Contouring, winged eyeliner, bold lips, and blending have all become widely spread throughout the general public and our morning routines are no longer as simple as a powder foundation and mascara. As a makeup artist, I get asked many of the same questions day after day, so I have compiled my Top 10 tips that I give out on a regular basis.

1. Dark Eyes, Light Lips. Light Eyes, Dark Lips

This was one of the first rules I ever learned and it’s definitely a great one to abide by. If you’re wanting a dark smoky eye then I would stick with a nude lipstick. If you want to wear Rebel by MAC then I would stick to a more neutral and subtle eye, with maybe a small wing on your eyeliner to add some sass. If you have a smoky eye AND Rebel on, people won’t know where to look. It distracts from everything and no one will get to appreciate the beauty of one or the other. If you’re going to do a dark eye, also make sure you do your eyes first, before your foundation. Eye shadows leave powder underneath your eyes and if you do you foundation second, you will erase it all. If you do your eyes after your foundation, black is going to streak underneath and you’ll have to load on the concealer and correct it all. Don’t worry, if you’re going out and want a sexy eye look AND wear that bright red lipstick, there are ways of doing so tastefully. Rock those red lips but just use the black shadow sparingly. I would use a light gray on your lid and then maybe a dark gray or a diluted black in the crease. Still light and subtle but a sexy smoke too.

2. Use a Foundation Brush

I have had customers fight me on this one for years. They’re either stuck on using a sponge or they’re lazy and choose to use their fingers. I’m telling you right now, get a brush. A sponge is going to absorb most of your makeup, wasting it and giving you a lighter and less even coverage than you’re probably wanting. If you use your fingers, the foundation is going to apply unevenly and you’re going to miss areas that may need more coverage. It also affects how your blush and bronzer will apply if your foundation isn’t evenly applied. You also waste a lot of foundation by using your fingers; check out how much foundation you wash off of your hands the next time you apply it this way. Brushes don’t have to be expensive. My favorite full coverage brush is one by Shiseido (recently duplicated by Dior) but I also bought my little sister one from ELF for $1 and it works perfectly fine. I don’t have to replace mine like she does, but it is a cheap alternative for those that are hesitant in changing how they apply their foundation. A brush will give you smooth and even coverage, plus it will help your bottle of foundation last longer, therefore saving you money in the long run as well.

3. Set Your Foundation

This step can often be skipped, especially by those that wear a light coverage foundation like a BB cream or a powder foundation. However when it’s 6 o’clock at night and your foundation doesn’t look as smooth as you’d like, you’ll be wishing you had set it. Another easy mistake to make is to set your foundation with a colored powdered. Some people do this and swear it adds coverage (which it does) but it also sticks to the foundation you applied primarily. Use a translucent powder to set your primary foundation every time. If you want to add a powder foundation on TOP of that to add coverage, you can. Just be sure to set your foundation between every layer you add. You want your foundation to be completely dried and sealed so that your bronzer and blush are applied smoothly. Sometimes it can collect all together and form a gray color in patches. If you notice gray spots on your face, it’s due to incorrectly setting your foundation. Some foundations also leave us with a shine that we aren’t too fond of so you can get a matifying translucent powder that will get rid of the shine AND set your foundation.

4. Shiny Lips, Matte Eyes. Matte Lips, Shiny Eyes.

This tip kind of goes hand in hand with the “light eyes/dark lips” tip we have in the number one spot. You want your eyes and lips to go together as a pair, where people don’t even question that they look flawless together. However this means they need to be opposites. If you’re going to wear high intensity glitter eyeshadow, you don’t want to where a gloss or sparkly-styled lipstick. You want to allow your eyes to be about the shine and let your lips be a flat matte. Example? A shiny gold on your eyelids is gorgeous so pair it with Ruby Woo by MAC, which is an amazing matte-red that won’t detract from the shiny gold. If you decided to wear Rihanna’s Viva Glam gloss instead then I would suggest wearing matte eyeshadow colors. Pick one because both makes your face confusing to onlookers.

5. Use a Lip Liner!

I think that when people come in to buy a lipstick and we try to sell you a liner, we’re just blowing smoke up your ass and trying to up our sale. With most Makeup Artists, this isn’t the case. Do you need a separate lip liner for every lipstick you own? Hell no. Do you need one for every set of colors? Yes. Lip liners can be blended into your lipstick and then covered by your lipstick so it’s okay if it doesn’t match perfectly. Would I use a light orange lipstick to line a light pink lipstick? Not unless I was doing an ombre or going to the circus. I use my Currant liner from MAC to line the majority of my dark lipsticks and even love to blend it out into my reds for an easy ombre. It doesn’t have to be a perfect match but use a liner. Before applying my lip liner, I apply my lipstick. This may seem backwards to some but then I go back over it with my lip liner, giving it a sharp edge where it meets my foundation. After apply the liner, I apply my lipstick again, blending the two colors together even further. This also helps when your liner doesn’t perfectly match your lipstick shade. Even if you’re just using a lip gloss, it allows your lips to look more put together if they’re lined first.

6. Use Moisturizer to Correct Mistakes.

When applying eyeliner, mascara, or even lipstick we tend to goof and get a splotch on our freshly applied foundation. Instead of grabbing a Q-Tip and makeup remover, grab your face moisturizer instead. If you use makeup remover, it’s also going to remove your foundation and leave you with a hole in your even complexion. Moisturizer removes the black uh-oh but leaves your foundation in place.

7. For Shadow, Go Opposite of Your Color Palette.

Girls are constantly asking me what colors of shadow they should wear to make their eyes “pop”. The answer is actually extremely simple: go to the opposite of the spectrum from what color your eyes are. If your eyes are blue, wear golds, browns, and bronzes. If your eyes are brown, wear greens, purples, and blues. Having brown eyes myself, I do still wear a lot of browns (Naked 2 pallet anyone?) but it definitely understates my eyes. I’m okay with this normally because I wear bright and intense lip color and usually add a wing to my eyeliner. If I want my eyes to pop but still want a light eye, I use a nude color on the base and then maybe a light green or purple in the crease. Also adding a white shadow or eyeliner in the very inner corner of your eyes with allow them to appear larger as well.

8. Blend!

When I say blend, I don’t just mean your contour or your black smoky eye, I mean EVERYTHING. The only time it’s okay to leave a harsh line is if you’re cutting a sharp crease on your eyes for a dramatic look or the outer edge of your lips. You want to blend your eyes, your cheeks, your lip liner into your lipstick (as mentioned above), and your contour into your blush. If you contour with bronzer and then add blush, you will had a streak of pink on top of a streak of brown and everyone will look at you with raised eyebrows. Use your blush brush to blend it all together to look uniform. You want everything to flow and look more uniform so choppy and sharp lines take away from that. Gradual color changes on your eyelids look even better if it’s a smooth change, not black straight into gray straight into white with harsh lines left between colors. Taking a blending brush to your eyes can take awful makeup to flawless in just seconds.

9. Practice, Practice, Practice.

People ask me how I get perfectly winged eyeliner in less than two minutes and the answer? Practice. When I first started winging my eyeliner, it took my twenty minutes per eye and I had to completely take them off a few times before they looked decent. Eventually I learned how to work with my eye shapes, what eyeliner I liked, and now it’s just muscle memory. Do you think Michael Jordan was an NBA Champion the first time he stepped on the court? No, he spent hours and hours in the gym practicing. If you’re bad at something, keep trying it. If you’re still struggling, make sure you’re trying different products. Maybe it’s not the way you’re applying your bronzer but it looks weird because it’s shimmery and not matte. However you can own all of the Chanel and Dior you want but if you don’t know how to apply it, it will look like Wet ‘N Wild. Watch YouTube videos, ask questions, and practice whenever you can.

10. There Are No Rules

The last rule? There are no rules. Everything with makeup is subjective and while there are guidelines, there is never a set rule. I’ve worn black lipstick with a black smoky eye for dramatic effect and I’ve also used my fingers to apply my foundation when I was in a hurry. I’ve used lip liners as eyeliners, lipstick as blush, and concealer as foundation. Learn the basics and then tell everyone to fuck off. I’ve met people that hate my bright lipstick, those that think dark eye shadow is harsh,, and some who wonder why I draw my eyebrows in. Nobody told Monet what to paint so why should they tell me if my lipstick is socially acceptable? Take all advice with a grain of salt and find what works for you. Just because a lipstick looked amazing on one girl doesn’t mean it will look that good on you. One person may love a specific foundation but you’ll hate it. We’re all different so why should we all use the same products? Make it specific to you and never stop trying new things. Makeup is meant to enhance our beauty and be fun. So have fun with it!