Tech Talk: Tricks of the Trade 101

Hello everyone!

Today I decided to lay out some of the most common Tricks of the Trade that I have discovered, creating a simple list of some of the most widely used techniques of cosmetic application. These basic tips are great to learn if you are a beginner, curious about the makeup arts as these tricks are universal and will carry you through the years.


A simple highlight bounces natural light off of your face, creating a glowing appearance that adds life and radiance to your look. I found this fantastic face chart that clearly indicates where highlighter should be placed (see below). Notice that it is focused under/ in the corner the eyes, on the nose, above the cupid’s bow of the lip/ center of lip (creating a soft pout), the center of the forehead, the brow bone, and along the jaw line.


I’ve written about some of my favorite highlighters including Benefits’ Watts Up! / Laura Mercier highlighter but I’ve also been loving the TOUCHE ÉCLAT – Radiant Touch by Saint Laurent ($41). 


This highlighter is in a liquid pen form, so no brush is needed. If you use a powder highlighter though, the best tool for application is a fan brush, which will gently glide the highlighter onto your skin.



Contouring is an nice added step that subtly shapes your face, giving you more defined cheek bones, jaw line and nose. Make sure to look at the face chart once more to see where contouring should be done. The key is to use a light hand when applying your bronzer as too much contouring can look incredibly unnatural.

The type of brush is also key. There are hundreds of bronzing brushes out there but I find a straight and narrow type brush like the NARS ‘Ita’ brush works amazingly ($55). For a much cheaper brush, I found that the Benefit brushes that come in their blush/ bronzer boxes, work really well and are shaped similarly to the Ita, though there is no long handle.

Image  Image

Though my purchases, I have picked up many different bronzers from many different brands. BOBBI BROWN & Dior bronzers have been some of my most used out of my collection, and though pricy, they give off a really natural glow and are the greatest of quality.

Note: When highlighting/contouring make sure you BLEND. Blending is crucial in getting that naturally illuminated face. 

Tip #2: DEFINE EYEBROWS: Picking a shade

Defining the eyebrows helps frame the face and adds subtle emphases on the eyes. There was a huge trend of the 90s and 2000s where women wore really sparse, overly plucked eyebrows. This trend (thank god) has passed, and now more than ever, the defined brow is back.

Whether you use a pencil or powder/ wax, many people have trouble picking what color to use. The simple answer is pick a shade 1-2 lighter than your hair color. If you decide you want a little bit more of a darker brow, stick with just 1 shade lighter. Note: If you have very light hair such a bright blonde color, add a shade darker i.e an ultra light brown shade.

Ex.) I have a dirty blonde/ auburn hair color so I go with Benefit’s Brow Zings blonde powder, which is actually more of a light brown shade or Anastasia Beverly Hills pencil in Ash Blonde.

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* If you are not sure how to define your brows, there are many fantastic tutorials on line. I’ll link two of my favorites down below*


In many of my Makeup of the Day (M.O.T.D) looks, I use a black coal colored pencil in my upper and lower waterline to define my eye, which can create a more smokey nighttime appearance. This dramatic application though is not for everyone. If you have smaller eyes, I would suggest instead of using a dark pencil, use a light pencil such as that of a cream or white shade. By doing this, you widen your eye and appear to be more awake as an added bonus.

Tip #4: Heated Eyelash Curler

An old trick to get more long- lasting curled lashes is to heat your eyelash curler with a blow dryer for a few seconds, then carefully curl your lashes. This technique takes a little bit of practice but it does actually work.

If you are a little weary about heating with a blow dryer you can try a heated lash curler. Recently I picked up the BLINC lash curler ($24) which is battery powered and gives off a slight heat when turned on. Though the results aren’t as fast working as the blow dryer method, I do actually really enjoy this product as it does work with a little patience.



If you have a very light- pigmented shadow shade such as DUST by the Urban Decay 3 palette, which is a very faint sparkly pink color, simply wet your finger or brush before application. By doing so, you will attract more pigment, which will end up in less coats of shadow needed.



When applying false eyelashes, use a medium amount of glue (not too much, not too little) and wait about 30 secs. before placing the glue- traced eyelash band onto the base of your natural eyelashes. I normally use the DUO brand adhesive ($9) as I find it is really good quality and dries nicely.


When looking to purchase false lashes, note that the easiest lashes to apply are the ones with a clear band around them. The thicker the band, the thicker and weightier the lash. If you are new to false lashes, I would defenitely suggest looking for the clear band lashes. Cheap option lashes can be found in such brands as Ardell & Eyelure while more higher- end brands like Illamasqua & MakeUp Forever make easy application lashes as well.


Those are just some of my tips for makeup application and I plan to make more Tricks of the Trade posts in the near future! Hopefully you guys will find these tips useful. Coming soon I will have my JUNE FAVORITES post so stop on by again!

Thanks for reading. (Eyebrow tutorial #1) (Eyebrow tutorial #2)

5 thoughts on “Tech Talk: Tricks of the Trade 101

  1. Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed!
    Extremely helpful info particularly the last part
    🙂 I care for such information a lot. I was looking for this particular info
    for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

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