Talk the Talk: Makeup Lingo Decoded

Have you ever walked into a cosmetic department that left you more confused than beautified? Or maybe you have had your makeup done by a professional and the end result was not the look that you were envisioning. The beauty world is creative and free, where much is left up for interpretation.

I have found that the easiest way to navigate through this magical place is through words. Marketing teams brainstorm about what words to splash across packaging and advertisements that will attract their targeted audience. Fashion designers use words to communicate with makeup artists in order to dress the face with the same style in which they have dressed the body. Clients (like you) will sometimes refer their makeup artists to images, but often rely solely on words to request a specific look they have in mind. Without the right words, it is inevitable for someone to end up disappointed.

I have created a small glossary of buzz words used in the beauty industry that can serve as your GPS. My recommendation is to use this list, first, to help you establish exactly what you are looking for; regardless if you are shopping for a new product or are trying to communicate with a makeup artist. Once you know which words will accurately express your vision, you will then be able to successfully share it with your artist. If you are in the market for a new product, simply match one or more of the words in this glossary to the words on the packaging, and I guarantee you will be satisfied with your purchase.

There is much more to be added to this list, so please comment below with important words or phrases that I have left out!

Antioxidants (n): Ingredients that fight damaging free radicals. Naturally found in vitamin C, E, and A.

Bleeding (v): Occurs when lip colors migrate outside of the lip line, often sinking into fine lines or wrinkles.

Cat eye (n): An eye design where eye shadow or eyeliner is extended passed the outer corners of the eye, ending in a point.

Clean line (n): Eyeliner that is extremely precise and not smudged.

Contour (v): Using deep shades to create the illusion of a different face shape.

Creasing (v): When eye colors collect into a line in the crease of the eye.

Crease (n): The portion of the eye in between the lid and the brow bone.

Crease cut (n): An eye design where heavily pigmented eye shadow, and sometimes eyeliner, is used to exaggerate the crease of the eye.

Feathered (adj): The softening, blurring, and blending of a drawn line; usually referring to lip liner.

Feathering (v): The loss of definition of a lip liner or lipstick; similar to bleeding.

Full Coverage (n): An opaque product that completely covers the skin.

Highlight (v): The act of drawing attention and bringing light to specific areas of the face.

Hyperpigmentation (n): An over production of melanin in certain spots on the face.

Luminous (adj): A glowing finish found in some blushes, bronzers, foundations, eye shadows, etc.

Matte (adj): A finish that is dry and powdery; without shine.

Mattifying (adj): A product that absorbs excess oil and controls shine.

Neutral (adj): Colors that can be combined with any other colors.

Nude (adj): Browns and Beiges. A color that almost matches the skin.

Parabens (n): Chemical preservatives that prolong the shelf life of products.

Sheer (adj): Coverage that allows the skin to still be visible; similar to a tint.

Shimmer (n): Ingredients added to products that will catch the light, creating a brightening effect.

Smudged (adj): Purposely softening and lightly blending a defined line; most often referring to eyeliner.

Stain (n): A product that will temporarily dye the skin with color pigment.

Tight line (v): The application of eyeliner directly in between the lashes of the upper lid, usually on the waterline.

Tint (n): A product that imparts a hint of color.

Waterline (n): The wet part of the upper and lower inner rim of the eye.

Rachel Paul is a New York based makeup artist, encouraging and training women to be their most beautiful self. Follow @rosecolored_glasses on Instagram.

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