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Makeup Terminology 101

If you’re anything like me, you know the basics of makeup such as how to apply foundation, powder, mascara, eyeliner, and maybe even a smoky eye if you’re lucky. However, when it comes to really “beating” your face to the gods, you may not know what one makeup term or product is from the next. Luckily, I have a sister to look up to when it comes to these things. But for others, you may only have YouTube to rely on, which can be pretty helpful, but sometimes beauty gurus on YouTube can tend to forget that we aren’t all makeup artists! Here are some makeup terms and tips for those of you who are like me and have no idea what you’re doing.

1. Primer

Primer is what gives your face a smooth canvas to work on. Think of it as a paint primer—it smooths the surface and gives you a blank canvas. To apply primer, apply it almost like a foundation. Rub it all over your face using your hands; you don’t have to use a makeup brush.


2. Foundation

Foundation is used to color-correct your skin. It makes everything appear to be the same complexion and it hides (almost) all of your imperfections. There are two types of foundation. The first, and most common, is liquid. I prefer liquid foundation because it goes on easier and more smoothly. I also like the dewy effect that it lives on your skin. If you have dry skin, liquid foundation is better for you. Liquid foundation can be applied using your fingers, a makeup brush, or the popular “beauty blender,” which is a makeup sponge. After using your fingers or beauty blender, it is still best to blend it out with a makeup brush. The second type of foundation is powder foundation. Powder foundation is more suitable for people with oily skin. To apply power foundation, you can use a simple makeup brush. With both types of foundation, you can apply more or less layers depending on the coverage you want to achieve.


3. Highlighting & Contouring

The purpose of highlighting and contouring is to darken the shadows of your face and bring light to the “high points” of your face such as your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, the center of your chin, and the center of your forehead. Some people also like to highlight their cupid’s bow (the lining of the upper lip). Most people use a concealer that is two shades lighter than their skin tone to highlight and a concealer that is two shades darker than their skin tone to contour. A great purpose to contour is to make your nose appear thinner or smaller and to make your cheekbones more defined. Highlighting can also make your cheekbones “pop,” which makes your face look more chiseled.


4. Baking

We’re not talking about cupcakes and brownies here. Baking is basically using a setting powder over the areas that you’ve highlighted. You need to allow a few minutes for it to “bake” or settle on your face.


5. Makeup Setting

After that, you can either find a finishing spray or a translucent powder to set everything in place. For example, NYX has a couple of setting sprays that can either give you a dewy finish or a matte finish, depending on the look you are going for. A dewy finish gives you more of a glow, while matte finish gives you a flat look. 



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