Cosmetic dictionary – Cosmetic terms explained

It is getting harder to navigate through the beauty community, especially if you’re new to it. We have compiled a list of terms commonly used, and what they mean.


Acne that develops as a result of your mask irritating the skin, using a dirty mask, or excessive use of make-up under the mask.


A defined, sharp angle in the face, sculpted with the clever use of make-up. An example of this will be a pronounced cheekbone, sculpted jaw, slender nose or expertly done cut crease.

Cut crease

A cut crease is the technique of using different coloured eye make-up to cut across the eyelid to form a sharp contrast between colours. This sharp cut isn’t blended, forming a clear crease on the eyelid. This technique is often used on persons with hooded eyes.


This method was brought to light by Kim Kardashian. A contour is achieved by using make-up that is a few shades darker than your own skin tone, around the hairline, jawline, hollows of your cheeks. This will make your face appear slimmer, as it creates a “shadow” in places you want less pronounced. Those with warm skin tones often use warm brown and tan colours. Those with cooler skin tones may benefit more from cool browns and even light greys.


A highlighter is a reflective, pale product, commonly white, gold or rose gold. It is applied to the upper part of the cheekbones, the cupid’s bow, the bridge and tip of the nose, on the forehead, inner corner of the eyes and lower part of the brow-bone – accentuating it. If done correctly, it will achieve a natural, healthy glow to the skin.

Eyebrows on fleek or Insta-brows

Both of these terms refer to eyebrows that have sharp definition, with stray hairs removed. Those with sparse or unruly eyebrows will make use of brow pencils and gels to form a filled, perfect brow.

“Coupled with contouring and highlighter, I have Insta-brows.”

However, eyebrows on fleek can be less rigid and more natural looking than Insta-brows. Many like to embrace a natural, bushy look, yet somewhat defined.

Hit pan

“I’ve hit pan.” This is often said once you have used enough of one eyeshadow or powder to see the pan underneath. This phrase is commonly used to indicate that you use something very often and like it, that you have had it for a while, or that you will need to replace it soon.

Hooded eyes

Excess skin folding down from the brow bone to the lash line, causing a puffy appearance. Some just have it naturally, others develop it with age. This is not to be confused with the monolids, common to those of East Asian descent. Those with hooded eyes have a slightly visible crease, whereas those with monolids have no visible crease.

Most winged eyeliner- and smoky eye looks are difficult to achieve with these two eye shapes. This is why the cut crease is so popular.


Baking, also known as "cooking", is a make-up technique. It includes applying a heavy amount of translucent powder under the eyes and on the high points of the face, including the T-zone, to set the base make-up

If you need direction on any of these techniques, visit our make-up section and ask one of our staff to help you get the correct products and achieve the best look for your facial features.

Read more: Freshen up your make-up bag

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