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Feel like your makeup routine is in a decent place… but could do better? Here’s how to take your makeup from average to awesome with just a few simple hacks. And, good news, none of them require too much skill nor too much of your precious time. Because, sure makeup is fabulous, but, well, life’s too short.

Applying makeup can go from being mega simple – hello lip gloss – to properly tricky – *cough, smokey eyes. And while we’re pretty sure you’ve mastered most of the basics, the more intricate side of makeup can often seem almost impossible to get right.

Here’s the thing with makeup. The way in which you apply it is mostly down to personal preference… along with how much time you have on your hands, of course. Do you use your fingers to apply eyeshadow? Frankly, it’s not the end of the world. Do you rarely apply primer before foundation? No harm done. However, if you want to make the most of your makeup and get it to look its absolute best while maximizing its staying power, there are some very simple rules to follow. Sure, they might take a little extra time, but the payback? So worth it.

Read on for some of our favorite tricks for taking your makeup routine to the next level.

Exfoliate Your Skin

Trying to apply foundation, concealer, blush or in fact any face product to cruddy skin is no picnic. Which is why exfoliating is everything.

Whether you choose a physical exfoliator like a scrub which sloughs away dead skin cells, or a leave-on chemical exfoliator that uses ingredients like glycolic acid or salicylic acid to break down the dead stuff, exfoliation is one of those simple beauty habits that can make or break your skin and your makeup. It clears out your pores, balances oil, improves radiance and helps to reduce rough, flaky skin. And that’s exactly what your makeup wants to hear.

Of course, the key is knowing how often to exfoliate. Too little and you risk your skin becoming congested and breaking out; too much and you could cause irritation, redness and flaking. Listen to your skin to find your sweet spot (most people find that once or twice a week is enough) and always be as gentle as you can.

Do A Double With Hydration

If you have dry skin you likely know how to deal with it by now. But what about dehydration? Because, yes, that’s a whole different ball game. You see, dehydration is skin that lacks water – unlike dry skin which lacks oil. Any skin type (even oily) can be dehydrated due to things like poor skincare, zero sleep, air conditioning or an unhealthy diet. And, just like congested skin, dehydration is no fun when applying your makeup, often causing flaking, creasing and patchy results.

To stop all this in its tracks, introduce the queen of hydration into your skincare routine – hyaluronic acid (HA). HA is a veritable moisture magnet, soaking up water like a sponge and delivering it to the surface layers to help deal with thirsty skin. Try applying an HA serum before moisturizer morning and night to double up your hydration. Then watch your makeup look instantly better.

Know That Priming Is Crucial

Is primer worth the extra effort, you may ask. Well, unless you have the most perfect skin that ever existed (which we doubt very much, because, honestly, who does?), yes, primer is totally worth it.

Our velvety smooth Pre•Face Primer, for example, takes no time to apply – we’re talking seconds – yet what it does for your skin is worth hours in a beauty spa. Just a thin application helps transform your complexion into the smooth, even canvas you deserve, leveling out the texture of your skin and giving your makeup the best chance to look awesome and last for hours.

Mix & Match For Color Perfection

Matching your skin to your foundation can be a total mindscrew, but our Foundation Powders take away that headache by being ultra lightweight and more translucent than your average foundation. This helps them to blend seamlessly into your skin. We also include not one, but two beautifully wearable shades in every Fold Out Face Palette (and Fold Out Complexion Kit!) which means you get to switch things up as your skin tones change throughout the year.

But still, sometimes your skin feels like it needs a little bit more, right? Or even a little bit less? So, what do you do on those such occasions? Simple: blend two colors together to create your perfect shade. Really? That simple? Heck yes!

Mind. Officially. Blown.

Try Eye Shadow As Liner

Don’t get us wrong, eye liner is great. But harsh lines can be terribly aging, and liquid liner is so frustratingly hard to nail. Are we right or are we right? Also, do you really need to invest in an armful of pencils just to line your eyes?

Erm no. We believe eyeshadow is just as good, maybe even better for lining your eyes. It’s easier to manipulate, much simpler to remove when (sorry, if!) you screw up and it gives you a softer, more flattering result. Seems like a no brainer, don’t you think?

To use your eyeshadow as an eyeliner, dampen the smaller tip of your Eye Detailer Brush or Essential Eye Brush, then dip it into your shadow and line your eyes as you would with your regular pencil or liquid liner. This will create a good strong line that can be left as is or smudged out with your brush. Up to you.

Set Your Concealer To Avoid Creases

Under eye concealer has a tendency to sit in creases after a few hours of, well, life. It can also slip and slide around on your skin – especially if you have an oily complexion. So, to minimize this and help your concealer do as it’s told, apply a light dusting of Foundation Powder to set it in place. This trick is a firm favorite with makeup artists and we love it so much we've given it a name. Say hello to Combination Coverage™ which unites the concealing superpowers of cream (concealer) with the setting prowess of powder (foundation) to give you natural, buildable and long-lasting coverage.

Use Highlighter To Plump Your Lips

A touch of highlighter or Shimmer Powder above your cupid’s bow (that’s the cute dip in the center of your top lip) is a great hack for making your lips appear larger. How does that even work? Well, it’s all about reflecting light which draws the eye to that area and makes it seem bigger than it really is.

Apply your lip gloss first – gloss also helps plump your lips; matte formulations have the opposite effect – then dab a tiny bit of shimmer above the middle of your cupid’s bow. You can do this with a thin makeup brush, but the very tip of your ring finger works just as well.

Not a fan of shimmer? Not a problem. You can also create a similar plumping effect using light contouring powder.

Apply Foundation Last – Say What? 

Ever applied your foundation only to move on to your eye makeup, make a hot mess and then ruin your whole darn face? Been there, done that. Which is why now, we always, without fail, leave our foundation until the very end.

Applying and blending foundation powder with the large end of the Woosh complexion brush

Not only does applying foundation last stop you from having to do your entire makeup all over again should you experience mascara or eye shadow fallout, but it allows you to set your makeup into place. It creates the perfect finish for your cream concealer, contour powders and blusher so they blend seamlessly with your skin rather than sitting on top of your foundation.

You know that phrase, ‘second skin’ makeup artists and beauty editors are always banging on about? This is how to totally crush that.

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