Makeup Artists Answer Your Most Googled Makeup Questions

Say goodbye to cakey foundation & hello to glassy skin.

Originally Published: 
Getty/ Jonathan Storey
Woman wearing makeup and using makeup brush

Google is a trusted source when it comes to the most basic everyday questions: how to hard-boil an egg, how to iron a linen shirt, what it takes to change a duvet cover. When it comes to makeup, there’s definitely no shortage of useful information and helpful tips out there. And while the majority of it is helpful (and the reason why many people can finally nail their winged liner), there are a few things people are still left scratching their heads at (seriously, should concealer be applied before or after foundation?). That’s when asking an industry professional can be the key to your perfectly applied beat.

Sure, makeup is easy once you know the basics, but keeping up with the latest terms (like color correcting) and trends (glass skin, anyone?) can make you feel like you’re ten steps behind everyone else. So, in an effort to get to the bottom of common makeup dilemmas like bronzer versus contour, how to fix cakey makeup, and the dreaded lower lash mascara (nobody wants to look like a racoon come 9pm), TZR tapped makeup artist Savannah St. Jean of Savannah Rae Beauty as well as celebrity makeup artist Nydia Figueroa. Keep scrolling to get schooled on all of the juicy makeup questions you (and the rest of the Internet) have been wondering about.

1. How Do I Prevent Cakey Makeup?

First, it’s important to briefly discuss what actually causes makeup to get cakey, flakey, and uneven. Hate to break it to you, but if you’re the owner of dry skin, St. Jean says you’re more likely to experience this issue. “Because dry skin has more texture, makeup can settle into the fine creases more easily,” she notes. The fix? Regular exfoliation to smooth texture as well as use of a moisturizing face oil, especially at night. “For dry skin types, I will often put a drop or two of face oil into my foundation as well, just to add to the hydration,” St. Jean recommends.

If your makeup tends to look cakey right after you apply it, you should also consider whether or not the formula you’re using is suitable for your skin type. For example, if you have dry skin, steer clear of matte foundation formulas and instead opt for a hydrating or dewy-finish option. Also, a makeup sponge (versus a brush) will almost always ensure a seamless finish, as you’re able to really push the formula into your skin and smooth out any rough patches. Finally, if you’re prone to cakiness, Figueroa recommends replacing powder with a setting spray — whereas powder tends to enhance texture, setting sprays hydrate the face and will help the formula last from day to night. Press it into your skin with a damp sponge and you’re left with a natural glow.

Antonello Trio/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

2. How Should I Apply Mascara To My Lower Lashes?

Nothing is quite as fear-inducing as applying mascara to your lower lashes (well, apart from winged liner application, of course). Between worries of accidentally hitting your finished concealer and unsightly clumps, there’s also the fear of it running down your face throughout the day. According to St. Jean, proper lower lash mascara application begins with the formula. “I recommend using a waterproof mascara for the lower lashes, especially if you use under eye concealer — this will help prevent the mascara from transferring to your under eye area and will keep it in place for longer.” St. Jean tells TZR.

When it comes to application, she suggests scraping the majority of the product off of the wand and slowly applying to lashes in a horizontal direction. “This way, you get just enough tint without the risk of it looking too saturated,” she says. “And, by applying it horizontally, you alleviate the issue of accidentally touching the wand to your under eye area and creating an unwanted smudge.” If a smudge does occur, don’t fret. Figueroa has an easy fix: wait until it dries completely, then take a cotton bud and gently wipe it off. Dipping it in a micellar water can help to remove formula smears quickly and easily. “When you are working with mascara that’s wet, it’s more prone to smudging,” she says, so don’t be afraid to clean up your work if it accidentally transfers to your skin.

3. Should Concealer Be Applied Before Or After Foundation?

This one depends on your individual needs. Unless you’re going to be color correcting, both Figueroa and St. Jean say to apply concealer after your foundation. “If you apply your concealer underneath your foundation, you’ll likely end up using more product than necessary, but by starting with the foundation coverage, you may be pleasantly surprised at how little concealer you actually need to get the finish you are looking for,” St. Jean explains. Remember: the more product used, the more prone you are to creasing, especially on the under the eye area, so the ultimate goal is to use as little product necessary. If you’re a fan of a more full-coverage look, use your favorite foundation, allow it to set, and then see if you have any spots where you want a little concealing. And remember — blend, blend, blend to create that seamless finish.

4. What’s The Difference Between Bronzer And Contour?

Contrary to popular belief, bronzers and contour powders are not interchangeable. “The purpose of a bronzer is to give your skin a sun-kissed glow and to mimic a tan while the purpose of a contour powder [or cream] is to help sculpt the face and to mimic a shadow,” St. Jean tells TZR. While a bronzer will be much warmer in tone with more red or orange undertones, shadows have cool undertones, so a good contour powder will also have cooler undertones to mimic it and help the effect look as natural as possible.

Their application is different, too: Bronzers should be applied to the areas of the face that the sun would naturally hit such as the top of the forehead, the bridge of the nose, and the cheekbones. Contours, on the other hand, are applied to the outer perimeters of the face where you’d see a shadow such as the hollows of the cheekbones, underneath the jawline, and the temples, says Figueroa.

Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

5. How Can I Get Glass Skin?

The K-beauty trend is touted because it gives the look of extremely smooth, luminous, and poreless skin — almost like your skin is glass. Although you’ll first and foremost want to prioritize your skin care regimen to help your skin look and feel its best, to achieve glass skin with makeup, St. Jean says liquid and cream formulas will do the trick. That applies to everything from your blush and bronzer to your highlighter since they’ll give your skin a nearly wet effect (much more so than powders will do), and look the most seamless on your complexion. Additionally, she notes that, “You’ll want to seek out an iridescent highlighter and not one with visible glitter pigments. The idea is to create the appearance of a glossy, healthy glow — the finer-milled the pigments, the better.”

6. How Can I Color Correct Redness?

Mask-wearing has led to an increase of skin redness and irritation for many. Thankfully, color correcting (a way to neutralize the appearance of certain colors, like that unwanted red flush) with makeup can work wonders. Looking at a color wheel can help you figure out what shade of color corrector to use — just find the color opposite of what you’re looking to neutralize. In the case of redness, the color opposite it on the color wheel is green. So, to color correct any spots on your face, Figueroa says to use a green-tinted primer to cancel out the red before adding foundation and concealer on top. It might look a little bizarre at first (which is why you should use a light hand for this technique), but once you apply your complexion makeup on top the overall effect will be even-toned and natural-looking. Trust the process here!

This article was originally published on