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Beauty Basics | Makeup Lingo

There are some terms when you’re new to makeup that may seem a bit confusing. Like contouring and tight lining. Beauty is kind of like science in this area, a lot of terms to learn. This is going to be a quick post so I’m only going to cover a hand full. I may do a part two in the future.

- Contouring & Highlighting

- Tight Line & Waterline

- Lippie

- Drugstore Products

- High End Products

- Makeup Dupe

- Fall-out (eye shadow)

- Finishes: Matte, Dewy, Shimmer, Glitter, Satin, Metallic

Contouring & Highlighting

Contouring is the technique of applying bronzer to the hollows of the cheeks to create a shadow effect to make the face look smaller. It can also be used to describe the same technique on the forehead, sides of the nose, and the jaw line.

Highlighting is the technique of applying highlighter or powder lighter than your skin to the areas where the light naturally falls on your face to make them look higher than the rest of your face. Like on the very top of your cheekbones to make them look more defined. And now the bridge of your nose, combined with bronzer on the side it can make your nose look smaller or bigger. People also highlight the brow bone right under the eyebrow and the inner corner of the eye.

Lex from MadeYewLook and MadeYewLook Twice has done a hold video on contouring and highlighting. I think she explains it a little better than I do. You can find that video here.

Tightline & Waterline

The waterline is a little hard to explain. You know how some people put eyeliner in the bottom lash line? That is the waterline. The line of skin behind the bottom lash line.

The tightline is the top eyelid equivalent of the waterline. When you apply eyeliner on the tightline it fills in the gaps you sometimes see in your normal liner and it makes your lashes look thicker.


Lippie is a nickname for any lip product. Lip stick, lip crayons, lip gloss. Lippie is just short for any lip product.

Drugstore Products

Drugstore Products are also called low-end. I don’t like calling them that because a lot of the makeup that doesn’t cost much still has great quality. Drugstore makeup is a term used to generally describe and categorize makeup products that are low in cost. Makeup typically sold at the drugstore. Just because a makeup product is classified as drugstore doesn’t mean its low quality. Most of my favorite products are drugstore products. (In the UK they call drugstore products high street products.) Drugstore brands include, Rimmel London, NYX, Maybelline, and CoverGirl.

High-end Products

High-end makeup is a term used to describe and categorize makeup from prestigious brands like, Urban Decay, Too Faced, Mac, Nars, and Lorac. High-end products are thought to be of better quality than the drugstore products which is true in most cases. To be blunt every once in awhile a high-end product will suck. But a lot of drugstore brand can hold their own against high-end brands. That’s why I love both.

Makeup Dupe

Dupe is short for duplicate. A makeup dupe is a drugstore makeup product that has the quality, look, feel, or is very similar to a high-end product.

Fall-out (eye shadow)

Fall-out is a term used to describe the powder and glitter than call fall off your eye shadow brush or eyelid while applying your eye makeup. Sometimes a shadow can have fall-out all day. This is why it is good to where eye shadow primer.


Makeup comes in all different kinds of finishes. Most of the finishes I list here are mostly eye shadow but a few are all products.


Matte is my favorite, and the only one I use for personal use. Matte is completely void of shimmer and glitter and any shiny substance. Matte is the plain color with nothing added. I just don’t like the look of shimmery or glitter on my personally so that is why pretty much all of my stuff is matte.


Sounds like one of Donald Duck’s nephews I know. But a dewy finish is when a foundation gives a look like the face has dew on it. That’s the best I can explain it. I give a shine sort of finish.


Shimmer has a shiny glitter like effect and is used in everything. It can just give a shine effect to the product or act as a secondary color. Some blushes have a gold shimmer in them. Shimmer is like “glitter dust.” However shimmer does not have glitter in it. It is a “sheen with no glitter.”


Everyone knows what glitter is. And people love to put glitter in makeup. They have normal glitter and in eye shadow they have micro glitter. I personally hate glitter no matter what it’s in or on. It sticks to everything and if you have one piece you have 500. You have one piece you turn your back and when your turn around there are a million. It reproduces like snails. I hate the stuff. But I know some people love it. But personally I will be staying far away from anything with glitter.


Satin is almost matte shadow with hint of shimmer.


Metallic is just like it sounds. It is a shadow, typically a cream shadow, that looks like metal. It has the effect to look like it is a metal reflecting light.

I hope this made some sense. I only cracked the surface on makeup lingo in this post. Maybe I’ll do a part 2 in the future. I hope this helps some makeup newbies out there. And if it just made your more confused I am sorry. Haha.

This is the first in my new series Beauty Basics. I am breaking down makeup and beauty stuff to the basics for makeup beginners. I’m not an expert but I have taught myself a lot over the past few years.

This series may end up being a mess and not making any sense. If that happens we will just cancel the whole thing and forget it ever happened. But it could end up being great. I’m guessing it’s going to land somewhere in the middle. Fingers crossed.

Thanks so much for reading this post! I hope you enjoyed it! Please leave a like if you did, it's much appreciated!

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to message me or leave them in the comments below.

Disclaimer: I AM NOT a professional makeup artist. You could say I am a self taught makeup artist as I have taught myself a lot through trial and error and playing with makeup. I have researched a lot of things on makeup over the past few years. I’m not claiming to know everything but I think I’ve got the basics down and want to make learning them easier for anyone just starting to get into makeup. I am not a newbie anymore but I’m not makeup vet either.

Photo Credit: Photo taken by me with a Canon EOS Rebel T5 with an 18-55mm lens and edited by me in Photoshop.

**This post was not sponsored**

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