Whether a novice or a veteran, applying makeup can be a tricky little minefield full of blurry red eyes and rubbed raw bare lips. Here are some helpful tips that let the natural, the bombshell, and the just plain gorgeous out.
- Decide on your look. Think about the look you want to put forward and the occasion (if any) you are attending. Date makeup will look very different than makeup for a job interview. If you are confused about the image you would like to present, here are a few common categories: Date Makeup, Interview Makeup, Everyday Makeup, and Special Occasion Makeup (weddings, parties, etc.).
- Pick one feature to accentuate. Do not attempt to play up more than one feature at a time, as it will cause your features to fight for attention, thereby lending a Bo Bo the Clown appearance! Smoldering eyes? Then let the inner Cleopatra out. Luscious lips? Channel Bridget Bardot!
- Choose your colors. Once you have chosen the feature you would like to play up, go ahead and pick your colors. If you are working with eyes, take into account your eye color. Dark-eyed gals look positively electric in greens, blues and violets. Use rich browns, grays, and blues if you have baby blues. Using a color wheel as a guide to choosing pencils and shadows can really make the eye pop. If you are going with the lips, then your palette of colors can run the gamut from vibrant red to autumn browns.
- Prep for the application. Now that you know what look and feature you want to generate, begin by washing the face. A clean base will grab color well, and makeup glides on more easily on a non-greasy surface. After patting face dry (and I do mean patting, not rubbing!), put some lip balm on and let it sink in while you brush your hair or dry your hands. Also, check to make sure that your lighting is good and that you can really see your face.
- Begin application. Start with a smooth surface. If that means foundation or powder, then apply it. Using a light hand will ensure that both look natural. You may not even need foundation, and in those instances, a small smattering of loose powder will do.
- Working with the eyes. If you are using eye shadow, then look at your compact. The lightest shade should go on the very top of your eye, right under the brow. The medium shade goes in the crease and the darkest shade sits right by the lashes. If you are working with a pencil, grasp the eye taut by pulling it with your finger on the outer edge and with the other hand, draw your line starting at the inner corner. Once that is done, pull slightly under the eye and draw the second line. Start right in the corner and sticking very close to the lashes, draw the line out. Experiment with different line thicknesses until you get the line that suits you best.
- Working with the lips. First, swipe your bottom lip with the lipstick. Then, use your finger (c'mon don't be shy!) to smear it all around the bottom and top lip. Wipe away any smudges and then repeat the process. Using your fingertip forces the lipstick into the fine creases of the lip, allowing the lipstick to mold with your lips, and thus, creates a natural, beautifully stained mouth. I find that using brushes and the like only serve to make the lipstick look as though it is "sitting" on top of your lips. An added benefit of applying lipstick this way is that the lipstick will wear longer.
- Glossy lips. If you want to make the lips look full and glossy, use the same technique as above with some important additions. First, if you have a shimmer lotion or stick, use a small amount all around the lip line, and especially on your lip bow. Putting a bit of shimmer in this area will cause the light to reflect off of it, and will put attention squarely on the lips. Second, use the technique above to apply your lipstick. And finally, add your gloss or shiny lipstick (whichever you are using is fine, the end result will be the same) directly in the middle of your bottom lip. Now smack your lips together and reapply.
- Survey the face. If you have played up the eyes dramatically, then put on a pale lipstick. If the lips are dramatic, then a bone-colored shadow, or a simple brown or gray liner will suffice. One coat of mascara may be all you need to complete the look. Now, take a step back and look in the mirror and admire the gorgeous creature you see before you.