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I spent 16 years of my life on television.  Before making a huge career change nearly two years ago, I was a sports anchor and reporter. It meant I went through A LOT of hairspray and makeup in that decade and a half.

It also meant I picked up a few tricks along the way.

For the most part I did my own hair and makeup throughout my career.  Even when I got to New York and the number one market in the country my station only had professional hair and makeup people on the weekdays.  And then it was only for the anchors.  Since I was the weekend sports anchor, it meant I was mostly on my own.

But I still sat in that chair many times over the years and had the privilege of getting my hair and makeup done for me.  And each time I found myself with the opportunity I didn’t just sit there.  I watched everything they did and asked a ton of questions.  Then I would go off and try everything on my own.  

I learned everything from the proper order to apply your makeup, to how to keep it from smudging. And while I’m no longer on TV and don’t require quite that much makeup on a day-to-day basis, these are all tips and tricks I still use.

And now you can, too!



So, yeah, I was doing this all wrong for years!  I always would start my whole process with foundation and concealer and work my way to the eyes.  Turns out, this is not the most effective way to apply your makeup or to avoid having to clean up certain areas.

When a makeup artist sits you down the first thing he or she does is your eye shadow.  From there they add the eyeliner and mascara.  It may look a little strange to have your eyes done while there are still dark circles under them, but it makes sense.  By doing it with the eye makeup first, you are able to clean up any mascara or shadow that creeps onto or smudges the skin under and around your eyes without having to retouch your concealer and foundation. 

This is now the order of my makeup routine every day:

1. Eyeliner

2. Eye Shadow (so I can use it to blend the eyeliner)

3. Mascara

4. Foundation (when I wear it)

5. Concealer

6. Pressed Powder

7. Bronzer

8. Blush

9. Setting powder/translucent powder

10.  Eyebrows

11. Lipstick



This was a HUGE tip I learned in my final year in TV.  For pretty much ever I have dealt with dark smudges under my eyes that would appear within an hour or so after putting on my makeup.  It was either eyeliner or mascara that would seem to melt into spots under my eyes and it looked terrible.

One day I was getting my makeup done and as an almost-last step the artist put a generous amount of translucent powder on a brush, told me to close my eyes, and then lightly dabbed the brush along my eyelids from end to end.  When I opened my eyes it looked like I was wearing a mask of loose powder. I thought she was joking.

Then, very casually, she just moved on and started working on my lipstick.  I was very confused.  But there was a method to the madness.  After finishing with my lips she grabbed a bigger brush and started brushing off the excess powder until it was all gone.  She had let it sit like that for a few minutes so it could be absorbed into the eye makeup helping it to set. And because it is translucent powder, once brushed off it was completely invisible and looked like nothing had ever been there besides the intended eye makeup.

The result was eye makeup that stayed put for hours.  Even to this day and even if I wear just a tiny amount of liner or mascara, I do the translucent powder trick.  And it helps keep the makeup in place every time.

Laura Behnke The Life Actually Company Laura Mercier Translucent Powder


It turns out, I was also doing bronzer all wrong.  I would grab a big brush, run it over the bronzer and then run that brush all over my face.  I don’t know if it looked really bad, but I do know that now it looks much better.

Why?  Because I was finally taught how it should be applied.  The point of bronzer is to give you a natural sun kissed look.  It doesn’t mean a suntan threw up all over you.  So, the bronzer just needs to be applied in the proper areas.

After running your brush over the bronzer start in the center of your forehead and take the brush down along the hairline to just above the ear, then cut in along the cheekbone, then back out to the ear, and follow along down the jawline, ending in the bottom middle of your chin.  Then do the same thing on the other side.  You can then brush a tiny bit over the bridge of your nose, but that’s really all you need.

Laura Behnke The Life Actually Company Laura Mercier Bronzer


I remember when HD TV first became a thing.  Yes, I’m old enough that my television career began BEFORE HD.  We also edited on High Eight at my first station, which many of you will never even have heard of. Consider yourselves lucky.

Anyway… the advent of HD sent a wave of panic through the TV business. Now everyone would be able to see every single imperfection.  There was nowhere to hide!  We had to start piling on the makeup before it was too late!!

And you know what happened, when HD first became a thing, many anchors looked ridiculous because it was so obvious they were wearing slabs of makeup.  It turns out, when it comes to HD (and in real life) less makeup is actually more.

It’s not always about how much you are wearing, it’s about how and where you are wearing it. This is where a good highlighter comes in to play.  I really like this Tom Ford set because it is very subtle but powerful.  I use a highlighter brush and sweep the powder along the top of my cheekbones just under my eye, and then back in a half moon shape around the eye and ending at the eyebrow.

Basically, you want to put the reflective powder around the areas where there are fine lines, like crows feet, because it will reflect the light and the lines will not be as obvious. But a little does go a long way. You don’t want to look like your skin is a reflective surface, you just want the illusion of lightness where there are naturally darker creases.

You can also add a swipe of highlighter on the bridge of your nose and in the center of your forehead.

Laura Behnke The Life Actually Company Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Powder Duo


Yes, it is.

This little pencil might not look like much, but as one of the makeup artists told me, looks are deceiving. It’s simple but is definitely the smoothest and most effective brow pencil I’ve ever used.  It glides on so easily and looks completely natural.

Now that I’m no longer in TV I still use it every day.  The only downside is that it’s not very big and isn’t the longest lasting.  But I love it so much that I will happily replenish it whenever needed.

Laura Behnke The Life Actually Company MAC Eye Brows Styler


This was also a trick I learned late in the game, probably because they have just become so popular in the last few years.  I truly wish I had had a setting spray throughout my entire TV career, especially when I was out in the field and the weather wasn’t always predictable.

A setting spray is exactly that, it sets your makeup in place.  And a really good one will absorb and then feel like you never sprayed anything on top of your makeup.

I love the setting sprays by Urban Decay.  They gifted me my first bottle, but I have bought several since because I use it every single day as the final step in my makeup process.  Basically, it makes me feel like my makeup isn’t going to go anywhere and it lasts throughout the day, even on the most humid days.

Once you’ve finished applying your makeup, simply shake the bottle and then mist your face.  It will look wet at first, but give it a minute to absorb and it will soon appear you never applied anything at all.

Laura Behnke The Life Actually Company Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray

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