Think you’ve got your makeup routine down to a science? Maybe—but these easy makeup artist tips may actually improve it.

Chris Buck

Melissa Silver and Tanya Rae, the New York City–based makeup artists behind Makeup Tips for 8 Common Problems, shared these tips with the eight Real Simple readers who participated in the story—and now with you.

  • In general, always apply cream products before powders—on your eyes, for instance—to help the makeup last longer without looking cakey.

  • You can cut down on primping time by doing your eyes first, since you can clean up shadow, pencil, or mascara mishaps without then having to touch up any other makeup. Before applying under-eye concealer, wipe away residue using a bit of moisturizer on a tissue or a cotton swab.

  • Blending eye shadow upward helps visually “lift” the eyes.

  • Using a darker eye shadow color in the creases helps to visually recess puffy eyes.

  • To make your eyes look bigger and brighter, gradually lighten the tone of your eye shadows as you move upward on the lid, putting the lightest shade on the brow bones.

  • A smidge of shimmer is nice in eye shadow, because it helps the eyes pop, but you want to avoid anything frosty.



  • It’s best to stay away from liquid eyeliner if you don’t have the time to apply it carefully or aren’t confident in your ability to draw a thin, clean line—especially black liner, which can be harsh and unforgiving. However, if you do want to use a liquid liner, the trick is to blend it: Go over your lines with a touch of shadow on an angled brush to soften them.

  • The best technique for using an eyelash curler: Do a few small pumps with the curler rather than clamping down hard on your lashes and then holding.

  • To get the best results with mascara, wiggle the wand from side to side as you’re applying it to cover the lashes from root to tip without clumping. Comb through it with a clean spoolie brush (one to try: Sonia Kashuk, $2,
  • Run a clean spoolie brush through your eyebrows, too, if you’ve used a pencil or powder to fill them in. This will both blend the product and remove any excess. When applying eyebrow pencil, always use short, quick strokes and a light touch.

  • Before using a pencil on your eyes, brows, or lips, sharpen it first, then run it over your hand to dull the point slightly. This keeps lines soft rather than severe.

  • When applying under-eye concealer, use your ring finger. It’s the weakest of your fingers, so you’re sure to be gentle with the delicate skin under the eyes.



  • Use your fingers, when possible, to apply foundation: Your body heat will warm the foundation so that it easily blends into the skin.

  • If you can’t decide between a foundation color that seems a little too light and one that seems a little too dark, go with the latter because you can always blend it in. The best place to test a foundation’s color: your chest. The skin here is naturally a bit darker than on the face or hands, so it will give you a truer idea of how the foundation will look once it’s been blended.

  • Avoid applying blush too low on your face: When blush sits below the level of your nose, it can visually draw the face downward.

  • When choosing a nude lipstick, pick something with a bit of shimmer—a matte can look dull and a little dead. Remember that a nude color doesn’t have to be pale; in fact, a hint of caramel or gold can warm your face without making too much of a statement. Stay away from anything that is white or silvery in tone.

  • Lining the lip after applying gloss gives you a softer line. But if you have a natural lip line, there’s no need to use lip liner on it.

  • To set your makeup without changing its tone, brush colorless powder over your face.