Beauty: 8 Secret Weapons Used by Beauty Pros

Mar. 12 2009, Published 10:40 a.m. ET

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Love don’t cost a thing, but getting glamorous does! Not to worry though, has interviewed top makeup artists to learn the tricks of the trade that they use on their A-list clients. And best of all, they won’t bust your budget! Here are some of the pros surprisingly simple and inexpensive secret weapons.

Secret weapon: White eyeliner pencil

The magic it works: Line the inner rim of your eyes with a white pencil and even if you’ve been running 24/7, your eyes will look brighter. You can also swipe a bit of white pencil (sometimes called a “brightening stick”) on the inner and outer corners of each eyelid and blend.

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One to try:  Mr. Frosty from Benefit Cosmetics ($20, available at Sephora stores nationwide or glides effortlessly on to your lash line and lids to give you an alert, wide-eyed appearance.

Secret weapon: Makeup primer

The magic it works: Before you apply foundation or concealer, spread a makeup primer on clean skin, especially areas prone to wrinkles like around the eyes and mouth. Primer “fills in fine lines so makeup doesn’t settle into them and make wrinkles look worse,” explains Dena Wiseman, a Los Angeles-based makeup artist. “It also creates a smooth surface for your foundation and concealer so they go on easily without looking cakey.”

One to try: Estee Lauder Prime FX Color Neutralizing Primer in Illuminator ($25, available at department stores nationwide or contains silicone to provide a smooth foundation for your makeup. It also has light-reflecting particles to reduce the appearance of imperfections and even out your skin tone.

Secret weapon: Highlighter

The magic it works: A dab of highlighter on cheekbones gives skin an other-worldly glow and makes you look more energized. “That’s because light bounces off the highlighter and into your eyes,” explains Wiseman. To apply highlighter properly, smile and dab a bit on the apples of your cheeks toward the outer corner of the eye. To brighten your look, sweep some under the arch of each brow.

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One to try: Benefit HighBeam ($24, available at is a liquid product in a shade of pink that compliments all skin tones. The nail polish-like bottle and brush make it super easy to apply.

Secret weapon: Color corrector

The magic it works: These concealers are terrific for camouflaging any number of skin problems. “According to basic color theory, complementary colors will cancel each other out when applied on top of one another,” explains Debra Macki, a Boston-based makeup artist and creator of Debra Macki Cosmetics (available at “A color corrector that’s the complementary color of your problem area will make the imperfection look like it’s disappeared.”  Use green to camouflage red pimples or broken blood vessels, and yellow for dark under-eye circles, areas where veins show through skin or bruises. Just be sure to cover the corrector with flesh-toned concealer or foundation because the product can leave skin looking chalky.

One to try: Physicians Formula Magic Cube Concealer ($ 5.95, available at drugstores and mass market retailers) comes in yellow or green and is a waterproof cream-to-powder formula that’s easy to apply. It has a built-in mirror so you can cover up on-the-go.

Secret weapon: Cream blush

The magic it works: Cream blush is easier to blend than powder and makes skin look dewy and youthful because it adds a sheer wash of color. For a glowing-from-within appearance, the late, great makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin applied cream blush on top of foundation, followed with a light dusting of loose translucent powder. One tip: If you apply moisturizer first, let it absorb well because cream blush lasts longer on dry skin.

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One to try: Almay Touch-Pad Liquid Blush ($9, available at drug stores and mass market retailers nationwide) has a sponge-like pad that’s drenched in cream color and skin-softening ingredients like vitamin E. Press your fingers to it and blend on cheeks for a just-flushed complexion.

Secret weapon: A tea bag

The magic it works:  Forget pricey creams! A tea bag is your best remedy for puffy under-eye bags due to too little sleep or water retention. That’s because they contain tannic acid which reduces swelling. Simply place cool tea bags on your eyes for five to 10 minutes, and – voila! – you’ll look refreshed.

One to try: Almost any kind will do, although caffeinated tea deflates puffy bags best. (Avoid Earl Grey if you plan to go in the sun. It contains oil of Bergamot which may cause the skin to darken in the sun.)

Secret weapon: A lash comb

The magic it works: This tiny, super-fine comb helps get rid of clumpy mascara that turns eyelashes into spidery horrors. “The comb separates lashes so they look smoother and more natural,” says Laura Geller, makeup artist and creator of Laura Geller Makeup. Apply your mascara, and while it’s still wet, comb through lashes gently. You can also use the combs to brush brows into place.

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One to try: The Sephora Duo Eyelash/Brow Comb ($5, available at Sephora stores nationwide or has a lash comb on one end and a brow brush on the other. Each end folds in making this tool slim enough to fit into any pocket or purse.

Secret weapon: Baby shampoo

The magic it works: Check most makeup artists’ tool kits and you’ll see their brushes are spotless. Why? They know that if you apply any product with a dirty, greasy brush, it will stick to the brush and won’t adhere to skin evenly. The grease can also change the color of the product and lead to breakouts. Though several companies sell costly makeup brush cleaners, baby shampoo does the trick. Once a week, place the tip of your brush under slowly running tap water. Gently rub a bit of baby shampoo into the bristles and rinse well. Place the brush on the edge of a sink or counter to air-dry overnight.

One to try: Because Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo ($ 4.29, available at drugstores and mass retailers nationwide) is soap-free and made for a baby’s delicate skin, it’s gentle enough for your best brushes. It also rinses out easily and leaves bristles smelling fresh.



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