Make Up & Beauty: The Glossary

So until I started watching make-up tutorials until my eyes wanted to fall out of my skull, every time I read certain terms I didn’t know I’d try to make a mental note of it to look it up later. I never got there. Total sieve brain. We’ve put together a list of some terms to help you out and refer to in case you aren’t sure of something. If there’s something you think we should add or want to know what it is, either tweet us @smudgedbeauty or let us know in the comments below:

Decoding one of these couldn’t be easier image taken from:,,20259419_20259646_20582016,00.html


Arch – the part of your eyebrow that slopes downward

Apple – the full round bit of your cheek that becomes prominent when you smile

BB Cream – Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm, more coverage than tinted moisturizer with SPF and vitamins and minerals derived from Asian BB Creams that also helped improve tone and helped whiten the skin

Blend – mix and buff out any harsh lines

Blot – dab away any excess such as oils or lipstick

Blotchy – patches of unevenness in the skin or pigment

Buff – work into the skin

Brow bone – where your brow sits and just below where your eye socket meets your skull

Blush – colour added to the cheeks to give a healthy flush to the skin

CC Cream – Colour Corrector, to help even out the skin tone

Cakey – when a product sits flakey, dry or crusty on the skin

Concealer – used to ‘conceal’ or hide any small imperfections such as under eye circles, blemishes, scars. Comes in various consistencies, formulas and textures

Contour – adding a bit of shadow to your natural bone structure where shadows would naturally occur, in areas such as below cheekbones, below bottom lip, crease, temples etc. Contour colour is a darker shade than skin and adds dimension

Cupid’s Bow – the beautiful ‘v’ shape of your top lip

Crease – where your eyelid meets your brow bone and forms a fold of skin, shadows naturally fall here

Dehydrated – lacking moisture

Décolletage – your chest/boobage area including collarbones

Dewy – level of glowiness or luminosity in a product or that it leaves on the skin

Discolouration – refers to the pigmentation in the skin such as patches that no longer look like they once did

Dual finish – refers to a make up formula that changes upon application such as cream to powder finish (totes like magic)

Exfoliate – rubbing the layers of dead skin off with an abrasive or chemical nature to renew and rejuvenate the skin leaving it soft and supple (like a snake, a silky snake)

Eyeliner – product used to line the eye adding depth and drama to the eye and making the eye colour pop

Eye shadow –  pigment pressed into various formulas and textures to add colour, shadow and highlight to the eye (remember eye shadow can be used for anything you want it to though!)

Facial mask – applying a layer of product to the face and leaving it for a few minutes to either unclog pores, exfoliate, add moisture, help with wrinkles, add radiance etc which is then removed

Finish – the ‘look’ given by a product (any make-up or skincare product) after it’s been applied ie: dewy, luminous, matte, frosted, shimmery, satin

Foundation – a product that evens out the skin tine and covers (some help improve) imperfections giving the appearance of flawless skin, comes in a variety of finishes, textures, formulas, shades dependent entirely on your own skin

Fragrance-free – non-scented

Gloss – shine of a product often linked to youthful radiance

Glow – radiance often coming within, also youthful in appearance

Highlighter – a lighter, light-reflecting pigment added to the brow bone, tear duct, cheek bone, above cupid’s bow

Lash Line – where your eyelashes spring out of your top and bottom eyelid

Layering – multiple layers of a product that build up coverage or colour; provides more depth if used correctly

Lip colour – either natural (like your own lip) or another colour. Fastest way to feel made up and fancy

Lip line – the ‘line’ of your natural lip; do not go over or too far in unless you are Lisa Elderidge or Pixiwoo

Luminescence – light-reflecting pigment found in make-up to make you look bright and glowing

Mascara – the simple wonder, dark pigment applied to the lashes making tired eyes look awake

Matte – containing no shine or gloss

Metallic – contains a shiny, reflective metal finish

Midtone – a middle shade; darker than the highlight shade and lighter than contour/crease shade

Mousse – texture that resembles that of fluffy whipped cream or chocolate mousse

Mute – to make a color appear less intense

Oil absorbers – added to a formula to help absorb oils from your skin

Oil-free – without added oils in its formula

Opaque – full coverage, allowing very little skin to show through

Powder – talc-like products like eye shadow, blush, and face powder

Primer – used underneath other products, Beth called it “Make-Up’s Spanx”, that creates a barrier between your skin and anything applied

Satin – a formula that’s neither matte nor shiny that gives a soft, smooth finish to the skin

Sculpting – the process of reshaping a feature or face; completely higher grade stuff

Sheer – a thinner, more transparent finish gives the skin a glow but allow the skin to shine through underneath

Stippling – blending technique for blending out the edges. A great way to carefully apply one product over another (*see layering)

Texture – the consistency of a product; the feel and weight

Tinted – gives the skin the slightest hint of color

Tight Lining – applying a tiny big of liner to the top waterline as close as possible to the lashes to make the lash line appear fuller and thicker

Undertone – the underlying colour: yellow, pink, blue

Waterline – inner liner above lower lash line

Water-resistant – won’t smudge if it gets wet but will begin to move if fully underwater

Waterproof – repels water and is not soluble in water; make-up usually requires an oil-based make up remover to take the product off.



  1. […] going to help you get your application down, and is amazing for filling in your lashline (check out our glossary if you’re […]

  2. […] It can do anything really. Probably solve an algebraic expression as well. Check out those terms here if they’re sounding Greek to […]

  3. This is such a great post – definitely helps me as I often find myself confused!

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