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Pro tips: Perfect makeup application

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Get a flawless face

No one is blessed with truly perfect skin, so we all need a little help from makeup now and again. If you are headed out on a special date, to a party or just want to look your best every day, check out these expert tips for perfect makeup application.

Woman applying makeup

Choose the right foundation

When applying makeup, start with a clean, moisturized face. Exfoliate your skin regularly to keep it as smooth as possible. When it comes to foundation, you have a variety of formulas to choose from -- BB cream, cream-to-powder foundation, liquid foundation, tinted moisturizer and more.

What's BB cream?
If you aren't familiar with BB creams, they are a terrific choice for those women looking for a multipurpose product. BB creams hydrate, nourish and even out your skin tone, so you can often skip your moisturizer, anti-aging serum, primer and foundation and just use one product.

"When selecting a foundation, there are a couple of factors that I consider -- the person’s skin type, the color of her skin and the undertone and what kind of coverage she wants," says Erica Maniscalco, professional makeup artist and editor of On the Cusp. "Not only do these answers affect the type of foundation, but also how you apply it. There are so many foundations out there but remember choose the one that is best for you. Just because your friend can wear a certain brand does not mean you can. For texture, test on your hand. You can apply different kinds next to each other and see how it sits on the skin. For color match, always apply to around the jaw line from face to neck because you never want a line."

When applying foundation, less is more. Dot on a very small amount on your skin -- and blend, blend, blend. You can use a brush, sponge or your fingertips.

Use concealer to hide imperfections

Everyone has flaws -- from blemishes to under-eye circles -- that's where concealer comes in. After you moisturize and apply your foundation, use concealer to hide any small imperfections. Concealers come in cream, liquid or stick forms. For most women, a smooth, creamy concealer works best.

"Since the skin around the eye is much thinner, you want to make sure you have the consistency appropriate for you," says Maniscalco. "As we get older, we don’t want a thick concealer because it will cake and get into the creases -- making lines appear more prominent. Like foundation, concealer can be applied with a brush, finger or sponge. When applying, do not just rub it on, you want to pat it into the skin so it disappears. I also like to apply concealer to the lid so it acts like a primer and holds the eye makeup better."

For dark circles, your concealer should be slightly lighter than your foundation. For puffy eyes, it should be a shade darker. To hide pimples, spider veins or bruises, use a yellow-based concealer. After applying concealer, finish with a very light dusting of translucent powder. Don't use too much powder as it will also make fine lines and wrinkles more apparent.

lipstickGet the perfect pout

The biggest dilemma with lipstick is that it doesn't last. Your lips can look picture perfect when you leave the house, then your lipstick can disappear, smudge or smear before your know it.

"There are a couple of tricks you can do to make your lipstick last," Maniscalco says. "First of all, always make sure you lips are moisturized. Be careful not to use something that is slippery like Vaseline. A little trick I like to do is exfoliate before I go to bed. [You can use a washcloth in the shower to slough away dry skin from your lips.] I apply aquaphor and let it sit on my lips overnight. Then when I wake up my lips are completely smooth.

"Before you put your lipstick on you want to choose a lip balm that has wax -- again nothing greasy. Apply a good primer to the lips this will help hold the product. Once your lips are set for the color, select a good lip pencil -- it can be one to match your natural lip color or a color to match the lipstick. Always fill in the lip area, don’t just line the lip. Once your pencil is on, you can now apply your lipstick. After everything is complete, the last little trick to keep that lipstick on is to take a one ply tissue gently over the lips and dust powder over the lips -- this will set your lipstick. I promise you after this your lipstick is not moving."

More makeup tips

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