Beauty Lingo Quiz

Jane Andrews

Image: JumpStock / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Are you fluent in beauty lingo? We don't mean simple terms like lipstick, foundation or cleanser. We're talking about the slang that's spoken by the most devoted skin, hair and makeup mavens — words like "tightlining," "ampoule" and "3-free." Do you know what we mean when we say that our face is beat to capacity? Or what we're worried about when we complain that we're about to "hit pan?" If you have even the slightest idea of what we're talking about, you need to take this quiz.

The following questions will test your knowledge of in-the-know beauty lingo — those terms and phrases that all the top beauty editors, makeup artists and YouTube stars use daily. These insiders know how to talk the talk when it comes to hair, makeup and skin care slang — do you? Whether you're a product addict or an MUA-in-training, this quiz will tell you how you score when it comes to beauty slang.

So what are you waiting for? Put your best face forward and answer all of the following questions to learn your beauty vocabulary IQ. We have a feeling that your results will totally be "on fleek" and "give life" to your love of hair, makeup and skin care.


What does it mean to "strobe" your face?

The strobing technique leaves your skin with a radiant and dewy glow. Ideal areas on the face to highlight include the center of the nose, the cupid's bow, the tops of the cheekbones and the temples.

Your BFF is complaining that they just "hit pan." What are they talking about?

"Hitting pan" means that you've used up a powder-based beauty product such as an eyeshadow, blush, bronzer or highlighting palette. Because its contents are all gone, you can see the bottom of the pan (or other packaging) that it came in — i.e. you've "hit pan."

Your best friend just scored an awesome KKW Beauty lipstick "dupe." What did she get?

Short for "duplicate," this term refers to a reasonably-priced makeup item that offers results very similar to a high-end product. In addition to pigmented products like lip colors and eyeshadows, dupes can also refer to makeup tools such as brushes and blending sponges.

People who follow the "no poo" method avoid which of the following things?

People who go "no poo" (which is short for "no shampoo") believe that the cleansing agents in commercial shampoos are harsh, damaging and ultimately unnecessary. Most use natural products to wash their hair, such as baking soda or apple cider vinegar.

You've finished getting ready for a big date and your best friend says that your face looks "beat." What do they mean?

"Beatdown" is a popular variation of "beat" and refers to the makeup application process itself. For example: " I have a really big date tonight, so I need to leave plenty of time for a long beatdown." When you create the most epic look ever, your makeup is "beat to capacity."

This semi-permanent beauty technique is popular with people who have sparse eyebrows.

Microblading is a form of semi-permanent makeup, similar to tattooing, that uses tiny needles to manually apply pigment to the eyebrow area. While the trend recently took the U.S by storm, it's been popular in Asia for more than 25 years.

You're getting your nails done at the salon and want them to be filed square with rounded edges. What shape do you ask for?

A hybrid of the words "square" and "oval," this manicure shape is one of the most popular. It's a good option for people who frequently use their hands, as its softer edges makes the nail less likely to snag or tear.

Your (very hip) mom just showed you her "HG" concealer. What did she share with you?

An acronym for "holy grail," these are the hair, skin and makeup products that you just can't live without. Our HG products include dry shampoo and blotting papers — what are some of yours?

This process uses a natural gel to remove body hair from the root. What is it called?

Practiced for hundreds of years in areas like Northern Africa, Greece and the Middle East, sugaring is a gentler, less painful alternative to waxing. The gel used during the treatment is made of sugar, lemon and hot water.

Do you know what "non-touring" means?

Unlike the makeup-heavy contouring technique, non-touring involves using primer, tinted moisturizer and highlighter to give skin a glowing, lit-from-within look. The goal is to make it appear as though you're wearing little-to-no makeup at all.

This technique involves drawing eyeliner carefully inside the lash line, along the waterline. Do you know what it's called?

In addition to making your eyes look bigger, tighlining gives your lashes a thicker and fuller appearance. While most makeup artists deem the technique safe, it's best to avoid if you wear contacts or have very sensitive eyes.

What does the "K" in "K-beauty" stand for?

"K-beauty" is a general term for skin care products that come from South Korea. Promoting healthy, hydrated skin, they've become hugely popular in the U.S. in recent years, and include popular products such sheet masks and serums.

Do you know what a "lob" is?

Short for "long bob," a lob refers to a hairstyle that's cut just above the shoulders, just below shoulders or right at shoulder level. It's a universally flattering style that compliments all face shapes.

You're layering loose powder over your makeup and letting it absorb for a few minutes before dusting it off. What are you doing?

Sometimes referred to as "cooking," this popular technique takes advantage of your skin's natural heat to help your makeup sink in and leave your face with a creaseless, flawless finish.

When you apply a light shade of eyeshadow all over your lid, then add a darker shade just above your lid's line to create contrast, what are you doing?

First made popular in the 1960s, a cut crease is a popular technique for small, deep-set or hooded eyes. It give the eyes depth and dimension and creates a widened, doe-eyed effect.

Similar to contouring, this technique uses blush in lieu of contour powder.

While this technique for creating chiseled cheekbones has been used for decades, the term "draping" (also referred to as "blush bomb") became trendy after Rhianna sported the rosy look at the 2017 Met Gala.

You just bought a nail polish that says it's "3-free." What does this mean?

Nail polishes that are 3-free contain no formaldehyde, toluene or dibutyl phthalate, which are three nail polish ingredients that are thought to be harmful. Green beauty lovers can also find 5-free, 7-free and 9-free formulas that omit even more questionable ingredients.

In the world of skin care, what is an "ampoule?"

A K-beauty staple, ampoules are supercharged serums packed with with highly concentrated ingredients designed to target specific skin care concerns such as dryness, dark spots and redness.

When you want your complexion to look photoshop-level smooth in real life, which of the following products should you reach for?

Blur creams are formulated with line-filling ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and micro-filling pearls to hide imperfections (i.e. blur them out) and give your complexion a soft, pore-less finish.

When eyeliner is drawn along the crease of the eye, rather than the lash line, what's the technique called?

Though this trendy look just recently starting taking over our Instagram feeds, floating eyeliner is nothing new. The technique was first made famous in the 1960s by the supermodel icon Twiggy.

Your best friend loves going to bed with a "sleeping pack." What is she doing?

Another K-beauty import (masks are called "packs" in Korea), sleeping packs are mega-moisturizing face masks that hydrate your skin while you sleep. Used just once or twice a week, formulas vary depending on skin type, but typically feature skin-saving ingredients like peptides, essential oils, hyaluronic acid and ceramides.

While we're on the subject of face masks, what's the term for using two or three masks at once, but on different areas of the face?

Multi-masking is great when you want to address more than one skin concern. For example, you can apply a clay mask to your T-zone to sop-up oil while using a hydrating mask to plump your checks and smooth your forehead.

This technique involves applying self-tanner to the areas of your face where you would normally dust on bronzer. What's it called?

The tan-touring technique is a great way to give yourself a natural-looking bronzed glow that lasts for a number of days. Just make sure you know how to properly apply the self-tanner (try following a YouTube tutorial); otherwise you'll have to live with a bronzed blunder for a few days.

What does it mean to "double-cleanse?"

Double-cleansing is a K-beauty method designed to deep-clean the skin. The oil-based cleanser is used first to dissolve oil-soluble makeup such as mascara and eyeliner, giving the cleanser that follows a better ability to provide thorough clean.

FOTD is an acronym for what common beauty term?

"Face of the Day" (a.k.a. #FOTD) is an Instagram hashtag staple. Derived from the fashion-focused "Outfit of the Day" (#OOTD), it's used to flaunt daily makeup looks. It can also be used in conversation, for example: "I woke up late and had no time to get ready, so mascara and tinted lip balm will have to be my FOTD."

"Sandbagging" is a relatively new beauty term. What does it mean?

In everyday life, sandbags are used as barricades to protect areas from flooding. The term works in beauty because the technique involves using loose powder to sop up moisture in sweat- and grease-prone areas such as under the eyes and lips.

If you're getting a negative space manicure at the salon, what does this mean?

A recent runway trend, negative space manicures are a nail art lover's dream. In addition to creating a one-of-a-kind design, they typically last longer than standard manis since much less polish is used.

What is balayage?

When you get balayage at the salon, highlights and lowlights are strategically hand-painted onto your hair to create natural-looking lightness. The result is a head full of highlights that look sun-kissed rather than salon-treated.

Instead of using a brush to pull your hair taught when you blow dry it, you use your fingers to move and manipulate your hair while you blow it dry. What's this technique called?

Rough-drying creates big, bouncy hair, as well as lifted roots and amped-up volume all around. It can also help cut down drying time, especially if you know the technique. Just watch a YouTube tutorial to make sure you get it right.

Do you know your alphabet creams? What does BB stand for?

Also known as "Blemish Balm" in some areas, Beauty Balms are multitasking skin care creams that do a little bit of everything — hydrate, even out skin tone, protect against sun damage and give skin a luminous glow via light-reflecting pigments.

How about CC creams? Do you know what the CC stands for?

Color correcting creams, sometimes referred to as complexion corrector creams, offer more coverage that BB creams. While they do contain beneficial ingredients and are lighter than liquid foundation, their main purpose is to disguise imperfections like dark spots and redness.

If you're sporting a "naked" face, what are you doing?

Unlike going "nude" or "bare-faced," which means you're wearing no makeup at all, "naked" refers to the no-makeup makeup look. It actually takes a bit of work (and makeup) to give the fresh-faced illusion that you're wearing none.

At a party, your best friend rushes to the bathroom to fix some bad "bleed." What's the problem?

It's hard to keep a bold red lip in place. One of the best tricks to prevent lipstick-smudging bleed is to blend concealer around corners of your lips, then line your lips with a lip liner.

Your fashion/beauty vlogger friend asks you to go with her to shop for ring lights. What will she be buying?

Most beauty vloggers and YouTube stars can't live without ring lights, which give skin an instant, camera-ready glow. They're also great for photo shoots and selfies — with no filter required!

When someone tells you your brows are "on fleek," what do they mean?

Originally a phrase of praise for perfectly arched brows, "on-fleek" has evolved to describe any makeup look that's fierce and fabulous. It's also sometimes used as a general, non-makeup term for anything that's on point.

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