As someone with an appreciation for efficacy and expediency by virtue of being lazy and having a finite amount of patience, I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of tips and products that pack a lot of punch but aren’t particularly onerous. They can have quite a bit of impact on your look, but basically take no time. I’ve included some favorites I employ in my own arsenal, as well as others that I came across online.
1. Green concealer or primer
If you have any sort of redness on your face – from acne, freshly-plucked eyebrows, or what have you – because the color green is opposite on the color wheel from red, concealing or priming products reminiscent of Shrek are able to “cancel out” (or, at the least, greatly diminish) redness. Once one gets past the hue, this step can become an integral part of one’s routine.
Make Up Forever 5 Camouflage Cream Palette in 5 Professional Corrective Shades – $38
I personally own this MUFE palette, and it is outstanding. The green is the same consistency as regular concealer, so you get good coverage. Unlike your normal-colored concealer, however, the green works best when applied before your foundation; apply and blend as usual, though. I usually put this product at the sides of my nose (as well as some on my actual nose) in addition to any red blemishes I might have. Then, after I blend and put on my foundation, I will also use my regular concealer if I feel it is necessary. (And I set that with powder, duh.) The bonus with this palette in particular, for me, is the lavender shade: in much the same way that green effectively treats red, lavender (since it is opposite on the color wheel from yellow), helps to improve the look of sallow yellowish-darkish skin under the eyes. (The orange color can be used to achieve the same result to counteract bluish undertones, although I admit that I pretty much exclusively use lavender.)
Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Foundation Primer in Color Adjust – $39 (full size)
If you are having problems with being more uniformly red or blotchy, I can attest to the awesome power of this Smashbox Foundation primer. Much like their regular Photo Finish primer, Color Adjust is incredibly lightweight, matte, and feels nice and silky upon application; in this iteration, it will even out redness.
2. Nude-colored lip pencil
Using a nude/pink-colored lip liner right on your Cupid’s Bow or even on the edges of your lips all around makes them look particularly full and pillowy. Make sure to blend it in with your finger! This looks great by itself, or with gloss. Particularly when applied to the Cupid’s Bow, this trick works for all skin tones, since you’re going for the bit of shadow and contrast. If your skin is darker, however, and thus “nude” shades do not mean the same thing for you (that’s the racist/white-normative beauty and advertising/marketing industries for you), then the general rule of thumb is to look for a lip liner that is one shade lighter than your skin tone. (I recommend checking out Make Up Forever’s Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil, as they have a really large range of shades that would definitely work for ladies of color.)
CARGO Reverse Lip Liner in 01 – $16
3. White eyeliner or shadow on the inside corner of the eye
Using a white liner on the inside corner of your eye can brighten up your eyes considerably. You can get the same effect by dabbing a smidge of white (or very light) shadow as well. Urban Decay pencils are dope.
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Yeyo – $20
4. To make eyeshadow color pop, use a white liner all over your lid as a base
The opaque consistency gives the colors extra “oomph” and intensity.
5. If you’re going to use multiple colors of shadow on your lids, make sure the lightest colors are closest to the inner corners of the eye, and get darker as you move outwards
The idea behind this is the same as with the white eyeliner. It will keep your eyes from looking too dark. Use your best judgment here, kids. And for the love of god, BLEND!!!!!
6. Use highlighter on your browbones, bridge of your nose, and cheekbones
Applying product in these places gives you a delicate, luminous glow. If you choose to apply on your cheekbones, place it as you would blush: along your cheekbones, upwards and outwards; for your nose, only use a small amount towards the middle of the bridge of your nose. As always, make sure to blend. I love the sponge-y blender attached Benefit’s Watt’s Up! stick, although their other luminizers are great too.
Benefit Cosmetics Watt’s Up! Highlighter – $30