Our All-Time Favorite Beauty Tips

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Alina and I have an epic combined obsession with beauty. We make a fairly cliché girl duo at the office, where whenever one of us walks in, the other has instantaneous questions about what we did with our hair, brows, lips, and more that morning.  The exchange and flow of beauty tips is constant and somehow we're always both learning something new. We thought today we'd each share five of our favorite beauty tips learned over the years. They're not necessarily all earth-shattering, they're just the ones that have changed our method of application, and that we swear by. 

Emily

1. Blend as you go. I'm a big proponent of blending sponges and use mine at multiple stages as I put on my make-up. After applying my tinted moisturizer, I wet it just slightly, wring out any excess water, and then pat it around my face, making sure to concentrate on hard-to-get places like my hairline, around my jaw and onto my neck. I use it again after applying each of the following: liquid bronzer, blush, highlighting cream, and finally after applying concealer. I used to use it just once, at the end of my entire make-up routine, but found that everything didn't look quite as natural and blended as when I do it this way. It takes a little more time, but I'm always happier with how I look.

2. Dot between the lashes. I've mentioned this trick multiple times, but it seriously is one of my favorite techniques. Once I've applied mascara, I take a liquid eyeliner and make teeny tiny dots in between the lashes. It makes my lash line look dark and dramatic while also making my eyelashes look significantly longer. It's a great way to add a nice pop without something as overt as say, a winged liner or smokey eye.

3.  Popsicle-stained lips. I use this trick primarily for my darker lipstick colors, but it works with anything. I apply my lipstick the same way I always do, but then I immediately blot it with a tissue multiple times until I'm left with just a hint of color. Besides looking really pretty and subtle, it lasts forever and you don't have to be as conscious about smeared lipstick when eating. 

4. Bronze gradually. I swear by this liquid bronzer since it glides onto my skin and looks really natural. But it also has a lot to do with how you apply it. I put the smallest amount on my fingers, rub them together, and then blend them quickly but lightly onto the apples of my cheeks. I repeat that process several times, until the color builds in a really natural way so that I look like I spent a sunny afternoon outside and not that I got into a fight with my contouring palette. Then I blend with my sponge, per tip #1. 

5. Inverted triangle concealer. I wrote about this technique here, and I'm happy to report that it's still how I cover up dark circles. Occasionally I'll do it the old-fashioned way, by just patting concealer onto the area directly beneath my eyes, and find that I look more tired by the end of the day. 

Alina 

1. Mix liquid highlighter and foundation. I find that most people use liquid highlighter as a special little "finishing touch" - they'll dab it onto the high points of cheeks or use it only when they're going for a dewy look. I mix liquid highlighter into my liquid foundation every day as part of my go-to makeup routine. It makes your whole face look more luminous so the entire canvas glows, instead of just one small area. It cuts the paint-like aspect of foundation so you still have coverage, but what you're applying is instead now a light-reflecting mixture.

2. Don't fill in the front tip of your brows. The best my eyebrows have ever looked is after a visit to Blink Brow Bar in NYC. I asked the technician to tell me what she'd done, and she shared that the key when filling in brows is to start your first brush strokes about one centimeter past the start of your brow. Then draw an outline surrounding above and beneath the arch, and brush through as well as inside - but only starting at about one finger-length in past where the brow begins. It simply looks more natural.

3. Rotate your eyeliner brush mid-way. The greatest cat eyeliner tip I've learned was from a Sephora employee who taught me my holy grail technique - when you're applying liner using an angled eyeliner brush, start with the slanted line side pressed against the inner corner of your eye and begin to draw your line from inner corner to mid-way. When you get to the middle of your eyelid, rotate the brush a turn so the TIP is now leading instead of the slant, and brush that out the rest of the way. It takes some practice, but you'll get a perfect cat eye. 

4.  Apply foundation to neck and ears. You probably know the importance of blending your makeup around your neckline, but I don't just blend around the jawline - I extend my foundation application to my neck as though it were another canvas like my face. Yes, you use more foundation, but you can't have an airbrushed-looking face from foundation and a neck that's not the same smooth look and color. Taking it a step further, I learned from a makeup artist on set a few years ago to apply foundation to your ears. She explained that they're usually red and it looks funny to have that peek of red skin popping out from your face skin, and I'd never realized this but it's so true. Funnily enough, as I was writing this piece I got a press release about how Kylie Jenner's makeup artist always applies foundation to her ears. 

5.  Sit in the bath to set your makeup. I'll preface this by saying I'm a bath devotee, so I'll sit in the bath for short intervals, scroll through Instagram or listen to some music, and hop out (in other words, baths aren't long, drawn-out, 45-minute bubble ordeals to me). So on Friday and Saturday nights when I was getting ready to go out, I started applying my makeup, then popping into the bath to shave my legs and sit for a few minutes. I found that my makeup always looked better after the bath than before, so it became something I regularly did. Then I read on a beauty site that a makeup artist actually recommended this. The warm steam from the bath basically just sets your makeup and makes it look a little more natural and less "just-done." The goal obviously isn't to get super hot and steamy to the point where you're sweating and it's melting off. But it's something I really see a difference on in terms of how my makeup looks.