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The A-Z of Beauty and Skin Care

Do you know your illuminator from your highlighter? With various different products, techniques styles and influences, it's easy to find yourself overwhelmed by beauty and skincare. This A-Z will demystify some of the jargon that baffles so many, introduce you to new products and actually tell you what the difference is between an illuminator and a highlighter.

A - Applicators
Brushes, sponges, mascara wands, pencils, sticks, doe-foot applicators, foundation spatulas - the list is endless. Without them, we'd still be applying foundation with our hands, which, due to the natural oils on our fingers, can make our makeup come off faster. Applicators, we salute you!

B - Baking
Baking is by far, one of the year's oddest beauty trends. The concept of packing powder under your eyes to set foundation and concealer is something that I am yet to understand, despite many claiming that it does wonders. 

C - Contour
A saviour for many and a way of sculpting a jawline to perfection. Contouring emphasises the natural shadows on your face, giving the illusion of a more defined bone structure. Products like the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder or the Topshop Contour Cream are best because they give the appearance of a natural shadow. 

D - Dry Oil
A big trend for fake tanning over the last years, Dry Oils are sprayable oils that give a mist over the skin without leaving a greasy residue. The oil attaches to the top layer of the skin making the moisturising ingredients adhere to the skin so that they can be absorbed into the skin. 

E - Exfoliator
A key part of any skincare routine is exfoliation as it unclogs pores and removes any dead skin cells. Depending on your skin type, it's recommended to exfoliate once or twice per week.  

F - Foundation
The basis of any makeup look is, of course, foundation. With different formulations catering for different skin types and more finishes than can be counted on one hand, it's sometimes a little overwhelming as to which one to go for. Some personal favourites are the Revlon Colour StayMAC Studio Fix Fluid and Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation.

G - Glitter
Glitter eye looks are always popular around the festive season, but the metallic trend this year has seen glitter become even more widely used. 

H - Highlighter
Applied on the tops of cheekbones, brow bones, down the centre and the tip of the nose, cupid's bow and inner corners. Highlighters attract light to the high points of your face, showing off some of your best features. 

I - Illuminator
Not to be confused with highlighters, illuminators give the appearance of a dewy complexion and are generally applied beneath your foundation and concealer. Illuminators can also be mixed with a foundation for a more subtle glow. 

J - Jojoba Oil
One of the most versatile products, Jojoba Oil can be a saviour for both your hair and your face. Applied to damp hair, it can tame any flyaways and smoothe the overall appearance in a similar way to Keratin, but when used on the face, leaves skin softer and suppler. 

K - Keratin
Keratin comes in the form of a treatment but also in products too. A Keratin Hair Treatment is a straightening process that tames frizzy hair into straight and healthy hair. Using a part of straighteners, the Keratin treatment is infused into hair, sealing the cuticle and repairing previous damage to your hair. Some styling products are infused with Keratin to imitate the appearance given from a treatment session.

L - Lipstick
Lipstick is the one product that pulls a whole look together. Once your lipstick is on, you can head out and face the day knowing that your lips look great, (that is until it starts to crack or come off when you eat)

M - Micellar Water
A miracle product that has literally rocked the world of makeup. Micellar Water is a cleanser that removes makeup without the vigorous rubbing of makeup wipes. One swipe from a doused cotton pad means that your eyebrow is gone for the day. A favourite of mine is the Garnier Micellar Water, which I spoke about in a previous post.

N - Nails
Nail polish, nail lacquer, top coat, gel nails, shellac nails, acrylic nails - the list goes on. 

O - Oils
Oily skin doesn't mean that you can't use oils, you just can't use ones with certain ingredients. Oil cleansers work well as pre-cleanse, just to remove makeup before going in for a second cleanse. Night oils work in various ways, offering many benefits with some including replenished moisture, cell regeneration and softened skin. 

P - Primer
The first step to actually applying your makeup; primers, much like oils, have many specific uses and purposes. Some smoothe and fill out pores, some colour correct, whilst others just make sure that your makeup stays on your skin longer. Some of the best include Maybelline Baby SkinBenefit Porefessional and the Nivea Men Post Shave Balm which I reviewed here.

Q - Quads
Eyeshadow quads are the perfect size to travel with and often contain a mix of shades which work well to create the perfect look. Palettes from MAC and Z-Palette allow you to choose a selection of shades and create your own personalised palette.

R - Rose Water
Rose Water is an ingredient often used in facial toners. It is known to tone oily skin, soothe sensitive skin, reduce acne, calm sunburn and repair ageing skin. What more could you want? 

S - Sponges
Makeup sponges like the iconic, Beauty Blender, changed the way we applied makeup forever. Although it takes a little more time, the overall look is flawless from where the sponge bounces the foundation into the skin as opposed to brushing it. A more affordable dupe for the Beauty Blender is the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

T - Tanning
Fake tanning has enabled those of us with immensely pale skin, to tan without the risk of turning into a lobster. It's brilliant until you tan before bed and then get into white sheets. 

U - Under-Eye Creams 
Brilliant for hydration under the eyes, thicker eye creams can change the way your concealer sits once it's applied. 

V - Vaseline
Vaseline is a beauty staple. This multi-purpose product has uses far more than just aiding a chapped lip. Apply to skin before spritzing perfume for a longer lasting scent, or dab onto cheekbones for a natural dewy glow.

W - Worth The Hype
Anastasia Brow Wiz, Kylie Lip Kits, MAC's Soft and Gentle, Benefit's High Beam, Velvet Teddy, Mary Lou-Manizer, the Naked Palettes.... 

Y - Youth Enhancing
"A beauty buzzword to be cautious of, youth enhancing products can offer a lot of false promises. You’re better off applying your makeup well, drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep." - BBH

Z - Zoeva
Zoeva are a brand who at one point, fell into the 'Worth The Hype' category. Their brushes were featured on so many YouTube channels and Instagram pages that it almost became impossible to avoid them. They took over the blogging and vlogging world with their gorgeous packaging, rose gold handles and marble-esque makeup bags. Now their eyeshadow palettes are in the spotlight and are, sure enough, living up to their internet hype. 


  1. Wow- I've never heard of some of these! Excited to check them out! Thanks!

  2. Thank you! I'm not up with any of this stuff so it was great to learn!

  3. My goal for this year is to learn how to contour and highlight. It's something I never ventured into and I am looking forward to learning how to do it. It looks so glam :). Great list!

  4. Great tips! Some I never heard of. Also, vaseline is great to put on your teeth when you need to smile a lot. Dancers trick ;)

  5. Such a detailed list, and very helpful!