12 tips that will completely change the way you apply your makeup, according to a pro.

Ever feel like your makeup routine is just a bit... meh?

If you're anything like us, sometimes you find yourself in a bit of a rut when it comes to your go-to beauty look - it happens, and yeah, it's totally normal.

The good news is, there's always something new to learn when it comes to makeup - and who would be better to ask for some advice than someone whose job it is to apply it?

Watch: Bridal Makeup Artist Natalie Wright teaches us her techniques for a smokey eye with a twist... there's no black eyeshadow in sight.

Video via Mamamia

That's why we spoke to award-winning makeup artist Ava Belle and asked her all the different things we can do to our usual beauty routine to level it up.

Because while all these tips might look small and unassuming (and take no time to do!), they can really make a big difference.

As always, keep in mind that makeup is completely personal and there are no rules when it comes to what you put on your face and how you like to apply it - so, you do you!

Here are 12 tips that will instantly change your makeup, according to an expert.


1. Foundation before concealer - ALWAYS.

Do you use concealer before or after foundation? Well, makeup artist Ava is firmly on the foundation before concealer approach, saying it's the best way to judge how much concealer you actually need to use.

"Your foundation should cover the majority of imperfections, uneven skin tone and small blemishes. Use it as a base layer and keep it minimal to achieve a flawless fresh finish," she said. 

"Concealer should be a thicker/more dense consistency than your foundation. Choose a high-pigmented, high coverage formula and use sparingly on any areas that need a little more attention and coverage." 

2. Skin prep is the key to seamless makeup.

If you want your makeup base to look seamless and natural (read: all of us), prepping your skin correctly is key, said Ava.

"If you spend the time to cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate, and plump up your skin before you add foundation, you are halfway to a flawless finish."

A peek inside a makeup artist's kit! Image: Supplied


"I love to blend and polish products into the skin with a damp beauty blender to help 'push’ the product into the skin so it becomes a part of the skin, rather than feeling like it is sitting obviously on top."

Ava also recommends avoiding powder on mature skin and dry skin, saying, "If I need to powder oily skin, I will finish with a setting spray to bring the glow back."

3. Opt for soft makeup during the day.

One of the biggest makeup mistakes Ava said people routinely make, is going too 'heavy' with their everyday makeup, such as wearing "harsh black graphic liner in the daytime." 


For a fresher, brighter look, "a soft brown smudged liner is a very flattering option, especially for mature eyes."

4. Remember to blend.

Another common mistake? "Not taking the time to blend and create a seamless graduation between eyeshadow colours and softening harsh edges," said Ava.

Not blending your makeup correctly, especially when it comes to eye makeup, can make it look patchy, heavy and harsh. 


Using something like a contouring eyeshadow brush is perfect for blending different shades together for the perfect eye look.

So, blend, blend and blend some more!

5. Clean your brushes.

Another important tip that'll ensure your makeup always looks fresh and seamless? Take care of your tools! Boring, we know - just incredibly important.

"Clean your brushes and sponges regularly and keep all of your tools sanitised - bacteria on brushes builds up and can lead to breakouts," said Ava.

6. Use a colour corrector.

If you're not already using a colour corrector, apparently you're doing yourself a serious disfavour. According to Ava, colour correctors are one of the most underutilised products, yet one of the easiest ways to conceal redness and dark spots.

"Colour correctors can be used very sparingly on areas that need exactly that - colour correcting. Think redness around the nose (use green colour corrector), darkness or blue purple tones under the eyes (use orange colour corrector)."

Ava also recommends thinking about the depth of the colour you choose when colour correcting. 

She said, "If you have pale skin, use a pastel version of the colour. If you have medium to dark skin, you need the colour corrector to be the same depth of colour as your skin. For very dark skin you will use very bright colour corrector to equal the depth of colour in your skin."


"If you choose a colour that's too light, you'll end up with an ashy, grey and dull effect rather than a seamless finish that blends into your base colour."

Image: A makeup sketch by Ava Belle.

7. Always have two different shades of foundation.

Sounds excessive, but matching your skin tone can be tricky with one foundation - especially when your skin colour can change seasonally. 

That's why most makeup artists will recommend having two shades on hand - so you can mix and match throughout the year.


"Always have at least two colours of foundation in your makeup bag so you can mix your perfect shade, as your skin naturally gets paler in the winter months," said Ava.

8. Use a different concealer for your under eyes.

Anyone else just use the same concealer for everything? Well, bad news: apparently you're supposed to use a separate concealer for your under eyes, and one for the rest of your face.

"Under eye concealer is a different story to coverage concealer - it needs to be lightweight for the delicate skin underneath the eyes. Heavy productions here will crease and sit into fine lines."

"My fave is Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat - Radiant Touch, ($72), or a good budget option is Rimmel Lasting Radiance Concealer ($8.97).

9. Avoid shimmer on heavy lids.

Next, Ava said to be careful not to use shadows that are too shimmering or light, as they can accentuate heavy lids

"Avoid shimmer or brightening eyeshadows on heavy brow bones or ageing eyes. Instead, choose a matte taupe or brown shadow and shade [it] back." 

"Where we highlight we bring attention and bring forward, [while] where we add matte, dark or cool shades, we send back and help to disappear."

"By sending the heavy lids back, you create a youthful and lifted affect - it seems counterintuitive, but it’s a real game changer for hooded, ageing, mono-lid or puffy eyes."

10. Always apply lipstick with a brush.

Ugh. Seems like approximately too much effort. But gosh, the results are way better compared to when you just slap it straight on.


"When going bold with bright lip colours, use a clean sharp lip brush to get a perfectly defined edge," Ava says. "You’ll never get a clean, perfect finish straight from the bullet."

11. Connect your liner to your waterline.

If your eyeliner technique is in need of some serious help, Ava said there is one key thing you need to make sure you're doing - that is, connecting your liner to your waterline. 

"Get a professional finish on your eyeliner by tightening the upper waterline. With a flat blunt brush, push and wiggle a gel liner into the lash line and under the waterline to give lashes a seamless and full look."

"Nothing bugs me more than seeing skin colour between lashes and the obvious start point of liner above the lash line," adds Ava.

12. Don't forget your brows!

It might take two seconds, but something as simple as brushing up your brows can completely change your makeup look. 

Ava said, "Pay attention to your brows  - they are the most powerful feature on your face to change your expression, mood, and era you grew up in!" 

"Do your research and get a brow shape, colour and finish that is the most flattering for your face and bone structure."

If you're looking for some tips on nailing your brow shape, head here.

You can find makeup artist Ava Belle on Instagram.

Feature image: Supplied/Ava Belle.

Love all-things beauty? Take this short survey now to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher!