How To Learn to Apply Makeup: Tricks and Techniques

Learn About Proper Makeup Application

Girl putting on her make up

There is an art to makeup application. When it is applied correctly, it can look beautiful. When it is done incorrectly, however, it can make the wearer look like a circus clown. Here are some tips on how to learn to apply make up:

  1. Start with a clean slate. Don't just try to cover bad skin with a thick make up application. One of the first and most important makeup tips is to make sure you skin is squeaky clean. Wash it with a mild cleanser that is appropriate for your skin type, then apply moisturizer and let it soak into your skin before you apply any make up.
  2. Concealer/Cover stick
    • If you have under eye circles or minor discolorations on your face, a good quality concealer or cover stick can help to diminish their appearance. Be careful not to be too heavy handed with concealer products, though, or you could end up looking like a raccoon! A light touch is all you need -- and when applying makeup, blend the product well.
    • Choose concealer products that are just a little bit lighter than your natural skin tone.
    • Cover stick products are convenient and can be carried in your purse. Other concealer products may come with a sponge-tipped wand or may need to be applied with your fingertips. 
  3. Foundation
    • This is where many women make their biggest mistakes. Foundation is meant to be used to even out skin tone -- not to cover it up! It is important to select a foundation color that is as close to your natural skin tone as possible. You should also select a type of foundation that is suitable for your skin type. If you have oily skin, look for oil-free foundation products. No matter what you skin type is, try to use a foundation that contains some SPF protection.
    • Because foundation is so important, you should try to buy the best quality product that you can afford. Take a trip to a department store makeup counter and have your skin tone color matched to ensure that you get a product that matches your natural skin tone.
    • When applying foundation, use a sponge for a lighter application. Blend it well and make sure that there is no telltale line along your jawbone. If your face and your neck are two different colors, it will look as though you are wearing a mask- that is why selecting the right shade is so important.
    • For daytime, choose a lightweight foundation application -- you can go for a little more coverage in the nighttime.
  4. Powder
    • If you have oily skin, powder can help to keep the shine at bay. Be careful about applying too much loose or pressed powder -- especially over top of a foundation base -- or the powder will be very noticeable. Once again, go for a sheer application -- just a sweep or two is all you need. Don't rub a heavy coating of pressed powder onto your skin. Also, beware of powder shades that are too light -- they will make you look like a ghost. 
  5. Blush
    • The rule for blush is less is more. If you paint on deep red circles on your cheeks, you will look like a clown. Gone are the days where women would use two shades of blush to "contour" their cheekbones. Try that today and it will look like war paint. Instead, go for a natural looking shade on the apples of your cheeks. You can sweep a little bit of blush up towards your ears, but make sure to blend it in. Good quality brushes are important for all makeup application, but especially for blush. 
  6. Eye makeup
    • Eye makeup is an entirely different challenge than other face makeup. These eye makeup techniques should help. Beautifully made up eyes can look very glamorous, but don't get too heavy handed with the mascara. If you want to use eye liner, buy a waterproof brand and line your upper eyelids as close to the lashline as you can. Forget about doing any Catwoman smudges on the outer corners -- just blend the eyeliner in. You can line the bottoms of your eyes if you wish, but avoid lining the inner eyelid, which can lead to infection.
    • Eye shadow is back in vogue, but keep it light. Frosty or glittery eye shadow is for younger women -- for most women it is best to stick to a neutral shade that looks good on anyone.
    • Don't try to match your eye color (as in blue eye shadow for blue eyes). Taupes or tans actually enhance blue eyes. Don't try to match your eye shadow to your outfit, either. That trick is old and it's not the most flattering look (most of us can't pull off bright green eye shadow even if we're wearing a bright green shirt).
    • If your eyes are close-set, avoid heavy eye makeup application, especially dark eye shadows which will actually make your eyes look closer together. 
  7. Lips
    • If you only have time to use one makeup item, make it lipstick. The right shade of lipstick can brighten up your face and even make your teeth look whiter.
    • Choose a lipstick or gloss that has some staying power -- you don't want lipstick rims on drinking glasses or coffee cups. There are many brands of lipstick that last for 8 hours or even longer and won't rub off.
    •  If you have thin lips and want to shape them with a little bit of lip liner, make sure you use a shade that coordinates with the lipstick shade you are wearing. Nothing looks worse than a darkly lined lip.
    •  If you like a glossy look, be prepared to reapply often -- most glosses slide off quite easily. 
  8. Some final makeup tricks and tips
    • Makeup products don't last forever, so toss mascara after three months, even if there is still plenty left in the tube.
    • Lipsticks can last up to a year or more, but ditch them when they start to smell funny.
    • Foundation will start to "separate" and look thin and watery when it's past its prime.


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