Do you have any unconventional makeup tips or tricks?


Do you have any unconventional makeup tips or tricks? Share your wisdom!

Mine has always been to apply gel eyeliner with a similarly-colored eyeliner pencil to get more precision. It also helps to ensure a really even, opaque line.

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69 Comments

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Lulle Avatar

One thing that is “against the rules” that I do is apply the lightest shadow last when I do my eye makeup. I usually use the same shade to highlight the brow bone and the inner corner, and I apply it after the main lid, crease and outer corner shades. That allows me to blend it with the crease shade flawlessly.

xamyx Avatar

I never realized that was “against the rules”, and have always done it that way. I’ve also noticed a lot of makeup artists do it, too…

Signe Avatar

I think the main reason for this “rule” (more like a tip) is if you have few brushes. When I travel and only pack a few brushes, it can sometimes be handy to start light and go dark, in order to be able to do the whole look with 1 brush. At least that’s a guess haha

Candice Avatar

That makes sense!! I have more than one brush so I mostly go with what seems easiest to do, and I find that starting with the crease transition shade is the best way and I finish with the highlight.
BUT I don’t have SO many brushes and I often find that I’m not sure what to use by the time I get to the end of my look so starting with the lightest shades would be useful for that. I think you found “the answer”

Nicole Avatar

I never thought of this and I am 39! I’m going to try it. So often I find I’ve gone overboard with a crease shade and it’s just too time cconsuming to redo the entire eye. So, I wind up matcing the other eye. Gods tip!

Dustin Avatar

Some of these I personally don’t think of as unconventional but enough people scoff at the idea of using lipstick as a blusher… maybe they are? Haha let’s see:

1) Lipstick makes the BEST cream blush (especially the newer liquid matte formulas).

2) Make your OWN liquid matte lipstick by mixing pigments and liquid foundation.

3) Eyeshadow works as blush, bronzer, contour and highlight powder.

4) Blush, bronzer, contour and highlight powders work as eyeshadow.

5) Most water-based lubes and professional mixing mediums are basically the same thing.

6) Instead of using highlight powder, try pressing a little moisturizer into the skin.

7) Mix your own tinted moisturizer with foundation (or concealer) and moisturizer.

8) Mix your own cream/liquid foundation with a good mineral foundation and moisturizer.

9) Store all your liquid products (especially foundation) in the fridge to double or triple the shelf life.

10) Most of us should be mixing shades of foundation. Buying two different colors doesn’t REALLY cost you more money because it will last you twice as long.

11) Learn to read ingredients (Google them), it honestly helps you to know what to expect when shopping. Especially with skincare and foundation and especially when someone else is trying to sell you something. Ask for the box, read it yourself and make up your own mind! You can do it!

Finally, this isn’t so much a tip as perhaps an unconventional opinion:

12) MAC Fix+ is the dumbest thing ever made by anyone who ever made anything anywhere… ever. You know what else helps your makeup “set?” About a half hour sitting it.

Nicole Avatar

Thanks for the tips! So funny you posted #12 because I was going to maybe go buy some Fix+ today or the Smashbox primer water which I read is similar. Do you mind elaborating on why you say that? I have dry/combo skin and am looking for something to use right before applying makeup and throughout the day. I have tried other brands, mostly more HE (Caudalie and Amorepacific) . I just read that these had good emolliency..idk. It all may just be water in a spray bottle?! Thanks! 🙂

Dustin Avatar

There are lots of videos and blog posts out there on making your own Fix+, it’s mostly water and glycerine (the thing you won’t get at home is the variety of anti-oxidants in the package). I don’t like it because the way it’s sold, people often think it will make their makeup last longer… which it won’t. It WILL “kick back” that powdery look after you just apply your makeup but like I said, so will wearing your makeup (or pressing your hands into your skin when your done… that’ll work too). For what YOU are looking for it will work just fine (extra moisture before and a refresher throughout the day). However there are other products that would do the same thing (if you put them in a spray bottle) that are probably even BETTER for your skin because the ingredients are superior to Fix+: MAC’s own Lightful C Softening Lotion and Clinique’s Mild Clarifying Lotion come to mind. These are all modern-day “toners” really, we just don’t really use the word toner anymore… maybe because toners used to adjust the pH in your skin after cleansing and with better cleansers now, there’s less of a need to do that? I don’t know. Personally speaking, for my very DRY skin I found that including a weekly AHA exfoliator in my skincare routine eliminated the need for extra lotions and moisturizers like that… it sort of fixed the problem at its source. Hope this all helps!

Sarah Avatar

Ugh, thank you! Fix+ and other facial mists and sprays are some of the most useless products imo. They literally do nothing. If you want a toner as part of your skincare then fine. I use a toner. But other than that, there are 0 ingredients as a cosmetic item to make makeup stick. The exception is UD’s setting spray, which I put down because it’s full of alcohol denat.

Lindsey Avatar

Off the topic but the famous Zoya nail polish remover is just liquid glycerin added to regular drugstore (type w/ acetone) nail polish remover. You can also get it in bulk at Sally’s for even cheaper.

Maggie Avatar

Thank you so much for all the tips!

I remember reading on Beautypedia that the only neat thing about Fix+ is the spray bottle/nozzle itself–something about how it mists. It made me wonder if the bottle is refillable?

Nicole Avatar

Thank you! I do actually use toners,lol! I feel have a couple which I use on the drier areas of my face. It just feels soothing. Maybe I will just try adding that to a spray bottle and see how that works first. I have used so many of these facial mists for so many years and honestly I’ve not found one that really can add hydration beyond more than a few minutes. I was doubting myself that the Mac product was much different. Just the curse of dry skin and 40 knocking on my door,lol. As far as the AHA, I use it nightly. I started doing so to ward off son past sun sins. Definitely smooths .But ,i’ve not noticed it has helped with dryness issues. Thanks for your help and saving me some $!

xamyx Avatar

I make my own with distilled water & glycerin, and add whatever oils I have on hand. Another product I’ve recently discovered, and really love, is Alaffia Everyday Coconut Face Toner; it works just as well as Fix+, but is all natural, and less than $10 for a 12 oz. bottle at my local health food store. I have dry skin, and I apply it before & after makeup.

Nicole Avatar

Great idea Xamyx! I just googled and found both. I bought Caudalie’s “beauty elixir” at the Sephora sale at the SA suggestion. I just looked up the ingredients. 2nd one is alcohol! It is going back!

kelly Avatar

Reading the info on Mac’s website says Fix + “finishes” someone’s makeup, it doesn’t use the word “set” or “setting” anywhere in it’s description. I got the impression it can “complete” a makeup application just like say a Hakuhodo S100 finishing brush would, it just depends on if you’d like to finish with a “liquidy moisturizer” or a powder. I’ve never understood how or why anyone would think that product would “set” someone’s makeup, if anything it makes me more dewy! I actually prefer to use it after I get out of the shower as a spray moisterizer in the hot summer months because it’s so much lighter than a lotion or cream.

Katherine T. Avatar

Dusty, thanks for tips! I have some shadows that look kind of blah on my eyes (they came in a big kit and there’s always going to be few colors that don’t work), so I’ll try to re-purpose them as bronzer, contour, blush, or highlighter

Angie Avatar

well not exactly beauty hacks since i figure a lot of people knew already but i blend a translucent setting powder for setting my eyeliners. i find doing so softens the edges especially for a day look and keeps the lines in place even if i slept through them.

i also use them on top of a coat of mascara before layering another one because i think they deliver more impact like that.

also maybe some people find this risky, but i like to use what’s left on my hand when using my clarins facial lift on my eyelids (instead of just pressing, use very light dabbing motion for about thirty seconds) and i feel like it really helps to contour the eyes. i’m an asian with natural double lids, but one is more prominent than the other fyi

on the other hand, using the excess oil of roasted canarium nut is one way of growing your eyelashes (hair, eyebrows) naturally but you can also use vaseline i think

hope that’s helpful ( ^ω^ )

Em Avatar

The only way I can apply crisp liner is to take an old, dried-up liner (Stila Stay All Day) and dip it in a pot of gel liner.

When I use felt liners, they never deposit even, opaque color. When I use brushes for gel products, they don’t give me the crisp lines of a felt liner. Solution: use felt brush to apply gel liner.

Another Deb Avatar

Possibly not unconventional, but I haven’t seen it discussed: I put eyeshadow primer on my eyebrows and the skin immediately around them to add a layer of security to Anastasia’s Dipbrow on long and/or sweaty days. (My eyebrows mostly fell out when my thyroid stopped working in my mid-20s and never really grew back. Losing eyebrow hair is a common sign of thyroid trouble.)

Daniele Avatar

OMG…I do this too, however – I don’t think it really works. But I still do it. I use MAC’s paint pot. Maybe a different primer would work for this though. I also have no hair, I tweezed them out EXCESSIVELY as a teen and thy just never grew back. OOPSIE! 😉 Thanks

dorit Avatar

Very simple, but if you wear moisturizer, sunscreen and foundation, it’s essential to let each layer think into the skin properly. Otherwise you end up with layers that never dry thoroughly and that maximizes the chance of foundation pilling, sliding off your face, etc.

Brenda P Avatar

It’s not really unconventional but I am obsessed with separating my lashes – usually with a safety pin. It’s not smart, I know. It’s an old school silly thing.

The Revlon Cream eyeshadow quads are awful as far as eyeshadows go, but for skin highlighters and lips?? THey are great!!

I also use herbs to make my own skin toners (make a really strong tea out of the right herbs) and my favourite face mask comes from my fridge’s crisper 🙂 It brightens, softens and clears my breakouts and pores! Best of all, no crazy reactions to questionable ingredients 🙂

Brenda P Avatar

lol, I know I know. I”ve been doing it for about 15 years and every time I tell myself “this is a bad idea…”

Debbie Avatar

Where can I get more info about the skin toners and face mask you make? This sounds wonderful because there are no artificial ingredients being used.

Brenda P Avatar

I am an avid reader of Caroline Hirons’ blog, where there is great information on what different ingredients in skincare are and do. I didn’t know much about acids until I read more on her site.

I always have used herbs and natural oils and played around with diy skincare, based on a lifetime education from my mother (whose grandmother was an herbalist and taught her).. I have really sensitive reactive skin after having my kids and so I googled what fruits have the acids (aha, bha, lactic, glycolic). I already use coconut oil for almost everything, including my face when it’s irritated, so I used that as my base for the mask. It could be used as a makeup remover/oil cleanser as well.

Sorry it’s a long reply but I hope that gives you some places to start!!

Brenda P Avatar

Oh, what I make right now is 1/2 a medium tomato, 3 strawberries and a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil. I blend it in the bullet till it’s still kind of pulpy but not super chunky. I leave it on my face for 10-15 minutes and wipe off with a cloth.

Nicole Avatar

Not unconventional..more old school. I still separate my lashes ( at least the last coat) with a safety pin. I feel like a metal comb takes too much product off. If it’s a too clumpy mascara or if I am rushing or just having one of those days, I’ll use the comb. But I fell they look fuller. Make sure to steady your arm.
I like to mix a drop a face oil in foundations which I feel are too thick to give them more slip (I have dry/combo skin) though.
I apply my mascara before my eyeshadow because it always gets all over my eyelids if I want a good coating! If I’m using a liner, I do lid color, liner, mascara, then finish shadow. Then my face makeup. Saves the hassle of dealing with fall out in that order and gives me time to let skin care soak in.

xamyx Avatar

I don’t know how “unconventional” this is, but I do my brows first. I feel it sets a frame for my eye makeup, and since my brows never look the same two days in a row, I may have to modify the rest. I also have very thin brows due to over-tweezing, so sometimes I like to manipulate the shape, and any cleanup (or major fail!) can easily be done. I also set with translucent powder, and if necessary, go over it with brow powder or pencil.

With contour products being ubiquitous, it can often be overwhelming to find something that works, especially if one is new to the technique. However, using a darker matte & lighter shimmery/satin blush
in the same range (or layering a highlighter to the prominent planes) is a more subtle, effortless way to achoeve the look. Of course this doesn’t work for the nose or jawline, but it will add more dimension to the cheeks.

Don’t dismiss a product as “unusable” before trying different brushes. If you really love a shade, look at reviews/tutorials and see what brush is used. It may be worth investing in that brush.

RaShana Avatar

I have terribly oily skin and ooze buckets of oil during summer when the temperature is high – with more moderate “shine” during fall and winter (but still noticeable). I’ve used every type of face primer and mattifier produced from high end to drugstore brand. But NOTHING has come even close to the results I get from using… (wait for it!) MILK OF MAGNESIA! Yes, the same product that is typically ingested for stomach ailments. Trust me, I was as horrified/skeptical the first time someone told me about this, but it TRULY WORKS for solving my oily skin dilemma. I pour about 1/2 tsp in my hands, rub together and pat on my face each morning (the plain formula, not flavored or colored with anything special, about $5 for a 12 oz bottle). I swear by it. Would love to hear if anyone else has heard of this trick and has similar results.

Sarah Avatar

This stuff works by destroying bacteria on the skin – both good bacteria and oil-producing bacteria on your skin. It can put you at a greater risk for acne and other skin concerns. I would highly recommend doing a Google search on ‘milk of magnesia bad’ to anyone considering using this stuff. I would rather have oily skin than put my skin at risk!

Nicole Avatar

Just so you know, this is a bad idea to do regularly! It messes up the acid mantle of your skin and does some serious damage in the long run. Be careful!

Rachel R. Avatar

I invert the eyelash curler to get an even better curl. If my lashes just aren’t keeping a good curl, I’ll use mascara first, let it dry, curl, then add a second coat of mascara.

I use powder under foundation to help absorb oil (an old trick from before there were primers).

If I’m worried more about a clean look than preventing feathering, I line my lips after putting on my lipstick.

I’ve used lipstick for blush, blush for lip stain, creamy eyeliner for lipliner (easier to match unconventional lip colors), blush and bronzers for eyeshadow, eyeshadow for blush, eyeshadows as contour and highlighters on the face. A powder blush on top of lipstick can give it a velvety appearance.

Katherine T. Avatar

OMG, I googled it and I’m going to give it a try! I’m combo/normal, but the skin under my eyes is always kind of dry. This has all kinds of moisturizing, anti-aging ingredients and SPF 15! Thanks for the tip!

Aimee Avatar

Thank you for this amazing tip! I found a two-pack at the drugstore & have designated one solely for under eye use. In the few days since I’ve started, it’s made a huge difference in my under eye lines and puffiness, and I’m able to live my concealer again! Woohoo! A question though (possibly an obvious answer but I need all the help I can get!): do you use a primer and if so, does the Blistex go under or over it or both? Thank you again, great tip!

I have a tip I use too, if this helps anyone: if I’m going to tightline or put eyeliner on my waterline, I gently wipe the area with a cotton swab. This really helps the liner last so much longer for me! Especially since NOTHING stays there for more than 20 minutes otherwise. With this technique, and a good lasting liner (Marc Jacobs works best for me, & I’ve tried ’em all: UD, Lancome, Revlon, Mally, Lise Watier, YSL, Maybelline, Tom Ford, Rimmel, and on and on…) I can get 4 or more hours of solid staying power! A miracle. Hehehe!:)

Lindsey Avatar

Not really a trick but I use i tiny of Cetaphil moisturizer on a q-tip to remove all the fall out and make a sharp eye edge, THEN use a sensitive baby wipe. The makeup wipes are pretty rough on the delicate eye area. plus they have a bunch of ingredients that are made to dissolve a whole FACE of makeup.

Rachel B Avatar

My weird habits are mostly to do with nail polish: combining half empty bottles, adding a few drops of a different color to change the shade slightly. You can made a cream polish into a shimmer polish by adding a few drops of one of those old out-of-style frosty shades.

El Avatar

I don’t think it’s particularly unconventional, but I don’t see it discussed that much. I have 360 degree dark circles during allergy/hayfever season, and on the worst days, I can’t tolerate much in the way of liner or mascara. But if you use concealer all the way around and don’t do full eye makeup, it can end up looking like reverse panda eyes. Not attractive! A tip I learned a looong time ago was to go ahead with the concealer, but then dust some of my blush over my eyelids. It will set the concealer, making it less likely to crease, and give some colour back so there isn’t that obvious paleness. And, it’s about as foolproof as it gets for making sure your makeup is colour coordinated!

That’s also a good tactic if you want to do just a liner flick.

Ali's Gigi Avatar

I use ski labs under eye gel plumper on the lips to fill them out when they are dehydrated and wrinkled. You get an instant fluff but not really a plump. It gets rid of wrinkled or dryness and lipstick goes on great.

I also use a toothpaste mask to fight oiliness and Milia. Put on face and rest for about 30 minutes rinse with cool water. Toothpaste is an antibacterial and takes care of the root of the problem. Tingles a bit but goes a way. Skin is soft clean and reduced pores after. Skin tone is also more even. I use it about 2-3 x’s a week especially in the south summer heat.

sun67girl Avatar

No 🙂 I’m a total makeup rule follower. (Which I didn’t realize about myself until you posted a question a while back asking about products that people use for “double duty.”) I was gasping in shock at the thought of using lipstick as blush…..but as I follow your blog and keep learning new things, perhaps I’ll some day come up with an unusual trick!

miekogirlie99 Avatar

im not sure if this is unconventional but i apply my eye makeup first & apply my liner real messy. then i use a cotton pad folded in half & moistened with makeup remover or cleansing water and sweep across my under eye to clean it up & sharpen my liner. then i apply foundation and use edge of sponge to sharpen it some more. And to apply foundation i use those white square sponges so i have distilled water in a small spray bottle. i moisten the sponge just enough so it doesn’t absorb too much product. another thing i do is for shadows with lots of glitter in it, i apply a creamy gel liner & then place the glittery shadow on top to make sure it sticks good.

SharK Avatar

This isn’t so much of a makeup tip, but more of a skin care tip (and how to remove makeup later on.)

I use apple cider vinegar as face toner. I dilute it 1:1 with water. My skin has never been healthier.

I also use oil based cream cleansers instead of foam cleansers to remove my makeup. I use ones which have olive oil, soy oil, safflower oil etc. and it cleans my skin and removes my makeup without scouring the skin of good oils. I went from seriously oily and dry patched to barely a zit even before I get my period (it used to be that I would break out with painful cluster zits.) Oil based cream cleansers are awesome. Safe for use around the eyes, too!

rachael Avatar

I have over 200 lippies and for some reason have bought quite a few bright shades that are not matte but I ONLY wear matte shades unless it’s a nude lip (nude or mlbb I’ll wear glossy) so I take the lipstick cut off a chunk and mix it with silica powder (HD powder) and repackage it in an old lip gloss tube and its a matte lipstick. This is best done with really pigmented lipsticks, like a sheer lippie is not gonna work with this.. I also will mix pigments with an elf lip primer and make something like a nyx matte lip cream. Instead of using a using powder over a lippie to make it matte (which silica is the best for that to) the new primer balms are patted over to a great job and don’t dull the colour as much. I really love mallys poreless face defender is my favourite for that (wish one of the drugstore brands would make s dupe like hers) I also have used my color corrector concealer mixed with a clear primer to make colour correcting primer.

Valentina Avatar

I mix primer with my powder eyeshadow on a palette to make a creamier version. It last a lot longer and gives it a bit more oomph.

Emilie Avatar

When doing winged eyeliner, I don’t start with the straight line that juts out from the outer corner, I start with the top edge of the wing that connects to liner on the lid! I just find it’s easier to make the wings even that way for some reason, I can’t seem to get it the ‘normal’ way.

Marissa Avatar

The only thing I do, that wasn’t mentioned, that is kind of unconventional is use sensitive skin baby wipes instead of makeup wipes. They work just as good and are much cheaper.

Marissa Avatar

The only thing I do, that wasn’t mentioned, that is kind of unconventional is use sensitive skin baby wipes instead of makeup wipes. They work just as good and are much cheaper.

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