Skip to Content

10 Modern Makeup Trends To Master If You Want To Survive

Gone are the days of simple makeup.

You know it’s true. 12-year-old girls can do better makeup than professional makeup artists did 20 years ago.

But it makes sense right? All the makeup resources you could ever need are your fingertips. Instagram is flooded with high-quality videos of ordinary people dressing their faces to the nines. Pinterest and Youtube can teach you better makeup techniques than you’d learn in beauty school.

So do you have what it takes to survive the world of modern makeup trends?

I guess we’ll find out…

Goodbye pencil-thin eyebrows, hello self-taught MUA. Find out what modern makeup trends you need to slay if you want to master beauty.

*This post contains affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase through the link, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps me provide the best possible content for free. Keep in mind that I only link to quality products that I use myself and feel would be beneficial for my readers.  Please read my full affiliate disclosure for more information.

You’ll need to know…

1. How To Highlight and Contour

Contouring and highlighting is all about accentuating your good features and hiding the bad ones. You can do this with cream or powder products, or even a combination of the two.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit

Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit, $40 Ulta

Everyone’s face is different, but most people tend to highlight the cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, under the eyes and the forehead. Likewise, it’s common to contour the jawline, hollows of the cheeks, the sides of the nose and perimeter of the forehead.

Just remember that darker colors draw attention away, while lighter colors make that area pop.

Roxette Arisa shows you how easy it is to do in this highlight and contour tutorial video. 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼

2. How To Blend Eyeshadow Like A Pro

Blending eyeshadow is by far one of the most important modern makeup techniques you can learn, so pay attention.

Before we begin, it’s crazy important to lay down a base (concealer, primer and/or a dash of translucent powder will do), and you NEED to use the right brushes.

The Jaclyn Hill Eye Master Collection by Morphe

The Eye Master Collection, $39 Ulta

You might think that you should start with darker colors, but the opposite is true. You should actually start with lighter colors on the outer areas, and work your way in. Make sure the shade your working with is completely blended before moving to the next darkest shade.

You’ll want to be extremely light-handed and move your brush in a windshield-wiper or circular motion. As you get down to a more contained color, you’ll want to use a more tapered blending brush.

To be honest, it’s easier to watch someone blend eyeshadow than to explain it in words. The eyeshadow queen, herself, Jaclyn Hill shows you how it’s done in this amazing makeup tutorial. 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼

3. How To Do Perfect Eyebrows

I’m gonna let you in on some personal information about me… I don’t have any eyebrows. No, I didn’t shave them off in middle school, and yes, I have to pencil them in every single day.

It’s just the cards I’ve been dealt, but I’ve learned to run with it.

When I got married, I had my makeup done by one of the top makeup artists in South Lake Tahoe, and boy, have my eyebrows never looked better than they did that day.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz

ABH Brow Wiz, $21 Ulta

She taught me a cool trick that I’ve never forgotten. She said to use a “spoolie” brush to lightly soften the tops of your eyebrows and the inner edges (closest to your nose). It makes them look so much more natural and gives them depth.

I also like to carve out the bottoms with concealer, to make them absolutely perfect.

NikkieTutorials teaches a really similar method to the one I use in the following eyebrow tutorial video. 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼

4. How To Bake Your Face

Baking your face is a method of letting translucent powder sit on your face long enough to set your makeup.

Laura Mercier Translucent Powder

Laura Mercier Translucent Powder, $39 Sephora

This technique has been used in drag for years, and for good reason. You’ll be left with:

  • Perfectly matte skin (add highlight where you want it)
  • Covered imperfections and filled-in lines
  • A flawless finish
  • Makeup that will last all day

To bake your face, just let the powder sit on your skin for 5-10 minutes before dusting it off. This allows your body heat to set the concealer and foundation.

iluvsarahii has an amazing tutorial that teaches you the ins and outs of face baking. She also notes that the Laura Mercier translucent powder (pictured above) is the absolute best powder for baking your face.

Check out her tutorial here.👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼

5. How To Do A Cut Crease

I don’t think there is anything cooler than a perfectly-carved cut crease. It’s the epitome of modern makeup.

You can rock this look with glitter, neutral tones or crazy vibrant tones. Any variation is as beautiful as the next. And as intense and intricate as it may seem, this makeup look is really not that hard to do.

BH Cosmetics Take Me Back To Brazil Eyeshadow Palette

BH Cosmetics Take Me Back to Brazil, $20 Ulta

To get a mean cut crease, you really just need to:

  • Apply some nicely blended eyeshadow like you normally would
  • Carve out the cut crease with some concealer and a flat brush
  • Add some contrasting pigment to the carved out section

Again, it’s easier for me to show you than to explain how to do it. I absolutely love this cut crease makeup tutorial by Princess Bellaaa. She makes it look incredibly easy, and those pigments are unreal.👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼

6. How To Tightline Eyes and Line The Waterline

Tightlining your eyes is all about closing out those flesh tones between your eyeball and eyelash line. It’s incredibly easy to do and gives you a much more polished look.

To take it a step further, you can even line out the waterline of the lower lid. This is something I’ve been doing for years… it’s a really flattering look for my eyes.

Sephora Collection Long Lasting Kohl Pencil

Long Lasting Kohl Pencil, $10 Sephora

I personally find that it’s easiest to do this with a Kohl pencil (like the one pictured above). It’s soft on your eyes but also precise.

MakeupAndArtFreak teaches her super easy technique in this tightline tutorial video.👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼

7. How To Apply Fake Eyelashes

False eyelashes are non-negotiable if you’re serious about modern makeup… but don’t worry, they’re super easy to do. It might take a few tries, but with some practice, you’ll get it.

Lilly Lashes Lite Mink

Lilly Lashes Lite Mink (faux), $20 Sephora

Here’s a crazy easy tutorial by Kait Nichole, full of tips and tricks for success. 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼

8. How To Do a Smokey eye

I’ve always been a fan of smoldering smokey eyeshadow. Although it’s a timeless look, it’s definitely a staple of the modern makeup trends.

Really, the key to doing the perfect smokey eye is just to learn how to apply dark blacks, browns, and greys, and then learn how to blend them to the high heavens.

To get that perfect blend, you’ll want to go slow, start with lighter colors, and gradually get darker as you move inward. It’s also a good idea to apply a gel eyeliner to the bulk of your lid before going in with black eyeshadow. And remember to blend the black into the lighter colors.

Sigma Beauty Gel Eyeliner

Gel Eyeliner, $14 Sigma Beauty

An Knook has a killer classic smokey eye tutorial. It walks you through the blending process, step-by-step.👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼

9. How To Make Eyeshadow Pop

If you’re gonna survive the days of modern makeup, you can’t be walking around with muddy eyeshadow. You need to make it pop.

It’s really not complicated at all. In fact, making your eyeshadows appear to be more vibrant and pigmented just takes one extra step from your normal routine.

Youkeyy suggests using a dry concealer that is much lighter than your skin tone as a base. She does emphasize that it’s essential to use a dryer concealer and to use the lightest shade possible. She also states that you can use this in place of primer, and also get better results.

Makeup Revolution Concealer

Makeup Revolution Concealer, $7 Ulta

See how she does it here. 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼

10. How To Do Winged Eyeliner

I’ve been winging my eyeliner since before winging your eyeliner was cool. I think this is such a timeless look and I hope it never goes out of style.

There are several different types of eyeliner products available, and they all have pros and cons. Gel eyeliner with a separate brush is great for a softer look. I like using this on the bulk of my lid from time to time.

However, I don’t think there’s a product out there that can deliver anything as precise as the Kat Von D Tattoo liner. I’ve been using it for about a year, and I’m absolutely hooked.

Kat Von D Tattoo Eyeliner

Kat Von D Tattoo Eyeliner, $20 Sephora

The technique is really pretty easy but might take a little bit of practice. Don’t worry, Laura Lee shows you how to clean up your mess-ups in her winged eyeliner tutorial. 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼

Bonus Section

Bonus Icon

I just want to throw out there that tools matter. If you try to blend eyeshadow with a flat brush, it’s not going to work.

Makeup Brush Infographic

I’m not gonna lie… I got the Jaclyn Hill Master Brush Set by Morphe a few years ago, and it’s a total game changer. Fair warning…it’s kinda expensive but worth every penny.

If anything, check out the more affordable eye master collection.

I’ve purchased so many different cheaper brush sets in the past, and nothing even comes close to this quality. And really, it’s actually more affordable than similar brush sets from other brands. I couldn’t recommend it more.

Heart Icon

Jaclyn Hill, herself, teaches you what brushes to use for what. If you need more guidance, it’s an exceptional video (no matter what brand of brushes you use).

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts Icon

Since the emergence of visual social media, makeup has reached unbelievable heights. Everyone and their mom can learn professional makeup techniques with the right tools and resources.

As the makeup industry continues to grow exponentially, so does the creativity needed to succeed.

With so many innovative ideas and polished looks out there, it could be pretty overwhelming… but don’t worry, I gotchu. Master these modern makeup trends, and I promise you’ll make it out alive.

Until next time,

YOUR TURN: Are there any other modern makeup techniques I left off this list? Drop them in the comments section below! 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼



Sunday 2nd of August 2020

I got really sick for a few years, and eventually lost my 'vibe.' My 'givashit'. I haven't worn any make up for 3? years now? Right when I purchased expensive (for) me brands, the illness got worse and I did a year of 'homeless moldy basement hopping'. Lost everything and my soul dog died in my lap. (the 70 lb skeleton left, he was a fighter!) make up was the last thing on my mind.

(ok, pretty much nothing was on my mind, it's some neuroimmune thingey and blew into primary-immune-like)

Some of my 'pretty' wants to come back out to play, this post that summarized the various aspects of makeup was awesome! And you gave props to your peeps for the teaching - high five!

What I always struggled with, when getting ready for parties (burning man variety, so costume and over the top!), I'd try to put on makeup and just look like a man in drag! (I was mid-30 then). Maybe a month ago I ran into a beauty site where the host still had her goth on. (love me some dark art!) As she talked about her makeup (all her photos looked awesome), she said she had deep eyes. Then showed profiles of women at an angle.

ZOMG, I have *neanderthal* browbones!!! No WONDER I couldn't put on makeup w/o looking like Herman Munster. (or was it Lurch? Been a while....) (also have a larger pituitary adenoma - I didn't look like an ape thru my 20's....)

The 'aha' was the "windshield wiper along the crease' everyone takes for granted - apparently I have to do it above the crease, but now we're approaching eyebrow territory - squeeek! Even tho they're sparse - I had a pluck fest in 8th grade apparently (photos never lie!), but young Brooke Shields had nothing on my brows my senior year of high school. I've plucked maybe 3 strays a month for 10 yrs and nothing today. Yet have thin, light eyebrows. Hormones and health win in the end. Yet I still don't have much real-estate above my eyes for fun makeup! waaaaaaaaaah

ps- SO glad that creepy death/vampire "super dark painted walls posing for eyebrows that women actually went out in public with" phase is over! no clue how anyone thought that was attractive LOL! Selfie obsession I guess (shrug)

Hollee Wood

Friday 14th of August 2020

I'm glad this could help you and I hope you're doing better! Sounds like you went through some rough stuff but I'm sure you're much more beautiful than you give yourself credit for! Keep your head up!


Tuesday 25th of June 2019

There are some great tips here, especially for those of us who aren't as skilled with our makeup! Thank you for sharing!

Maya Nirvana

Monday 24th of June 2019

I feel naked without winged liner but, unpopular opinion, I really didn't like Kat Von D Tattoo liner. Didn't think it was black enough. I totally agree with investing in good makeup brushes - really makes a difference. Very Informative!

Hollee Wood

Monday 24th of June 2019

Hahaha! Me too! I look so different!


Sunday 23rd of June 2019

I will Be referring to this often, i think. My makeup skills are definitely lacking. In faCt, my sister and i were just talking about How i need to up my makeuP game yesterday. 😂


Sunday 23rd of June 2019

Great post! I love makeup, and put makeup tutorials on YouTube. You put lots of detail and research into this blog, I love it!