Woman Surrounded By Makeup

Forget about buying a house and getting married, before you turn 30, your goal should be to become the master of the makeup brush, know the best skin care products and try a few cult beauty products. As a teenager you can get away with wearing less than perfect eyeliner because people will just assume you’re going through some punk phase (even if it is unintentional). As you get older, there is less room for raccoon smokey eyes and streaky foundation. If you can hold down a full-time job and pay your rent reasonably on time, then you should recognize that your skin color is not in fact orange, am I right? And who knows, your boss might be so impressed with your immaculate red lip he/she may decide to give you that promotion you’ve been hoping for. Maybe not, unless they have a soft spot for Revlon Cherries In The Snow lipstick, but every little bit helps. So why not buy some wardrobe essentials too?

Here are 30 makeup tricks you should know before you blow out the candles on your 30th birthday cake.

1. How To Apply Lipstick Without Getting It On Your Teeth

No Lipstick On Your Teeth

Even if you have the perfect shade of red lipstick that would make Taylor Swift jealous, it will never, ever look good on your teeth.

2. How To Get Straight Eyeliner

Eyeliner Straight Line

Remember in school when they always told you to use a ruler? The same goes for your liner.

3. How to Apply Lip Liner Without Looking Like A Clown

Perfect Lip Liner

Don’t ignore this one because you think lip liner is dated. Practice getting that Cupid’s bow looking good now and you will thank yourself in a few years when lip liner becomes a trend again.

4. How To Use Makeup Brushes Properly

Makeup Brushes 101

If you never figure out the difference between a blending brush and contouring brush, good luck trying to master any of the other techniques on this list. Brushes 101 is your first lesson.

5. How To Do A Smoky Eye

Smoky Eye Hack

Though you can’t really tell from looking at a smoky eye, there is a careful technique to making it look expertly smudged and not like you drew around your eyes with a Sharpie. Those aforementioned brushes will come in handy here.

6. How To Apply Mascara To Your Bottom Lashes

Mascara Bottom Lashes

If a plastic spoon will save me from having to conceal my mascara smudges, I would use it. Though I think a tissue would work just as well.

7. How To Contour

Basic Contour How To

This is a difficult one, so for your thirtieth birthday just focus on what spots you need to contour, and aim to master the technique for your fortieth. That should give you enough time.

8. How To Apply Natural-Looking Blush

Where To Apply Blush Hack

The goal is to look fresh and cherubic, not feverish. Psssst, here are some more blush hacks to get that healthy glow.

9. How To Do Two-Tone Eyeshadow

Two-Tone Eyeshaow

You can’t exactly say you’ve mastered eyeshadow if you only wear one shade at a time–especially if that shade is taupe.

10. How To Apply Red Lipstick

How To Apply Red Lipstick

Once you’ve perfected red lipstick, you are this close to becoming a makeup master.

11. How To Blend Your Eyeshadow

How To Blend Your Eyeshadow

If you just thought, “why do I need to blend my eyeshadow?” Give this a try and you’ll see how it makes your makeup look much more professional (and helps camouflage any parts that aren’t 100% perfect)

12. How To Apply Bronzer

How To Apply Bronzer

Just like with self tanner, the goal is to look sun-kissed, not like you rolled around in the mud. And remember to blend, blend again, then blend some more.

13.  How To Get A Precise Cat Eye

Straight Liner Tip

Stop trying to get a perfect cat eye in one flick. Draw on each part, then fill it in. With years of practice, your hand will hopefully become less shaky too.

14. How To Apply Foundation With A Brush

How To Apply Foundation With A Brush

Amateurs apply foundation with their fingers. Makeup artists use brushes or sponges. Who do you want to copy?

15. How To Use Cream Blush

Cream Blush How To

You mastered powder blush (see #8), now it’s time to tackle cream blush to get a dewy glow.

Click here to see 15 other makeup techniques you should master by age 30 including how to cover a zit and how to define your brows.

16. How To Cover A Zit

How To Cover Pimples

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you can still get the occasional pimple at thirty something, so it’s a good idea to have this trick in your arsenal.

17. How To Highlight Your Eyes

How To Hillight Eyes

When you stay out late at night, you still want to look like you’re ready to work the next day–even if you’ll need four cups of coffee before you attempt anything productive.

18. How To Use An Eyelash Curler

How To Use An Eyelash Curler

I’m not going to lie, looking at this does make me feel slightly queasy but the results are definitely worth the occasional pinched eyelid or two. Just be more careful next time.

19. How To Cover Dark Circles

Conceal Dark Circles

You will never be compared to a raccoon once you have perfected this tip. You could be nocturnal and no one would ever know.

20. How To Choose Flattering Colors

Skin Base Makeup Guide

Even if you can draw on eyeliner straighter than a ruler, it doesn’t mean anything if you are wearing the wrong colors for your skin tone. Here’s a cheat sheet to figure out what colors are best for your complexion.

21. How To Define Your Brows

Bold Brows

Whether you want to go for Cara Delevingne bold brows, or do something a bit more understated, these are the basic steps.

22. How To Use Concealer

Where To Apply Concealer

Do you often get confused by where to put concealer other than on dark circles and pimples? Here’s a guide on where else to apply it.

23.  How To Set Your Foundation

How To Set Your Foundation

You found the right color and correctly used a brush, so let’s make sure your foundation stays in place all day.

24. How To Use Colored Shadow

Purple Smoky Eye

If figuring out all these different techniques hasn’t inspired you to try something other than the Urban Decay Naked Palette, I don’t know what will. Just give color a try once, for me. 

25. How To Highlight Your Cheekbones

How TO Use Highlighter

The most difficult part is figuring out where your cheekbones are (everyone does have them!), applying the product is the easy part.

26. How To Apply False Lashes

False Lashes

You may not use this one everyday, unless you love a bit of glamour at the office, but it’s worth figuring out.

27. How To Properly Use An Eyeshadow Palette

How To Wear An Eyeshaow Palette

You bought the darn thing, so wouldn’t it be nice to use all of the colors in the palette?

28. How To Use Metallic Shadow

Metallic Eyehadow

Here’s a grown-up way to do metallic shadow that doesn’t scream: “I’m wearing silver on my eyes!” Substitute gold or bronze, if you prefer.

29. How To Apply Mascara Without It Clumping

Clump Free Mascara

Not using an expired mascara would be the first tip. Making sure you don’t have too much product on the brush is the second.

30. How to Blend Your Foundation

How To Blend Your Foundation

It’s easy to forget about your neck when you’re concentrating on your face. Remember to blend that jawline edge or it will look like you are wearing a mask.

(Photo: Poznyakov/Shutterstock)