It’s time to get beauty-schooled.
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As I type this, I'm still in pajamas, but my face is more awake than it has been in weeks. In the words of Maria from West Side Story, "I feel pretty and witty and bright!" But that wasn't always the case. 

Quarantine took a toll on me (like it did for everyone), and my stressed reflection showed a tired pallor that looked utterly depleted. The Groundhog Day lethargy is real guys—and my face was proof. I wanted to do something for myself; and for me, seeing a bright reflection did wonders for my optimism. While I consider myself decent at applying makeup, one look inside my makeup drawer revealed a random collection of mostly expired beauty products. I needed a fresh start, and Bobbi Brown's MasterClass was my answer to self-care.

So, I promptly enrolled in Brown Teaches Makeup and Beauty ($180 for all-access pass; masterclass.com). The 3-plus hour course is organized into 19 mini-tutorials that demonstrate her no-makeup makeup philosophy. This class completely changed how I look at and purchase makeup. In learning about different brushes and applications, I also gained a newfound confidence in how I use makeup and, more importantly, how it can change my mood in only a few minutes. 

While helpful to watch how she applies her makeup (I've watched the foundation section three times!), I'll tell you how to enhance your look by making just a few quick changes to your routine. 

Tip 1: Always hydrate first.

One surprising thing that Brown recommends is applying moisturizer, including eye cream, with a makeup brush. Honestly, I never considered eye cream for daytime thinking it would smudge my eye makeup. But if you apply it right, it's like using a Magic Eraser for tired eyes. I smoothed a rice-sized amount of Too Cool for School Caviar Line Hydra Eye Treatment ($20; toocoolforschool.us) at a 45-degree angle (or what I call "the tragic tired triangle") to hide my fine lines and morning puff. 

For the perfect morning moisturizer, I experimented with all my moisturizers by brushing one brand on one side of my face and another on the other, and then asked my husband which side of my face looked better in a blind test. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel was the clear winner ($20; target.com). A brush helped me thin out the already translucent formula. (I now have a designated face moisturizer brush that I rinse after each use.) Once everything was absorbed, my skin looked more matted and my pores were less visible. My canvas was ready for makeup.

Tip 2: Buy multiple complexion shades, if you have to.

In cleaning out my makeup bag, I checked all the shades of my foundations and tinted creams by swiping each on the side of my cheek (you know it's the right color if it disappears). Three out of six were completely off! How did this make sense? But then I remembered Bobbi's words: "Most women have a different color forehead than the rest of their face." What's more, your skin tone changes at different times of year, so play around with mixing foundations to get a color that works for your entire face.

I also snagged two Nudestix concealer pencils ($26 each; nudestix.com). That's not a typo—I needed two. In her MasterClass demo, Bobbi uses one as foundation, and another lighter shade as undereye concealer. According to Brown, concealers should always be one shade lighter than your foundation. Once I patted, not rubbed, the concealer into my skin with my fingers and blended the edges with a sponge, I instantly looked more awake. 

Tip 3: Bronzer isn't just for summer.

Until now, I didn't even own bronzer, but Brown says bronzer is the biggest hack for days you're not feeling your best. It gives me just the right amount of natural sun-kissed glow on my naturally pasty skin.

Here's an important tip from Brown: Instead of starting at the apples of your cheeks and moving outward towards your temples, gently sweep down toward the center of your cheek for a more natural application.

Tip 4: Taper your eyeliner.

I've been waiting for this makeup trick all my life. Sadly, my eyeliner technique hasn't changed since eighth grade when I first wielded a CoverGirl pencil. I used to start close to the inner corner and move across the lid in one sweep, which usually ends up with one side of my cat-eye being somewhat longer or uneven.

To prevent this, Brown recommends starting on the outside and drawing inwards little by little to taper the line. With this technique, my eyes actually matched on the first try, because going outside-in made it easier to come closer to my lash line. It will cut your eyeliner application time in half, guaranteed.

Tip 5: You don't need an eyelash curler.

Full disclosure: Eyelash curlers frighten me. Holding my lashes prisoner in a lash curler is a form of mild abuse. Luckily, as it turns out, I don't need it.

According to Brown, a quick way to achieve curled lashes without a medieval torture device is pressing down at the base of your lash line as the mascara is drying. And presto! Instantly curled lashes.  

Tip 6: You need two eye brushes for a smoky eye.

The smoky eye can spice up Friday takeout date night; but when I attempt one, I usually get the dark shadow in the corner of my eye (which makes me look slightly hungover). So I was psyched to get a step-by-step tutorial, which I used as an excuse to get a brand new violet-hued Nudist Palette No.2 by W3ll People ($22; target.com).

I applied the pinky quartz all over, then the taupe, and then switched brushes for the dark chocolate halfway up the lid. Had I used the same brush, I would have diffused the dark shadow, pretty much defeating the point of the smoky eye.

Tip 7: Sparkle never fails.

When I can't be bothered with proper makeup application, liner and all, sparkle is the answer. For Brown's one-minute makeup tutorial, she advises adding something sparkly to your lids to mimic shadow and fool your friends into thinking you took a long time on your routine. The only eye product I used was Glossier Lidstar in Lily ($18; glossier.com), along with a coat of mascara and Smith's Rosebud Salve ($7; sephora.com) to give my lips a glint of shine. I even had my kids time me, and the whole look took less than two minutes. 

For something more subtle, dab some liquid illuminator highlighter into the darkish spot where your eye meets the nose. It will instantly brighten your eyes and make you look more awake.

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