As a Makeup Artist I often get bombarded with questions or I hear “I am really no good at Makeup, I wish I could do what you do”. To which I usually respond with a bit of a shy smile and say thank you. I wish I could say to them oh yeah it is so easy anyone can do it but having friends who really have no idea about makeup and have had me doing their makeup since high school and trying to squeeze any tips and tricks they can get out of me made me think, hang on a second, maybe it is not that easy for some people like it is for me. You see I was born with artistic talent and an eye for detail, I draw, I paint, I D.I.Y EVERYTHING and I dabble in a lot of crafts; I also find makeup interesting and fun and I just love to play with it. When it comes to other things like Maths for example I am just not as good or I just don’t have the same eye for detail as I do with Makeup and it doesn’t matter how many times someone shows me how to do it, I simply can’t get it in the same way they do. It is the same for makeup, if you are not artistically inclined or have a real interest in it than it doesn’t matter how many times I show you how to apply the perfect smokey eye or winged eye liner, you’re probably not going to really get it and only make a half-arsed attempt when applying your own makeup. So I am going to assume if you are reading this blog post that you have some sort of interest in learning the art of applying your own makeup, because if you are interested in learning and keen to have a play and work out what goes where and what colours work best on you than you have a real chance at getting it kid. In saying that here are my top beginners tips to master the art of doing your own makeup…
1. Keep it Simple!
Ok, so we’ve established that you’re not a makeup artist right? And you’re probably not the most artistically inclined or you’ve never really showed much interest but you’re keen to make an effort and learn what you need to know because let’s face it- we can’t all afford to pay a makeup artist to come and do our makeup for us on a daily basis or for every single event we have to go to, right? Ok cool, just making sure we’re on the same page. So if all of the above is correct, why would I expect you to learn and master the art of a glamour eye or a perfect red lip or a killer winged eyeliner just from a few simple tips? I want you to know you CAN do it yourself and you CAN look great if you know and accept that you are not a pro and only do what you’re comfortable with. Now I’m not saying that you can’t practice and get better and even GOOD at applying makeup but I am saying that you’re probably not going to get it over night. But if you apply my few simple tips you can walk out of the house and into the office or into that fancy event knowing that you look great and not worried that you missed a step or your mascara is on your eyelid instead of your lashes. The best way to keep it simple is to start with neutral colours and only choose a maximum of two different shades of eye shadow. Keep this in mind for later when I tell you what you want to do with these colours.
2. Get to know your face and eye shape
Why is it important to know your face shape and eye shape? Because this is what is going to teach you where to apply your makeup to best enhance your features. Have you ever done your makeup, thinking you were doing an alright job of it only to stand back and look at yourself in the mirror and think oh hang on a second, something doesn’t quite seem right? Why does my nose look so big or how come I can never get my eyes to pop the same way my makeup artist does? This is because you are not applying your makeup correctly to enhance your own beautiful features and to suit your face and eye shape. I am not going to go into how to tell your face and eye shape in this post as I could be here all day going through the ins and outs of everything but I will tell you there are a few basic face and eye shapes and you should be able to guess yours by having a good long look in the mirror.
Remember these aren’t all of the face shapes, I have just listed a few, you can click here to find out a little more about applying makeup according to your face shape.
- Deep set
Click here to see a blog post by Ashlee Miller that explains a little more about eye shapes with diagrams and how to apply makeup for your eye shape.
Great, now that you know your face and eye shape you can apply your makeup to suit your own unique face, pretty cool right?
3. Get to know your skin type and skin tone
Woah what’s all this stuff I need to learn about myself before applying my makeup? So glad you asked. Would you put fuel in your car or engine oil in your car without knowing what type of fuel/ oil it needs or buy parts for it without knowing the correct make and model of your car? No you wouldn’t. It’s the same with your skin, if you don’t know what skin type you are how do you choose out of the thousands of products when you are purchasing your makeup? If you don’t know your skin tone you could be trying on literally dozens of different shades of foundation to no avail wondering why these stupid stores don’t stock your colour am I right? Knowing these things simply narrows down your choices and helps you make a selection based purely on you and your needs. OK, so to determine your skin type is fairly simple, ask yourself do I have particularly dry skin? Am I always super shiny and oily? Do I have a bit of both, oily in my T-Zone and dry around the outer edges (combination skin)? Or if you’re one of the “lucky” ones you will have normal skin in which case you won’t be notably oily or dry. If you’re still really stuck and have no idea then book an appointment with a beauty therapist and ask them for a skin analysis. They will examine your pores under a magnifying glass and tell you what your skin type is and then write a skin care plan for your specific skin type, which is always handy to have. Determining your skin tone is also fairly simple to do yourself by looking at the inside of your wrist (now if you have a fake tan on you probably won’t be able to tell your actual skin tone, however you are going to want to buy makeup that suits your tan so you don’t look too pale or too dark) if you see pink undertones in your skin and can see your veins very clearly and blue than you are a fair skin and want to be buying a foundation for fair skin so nudes and porcelain shades will suit you best. If you see yellow undertones then you are more of an olive skin type and you want to look at foundations in sand and golden tones. If you have darker skin there are fewer options for you to choose from so just gauge what looks like the closest few colours to your skin tone and try them on there’s obviously going to be more light brown up to darker brown shades for you to choose from. Ok so now you have narrowed down your skin type and skin tone it is time to choose a foundation. If you are a dry skin type you want to avoid anything that says Matte Finish because this is drying and makes dry skin appear more dry and even dehydrated, it will often go flaky or cakey on dry skin too; Look for foundations that say hydrating/ moisturising or dewy finish. If you are an oily skin type you are going to want to avoid a dewy finish because it can make you appear shinier than a disco ball at a blue light disco and most oily skin types don’t want to look even more oily; this is where the matte finish is perfect. Now combination skin types often get confused because they don’t really belong in one box or the other, they are a little of both and my answer to this is you can wear either a dewy finish or a matte finish foundation, if you decide on a dewy finish add a touch of translucent powder to your T-Zone to combat oiliness and if you decide on a matte finish apply a bit of moisturiser or a light serum such as jojoba oil (which mimics the skins natural sebum production) to the outer/ more dry parts of your face to help stop it going flaky and looking dehydrated. If you are one of the “lucky” normal skin types then you get to choose which you prefer, either a nice fresh dewy finish or a more subtle matte finish. Have I lost you yet or are you still with me? Have a play with a few different shades that appear closest to your skin tone out of the nudes/ porcelains, sand/ goldens or darker colours depending on your skin’s undertones and in a foundation that matches your skin type and this will narrow down your search and make it so much quicker and easier to make a decision.
4. Buy the right tools
A mechanic can’t fix your car without the right tools to do the job and you can’t apply makeup properly without the right tools to do the job, it’s that simple. You are going to need a basic makeup brush kit with some eye shadow brushes, a contour and blush brush, and foundation or stippling brush or sponges at a minimum. Remember, you are not a makeup artist so you don’t need a one hundred piece brush set because you are just going to confuse yourself; a lot of basic brush sets come as a set of 8 or 12 and this is more than enough to get you started.
5. Use a Primer
A painter always primes first to avoid the top/ outer layer of paint soaking into the bare plasterboard and having to apply and re-apply a dozen layers of paint on the same wall. Think of your face like you would a wall that needs painting, if you apply a primer you are setting up the ground work/ base for the outer layer/s of paint or in this case foundation. A primer creates a barrier between your skin and your makeup so if you have dry skin your skin won’t soak it all in and leave you with no outer layer and if you have oily skin your makeup won’t slide straight off your face. You are also going to need a separate primer for your eyes, an eye primer will stop your eye shadow creasing and wearing off throughout the day.
6. Choose one stand out feature
Often we can get a little excited with makeup and want to play around and add a heap of colour to our eyes and then when it comes to our lips we have a whole new lot of colour decisions to make and if you’re not careful you can end up leaving home looking like you’re ready for an 80’s dress up party. So this is why I have a rule to choose one feature and make it pop, if you want your eyes to stand out then play them up, add some colour or throw in a winged eyeliner and some false lashes but choose a nude or neutral colour for your lips and vice versa if you want your lips to be your stand out feature accentuate your cupids bow in a bright flamingo red but remember to use neutral tones on your eyes so you are not taking the focus away from what you want to be the main attraction.
7. Have fun with it
Get your kit together, choose the colours you want to use, remember earlier when I said to choose two different colours for your eyes? You want a lighter/ neutral colour and a darker colour of your choice, after priming your face and eyes take a fluffy/ soft eye shadow brush and apply the lighter/ neutral colour all over the eyelid and up to your brow bone underneath your eyebrow then take the second colour and apply it to your eyelid only or follow the directions for applying eye shadow according to your eye shape in the link that I added above. Take an eye shadow in a neutral tone similar to the colour of your roots or your eyebrows and use an angular brush to lightly fill in any holes and add a bit of depth to your eyebrows. Be careful not to go too dark or to add too much, you just want to basically fill in any missing bits and make them appear fuller. Now clean up any fall out that you may have underneath your eyes from the eye shadow and apply your foundation; I like to apply my first layer of foundation with my fingers as it spreads easier and your fingers really warm it into your skin, if you have good skin free from imperfections this layer may be enough for you, however I have a few things I like to cover so I like to go back with a makeup sponge or stippling brush and apply a second layer of foundation, focusing on pressing it into my skin rather than wiping it over my skin this gives an extra layer of coverage and hides any imperfections. Now you want to take a concealer approx half a shade lighter than your foundation and use it to cover any blemishes or imperfections that a second layer of foundation didn’t quite cover and also apply it underneath your eyes to cover any bags or dark circles under your eyes; I like to use a concealer with a creamy consistency and apply it with my fingers to really warm it into the skin. Once you are happy with your coverage of your foundation take the same brush you used to apply your darker colour eye shadow and use it to lightly smudge a little of the same darker colour under your bottom lash line to help enhance your eyes and then finish off your eyes with a good black mascara using your mascara wand to feather through your eyelashes from root to tip going back and forth across your lashes rather than sweeping straight through them. Next grab an angled contour brush and use a little bronzer or contour just below your cheek bone across and up to your ears, on the top outer corners of your forehead and across your jaw line remembering to be subtle. After contour grab a small blush brush and apply your blush to the apples of your cheeks, remembering less is more when it comes to applying blush. For your lips you can use a lip gloss or stain or a nude lipstick if you want a subtle day look or choose a bolder lipstick to take your look into the evening remembering to apply a lip liner in a similar shade first. Finally take a soft fluffly eye shadow brush that you haven’t already used and apply a light touch of highlighter above your blush below your eyes and just under your brow bone on the inner corners of your eyes and a light dusting across your cupids bow. Of course you can go more into contouring and highlighting but remember earlier when I reminded you that you are not a makeup artist and you probably want to keep it simple? Well I suggest you apply that method of thinking when it comes to contour and highlight for now and you can always learn more about that later if you wish, there are plenty of tutorials specifically focusing on contouring and highlighting.
That’s it, those are my tips for applying simple day to day makeup for someone who is not a makeup artist but wants to be able to apply their own makeup for fancy events or for work on a daily basis. Let me know what you thought about my beginner makeup tips and leave a comment for me, I’d love to hear from you, especially if you apply any of my tips and find they work great for you. I will always try to respond to comments as soon as possible.