• Kate Foster

THE 20 BEST BEAUTY TRICKS EVER, FROM A PRO MAKEUP ARTIST

CLOVE + HALLOW's Education & Artistry Manager, Kesha Smith, has brought her expertise to the beauty industry for over 20 years. A certified esthetician, makeup artist and trainer, lash technician, and experienced educator in Atlanta, Kesha has held the roles of Studio Artist with Smashbox, Counter Manager with Bobbi Brown, and freelance trainer and educator for a variety of major cosmetic brands.


It's safe to say Kesha has some seriously game-changing beauty tricks in her arsenal. Thankfully, she's willing to spill. Read on for her top 20 hacks of all time.


  • As a young makeup artist I learned that print and video work in hot climates require a lot of retouching in between shots. You get creative fast! Using milk of magnesia as a primer saved the day if a model had oily skin, large pores, or cystic acne. I don't recommend it for daily use, as it can over-dry the skin. But for weddings, video shoots, print work, or just a special occasion that requires a full face of makeup that needs to stay put, grab a bottle. If using a matte-finish, oil-free foundation, use a bit of moisturizer on top of the milk of magnesia to eliminate the white cast.


  • Dark under-eye circles with purple or blue undertones? Back in the day before color correctors were around, we used deep red or peachy-orange lipstick to correct the dark under-eye circles before applying concealer.


  • Class reunion or special occasion coming up, and want to look a bit younger? If you are not vegan or allergic, mix an egg into your face mask, apply to your face and neck, wait 20 minutes or so, rinse, and go about your regular skincare and makeup routine. Your skin will look so tight, people will think you had a lil' something done!


  • Ever wondered what to do with a bronzing gel? Imagine this: First day of summer, friends want to go to the beach, you look in the mirror and there is a ghost looking back. I have never felt so cute and picture-perfect as when I mixed a bronzing gel with a body oil and applied all over. Sunkissed to the GAWDZ!


  • Use concealer to shape unruly brows and conceal the unruly hairs before filling in. Please remember blending is your friend! Gently blend the concealer so that there is not a sharp, extremely noticeable line beneath or above your brow.


  • Conceal + Correct is not only a concealer and corrector, it acts as an eyeshadow primer as well as a lip primer. Allow drying time before applying the product on top.


  • Use a lemon to brighten dark spots. During your self-care skincare regimen, cut one in half and rub onto skin before your face mask. Wait 15 minutes, rinse, and continue with your regimen.


  • Got too much sun at the beach today, but want to put on makeup for tonight? Take a half cup of flaxseed and one cup of hot water, stir, and let sit for an hour. Apply to face and sunburned areas of the skin. Skin irritation will feel soothed and you can wash off and proceed with makeup application.


  • If you like to party hard but don’t like the evidence in your puffy eyes the next day, take a cup of black coffee, pour into an ice tray, and freeze. The next day, rub a caffeine cube under your eye to reduce puffiness before applying concealer.


  • Grab one of your eyeshadow palettes and gaze upon those bold shades that you were afraid to wear on your eyes. Grab a clear lip balm and rub it into that bold shade and apply to your lips. No shade for this new custom shade!


  • If you woke up to a red, angry zit, grab that seafoam green eyeshadow (you know you have one hiding in the drawer) and use a concealer brush to pick up the shadow. Apply a tiny bit of concealer to the brush and blend over the zit. Let it dry down and then go ahead with your concealer as normal. Redness won’t show through.


  • Do you struggle with filling in your brows and feel like you could be mistaken for a Marx brother? Grab a clean mascara spoolie. Bend the head a bit, rub a bit of lip balm onto it and dip into a powder eyeshadow of the appropriate color. (FYI: Never black under any circumstance, even if your hair is black. Browns and taupes are just about everyone’s friend.) Tap off any excess powder and gently brush into your eyebrows.


  • Honey, you know you want that smokey eye, but you're not a professional makeup artist—don’t touch that black eyeshadow! Grab your friendly neighborhood black eyeliner pencil and line your top and bottom lash line. Line the top more heavily and gently smudge with a smudge brush in the outer corner, then into the crease using a V-shape motion until it has blended out to a smokey look. Repeat this step on the bottom lashline with the smudge brush. Proceed with your regular eyeshadow application using brown or gray eyeshadow over the smoke that you have created with the pencil.


  • Funny trick I learned as a teen... Want a fun, crazy hair color but afraid to commit? One word: Kool-Aid. Grab a red or purple package for $0.40, pour into a cup of hot water, and dip your hair into it. It'll wash out in a few shampoos.


  • Another use for Kool-Aid is a homemade lip balm. Melt shea butter and coconut oil in a glass bowl (but don't heat to boiling). Mix in your favorite color or colors of Kool-Aid for a custom lip balm shade. Pour into a container with a cap and allow to solidify.


  • Traveled out of town and forgot your gel eyeliner pot? Not worth it to buy another just for a couple of days, darn it. No worries, you have mascara and with a liner brush it works just fine.


  • You must have really been rushing, because you forgot your highlighter, too! No worries, you have your skincare bag. After you've finished and set your makeup, rub a drop of facial oil between your hands and press onto the high planes of the face where you would apply highlighter. Boom, you are catching light, baby!


  • Did you know that CLOVE + HALLOW's Lip Velvet does an amazing job as a lip liner? Just take a deeper shade and line the lip using a liner brush, then fill in your mouth with a lighter shade. Been dying to try an ombré lip? Two to three shades of Lip Velvet will do the trick. COVID gives us nothing but time to practice.



  • Wait! What do you mean it’s not 1988?! I LOVE blue liquid liner! Whatever, I'm still using Lip Velvet in the shade Jetsetter as the best blue liquid eyeliner of all time.


  • I won’t stop there: I use any of the Lip Velvet shades as a quick eyeshadow base, let it dry down, then use a fluffy brush and powder eyeshadow to complete my bold eye look. And don’t get me started about using Lip Velvet as a cheek color—just make sure you use one dot and blend fast before it dries down.

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