Can You Define All of These Cosmetics Terms?


By: Bambi Turner

6 Min Quiz

Image: andresr/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

You might think of makeup as a modern invention, but people have been using cosmetics to upgrade their appearance for thousands of years. Back before things like indoor plumbing or automobiles were even a far-off dream, people recognized the importance of using various materials to enhance eyes, color lips, lighten skin and even polish nails or dye hair. Archaeological evidence reveals that Egyptians living as early as 5,000 BC applied kohl eyeliner, shadows made from copper and lead, red ochre cheek and lip stains, and henna to hair and nails. They even melted animal fat to soften skin and keep a supple, youthful appearance.

Of course, things are much easier for the modern cosmetic fan. Even corner drugstores sell a wealth of makeup products, and cosmetic superstores allow you to try almost any product before you buy it. Advances in science mean products are made not from the lead and copper of the past, but from ingredients perfectly synthesized in the lab to provide the very best results.

Yet just as all that variety provides plenty of options, it can seem overwhelming to anyone who isn't a professional makeup artist. Think you can identify some of the more common cosmetics and makeup techniques? Prove it with this quiz!

This beauty favorite is a lightweight alternative to traditional foundation.

Also known as blemish or beauty balm, BB cream is the perfect foundation-alternative for those seeking a natural and lightweight look. This simple cream can be applied with a sponge or even the fingers and is designed to hydrate, prime, conceal and even out skin tone.


What is the primary purpose of using toner?

Applied with cotton balls or tissues, a toner is a beauty basic used to balance the skin. This means balancing out pH and oily skin while also removing any lingering bits of makeup or cleaning products.


Which of these tools is designed to polish nails to a shine?

Sometimes you don't want to go all out with nail polish or color, but simply want your nails to look clean and cared for. In this instance, a buffer, which smooths and shines the nails, is the perfect tool for the job.


What is the main purpose of an emollient?

Emollients are used in many types of cosmetic products. Designed to lubricate, smooth and soften the skin, they typically consist of ingredients like cocoa or shea butter, mineral oil or lanolin.


Which of these is almost always worn under foundation?

A primer is a cosmetic product worn under foundation. It smooths and evens out the surface of the skin, keeps oil under control and ultimately keeps the makeup from melting off your face so fast.


This cosmetic favorite is made from a bacterial toxin.

Injecting Botox into the skin is a popular way to smooth out skin and eliminate wrinkles. This favorite cosmetic product is made from an ingredient you might not expect, however: a bacterial toxin called botulinum toxin A.


What is a blotting paper designed to do?

Blotting paper is a cosmetic must-have made from a tissue paper, like material covered in powder. It's used to blot the skin, removing oil and dirt and making the skin look more matte.


What does depilation mean?

Depilation means to remove the hair, an important part of any cosmetics routine. It is similar to epilation, which refers to removing hair from below the skin's surface by waxing or using lasers.


Which of these is a wide, round and fluffy brush?

The Kabuki brush is the classic cosmetics brush. It features a wide, round, fluffy surface, and is perfect for applying powder, bronzer or blush over a large area.


Which of these is an animal protein found in cosmetics?

Women - and some men - have always chased younger-looking skin. Elastin is one cosmetic ingredient designed to help them achieve it. Made from a protein found in the connective tissue of animals, it is used in many cosmetics to plump and revive the skin.


Which of these is primarily designed to hide skin flaws?

Concealer is a wonder product for anyone with skin imperfections, which is almost everyone. This product hides scars and blemishes, covers undereye circles and evens out pigmentation for a flawless complexion.


Which of these is the total opposite of what highlighter does?

Matte finishes are the total opposite of those created with highlighters or illuminators. They are flat, with zero sparkle, and are available in powders, blushes, and creams that can be used everywhere from the eyes to the lips.


Which body part is a spoolie meant to be used on?

Everyone knows that the key to a photo finish is to start with perfect brows. A spoolie - a stiff, tapered brush that looks like a mascara wand - is designed to shape and separate brows.


What is it called when you use different cosmetic products to redefine the shape and profile of your face?

Contouring is a helpful makeup trick that involves using a variety of cosmetics to create a pleasing shape and profile. This could involve bronzer, highlighter or various shades of foundation in the form of powders or creams.


What does SPF stand for?

It's not only sunscreen that carries a sun protection factor, or SPF. This information is found on all kinds of cosmetics. That's because there's only so much you can do to maintain healthy skin over time without proper sun protection.


Which of these is the best tool for blending?

Blending is crucial to a successful makeup application, and a beauty sponge is the best tool for the job in most cases. This simple tool eliminates lines, streaks, and smudges for an even and uniform application.


What type of brush is found in most tubes of lip gloss?

A doe foot brush is a wand with a spongy tip. Shaped like a delicate doe's foot, it's typically found in lip gloss tubes.


Draping is a technique that applies to this cosmetic product.

Did you know there is a term used to describe the technique of extending eyeshadow beyond the actual eyelid and brow? It's called draping, and it refers to using eyeshadow beyond the bounds of the eye, extending it to the temple and/or cheek.


What is the sunken line between your eyelashes and eyebrow called?

The crease is the sunken path between the eyebrow and eyelashes. Using a crease brush, you can apply a dark shade of shadow in the crease to make the eye pop.


A konjac sponge is special because it can be used to...

Made from a root vegetable, the konjac sponge is a multipurpose beauty tool. It can be used to remove makeup but stands out from other sponges because it can be used to gently exfoliate the skin, stripping away dead cells and flakes.


Applying loose powder over concealer and allowing it to set for a few minutes before brushing it away is known as...

Baking is all the rage among pro makeup users. This practice involves covering foundation or concealer with loose powder and allowing it to set, or cook, on the face for a few minutes. Once you brush the powder away, the makeup will remain in place for a polished finish.


What is the oil-prone area from the forehead down to the tip of the nose and chin called?

The T-zone is the area consisting of the forehead, nose and chin. These oil-prone zones require extra cosmetics to avoid an unwanted sheen.


Strobing primarily involves the use of this cosmetic.

Strobing is the technique of applying bright highlighter or illuminator to the face. It generally involves taking these cosmetics to the next level and making them a focal point rather than trying to blend them.


A brush with a blend of long and short hairs that is used for things like foundation, bronzer or highlighter is called...

Rather than brushing or fanning, a stippling brush is used to dab, pat or gently swirl on makeup. It can be used with liquids or creams, and features a mix of loosely-packed short and long bristles.


Which of these would you use to dust away excess powder from the face?

A fan brush has bristles that splay out like a fan. This flat brush is ideal for applying bronzer or highlighter, and is also useful for gently fanning away excess powder.


What is Retinol designed to do?

Retinol is a form of vitamin A that is found in a wide variety of cosmetic products. Designed to stimulate collagen production, it helps to prevent wrinkles and reduce the impact of existing lines or wrinkles.


Overlining is a process involving the...

Overlining means using lip liner to create a line just beyond the natural boundaries of the lips. This helps to plump your pout and boost volume.


What is the fullest part of the cheek called?

Classic cosmetic wisdom says to apply blush to the apples of your cheeks, the fullest part of your face. To slim the face, apply blush only to the upper apples, extending the makeup to the temples.


Tightlining is a technique used on the...

Want eyes that look bigger and brighter? Try tightlining. This technique involves applying eyeliner along the base of the lash line and is so subtle and effective that it's sometimes known as invisible eyeliner.


Which of these brushes tends to be the largest?

A foundation brush tends to be one of the larger cosmetic brushes on the market. Made of densely-packed bristles, it's designed to spread foundation evenly across the face for a flawless complexion.


Which of these would you be most likely to use acetone for?

Acetone is a harsh chemical that has traditionally been used to remove nail polish. Because this substance is so harsh and can leave nails weak and brittle, some users have switched to acetone-free alternatives.


Which of these would you be most likely to apply to your waterline?

The waterline is the line where your lashes meet your eyes. By carefully applying eyeliner in this area, you can define and widen your eyes.


Which of these brushes is most often used to create a smokey eye?

Like a sultry, smokey eye? Pick up a smudger brush. This small, foam tipped brush is perfect for smudging liner or shadow, and can also be used to blend traditional eye shadow palettes.


What is AHA designed to do when added to cosmetics?

Alpha hydroxy acid, or AHA is a common ingredient in skincare and cosmetic products. This chemical compound is designed to reduce wrinkles and keep skin looking smooth and young.


How do you apply collagen?

Collagen is a protein that occurs naturally in the skin. Over time, it can break down, contributing to aging. A certified person can inject collagen pack into the dermis of your skin to fend off wrinkles and reduce the effects of aging.


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