Whether you're doing a five-minute face or a full-on YouTube tutorial look, when you're applying makeup you have time to ponder some tough questions: Do I have to use a brush for foundation? Do I need to contour my nose?
We know there are so many deep thoughts that accompany the process of putting on makeup, so to find some answers as to which products, tips, and techniques we need to incorporate — and which ones we should skip altogether — we reached out to trusted experts in the field. Read on to learn what's real and what's not.
Does primer really matter?
This subject is controversial among makeup artists. Some are for it; others think it's unnecessary. Makeup artist Troy Surratt sees the step as antiquated. "When the primer category started, Laura Mercier made one to add slip to water-based foundations. With modern-based technologies, I don't think it's really necessary if you just moisturize your skin," he says.
Makeup artist Vincent Oquendo, however, thinks it's worth the extra step — especially if you're looking for longevity. "Let's say you're going to an event all day. There are certain primers that really extend the wear of your foundation," he says. One of his favorites is Kat Von D Lock-it Featherweight Primer, which has withstood severe weather conditions. "If I'm shooting on the beach and I don't have a cushy studio, I'll put that primer on because it makes foundation wear better and it's not heavy on the skin."
Should I blend foundation on my neck?
The woman in the video says Jenna Marbles taught her to blend into her neck. While we love Jenna Marbles, she isn't a beauty expert. Surratt applies foundation on the neck for photo shoots but says, "I'd be horrified if any real woman were doing that on a daily basis." If your neck needs some color, Oquendo recommends using the same bronzer you use on your face, especially if you're wearing a low neckline.
Clockwise from top left: E.L.F Acne Fighting Foundation ($6, ulta.com) // NYX Total Control Drop Foundation ($13.99, ulta.com) // CoverGirl Vitalist Healthy Elixir Foundation ($11.99, ulta.com)
Do I have to use a brush or sponge for foundation?
Makeup application is a personal choice, but there are expert-approved ways to be efficient about blending. "I love foundation brushes, and I love Beautyblenders. My new foundation brush, Surratt Surreal Skin Foundation Wand, actually has a built-in brush. I like Beautyblenders for ending complexion application because they have a unique porosity that deposits but also lifts off excess product," says Surratt.
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Oquendo agrees and has a cool tip — literally. He wets the sponge with ice water for a de-puffing effect, explaining that it absorbs less product that way. All this being said, it isn't wrong to use your hands. "Your fingers are still tactile and useful tools for makeup," says Surratt.
Is there such thing as applying too much highlighter?
Oquendo is a fan of the numerous highlighter options out there right now — many are foolproof and not glittery at all — but says over-contouring is what people should be concerned about.
"Highlighting and contouring is about that balance. It's the ying and yang on your face. If you're highlighting with something shimmery, balance it with a matte bronzing powder." In terms of highlights, just don't overdo it. If you can see it even when the light isn't shining on your face, that's probably a bad sign.
Should I be contouring my nose?
Surratt says it's up to you, but it shouldn't be obvious. "Contouring is like a guy with a bad toupee: You're not fooling anybody. But it can have a slimming effect, if done with a light hand, without looking like you have streaks down side of nose," he says.
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If you're in the market for a new foundation or another base makeup, be sure to check this year's Best of Beauty winners here.