A Guide to Misunderstood Makeup

A primer before using foundation, finishing powders, lipliners: These are only some of the cosmetics that we see on shelves and think – What do we do with that? 

Enter Gita Bass – the star makeup artist to celebs like Alicia Vikander and Julia Stiles – who gave us a guide of seven different (and often misunderstood) cosmetics, outlining why and how to use them. Did you know primers make your makeup last longer? Or that lip liners help in keeping your pout more perfect? If you’re anything like us…you didn’t. And perhaps your makeup routine could use a sprucing up. We can testify to the fact that once you discover something you didn’t use before – like an eyebrow pencil – you’ll be surprised at the difference it can make in terms of the way you look on a day-to-day basis…

1. Primer: 

Primers are an essential step in the makeup process and basically make your makeup look better and last longer, no matter what your skin type. They keep oily skin matte, dry skin hydrated, bumpy skin smoother and hold on to your foundation to really increase staying power. First, choose a primer that addresses your individual skins needs and apply it after moisturizer and before BB Cream, Tinted Moisturizer or Foundation, allowing a few minutes for the product to set. An Eyelid Primer works wonders for your eye makeup, allowing for expert blending, no creases and maximum staying power, and a Lip Primer helps keep your lipstick from bleeding and disappearing.

2. Eyebrow Pencils:

Eyebrows are such an important part of any makeup look and make a huge difference to the face, yet we often forget to perfect them. I love both pencils and powder, and generally go a shade darker for blondes and lighter for brunettes. When filling them in, make sure to comb constantly throughout the process to help the product blend with the actual brow hairs for a more natural finish. Don’t overfill the inner brows or make them square – this can look way too harsh and theatrical, instead keep them light and make the ends gradually darker. This subtle ombré effect opens the eye and gives a wide eyed finish.

3. Lip Liner: 

Another wonderful tool to keep your pout more perfect is lip liner. The waxy texture actually grabs the lipstick and helps the pigment to pop. I prefer using a more natural lip liner that matches your own lip regardless of what shade of lipstick I’m using. It looks more natural and prevents the lips from looking overly painted. To help perfect a lip line and to keep it from feathering, try tracing the outline of the lip with a clear wax lip pencil – it works wonders and looks completely natural.

4. Eyelash Curler:

It still mystifies me that people skip this step or think it doesn’t make a difference. Investing in a good eyelash curler- Shu Uemura or Kevyn Aucoin are great – is a game changer when it comes to eye makeup, and if you use it before mascara it WON’T pull out your eyelashes contrary to popular belief. To use the curler, look down and gently squeeze as close to the base of the lashes as possible and hold for a few seconds. Make sure all the lashes are in the curler and none are poking out. Gently pulse up the lashes to avoid creating a 90% angle. Apply mascara immediately to set the curl.

 5. Concealer: 

I’m not a fan of heavy foundation and rely on a great concealer to keep my complexion looking flawless. For under eye circles, I always keep it light with a soft highlighter pen that reflects light away from circles without settling into any fine lines or wrinkles. When I need some extra help I’ll use a creamy concealer and warm it up on the back of my hand before applying – this keeps it sheer and prevents it from creasing. My absolute favorite all-round concealer is Cle De Peau. It can cover anything and I’ve been known to wear it alone with just some moisturizer for a super natural yet flawless result.

6. Bronzer: 

Everyone looks a little better with a little healthy glow yet we often forget to add a touch of bronzer. Choose a bronzer that is one or two shades darker than your skin with a matte or slightly shimmery finish – no glitter or disco finishes. For drier skin, cream bronzers can add a dewy glow and can be applied with a sponge or your fingers, and for oilier skin powder bronzers help mattify the skin and work best with a soft fluffy brush. Apply the bronzer where the sun would hit – forehead, cheeks, bridge of nose and chin and always apply to the neck and décolletage for an even finish.

7. Finishing Powder: 

As for finishing powder, I think it’s over used and not always necessary unless you’ll be photographed a lot or plan to be on camera. I love a dewy complexion and usually if you’ve used the right primer you’ll have just the right amount of glow. If you’re still looking shiny apply a finishing powder with a large fluffy brush and always tap off the excess product first to keep it sheer. Powder is also helpful to help prolong makeup, as long as you don’t over do it.

Need more makeup tips? See this guide to accentuating your cheekbones, or these tips on how to look fresh all day