicate skin around the eye. So I stick to “water resistant” mascara and that does the trick. No tips to share from me, considering light eye makeup (eyeliner, light shadow, mascara) is the most makeup I ever wear. I’ve gone bare-skinned for my entire life and tbh I think it has done my skin a world of good.

  6. My lashes are light, so I’m grateful for whoever told me to wiggle the mascara wand as I sweep it up. Especially helpful to get at the roots so my lashes don’t look like they’re floating off my lids!

    1. I got this from Cameron Eubanks of Southern Charm fame– she used to be a makeup artist and shared on her Instagram stories that she does this instead of wearing eyeliner because it creates the same effect without looking so heavy. Totally changed my life!!

    2. Yes, I learned this in my early 20’s and it’s one of the best tips! Recently I learned another one regarding mascara that I’ve been loving: apply it only on the outer lashes…it alongates the eye and gives the most beautiful effect.

    3. Yes this is so key! I never do mascara on my bottom lashes. I read somewhere that it increases the look of under eye circles and ages you. Ever since that magazine article (dating myself here ;)) I’ve steered clear of lower lash mascara.

  7. I used to be an assistant buyer in cosmetics at Bloomingdale’s and I discovered Guerlain’s bronzer as a hold grail product – had never heard of the brand but OMG do they do bronzer well. On top of being an amazing product, I LOVE the smell of it too. I could eat it!!!

    1. I totally agree on the scent, Amanda! I love it! It feels like an old-world cosmetics scent that was around when my grandmother was in her 30s. So elegant!


Previous Article

Next Article