Wearing makeup is common place in today's society, worn for anything from a day at work to a formal night out. However, if you're a newcomer to the world of cosmetics, you may find yourself at a loss with the infinite varieties of makeup and styles that can be found. Luckily, it's not too difficult to learn what the most elementary makeup products are, and how to use each one.
Preparing Your Face
Remove any old makeup.
When you’re applying makeup, it is necessary to start with a clean palette. Therefore, remove any of last night's makeup that you might have slept on, and wash off makeup from earlier on in the day. If you try to apply more makeup over the top of old makeup (not including touch ups), your end look will appear caked on and more unnatural than makeup put on a fresh face. You can use a good makeup remover or a mild baby oil to get rid of all makeup residues.
- Keep in mind that you should always remove your makeup at the end of the day; sleeping with your makeup on can clog your pores and cause blemishes and wrinkles.
Wash your face.
For the same reason you remove your old makeup, you should also wash your face; leaving grease and sweat on your face can give a fresh cover of makeup a shiny, caked on look after several hours. Use a mild face cleanser to gently wash your face, spending about one minute of scrubbing to remove all bacteria and dead skin cells in your pores. Finish up by applying a facial moisturizer. Dry skin will look flaky to start with and gain oil to compensate later on, so be sure your skin has been treated with a bit of lotion.
Apply your concealer.
The purpose of concealer is to even out uneven skin tone as a result of blemishes or dark under-eye circles. Use a concealer brush or your (clean) fingertips to blend concealer on your bottom eyelids, on any red patchy areas, or over any acne or dark spots. Blend the edges of your concealer spots so avoid having discolored marks around your face.
Put on a coat of foundation.
There are several types of foundation, but they are generally applied the same way. Liquid, cream, and powder foundations all act to create a totally even complexion, working to blend your natural skin tone with the concealer you’ve already applied. Use a foundation brush to apply foundation to the entirety of your face, blending into your neck and earlobes if necessary. Keep in mind that your foundation should be the same color as your natural skin tone, not much darker or lighter. Your foundation should go over the top of the areas that have concealer to blend them.
- You can use a concealer brush to add a little extra foundation to cover up stubborn blemishes.
- Liquid foundation can be applied with your fingertips, although this is more likely to introduce bacteria to your skin and cause future breakouts.
Set your foundation.
This step is optional, but if you’re looking for long-lasting makeup you can use a setting powder to hold your foundation and concealer in place. Use a large, fluffy brush to cover your whole face in a neutral or matching setting powder. This step is particularly important or useful if you’re using liquid foundation, as it will help to set the foundation and remove any sheen that might be making an appearance.
Apply a highlighter.
With your foundation completed, it is likely that your face now looks contour-less and flat because of the uniform color. In order to provide some depth, you’ll need to create the illusion of highlights and shadows. Use a cream or powder highlighter to brighten up the deepest areas of your face: the inside corners of your eyes, underneath your eyebrows, in the center of your cupid’s bow, and on the tops/sides of your cheekbones. This will make your face look more bright and awake than it would otherwise.
- Create a ‘3’ shape on your cheekbones, into your eyebrows, and up to your forehead for the perfect highlight.
- You can use your fingers or a small highlighter brush to apply the highlighter.
Add depth with contouring.
The opposite of bringing out the highlights on your face, contouring involves adding a powder that is a few shades darker than your actual skin tone (different than a bronzer) to the areas you want to look minimized or further away. Typically, you should contour under your cheekbones in the hollows of your cheeks, and on the sides of your nose. This will make your face look thinner and longer in appearance, and provide the shadows that naturally occur without foundation.
Apply a little blush.
The final step in prepping your face is to add blush to your cheeks. Everyone’s cheeks have a bit of color, but this color varies for every person. Apply your blush with large brush on the apples of your cheeks (the round part that forms when you smile). Don’t go too heavy with your blush, just add enough to replenish the color that would form naturally.
Fill in your eyebrows.
This step is optional depending on the fullness of your eyebrows, but is generally recommended for those who have thin or sparse eyebrows. Select a color of brow pencil or powder that is close to your natural hair color. Start by outlining the edges of your eyebrows, and then fill in the center with a bit of color. Use short strokes that mimic the look of your hair, going in the same direction of your hair growth.
Adding Your Eye Makeup
Apply an eyeshadow primer.
This is another optional course of action, but applying an eyeshadow primer will help your eyeshadow to stay on for much longer. If you’ve gone without it, you may have noticed that your eyeshadow fades or becomes oily and collects in the creases of your eyelids after several hours. Use your fingertip to dab on your eyeshadow primer, blending it from the roots of your lashes to the top of your crease.
Put on your eyeshadow.
There are many ways to apply eyeshadow, although the most basic and classic look is to apply a single color over the entirety of your eyelid. Use an eyeshadow brush to apply your eyeshadow to your eyelid, starting in the center near your lash line and blending outwards. Fade your eyeshadow into your natural skin tone near your crease and the inside and outside corners of your eyes, to prevent any harsh lines from forming. If you want a bit more dramatic look, apply a second darker color of eyeshadow in a ‘C’ shape from the outside corner of your lash line up to the top, outer ⅓ of your eyelid crease.
- Your main color of eyeshadow should never go all the way to your eyebrow, and should not extend further off your lid than the end of your eyebrow (unless you’re going for a very dramatic look).
- You may, however, highlight your browbone (the area under your eyebrow but above your crease) by applying a lighter shade of eyeshadow. Be sure to use natural colors such as cream, sand, or white, if your skin is pale. Alternatively, try a nude shade slightly lighter than your skintone. The color doesn't have to be matte, but any sparkle it does have should be subtle.
- You can blend your eyeshadow onto your lower lid, as long as you are careful not to extend it lower than your bottom lashes.
- If you use multiple colors of eyeshadow, always be sure to blend them together.
Apply your eyeliner.
The purpose of eyeliner is to provide the illusion of a fuller lash line; therefore, choose a color that is similar to your natural hair color (or brown if you have blond hair) to go along your lashes. For a smudgy look, use an eyeliner pencil, or create a sleek and smooth look by using cream or liquid eyeliner. Create a dashed or dotted line across your lash line, and then connect the dots to create a full, continuous line. You can choose to wing the end up and outwards a bit if you want, otherwise you simply need to follow your lash line from the inside corner to the outside corner.
- Adding eyeliner to your bottom lash line should be done for special occasions only, as it will create a much darker/bolder look and appear a bit more unnatural than eyeliner on your top lash line only.
- If you feel comfortable, try tight-lining your eyes by using your eyeliner on the waterline of your eyelid.
Finish off with mascara.
To complete your eye makeup, you’ll need to top off your eyes with a bit of mascara. There are several mascaras to choose from depending on the look you want; if you have short lashes, use a mascara that will add length, or if you have thin lashes, use a volumizing mascara. Dip the brush in the mascara once and lightly wipe off the excess onto the edge of the container or a paper towel. Looking downward, apply it to the top lash with upward strokes. Start with the inner part of your way and work your way outward. Do both eyes with two coats, then let dry.
- Wiggle the brush as you apply it, as this will help to coat between lashes instead of just the under layer.
- Never pump your mascara brush in and out of the mascara, as this causes air pockets.
- You can add a coat of mascara to your bottom lashes, but this can make your eyes seem darker which is a look some people prefer to avoid.
- Avoid applying more than two coats of mascara, as this will take away the natural darkening look and give a cake-y thick look that is much less natural.
- A good trick for making your lashes look fuller is to apply a coat of baby powder between coats of mascara; this will add a bit of length and volume to your lashes.
Adding Color to Your Lips
Smooth out your lips.
Apply lip balm, primer, or sealer. This will help make all lip products applied last longer and much more vibrant. Additionally, who doesn’t prefer soft lips? Adding a good balm or salve will prevent your lips from flaking later in the day, which lipstick and gloss can both cause.
Apply lip liner.
Line your lips with a liner that matches your lip color. Sharpen your lip liner, and line around the natural line of your lips. With your lips outlined, use the pencil to continue filling in your lips. This works to even out the color and texture of your lips, making it easier to apply a gloss or lipstick later.
Apply lipstick or lip gloss with a brush.
Select a lipstick or gloss of your choice to go over your lipliner; for a natural look stick with a nude shade, or pick a bright hue for a more bold appearance. Start in the center of your lip, and blend the color outwards. Be sure to apply the color as close to the edges of your lips as you can without overdoing it and going outside your lip line. To prevent any lipstick from getting on your teeth, stick your index finger straight into your mouth and pull it out quickly; any excess color will stick to your finger and avoid being transferred to your teeth later on.
Finish off your look.
With the completion of your lips makeup, your look is finished! Give yourself a once-over to make sure there aren’t any smudges or loose eyeshadow that needs to be removed with a fluffy brush. If you do have any mistakes, use a q-tip dipped in makeup remover to rectify them.
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