Fashion, Hair, Makeup, Skincare

Beauty Dictionary

Beauty Dictionary/Lingo

*Note: These are not in alphabetical order but grouped accordingly to what they are referring to. There are also reference charts at the end.

**This will also be kept as a work in progress so overtime, I will add to this. Let me know if you have any suggestions 🙂

Coverage- You’ll usually see this in regards to foundations/concealers. ie. full/medium/light coverage. Coverage refers to how much will be covered not how heavy a product feels. Although more often than not a heavier product will cover more, this is not ALWAYS the case. Tinted moisturizers for example feel heavy as they are first and foremost a moisturizer, so they are a skincare based product, however they have a tint of colour, so the coverage is only minimal.

Pigmentation – This refers to how intense a colour is ie. how much pigment is in the product.

Payoff/True to pan- I grouped these two together because they are often interchangeable. If you swatch a lipstick or shadow, for example, and it has the same intensity/overall colour in the packaging (pan) as it does on your skin, then we say it’s true to pan and has good colour payoff, ie. it’s worth your mooonies.

Weight- Usually refers to how heavy or light a product feels on your skin. ie. lightweight foundation.

Natural finish- Usually in reference to foundations. A natural finish is one that looks like natural skin.

Matte finish- Matte finishes can be used in reference to foundations or eyeshadows. It means there is no glitter/sparkle/shine. Zero. Nada.

Demi matte- Not matte not not dewy. In between.

Dewy- Once again in reference to foundations. A dewy finish looks (and I hate to say it) moist ( Mr. Burn’s shivers). It’s like you just went for a light jog and have a little glisten going on but it’s just that perfect amount!

Primer- Like paint primer, makeup primer is just that – Primer for your face!  Some primers neutralize skin tones, some minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines and others claim to do it all. Who’s to say if they work really, it could all be a gimmick. But if it works for you, then keep doing it! Primers come in various forms. There are silicone based primers (like the Smashbox photo finish primer) which make your face feel super soft, water based primers (Too Faced Hangover primer), balms and gels. Again, the one you should choose is based on a variety of factors.

Base- usually refers to your foundation, concealer, and any other products you apply before your eye makeup and lip product/s

Skin Tone- The common skin tone names are: fair, light, medium, tan, dark, deep

Undertone- Everyone’s skin has an undertone. You can be warm, neutral or cool toned. You will often hear about a product’s undertone as well.

Warm- a warm undertone has hints of yellow/golden tones

Cool- a cool undertone has hints of pink or blue.

Neutral- a neutral undertone sits right in the middle with hints or golden/green.

Common foundation shade names:


















Foundation vs. Concealer- Foundations and concealers are similar in that they both are base products intended to cover and even out skin tone. However, there are some major differences.

Foundations will usually be sold in a larger quantity. A bottle of foundation will have much more product in it than a concealer will. This is because foundations are meant to be applied all over the face. They serve as the foundation for all other products to be applied over. They are meant to even skin tone and cover any imperfections you may have. Foundations come in many forms: liquid, cream, stick, loose powder, pressed powder and cushion (it’s a Korean thing). Deciding what type of foundation to use will depend on your skin type, comfort, preference and look you want to achieve. *See my post on choosing a foundation for your skin type, here*

Concealers are meant to conceal any areas that your foundation may not have been able to cover. *NOTE* a concealer can not and will not reduce the SIZE of a blemish. Makeup is not magic, people. When you have a nasty breakout that is a little…3D, less is more. Packing on concealer will only draw more attention to it. But I digress…* Concealers can often be used to highlight (by choosing a shade or two lighter than your foundation) or you can also just go with your natural shade. Concealers typically have more pigment in them than foundations, hence why the amount of product in the package is less than a foundation. Concealers, like foundations come in different weights. Depending on what you want to conceal, you may want to choose a certain weight of concealer. Putting a heavy concealer under your eyes to hide dark circles may not be best as it can lead to creasing more easily than a lightweight concealer with good pigmentation. Something else to also note is that foundations and concealers are merely covering up over what you have already. If you have extreme discolouration or very dark circles, you may want to colour correct which is a whole other topic. Think of it like this: foundation or concealer over top of a prominent colour ie. the blues/greens/purples in dark circles is like sweeping dirt under a thin rug. You can’t really see the dirt, but something still shows through a bit. Colour correction addresses the issue rather than just covering over top of it.

Tinted moisturizer/BB cream- Tinted moisturizers and BB creams are very similar. BB cream which stands for beauty balm is essentially a skin care product with a tint of colour, just like a tinted moisturizer. The main use for it would be to benefit your skin, ie., even out tones, reduce fine lines, add moisture to the skin and provide minimal coverage. They’re great for someone with dry skin who doesn’t want to wear a ton of makeup. They will often feel thick, because of the moisturizing factor, but the amount of coverage is minimal because the ratio of “pigment” to “cream” is less than a foundation.

CC cream- A CC cream differs from a BB cream because it’s primary benefit it to “Colour Correct.” It can be worn on its own, however it is not meant to provide much coverage. If you are someone with hyper pigmentation of you just have a lot of redness or whatever, then this might be a good option to prime your skin before you apply foundation.

Softening words/ Lingo

As a makeup artist, it’s important to use “softening” words. You don’t want to offend a client, so there are ways to go about saying words that sound harsh. Also, some words are just easier to be said, shortened.

brows– eyebrows

lashes- eyelashes

shadow– eyeshadow

tweeze– a softer way of saying “pluck”

blemish– a softer way of saying “pimple” or “zit”

fine lines/expression lines- a softer way of saying “wrinkles”

chalky– think of chalk. Think of an eyeshadow being like chalk. Gross hey? We don’t like chalky shadows.

fallout- the bits of shadow or powder that fall on your cheeks/face when you apply eyeshadow. Good quality shadows typically have less fallout.

wing– a particular eyeliner look where the liner flicks out at the outer corner of your eye

contour/highlight- To put it simply, it means shade and light. Contour where shadows would be, and highlight areas you want to accentuate. A more in depth explanation will follow in a separate blog post.

buff- referring to the motion in which you use your brush (either for foundation or applying shadow etc.) It’s a pressing and circular movement.

stipple- Again, referring to a motion of application. Tapping down and up quickly.

blend- The best way to blend out a shadow or product if you’ve added to much is to use a clean brush. Typically you want to use a small brush for precise application and a bigger, fluffier brush to blend a product out.

smokey- a name for an eyeshadow look where the colours are deeper on the lid and fade or “smoke” out as they move upward and out.

transition- a transition shade when applying eyeshadow is one that is placed into the crease of the eye (or where a crease would be, if you don’t have one). It allows for darker shades to easily blend into it later.

Eye shape- everyone’s eyes are shaped differently. (see chart below) The placement of eyeshadow/eyeliner etc., varies on your own eye shape.

Reference charts.

colour wheel eye chart