Best beauty tricks: 9 ways to take your skincare and makeup routine to the next level

beauty trick intro
beauty trick intro

The secret to flawless makeup isn’t always hidden in the next hyped-up beauty gadget, product or trend. More often than not, the secret lies in simple tricks we’ve learned over the years, be it from best friends, our mom’s passed-down regimen or good ol’ YouTube.

Given that the Beauty Panel is all about sharing makeup tips, we asked our beauty blogging experts to reveal their best tricks of the trade. We’re not talking about elaborate smoky eye blending techniques or 12-step skincare regimes—these tricks are simple steps (dare we call them beauty hacks?) that are easy to learn but make all the difference. So if you’ve never used a primer, get confused by all the face masks on the market or still can’t master false eyelash application, read on!

Challenge 40: What are your go-to beauty tips and tricks? See the answers now! »

Starting with a clean canvas is always key and Anna Raponi of Vanity Presse relies on the purifying qualities of the Boscia Mask Duo for her go-to luminous complexion. When it comes to makeup application our newest panelist, Paint Me Pretty‘s Laurelle Alexandra, explains her eyes-first face-last mantra. And finishing things up is Genevieve Peeke of Gen In The City who reveals the number one trick to getting a flawless look every time: makeup setting spray!

Have a beauty question you want to see the panel answer? Send it our way at Read on for the answers to this week’s challenge and for more goodness, get to know all contributors on our Beauty Panel hub page.


beauty trick laurelle

Laurelle Alexandra
Toronto | Paint Me Pretty

When using highly pigmented eyeshadow, whether it be on myself or when applying to someone else, I always do the eyes first before applying face makeup. With a highly pigmented eye hadow, especially when creating a smoky eye or something with a lot of sparkle, the shadow tends to fall. If you apply your foundation and concealer first, the shadow that falls gets stuck underneath the eyes and can be difficult to remove. When you have no face makeup on and the shadow falls, it is much easier to brush away and cover.

Begin by applying your daily moisturizer and primer. Then begin the eyes. Apply a shadow primer to help your shadow stick and stay. Press the shadow into the lid instead of brushing it over–this will also reduce the amount of shadow that falls. With every colour you add, take a big face brush and brush away the shadow that has fallen. If when you brush away the shadow you are still left with a dark/sparkly residue, you can simply apply your foundation and concealer and cover the area! Once the eyes are completed, brush away any shadow that has fallen and begin to apply your face makeup: foundation, concealer, powder etc.

You’ll have perfect dark/sparkly eyes with no mess or fuss! You’ll look like a pro when you hit the streets with your dark smoky eye. Extra tip: For the perfect smoky eye, make sure you blend, blend, blend!

Products used: Tom Ford Eye Colour Quad in “Cognac Sable,” Illamasqua Pure Pigment Furore in “Peach Champagne Shimmer,” Smashbox Brow Tech in “Dark Brown,” M.A.C Lipstick in “Girl About Town,” Cover Girl Lash Blast Mascara in “Very Black,” Cover FX CC Cream, Tarte Amazonian 12-Hour Blush in “Exposed,” Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder, Benefit Bronzer in “Hoola,” Annabelle Khol Liner in “Black,” Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in “Trooper,” Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion and Nars Lip Gloss in “Easy Lover”

beauty trick eugenia

Eugenia Ragas
Montreal | Ommorphia Beauty Bar

While we all know that investing in long-term preparation is key to maintaining your skin at its optimum best, who has the time in today’s crazy-hectic world? Like most people, it’s only when a special event comes up that I put “Operation Perfect Skin” into high gear, and nothing does the job faster and better than a good old fashioned peel-off mask. It’s simple really; after thoroughly cleansing and drying your face, apply a thin & even layer of your mask all over the face, avoiding the eye area. When the mask feels relatively dry to the touch (about 15 minutes), start at the forehead hairline and gently peel it off in a downward motion (this is the gross yet totally fun part). Any pieces left behind can be cleaned up with warm water. Now take a look in the mirror and be wowed! Your skin will feel smooth, look evenly toned and pores will be minimized, helping your makeup look absolutely flawless.

Products used: Elizabeth Arden Peel and Reveal Revitalizing Mask, Maybelline Baby Lips Dr. Rescue in “#40 Pink Me Up”

beauty trick maggie

Maggie Ng
Toronto | Beauty PhD

Because my lips are probably my most standout feature, I like to use a nude liner just outside the outline shape of my lips to give it definition and shape. Blend the reverse liner using a small concealer brush to soften the line. This helps to prevent lipstick from bleeding/feathering. And for those on a budget or limited space, you can use this with any colour lipstick and can eliminate the need to buy multiple colours of matching lip liners. This also gives an illusion of fuller lips, as it highlights and enhances the lip shape. You can also opt to fill in the entire lip with a nude liner to cancel out the colour of your own lips, so that the lipstick you apply on top shows its true colour better.

For people with tired eyes, lining the same nude liner on the bottom inner rim makes you look more awake and is less harsh than using a white eyeliner pencil.

I’ve also used this for highlighting the inner corner of my eyes and for helping cover tattoos on some of my bridal makeup clients. I use the nude pencil to outline and fill in the shape of the tattoo first, then colour correct and conceal and set with powder. Using this liner to cover tattoos helps the makeup stay in place better.

Products used: Cargo in “The Reverse Lip Liner,” Annabelle CC Colour Control Instant Perfecting Base in “Natural Finish,” Glo Minerals Pressed Powder Foundation in “Natural Medium,” E.l.f. Eyebrow Kit in “Medium,” E.l.f. Waterproof Eyeliner Pen in “Black,” E.l.f. Hyershine Gloss in “Bubblegum” and NYC Big Bold Curl Mascara

beauty trick jj

JJ Cowan
Toronto | Secrets From Your Girlfriends

As a self-proclaimed beauty queen, I believe I maintain my fair share of rock star abilities when it comes to cooking up easy makeup tips and tricks in the beauty kitchen. If you’re anything like me you live in a time-starved world that generally has no extra wiggle room when it comes to primping in front of the mirror—this makes maneuvering my daily makeup to do’s difficult as the result for my need for speed. Recently, I have been overwhelmed with new makeup techniques as a
by-product of being enthralled in the beauty business and the real challenge is incorporating these new makeup musts into my tight time schedule. One makeup must that I cannot live without is volumizing mascara, I am completely obsessed but the problem for me is they’re full of microfibers making removal time consuming and a down right pain. So, what’s a beauty girl to do—she improvises!

I concocted a great recipe for a comparable mascara effect that microfiber volumizing mascara would offer but with no serious commitment in removal time. The tip to this big lash look is in the layering of two mascaras, I prefer Benefit Cosmetic’s, They’re Real and Maybelline’s, The Rocket. Both provide the desired volume so my lashes look plump and supple, what’s more is using two mascara’s actually seals in the layers resulting in no pesky flakes that I have experienced microfiber volumizing mascara’s. So layer your mascara girlfriends and watch your lash volume grow!

Products used: Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real Mascara and Maybelline The Rocket

beauty trick anna

Anna Raponi
Oakville | Vanity Presse

Everyone can use a little inner glow, especially at this time of year when we’re all lacking that sun-kissed skin. And while makeup can disguise most blemishes, I find it usually dulls that natural glow. I recently found the perfect facemask duo from Boscia. I’ll use the Bright White mask before bed and the Luminizing Black mask in the morning before a party or a big event. The white mask deep cleans your pores and lightens dark spots, and then the black mask purifies and makes your complexion look luminous. Whether you’re going through a bad skin day (or week!) or your skin is just looking blah, this combo is that pick-me-up I rely on. I slather on the mask after cleansing, leave on for 20 minutes, peel off, and then finish up with toner and moisturizer. I see immediate brightness in my skin and this pair will make your face glow even through your makeup.

Products used: Boscia Mask Duo

beauty trick emily

Emily Chan

I don’t know about you but I am workaholic. Aside from my blogging job, I have three other jobs on the side. This means that during most days, it’ll be a norm for me to have makeup on for more than 12 hours. So what’s my secret to ensure that my makeup will stay on throughout the whole day? Two words: face primers! Contrary to popular belief, I believe it’s not the foundation but the primer that allows makeup to look fresh throughout the day. Just like when you’re painting, you always want to start off with a primed canvas. Applying foundation is the same; you want a primed face to make sure that the foundation will adhere more nicely to your face.

Recently, these three have been my favorite face primers. The first one is the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Miracle Blur. This primer is the thickest out of the three and it’s also my favorite. It has a smooth and velvety matte finish, which is great for anyone with drier skin. If you have oily skin and you need to control your face oil during the day, then I would suggest the Givenchy Mister Mat Mattifying Foundation Primer. This is very lightweight and because it contains silicone gum extracts, it can hydrate without being too oily. Last, I would recommend the Avon MagiX Face Perfector (available next month) but the cheapest of the three. The skin does look pore-free, shine-free and line free, it definitely makes your skin beyond perfection! So if you want your makeup to perform flawlessly throughout those long working days, don’t be lazy and use a face primer before your foundation.

Products used: L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Miracle Blur, Givenchy Mister Mat Mattifying Foundation Primer and Avon MagiX Face Perfector

beauty trick marilou

Marilou Moles
Ottawa | Twenty York Street

Nothing says dehydration and fatigue than a month of non-stop holiday parties. How to combat looking like less than a million bucks while still being able to indulge the night away? Aside from doing yoga regularly to really help my digestive system and keep blood circulation flowing, my favourite trick this season is Maskeraide, an ultra hydrating facial masks that is full of nourishing concentrated argan oil serum, which is exactly what you need for painting the town Christmas red! The functional design of the mask makes it easier for you to either just relax to recover from all the holiday parties or you can catch up on your TV shows or work e-mails (you multi-tasking super woman you!) at the same time as getting instantly hydrated and refreshed!

Products used: Maskeraide Detox Diva Beauty Rest’ore and All Nighter

beauty trick kelly

Kelly Freeman
Mississauga | Glitter Diaries

There are so many tricks to applying false lashes, so here are my foolproof tips for getting it right. Start by choosing a pair of lashes based on your own personal needs. Could you use a bit more length or volume? Go with the pair that will play up your eyes without making them look too bold and remember to make sure they fit the length of your own lashes and, if you need to, snip off some of the ends with some eye brow scissors. To prep the lashes, curl them with your eyelash curler and then apply a coat of mascara to ensure that there are no gaps after you’ve applied the lashes. Make sure to bend the ends of the false lashes to make sure it properly matches the curve of your own and then apply a thin line of lash glue along the band and wait a few minutes so the glue becomes slightly tacky. My trick for applying lashes perfectly to the base of my lash line is that I use eye brow tweezers to hold the middle of the lashes as I guide them at a downward angle and place them as close to the base of my lashes as possible. Then I release the tweezers and start positioning the ends of the false lash band to the ends of my own lash lines to secure them in place. After that is done, use the end of the tweezers to adjust the lashes as needed.

Products used: Duo Dark Lash Glue, Ardell Demi Wispies Black Lashes, Tweezers and Benefit Bad Gal Lash Mascara

beauty trick gen

Genevieve Peeke
Montreal | Gen In The City

My number one makeup trick right now is definitely makeup setting spray! It is a must-have and will keep your makeup lasting all day long. Now is the perfect time to pick one up because during the holidays you will be going to a ton of parties and you want to keep your makeup looking perfect. My current favourite is Urban Decay’s All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray.

Products used: Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray