Are You Fluent in Beauty Slang?

Jane Andrews

Image: Halfpoint Images / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Are you obsessed with makeup and super savvy about skin care? Are your nails always on fleek? Do you know exactly what to tell your hairstylist when you head to the salon for a cut and color? Just like French, Spanish or Portuguese, the beauty world has a language that's all its own, and not everyone knows how to use it. 

If you think you're fluent in beauty speak — those terms you see hashtagged on Instagram and YouTube and hear makeup artists and beauty vloggers throw around — now's your chance to prove it. This quiz covers the language of today's top beauty insiders and will test your knowledge of all of the latest lingo, from esthetic procedures and makeup techniques (quick preview — do you know what floating eyeliner is?) to manicures, face masks and hairstyling slang. If you live for YouTube tutorials (or make them yourself) and love being in the know about lipstick shades, eyeshadow looks and contouring tricks, we have a feeling you'll breeze through the following 35 beauty-full questions.

Who knows? You just may have what it takes to be the next big-time beauty blogger, YouTube celeb or Instagram star. Are you ready to test your skills and find out?


Can you tell us where your waterline is?

While there are a number of makeup techniques that call for eyeliner to be applied directly to the upper or lower waterline, you need to be very careful when applying so as not to irritate the eye or cause infection. Use only dry eyeliner pencils and make sure the formula is waterproof.

How about threading?

Having your eyebrows threaded is essentially like getting multiple eyebrow hairs tweezed at one time. The process pulls hairs from the follicle, row by row, via a piece of string. It tends to be less irritating to the skin than waxing, which is one of the reasons why it's such a popular alternative.

Having virgin hair means which of the following things?

If your locks have never been dyed, permed, relaxed, bleached or treated with any other type of chemical formula, you have virgin hair. The same is true of extensions that are labeled as virgin — it means they are made of real human hair (not synthetic) that hasn't been colored or processed.

When you use contrasting shades of makeup to enhance and define facial features, what technique are you using?

While professional makeup artists have used the contouring technique for decades, it became a huge DIY trend in early 2010 thanks to its popularity among the Kardashian sisters and online beauty influences.

If you're about to "bake" your face, what are you going to do?

In addition to using the heat from your face to help set your liquid foundation, this technique creates a smooth, creaseless finish that doesn't get streaky, cakey or call out large pores.

Long nails filed into a sharp, triangular point are called what?

Typically created with false nails applied to the natural nail tip, stiletto nails are fierce and flashy. They often feature creative, out-of-the-box nail polish designs and bright, eye-catching colors.

If you ask for babylights at the salon, what are you getting?

To create babylights, a stylist applies color strategically to very thin wisps of hair around the head. The end result is a subtle shimmer of color that looks natural and grows out seamlessly.

In the world of makeup, what's a dupe?

Short for "duplicate," a dupe is an affordable knock-off of a high-end piece of makeup such as a lipstick, bronzer, blush or foundation. If you Google "makeup dupes," you'll find a treasure trove of money-saving dupe suggestions from beauty bloggers and websites.

Do you know what a cut crease is?

A cut create is a popular eye makeup technique that involves using different shades of eyeshadow to create a sharp, definable line across the eyelid. It creates a bold, dramatic look and brings extra attention to the eyes.

Non-touring is which of the following techniques?

Non-touring is essentially a highlighting technique that gives skin a fresh, no-makeup makeup look. Typically, non-toured looks are created using products like primers, tinted moisturizers, and cream or powder highlighters.

What do you call a shampoo that's designed to remove buildup from the hair?

Stronger than regular shampoo, clarifying shampoos remove the dirt, debris and other buildup left by things like styling products, dry shampoo and hard water. Because they have high pH levels that can strip and dry out the hair, so they should only be used once or twice a week.

How would you describe a French manicure?

Despite its name, the French manicure did not originate in France. Reportedly, the style was conceived by 1970s Hollywood as a way to save time — because the versatile style did not clash with any color, movie actresses did not need to get their nails redone every time they changed costumes.

If your favorite beauty product is DC'ED, what does that mean?

There's nothing worse than learning that your favorite skin care product or shade of lipstick is no longer being made. Luckily, there are a number of websites devoted to tracking down DC'ED products — Google "discontinued makeup" to find them.

When your best friend says they have to show you their latest haul, what are they talking about?

Beauty superstore chains such as Sephora, Ulta and Sally Beauty are ideal places to take home a major haul, as they carry a wide range of skincare products, hair care products and makeup from a variety of brands.

Do you know what microneedling is?

One of most popular and cost-effective forms of microneedling is called dermarolling, which involves rolling a tool over the face that's outfitted with hundreds of microscopic needles. When performed properly by an esthetician, the process can offer many benefits, such as plumper skin, faded acne scars and a reduction of wrinkles.

How would you define swatching?

Swatching is when you apply a small amount of a makeup product (such as foundation or eyeshadow) onto your arm or hand to test its shade and finish, and see what it looks like when against your skin tone.

Can you explain what a diffuser is?

If you have curly hair, blow-drying it with a diffuser attachment can be extremely helpful. It helps minimize frizz by dispersing air in a way that's less rough on the delicate hair cuticle.

If you stipple your foundation, what are you doing?

When you stipple your foundation with a stippling brush, the product is diffused in a way that creates a smooth, air-brushed finish. It's a great technique to use on acne-prone skin, as it lightly brushes foundation over scars and bumps, rather than along the sides.

When a nail polish is 3-free, what does that mean?

Nail polishes that are labeled "3-free" do not contain formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate or toluene. There are also brands that offer 5-free polishes, which remove camphor and formaldehyde resin, as well.

Do you know what draping is?

Because draping creates such a bold and dramatic look, it's very popular on the runway and the red carpet. It was also a popular look in the '70s and '80s, though it was called something else back then — color glow.

If you've "hit pan," what have you done?

When you reach the bottom of an eyeshadow, blush or other type of powder makeup, the case it's contained in will usually start to peek through. This is when you've "hit pan" and know it's time to restock the shade.

Do you know what dermal fillers are?

Temporary dermal fillers are made from hyaluronic acid, which is a naturally occurring molecule in the skin. The injections are used to make skin look smoother, softer and plumper, and typically last from six to 12 months.

If someone says you have a "beat face," what do they mean?

Don't be offended if someone says your face is beat — it's a compliment! While the term has recently become popular with Millennials and Gen Z'ers, it's been used for years in the beauty industry to describe makeup that's perfectly done.

Sheet masks, ampules and essences are products that are part of which popular skin care trend?

The K-beauty concept of skin care comes from Korea and focuses on creating a soft and dewy complexion via intensive hydrating products such as sheet masks, essences and ampules, the latter two of which are highly concentrated serums.

In the beauty industry, what does MUA stand for?

While MUA has been used for decades by industry professionals, the abbreviation has become more common over the last decade thanks to the advent of Instagram, Twitter and hashtags.

You've probably heard of BB and CC creams, but do you know what DD creams do?

Short for “Dynamic Do-All," “Daily Defense" or "Dermatologically Defining," DD creams do it all. They're designed to deliver the many anti-aging skin care benefits of BB cream while also covering imperfections, reducing redness and evening out skin tone.

If you're a part of the "no poo" movement, what do you do?

People who go "no poo" (short for "no shampoo") use a wide variety of alternatives to cleanse their hair, including baking soda, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, clay powder and dry shampoo. Some people ditch cleansers altogether and use only water to wash their hair.

What do beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) do for your skin?

Beta hydroxy acids are chemical exfoliants that dissolve oil and help remove dead skin cells. One of the most well-known types is salicylic acid, which is an ingredient commonly found in washes and creams designed for acne-prone skin.

There's a makeup technique that involves applying eyeliner to the upper waterline. Do you know what it's called?

Tightlining is an eyeliner technique that creates a subtle line while also making the lashes appear fuller and thicker. Also referred to as invisible eyeliner, it's a great way to give your eyes natural-looking definition.

A Brazilian blowout is which of the following things?

Also known as keratin straightening, this type of hair treatment keeps hair smooth and straight for a long period of time (typically 10 to 12 weeks). The process involves the application of a liquid keratin formula that coats the hair, seals the cuticle and adds shine.

Can you tell us what floating eyeliner is?

The floating eyeliner look works well on hooded eyes because it creates a line that rests perfectly above the lashes when the eyes are closed. This adds the definition and depth that hooded eyes lack.

If you ask your hair stylist for a dusting, what are you going to get?

A dusting is essentially the tiniest trim you can get. It involves cutting off only the tips of the hair to remove split ends without it looking like the length of your hair has changed.

When you foil eye shadow, what are you doing?

Shadow that's foiled has a shiny, metallic look that's perfect for making a statement. To prepare it, mix a pigmented eye shadow shade with primer, water or makeup spray, and stir until it has a thickness similar to paint.

Do you know what the term co-washing means?

Because most shampoos contain harsh cleansing agents that can strip the hair of moisture, co-washing is a great way to minimize dryness and keep your locks free of frizz. It works best for people with normal to dry hair — if your hair is naturally oily, you'll probably need to use a shampoo at least once a week to keep it fresh and clean.

Strobing has become very popular in the last few years. Do you know what it is?

Strobing is a highlighting technique similar to contouring, except it's focused on accentuating facial features by adding shades of light to specific areas of the face such as the cheekbones, the bridge of the nose and the cupid's bow.

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