Makeup Your Mind
a man uses makeup hacks to make his makeup routine so much easier.
19 Clever Hacks That Will Make Your Makeup Routine So Much Easier

These game-changers won’t break the bank.

Jessie Casson/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Whether you swear by your ability to pull off a full beat in a matter of minutes or you’re just getting the hang of winged liner, chances are you’ve tried a makeup hack or two. Discovering a genius makeup hack can be a beautiful thing, especially if it cuts down on the time you spend on your beauty routine. Mostly thanks to viral moments from TikTok creators, there’s no shortage to the growing lists of hacks to try, but it can be hard to know which ones really do the trick. When it comes to how I approach makeup hacks, I prefer to consult experts before testing things out on myself so I asked celebrity makeup artist Jenny Patinkin for her professional opinion.

Together with Patinkin, I’ve gathered up 19 hacks that are not only genuinely foolproof, but also surprisingly effective. In fact, every single one of these makeup hacks has taken up residence in my routine and I bet they’ll make their way into yours as well. From an unexpected way to set foundation to keeping makeup brushes pristine and how to get a perfect winged liner look every time, these 19 makeup hacks are truly genius.

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Use A Damp Sponge To Apply Powder

Translucent powder helps seal in makeup and also removes excess shine. Instead of using a big, fluffy brush to apply it, reach for a damp sponge like one in this set of five makeup sponges that has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars based on 77,000 reviews. “You can use less product this way and it melds with your skin instead of just sitting on top,” says Patinkin.

Start With A Smooth Base

No matter how long you spend on your skincare routine, dead skin buildup is inevitable. Over time, hair, dead skin, and debris can create roughness on the surface of your skin. The solution is simple: Lightly apply soft strokes with a facial razor over particularly fuzzy areas of the face. Not only will this increase your skin’s glow, but it will also create a canvas for makeup to go on smoother and last longer.

Use Cotton Swabs To Make Your Eyes More Open

Cleaning up makeup around the eye area can be tough. Patinkin loves using cotton swabs to add finishing touches to your eyeshadow. “If you have downturned eyes, use a little cotton swab to wipe diagonally up at the outer corner of the eyes in between your lash lines” says Patinkin. “This defines the separation of your upper and lower eye makeup and gives an upturned effect.”

Use A Spoolie To Quickly Clean Up Smeared Mascara

Almost every makeup artist’s kit is stocked with fresh spoolies. From fluffing up brows to brushing through lashes, spoolies do it all, but Patinkin loves using them in an unexpected way. “If you get mascara speckles on your lids or at the outer corner of the eyes, wait for them to dry and then use a clean spoolie to gently flake them away,” she suggests, “It's way better than using water or spit to remove it, which can smudge your makeup.” I love these spoolies in particular for their pink bristles, making them easier to spot in a crowded makeup bag.

Don’t Forget To Apply A Multitasking Primer

Yes, adding a primer can feel like an extra step, but I promise you’ll thank me later. A primer creates a smooth base for your products by filling in pores and creases to prevent makeup from settling there. Still not convinced? This NYX primer is infused with skincare ingredients like marshmallow root extract to help hydrate, soothe, and extend wear even longer.

Avoid Oil Specks By Keeping Brushes Clean

It can be hard to find the time to wash your face, let alone your makeup brushes, but Patinkin is serious about not skipping this vital step. “Keep your makeup brushes clean so that they don't transfer oils and pigments from product to product,” she says, “When you get little shiny specks in your powder products from oil build-up, it makes [them] harder to use.”

These nubbed silicone mats grip brush hairs and pull out stuck-on product. Simply apply your favorite cleaning solution (I like Lazy Perfection by Jenny Patinkin Brush Soap) and run your brushes over the mat to release old makeup.

Give Your Brushes A Deep Clean

If the above brushing cleaning option felt a little too manual, fear not, there’s an electric version. This portable brush cleaner does the work for you. It also couldn’t be easier to use. The cup spins at the press of the button which helps loosen any old product trapped in your brushes. The spinning mechanism also works to dry your brushes once they’re clean.

Organize Your Makeup and Keep It That Way

It’s easy to waste time rummaging around drawers and pouches for the right product. One time-saving hack is to keep your products organized by purpose for easy access. This rotating organizer is clear which means you can see each item. It also has multiple compartments so you can keep the same kinds of products together.

Extend The Life Of Your Mascara

You’re supposed to replace your mascara every three months, but if everyone is perfectly honest, I think most of us try to extend that life a little longer. To help get rid of clumps in an almost-spent mascara, squirt a few drops of saline solution into the tube. This returns moisture to the product and smooths out the formula.

Use An LED Mirror

Doing your makeup under natural light is the best way to get an even application, but that isn’t always possible. The next best thing is using an LED mirror. The well-lit border combined with the magnification mirrors will ensure that no patch of foundation will go unblended.

Use a Peach Colored Eyeliner to Fake Awake

Black and brown liners can create a dramatic look, but they can also create a heaviness around the eye. Another option for making your eyes really pop is to run a swipe of peach or nude eyeliner along your lower lash line.

Use Every Last Drop Of Makeup

Given how much skin care products and makeup cost, getting every last drop of your serums, cleansers, and makeup is important. To help you get the most out of your products, try using this mini spatula. This tiny tool scrapes foundation, concealer, and other products off the sides of bottles or tubes, so you’re able to get the most bang for your buck.

Brighten Your Eyes With Highlighter

A quick trick to brighten your eyes is to simply apply a dot of a champagne-colored shadow on the inner corners of your eyes. This stick from Julep is cream based so it glides on super easily and then dries down like a powder for long, stable wear.

Use A Damp Sponge To Remove Excess Foundation From Brows

To create a natural, fluffed-up brow look, it helps to start with clean brows that don’t have any makeup already on them. “Run a damp sponge against the grain of your brow hairs to remove any foundation that's settled there before applying brow products,” says Patinkin.

Get Perfect Winged Eyeliner The First Time Every Time

Sure, you’ve probably watched multiple Youtube tutorials on how to get the perfect wing, but that does not mean you have it mastered. Creating a smooth and perfectly pointed wing requires a super steady hand. For those feeling a little shaky, try my favorite cheat code: the stamped wing. After lining the upper lid, stamp a perfect wing on the outer corner, and you’re good to go.

Swap Out Time-Consuming Products For A Multi-Stick

Most makeup bags are full of separate products for cheeks, eyes, and lips. In a pinch or a time crunch, replace these products with a multi-purpose stick that works on all three areas. This one from Mineral Fusion comes in multiple shades and has a lovely shimmer.

Make Eye Whites Whiter With Navy Blue Liner

Creating an everyday eye makeup look can be intimidating so Patinkin suggests sticking to a liner instead of messing with bulky and expensive eyeshadow palettes. She loves using a navy blue liner to help bring out the whites of the eyes.

Keep Your Brushes Cleaner For Longer

Keeping your makeup brushes clean is important for a smooth, even application, but it is equally important to keep them in good shape. Brushes take a beating and these guards help bristles keep their shape so your tools stay feeling brand new instead of looking frayed.

Apply Eyeshadow Instead Of Eyeliner Under Your Eyes

Many people don't like to wear mascara or liner on their lower lash line. Patinkin suggests adding a little smudge of a taupe eyeshadow on the lower lash line to create the illusion of bigger, fuller eyes.