If you’re a newbie to the world of makeup, then the idea of applying a full-face of the stuff probably fills you with dread. Makeup is a wonderful thing; it can change your look all-together, lift your mood and improve your confidence, all in a few easy steps. As with a lot of things, the way you apply makeup varies from person to person, but there are some basic rules of makeup application that are important to stick to. If you’re struggling to get to grips with your makeup brushes and products, and don’t have the first clue on how to start using them, then read our step-by-step guide to basic makeup application, and get practicing!
First things first when it comes to makeup; you need to know what kind of skin you’re dealing with, what colours will compliment your skin tone and which shades of eye shadow will suit your eye colour. This might sound a bit daunting to begin with, but it’s actually really simple. Chances are, you’ll know exactly what your skin type is and so you’ll know which type of products you’re looking for. It’s simple – oily/combination skin needs an oil-free foundation, whilst dry skin needs something more dewy and hydrating. In terms of colours, make sure you test out several foundation shades or get yourself matched up at a makeup counter before biting the bullet and purchasing. Bear in mind fake tan – if you’re a fan of tanning chances are you’ll need a couple of foundation shades to get your look right. In the case of eye shadow shades, it really is up to you. Brown and gold hues go well with blue eyes, whilst brown eyes have more of a choice, with both green and blue shades being complimentary, as well as gold. There aren’t really any rules when it comes to eye shadow colours however, these are just the colours that will compliment your eyes.
If that hasn’t completely blown your mind, then you’re well on your way to creating the perfect makeup look. Now, let’s run through each step to get you looking gorgeously made-up….
1. Prep your skin – Making sure your skin is nice and clean, you’ll need to apply a moisturiser to really prep your skin for foundation. Again, it depends on your skin type as to which moisturiser you’ll choose; mattifying for oily skins and hydrating for dry. Apply it all over the face and give it a minute or two to sink in. Once done, I’d recommend popping a primer on to really ease your foundation application and to create a perfect base. Again, smooth this all over the face.
2. Once you are all primed and ready to go, it’s time for concealer and foundation. Now, it’s up to you which order you decide to do these in, but I’d recommend applying your concealer first, and then foundation, to prevent any patchiness. If you suffer with dark circles, gently smooth a hydrating under-eye concealer under the eye area with your ring finger, blending in. If you have any pimples or blemishes, use a slightly heavier coverage concealer to dab onto the affected areas. Don’t worry if you don’t blend the concealer in too well – the foundation will cover this up.
3. Foundation can be a very tricky process, but if you have all the right tools and you’ve prepped your skin well, you should find it fairly achievable. The kind of foundation you are using will determine the kind of method you use to apply your foundation, but I’m going to discuss the most popular type – liquid. Using a buffing brush, apply a tiny bit of foundation and work into the skin. It’s best to start with less and build up to avoid the makeup looking caked-on. As you apply it to the skin, make sure that you are blending continuously. The key to great makeup application is always this; blend, blend, blend. You want your makeup to look flawless and beautiful, not patchy and dull, so make sure you really work the product into the skin. Depending on the coverage of your foundation and the coverage you’re aiming for, you can add more to build up.
4. Once your foundation is done, you’ll need to set it with a powder. Don’t get too heavy-handed, even if you suffer with oily skin, as this will lead to your makeup looking chalky – not a good look. If your skin is quite dry a light dusting over the face should be sufficient, but if you’re of an oily skin type then make sure you pat the powder into the skin, helping to minimise pores.
5. Your base is now done and can work as a blank canvas to add colour and texture to. Of course, what you do next depends entirely on the look you’re going for, but we’re going to run through the basic things; eyes, cheeks and lips. First up; eyes. Choose a couple of eye shadows that complement one another; one light and one dark, (this could be a gold and a bronze, or a beige and a brown etc.) and use these to build up your eye look. Use the lightest shade first, all over the lid to work as your base. Use an eye shadow brush to pat the product onto the lid and blend outwards. Next up, take your darker shade and a blending brush, and apply it to the outer corner of the lid, blending the two colours together. Again, the key here is to blend, blend, blend.
6. Once your eye shadow is done, it’s time to line the eyes. Whilst this isn’t mandatory in makeup application, knowing how to line your eyes is a great skill to have. Now, for a beginner, I would recommend investing in a felt-tip type eyeliner pen, as these are the easiest to use and will make applying eyeliner a breeze. Gently pull your eye taut and use the pen in small steps, lining the eye from the inside out. Don’t attempt to line it all in one movement; the key to good eyeliner is to take your time and apply small strips at a time. You can finish with a liner flick or leave it as is, depending on the look you’re after.
7. Next up – mascara. If you’re going for natural-looking lashes, a quick curl of the lashes followed by an application of mascara to the upper and lower lashes should do the trick, but if you want fuller, voluminous lashes, then it’s going to take a little longer. Make sure you don’t pump the mascara wand, but swirl it in the tube to get out the product, and lightly apply it onto the upper lashes in an upward sweeping motion. Wiggle the mascara wand left-to-right whilst applying to build up volume, and you can keep reapplying the mascara a couple of times to make your lashes longer and thicker. Don’t go over the top though – too much mascara will lead to clumpy lashes – definitely not what you want!
8. For your brows, there are a couple of different methods of application you can opt for. If you’re a brow novice, it’s probably best to attempt using a brow pencil first, as this is a lot easier than the brush method. Make sure your pencil is sharpened but slightly blunt on the end, to get a cleaner line. Lightly work the pencil through the brow, filling in where any hairs are sparse and extending slightly at the end if you feel the need. You can set with a wax if you wish, although it’s not necessary.
9. Phew! Now that eyes are done, it’s time to put the focus back on the skin. You’ll need a bronzer, blush and highlighter to get your skin looking amazing and glowy. It’s probably best to go for powder products for these as they’re a lot easier to work with. First up; bronzer. Now, as I said with foundation, the key here is less is more – remember that you can always add more product, but it cannot be taken away. So, pop some bronzer on a kabuki or an angled brush if you’re wanting a more contoured look, dust it off and lightly apply it to the cheekbones, sucking in your cheeks if you want a really contoured look. If you want to go a bit darker, simply add a tad more product, but remember to blend this into the skin. Once bronzer is done, you can add highlighter to the areas that need it – so the brow bone, and just above the cheekbone. This can be tricky so it might be best to skip this step if you’re not feeling too confident. For blush, get your blush brush, dust a little bit of product onto it, dust off and lightly apply to the apples of the cheeks. Again, add a little to begin with and build if you wish – even the best makeup artists are sometimes guilty of getting a little too heavy-handed with the blusher, so make sure you don’t get too carried away.
10. You should see your look really coming together now, and so it’s time for the finishing touch – the lips. If it’s sheer, glossy lips you’re after, opt for a lipgloss, or if you want a more pigmented shade then lippy is your best bet. Take your time with application, slowly applying the product to the lips, and don’t worry if you make a mistake – you can touch this up with a cotton bud at the end. Pat your lips together to make sure the product is applied evenly, and touch up any mistakes.
Voila! Your makeup is finished and by now you should be looking well and truly made-up. Don’t worry if it didn’t go as well as you’d planned – the key with makeup, like a lot of things in life, is practice makes perfect. The more you do it, the more you’ll get the hang of it and teach yourself useful tips and tricks. So, now your makeup is looking beautiful, all you need to do is pop your lipstick and powder into your bag for touch-ups throughout the day, and you are good to go.