Be a Beauty Buff: Beauty Dictionary

Now that you’re done with midterms, we thought we would turn you into beauty scholars, too. It’s difficult to keep up with the slew of fancy new products each season and tutorials when you don’t recognize some of the beauty terms. No worries, because we are here to train you.

Balayage: It’s a hair coloring technique where color is applied by hand rather than foiling or using a cap. It creates light and shade throughout your hair, leaving you with a sun-kissed look. Women with all types of hair and length can try this trend, whether you want a super edgy look or a natural do.

Tip: If you have curly or wavy hair and are looking for a new do, you have found your answer. Balayage enhances the colors and the dimension of your curls, and it’s low-maintenance, since it’s not colored from the roots. You’ll have no reason to envy straight-haired girls anymore. If you’re still on the fence, check out this feature on Vogue Australia.

Cupid’s Bow: Some may say this is the sexiest part on a woman’s face, other than her eyes, of course. Your cupid’s bow is the line of the curved upper lip said to resemble Roman god Cupid’s bow.

Tip: Make your lips totally kissable by dabbing your favorite highlighter on your cupid’s bow for a plumper, sexier lip.

Dewy: Our favorite word for everything fresh and glowy. If your skin looks dewy it means it looks hydrated and glowy, of course. If you have ever watched a Victoria's Secret fashion show, you know what dewy looks like!

Tip: If you have dry skin and would like to add a glow, opt for a cream blush, highlighter or a hydrating primer, such as Laura Mercier Foundation Primer-Radiance ($19.50, Sephora).

Glycolic acid: Glycolic acid is a natural ingredient from sugar cane, and its sole purpose is to exfoliate; it's part of the AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) used in cosmetics to normalize hyperkeratinization (overly thick skin). Since it is an exfoliator, it safely removes dead skin cells, revealing fresh new skin underneath. Usually glycolic acid is a popular anti-aging ingredient, but it also immensely benefits those with discoloration and acne. Goodbye acne scars and blackheads!

Tip: If getting a facial is out of the question because all your hard-earned money went to your new textbooks, give an at-home peel a try. We like Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel ($69,

Matte: Chances are you girlies with oily skin are too familiar with this word. A matte finish is anything without shine or glow. Think of the 90s and 50s ... everything was super matte.

Tip: For a matte finish, look for the word "matte" in foundations, eyeshadows and lipsticks. When going for a more sophisticated, classic look, opt for a matte finish. 

Parabens: Paraben is the most controversial word on this list for its remote link with breast cancer. Parabens are preservatives found in your cosmetics, and typically more than one paraben is used in formula; they are used to prevent microbial growth, such as fungus. Methylparaben, Propylparaben and Butylparaben are the most commonly used parabens, according to the FDA. There are millions of articles swaying consumers not to use parabens, when in reality there is no significant research showing that they pose a health threat.

Tip: “They have been linked distantly (meaning in limited studies and with only a handful of subjects or animal studies) to breast cancer due to their weak estrogenic activity and their presence in a tiny number of breast cancer tissue samples” says Paula’s Choice. “That cancer connection, however distant, and the media firestorm surrounding parabens, has some people worried. Regardless of what you decide about parabens, you should know that there is no research proving parabens should be avoided when you shop for personal-care products for yourself or your family.” This is your call. 

Pigmented: Eyeshadows are often referred to as pigmented, meaning they are rich in color.

Tip: If the eyeshadow is pigmented, the color will be highly intensified, signifying that you made a good purchase; but if upon application you find it chalky and have to apply multiple times for a good color payoff, return it! 

Retinol: This isn’t the biggest beauty buzz word of the century for no reason. Retinol is “the name for the entire vitamin A molecule,” says Paula’s Choice. “Retinol helps skin cells create better, healthier skin cells, provides antioxidant support and increases the amount of substances that enhance skin’s structural elements.” This is why Retinol is such a vital ingredient in anti-aging regimens as well as acne fighting ingredients. It combats acne scarring by removing dead cells and encouraging the growth of collagen, leaving you with clear skin.

Tip: Retinol is a fussy ingredient and shouldn’t be used lightly. Ask your dermatologist for advice on how to incorporate retinol-based products for clear skin. 

Sulfates: Sulfates are used in skin and hair care products as cleansing agents. Over the years they have gained a bad rep by the cosmetic industry and have been used as a scapegoat to promote other ingredients and products. As your BFF, we are here to tell you not to buy into the hype. “Those that have become the scapegoat of the cosmetic industry include sodium lauryl sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate” says Paula’s Choice. “In reality there is absolutely no research showing they are a problem in skin-care or hair-care products other than causing irritation, but that is also true for the sulfate-free cleansing agents some cosmetic companies advertise they are using.”

Tip: Stick with that works for you. There is no research proving that sulfate-free formulas are better for your hair or skin. 

Tightline: Behold the invisible eyeliner, every beauty guru’s makeup weapon for fuller lashes. If you prefer a natural look, tightlining will do your eyes justice. To tightline, line in between the top lashes as opposed to the skin above your lashes.

Tip: Use a waterproof, black eyeliner to achieve its full effect, such as Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Perversion ($19, Check out this guide by “The Beauty Department”. P.S. You’re not limited to pencil. Liquid or gel are all great tools, too.

Waterline: Technically, you should learn about your waterline before tightlining, but after all, this is a dictionary. Anyway, your bottom waterline is where we usually put on eyeliner. It is above your bottom lash line. Your bottom waterline, as opposed to your upper waterline (where you tightline), is probably one of the first places you applied makeup onto in your face and the trickiest.

Tip: For the sexiest and most intense smokey eye, do not forget to line your top and bottom waterline.

Now that you’re a beauty smarty, get back to studying!

By: Ivanna Coello | Image: Source

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