makeup vocabulary

Makeup Vocabulary in English: Learn 15+ Words to Talk About Cosmetics

If you had to explain your makeup routine to an English-speaking friend, how would you do that? If you are not familiar with makeup vocabulary in English, you have come to the right place. In these next sections, we’ll go over the essential beauty vocabulary you need to know. Keep reading to learn 15 words and some expressions related to the beauty world. Get your makeup bag and let’s go! 

makeup bag
A makeup bag may contain foundation, mascara, lipstick, and several brushes.

Is it makeup or make up? 

This is a very common question. As you probably noticed from the title of this blog post, the correct spelling in English is makeup. Let’s understand why.  

Makeup is a noun and it refers to the cosmetic products that people use to color and beautify their faces. Some examples of cosmetics are lipstick, mascara, and eye shadow. 

However, you should know that make up (written as two separate words) does have a meaning in English, but it is not connected to cosmetics. Make up is a phrasal verb and it has several different meanings. Let’s take a look at each one of them: 

  1. Make up means to forgive someone and be friendly with them again after an argument or disagreement.  
    Example: Don’t worry about your fight with Mike. I’m sure you guys will make up soon. 
  1. It can also mean to invent an explanation for something, especially in order to avoid being punished or embarrassed.  
    Example: I always make up excuses to skip math classes. 
  1. This phrasal verb can also mean to invent a story.  
    Example: She made up a poem about how they met. 
  1. Another meaning for make up is to combine something together to form something larger.  
    Example: Women make up 40% of the workforce. 

Besides these two, we also need to talk about make-up (hyphenated word). Make-up is  an adjective, which is a word that modifies a noun. Think of this word as “replacement”. For instance, we could say He needs to take a make-up test tomorrow. In this case, a make-up test is a test done by a student who failed or missed the first test.  

Now, let’s learn more about makeup vocabulary, shall we?

Makeup product names in English 

Now, let’s take a look at some makeup vocabulary in English. Specifically, we will go over the words for beauty products used on the face, eyes, and lips.  

Prepping your face 

Let’s start with products you use after preparing your skin with moisturizer. A moisturizer is a lotion or cream used to prevent dryness in the skin. There are also face mists, serums, and oils which work as moisturizer.  

After this first step, you can go ahead and prep your face with primer. This product is essential if you want your makeup to last for a longer period of time, since they fill in the lines and pores on your face.  

Different shades of liquid foundation

Next step is foundation. There are several types of foundation available in the stores, but most people use a liquid foundation. It is important to find the right shade of foundation for your skin. You can apply liquid foundation with your fingers, a brush or a beauty blender, which is a teardrop-shaped sponge. 

After applying some foundation, you can proceed to the next step: the concealer. You can either use a liquid concealer or a compact one. Some people do prefer applying the concealer before the foundation, but it’s up to you. After the concealer, it is a good idea to apply some powder, which is great to prevent oily skin. Powder is usually applied with a large and fluffy brush.  

She is applying a compact concealer.

Add these makeup products for more color and glow 

For a sun-kissed or tan look, you may want to apply some bronzerBlush is also great to add more color to your complexion. You can choose from several different colors of blush. Peach and pink are the most common colors. 

Next step is applying some highlighter. What a highlighter does is adding some glow to your makeup. This product is usually applied in several different areas of your face, such as the bridge of your nose, across the top of your cheekbones, and on the indent of your upper lip, which is commonly known as the Cupid’s Bow.

Highlighter can add some glow to your makeup.

For your eyes 

Let’s go over some makeup vocabulary for the eyes. There are three key products that make up the eye combo: eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascaraEyeshadow is a powder that goes on your eyelid. There are several different colors of eyeshadow that you use and you need an eyeshadow brush in your to apply it to your eyelid. It is common to use two different shades of eyeshadow to create a look. You will need a lighter shade and a darker one. 

makeup vocabulary in English
She is applying mascara.

Eyeliner is makeup you use on the rim of your eye. There are three types: liquid gel and pencil. Mascara is a gel you put on your eyelashes to make them look bigger. When it comes to mascara, there are many different colors, but black and brown are the most popular. There are different types of mascara: volumizing, lash-defining, waterproof, lengthening, and curling. Some people also use an eyelash curler to curl their eyelashes and make them even bigger. 

For your lips 

There are tons of makeup and beauty choices for the lips, and most people have favorites for different occasions or depending on their personal style. At the most basic level is lip gloss, which makes the lips smooth and hydrated. It may be tinted, which means there is a little color, but it’s main purpose is to protect the skin. If you want a more glamourous look, you can use lipstick or lipstain. These products have lots of pigmentation and their main purpose is to add color to the lips.  

makeup vocabulary in English
She is applying lipstick. You can also use lip gloss or lipstain.

What is your favorite style is: lip gloss, lipstick or lipstain? Let us know in the comments! Also, feel free to ask us anything about makeup vocabulary!

Learn makeup vocabulary with YouTube videos 

I don’t know about you, but I love watching makeup tutorials on YouTube. There are many great channels out there, but a good one is the playlist Beauty Secrets by the Vogue channel. For this project, Vogue invites celebrities to share their makeup routine. Besides learning makeup and beauty vocabulary in English, you will hear famous people from all over the world speaking English. You should definitely check this out! 

Do you love beauty and want to know more about it? Take a look at this post we published here at the PrepEng Blog about beauty salon vocabulary. You won’t want to get a haircut without this essential beauty vocabulary.

We hope this blog post helps you talk about your makeup and beauty routine in English with some new vocabulary. Let us know in the comment section if you have any questions about this topic! Have a great time studying and playing around with makeup.