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Even the most luxurious, priciest makeup won’t get the right results if it’s not applied correctly. We talked to aesthetician Jaclyn Retherford of The Makeup Bar to get tips on how to get a look that seems professionally done—every day.

LN: What are some common mistakes women make with makeup application?

JR: A lot of people seem to think more is better, and cake on their makeup when they shouldn’t. When we do it for them, the makeup that we use is mineral-based so it feels light on the skin and it can breathe. You don’t feel cakey with it on, but it looks really good in pictures for special occasions. A lot of people also don’t really know how to do their eyes. What I tell them is you need three things: a highlighter for the base, a slightly darker color for the crease and the lid, and a bit of liner. Use the liner on the top, bottom or both. The color has a lot to do with the color of the eye. If you know the color wheel, it’s always shades of that opposite color that bring out the eye color. If you have green eyes, the opposite is red. No one’s going to wear red eyeshadow, so take things with a tone of red: violet, pinks and some coppers are great choices.

LN: When applying foundation, what tools do you recommend?

JR: There are a few different things you can use, and each one gives a different amount of coverage. If you use a powder brush to put on powder foundation, you get lighter coverage. If you use sponge for powder foundation, you’ll get more coverage. For liquid foundation, they have special brushes that usually look like a painter’s brush. It helps you get better coverage of lines and wrinkles. Definitely don’t use your fingers for applying foundation, because they have a lot of germs and oil, and that’s bad for the skin.

LN: How do you choose the right brush?

JR:You can definitely tell the difference between a good and bad brush by feeling the bristles. If the bristles feel nice and soft, that’s good. Cheap brushes are harsher and it’s harder to get the product on the brush and therefore, on your face. You won’t get that rich color that you see in the palette.

LN: What types of brushes are the most important to have?

JR: It depends on your skin type and the kind of makeup you’re using. If you’re a liquid foundation person, you’ll want a brush specifically for liquid foundation; if it’s powder-based I recommend a kabuki brush, which helps get a lot of product on the brush and get a good amount of powder on the face. For concealer, you’ll use a smaller liquid brush around the eyes or a small sponge. For eyes, I recommend a blender brush to make sure your eyeshadow isn’t getting all over your face or making a weird line. Another thing that is really popular is using powder or cream eyeliner rather than a pencil. People are using a really small, narrow brush that you can dip into the black or brown cream eyeliner. It makes the eyeliner less harsh-looking, as well as smoother and you can get a better shape.

LN: What is your all-time favorite beauty tool?

JR:We carry these really cool brow kits. Most people have brow issues, so they’re really helpful. It comes with a little palette of brow color, a small, angled brush, some tweezers and a little mirror, and you can carry it in your purse. My other must-have is for special events: I never let any girl leave without false eyelashes.

LN: Are there any common tools you would recommend doing without?

JR: Lip liner. I think lip liner is totally outdated, and a lot of people don’t know the right way to use it. I don’t like eyelash curlers either. I think they’re dangerous. They can pull out your lashes and can be unsanitary.