Welcome to I Tried It Month, where we’ll be publishing a new fashion, beauty, or wellness article every day in January that features a first-person account of shaking up an old habit, pushing beyond a comfort zone, or simply trying something new. Follow along for 31 days of storytelling, including everything from going without a cellphone for 40 days to trying the polarizing low-rise pants trend.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm a makeup novice. My routine is a simple five-minute lineup that I repeat day in and day out without much experimentation. It's quick and easy, and I like it this way, but all that has changed since I've been on TikTok. One way or another, I found my way onto the beauty side of the app, and honestly, my makeup routine is all the better for it.
I've picked up on numerous beauty hacks, makeup application tips, and product recommendations that have actually changed the way I do my makeup (and nails) now, which, given that I'm prone to routine, is saying something. Whether it's a simple mascara recommendation from someone 10 years my junior or a tutorial from one of the many professional makeup artists that are on TikTok, these six beauty hacks, in particular, have been game changers. So in true Who What Wear fashion, I test-drove them IRL to report back with my honest review. Just to confirm these are legit, I reached out to makeup artist Tobi Henney to get her expert insight and her product recommendations for how to execute each look.
Ahead, watch the TikTok video that inspired me, see my take on it, and shop the products I used to create each look.
Tip #1: Where You Apply Blush Matters
So it turns out the placement of your blush can actually change your face shape. Who knew? Once I noticed this blush trick going viral on the app, I jumped at the chance to test it out on myself and was delighted to find that it actually works. By applying blush on the tops of my cheekbones and up to my temples (rather than on the apples of my cheeks), I can create a more lifted look. It's such a subtle swap, but based on the techniques shown side by side in the above video, you can tell it makes all the difference.
While I found success with this trick, Henney added that it's actually dependent upon your face shape. "Round and heart-shaped faces can apply blush to the apples of the cheek," she explained. "However, oval-shaped faces look best with blush on the outer part of the cheekbone." Seeing as I fall into the latter camp, it's no wonder that this simple trick was such a game changer. The higher placement really helps to create a lifted look and draw the eye higher up.
The next makeup trick I came across on TikTok was one I nearly sprung up from my seat to try out. I've always been a tad self-conscious about my thin lips, and while there are a number of injectable options I could consider to change that, I was curious to see how effective this lip routine would really be. Henney confirmed that overdrawing the lips is the best way to achieve bigger-looking lips and added that anything with a gloss finish will also give the same appearance. While I tapped into my own makeup collection, her liner recommendation is Victoria Beckham Beauty's Lip Definer ($26), and for gloss, she loves Charlotte Tilbury's Collagen Lip Bath ($35).
To create the look, I applied lip liner just outside my natural lip line to create a fuller (but not exaggerated) shape and filled them in with the same color. Then, I went in with a concealer stick on just the center of my top and bottom lips and then swiped on a tinted lip gloss.
Tip #3: DIY a Smoky Eye With Black Eye Shadow
Confession: I've never learned how to do a proper smoky eye. In fact, I try to stay away from eye shadow palettes in general and have always forced my friends to do my eye makeup when we're getting ready to go out (in pre-pandemic times, of course). But the above clip makes a smoky eye look so easy to achieve, and it inspired me to give the look another shot. "This is a really easy way to create a smoky eye," Henney confirmed, adding that she also likes to create a smoky eye with a black or brown smudgeable eyeliner. "Try MAC's Costa Riche Liner ($19)," she said.
I gathered my darkest pigments and eye shadow brushes and got to work creating a winged liner with black eye shadow and then worked in the browns and lighter shimmery tones, following Alison's lead. I was wary not to overdo it on the heavy, dark tones, so my finished look turned out lighter than hers, but it made for a pretty everyday-makeup vibe.
Tip #4: Find a Colored Mascara That Brings Out Your Eye Color
"Anything, including mascara, eye shadow, or eyeliner, from the burgundy- and purple-toned family will look amazing on green-colored eyes," Henney insisted. My hazel eyes are a blend of brown and green, so my ears perked up when I heard that a simple mascara swap could enhance my green tones. While Henney recommends trying Dior's purple mascara, I went the drugstore route with a $4 Maybelline pick and was pleased with the results. She also clued me into her go-to burgundy eyeliner, Marc Jacobs's Highliner in (Plum)age ($26), which I'll definitely be trying next to double down on the color-enhancing effect.
Tip #5: Use Color-Correcting Cream to Banish Redness
Okay, this one is less of a beauty "trick" and more of a specific product, but it honestly feels like a well-kept secret. A color-correcting cream that goes on green and then literally changes to the color of your skin right in front of your eyes? How did I not know about this sooner? Hyperpigmentation and redness are my skin's MO, so trying this tone-evening product was like a light bulb going off. I'm used to wearing a tinted moisturizer, but the Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Color Correcting Treatment ($52) goes on lighter and doesn't clog my pores the way traditional BB or CC creams do. My one word of advice: Start small—a little goes a long way!
Tip #6: Apply Vaseline to Cuticles for the Perfect Manicure
Let me tell you, the kids of TikTok have all the beauty hacks up their sleeves. Who knew that something as simple as a little petroleum jelly stood between me and a perfect manicure? Although I couldn't source the exact video that clued me into this nail trick, it's a pretty simple idea: You take a bit of petroleum jelly (I had Aquaphor on hand, but Vaseline would work as well) on a Q-tip and dab it onto your cuticles before going in with polish. This stops you from painting outside the lines, even if your polishing skills are less than top-notch. Then, let your polish dry, wash off the remaining ointment, and behold a crisp, between-the-lines manicure.