As someone who loves wearing makeup for the fun of applying it, I’ve wanted to learn how to make my usual look last longer and appear smoother without drastically changing my routine.
To do so, I consulted with Alyssia Chang, a makeup artist who’s taught masterclasses for MAC Cosmetics, Tom Ford Beauty, and Chanel, and asked how I can improve my usual beauty routine.
My biggest goals in changing my makeup were to find better ways to apply foundation and blush, stop my mascara from flaking, maintain glittery, dramatic eye-shadow looks, and prevent my lip gloss from fading during the day.
Chang offered advice on how I can slightly change the steps I was already doing and taught me how I can make my products last longer and save me from frequently rebuying some items.
Before makeup, I focus on caring for my skin. I typically apply a layer of Neutrogena’s SPF 55 to my entire face before adding anything else, and Chang approved of sunscreen being the first step.
«A chemical-based sunscreen like this product works best by fully absorbing into the skin and not having another product layer block it from being fully efficient, like moisturizer or serums,» Chang said.
Next, I apply First Aid Beauty’s anti-redness serum to my forehead and cheeks, and Chang agreed «less is more» with this product. Focusing on specific areas rather than my full face will allow the serum to target these spots and means I’ll get more use out of the product.
I finish my pre-makeup skin care with Dermalogica Clear Start cooling aqua-jelly moisturizer. I usually apply a dime-sized amount, but because my skin is on the drier side and this product is meant to combat oily texture, Chang told me I’m using too much.
«If you apply more than this, it may not perform as well or affect the overall look of the face makeup,» Chang said. I was surprised to hear this, though, admittedly, I had never checked the application instructions before.
Her tip reminded me that I could find ways to use my products (especially expensive ones) more efficiently so they’ll last longer.
Next, I’ll apply some lip balm and fill in my eyebrows with the Ulta Beauty sculpting brow pencil. I keep my eyebrows fairly thick so my face doesn’t look too feminine and typically apply the brow pencil more heavily on days when I want a more masculine look.
I usually apply in the direction of the hair grain, but Chang recommended doing the opposite for a section of the brows.
«Go against the hair grain to fill in the last half of the eyebrows,» Chang said. «It’ll feel weird but by doing this you are getting the perfect fill from root to tip.»
I also don’t tend to use the spoolie side of my eyebrow pencil, but she recommended that I start because it can help shape the hairs and even out the pencil formula.
She said using it will also «push down the formula so that it wears well throughout the day.»
Next, I do my eye shadow so that any fallout can be easily brushed away before I apply foundation. Colourpop’s Good as Gold palette is one of my go-to products because it has the neutral browns and bright golds I love.
I usually go straight in with eye shadow but Chang recommended I start using a primer for «making the eye makeup last longer and achieving a well-blended shadow.»
I typically start by applying a shade close to my skin color all over the lid, which Chang said helps when blending the rest of the eye shadow.
She also recommended I add a blending brush to my tool kit — though my packed-bristle Elf eye-shadow brushes are useful for depositing color and defining the shape, they don’t create a polished, seamless look.
To finish off the eyes, I’ll add a winged eyeliner shape, fill in the waterline, and apply an inner-corner highlight.
For my lashes, I typically start with Tarte’s Maneater to separate and lengthen my lashes and then go in with the brand’s Big Ego mascara to make them darker and thicker.
Chang agreed that using two mascaras can help build the kind of lash look I want.
But at this point, if I don’t blot my mascara onto a tissue, I’ll end up with smudges on my face later in the day. Chang said this might be happening because my mascaras are too old or dry from not replacing my products every two to three months.
«If you do not hear the mascara wand make a ‘kiss-smack’ sound when you take it out of the tube, then it is dried up or too old and needs to be replaced,» Chang said.
After taking Chang’s advice, I haven’t had any fallout problems.
Next, I’ll wet my Real Techniques sponge and apply dots of the Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless foundation to my entire face and blend it in.
This has been my favorite foundation since it doesn’t oxidize on me, but I’ve noticed it separates and makes my skin look dry if I apply a bit too much.
Chang told me I could prevent this cakey look by pouring some foundation on the back of my hand and using the sponge to apply a small amount to my face.
I won’t need to move around the dots of product directly applied to my face, so this method could also save time.
I use the Tarte Weekender palette for blush and highlighter. A bright highlight is one of my favorite parts of wearing makeup, and Chang recommended I use my finger to apply the product directly to the bridge and tip of my nose and the cupid’s bow to make it pop.
I don’t feel confident when applying blush, so I’ll usually skip it or I’ll add a very small circle of product to my cheeks.
Chang gave clear instructions for where the blush should lie on my face for a subtle look.
«Stipple starting from the hairline where your cheekbone is and blend by sweeping the brush towards the nose but lift off the face where the apple of the cheek is,» she said.
I love having an easy method for knowing exactly where to apply blush because it encourages me to incorporate this product into my everyday looks.
I apply two swipes of Fenty Beauty’s Gloss Bomb almost every time I do my makeup. This is my favorite lip product but I’ve noticed that it fades on me throughout the day, especially when I’m eating or drinking.
To avoid this, Chang suggested overdrawing my lips with the gloss. She said I can use my ring finger to smudge the remaining gloss onto the center of my lips as the product on the inside fades.
Next, I apply the Nyx HD Studio Finishing powder with a large brush. Though this is usually the second-to-last step in my makeup routine, Chang recommended brushing this on right after applying foundation.
«This will help set your foundation and all the face products you used before so that it doesn’t move,» she said.
This could also help my blush and highlighter to blend better and last throughout the day, so I won’t have to reapply both products.
Finally, I apply the Urban Decay All-Nighter setting spray. Though I usually just spray this on my entire face, Chang also suggested applying it to specific areas with my Real Techniques sponge.
«Tap that concentrated amount in any area that tends to crease, move, or transfer,» said Chang.
Chang’s critiques introduced me to new ways of applying the products I already know work well for me.
Using less moisturizer, serum, and foundation creates a smoother, more natural look and means I won’t have to frequently repurchase these products.
Learning new methods for applying brow product and a hint of blush also gave me more confidence in my beauty routine. Replacing my mascara solved my fallout problem and resolved my biggest makeup annoyance.
I hadn’t realized how much a few small changes could improve my usual look and I’m excited to keep using these tips in my makeup routine.
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