It's not exactly back to school season just yet, but there's no reason you can't get a head-start on your beauty school knock-out game during the summer session. Trendy makeup techniques are constantly springing up on platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube, claiming to be the biggest need-to-know method. With a handful of #flawless celebrity selfies guiding us, we rounded up a beauty SparkNotes list of the top 5 techniques that you should start incorporating into your makeup vocabulary, stat. Read on to get the details on each of the makeup methods you should know, and exactly how to do them.
Not since our first visit to Sprinkles Cupcakes have we seen a baking method so pretty. If you want an illuminated J. Lo-esque glow under your eyes, this technique is your best bet. Begin by applying a blendable concealer over the entirety of your T-zone, as well as under your eyes, and follow with a yellow-toned loose powder directly over the top. Allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes on your skin, using your body's natural heat to "bake" the products, then use a fluffy brush to sweep away any excess powder. You can use a wet BeautyBlender sponge ($20; sephora.com) to blur and soften any edges, or tone down the intensity if needed.
You came, you saw, you contoured—this method isn't particularly new, but is worth repeating. As Ciara demonstrates above, contouring gives your complexion extra definition through the use of bronzers and shading powders, and works wonders at faking a set of sculpted cheekbones, provided you pick up the right hues. Leave the cream contouring and concealer stripes for reality TV and try makeup artist Nick Barose's technique instead. Apply your foundation and powder as normal, then use a dense brush to apply a darker powder in the hollows of your cheekbones. Buff out the color with a fluffy brush or makeup sponge, and after a light dusting of bronzer, blend a touch of highlighting cream or powder just over the top.
Dubbed the anti-contour, Strobing focuses on highlighting prominent points of your face without any bronzer or shading powder involved. Pick up your favorite highlighter—whether you choose a cream or powder formula is up to you—and blend the product over the high points of your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, and onto your cupid's bow. Make sure to use a very light hand and build up the intensity slowly—and steer clear of any product laced with legit chunks of glitter, unless a Studio 54 flashback look is your thing.
Cut-Crease Eye Shadow
As the flawless Nicki Minaj demonstrates above, playing with the placement of your crease gives your eyes an exaggerated, hyper-real effect that gives smaller sizes an instant boost. Begin by applying your base color, then use a liquid liner pen to sweep on a dramatic cat-eye like Minaj's—the wing will help with placement of the cut-crease effect. With an angled brush dipped in a neutral shadow color, create a curve just above your natural crease until it connects with the edge of your wing. Follow by working a dome-tipped brush over the line, making sure to blend upwards in order to emphasize the shape, working additional shades over the top as you see fit.
Admittedly, Kylie Jenner got by with a little help from her friends (and by "friends," we mean the temporary lip injections she 'fessed up to), but let the absence of MAC Spice lip pencils ($17; maccosmetics.com) from store shelves serve as proof that the art of over-lining your lips has officially become a trending topic. If you're aiming for a more natural finish, trace the exterior of your pout with a lip liner with no red pigment, like the Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics shade Sebastian ($16; nordstrom.com), then pick up the neutral of your choice to fill in the blank space.