How To: 8 Steps of Applying Makeup for Beginners

How to apply makeup for beginners in 8 easy steps: from foundation to finishing touch. Easy techniques for flawless result for any occasions.

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Photo by Ashley Piszek

Finding your way around the beauty brands can be challenging, especially if you need to learn more about makeup. Where does a beginner even begin? Some so many products and methods are constantly changing. However, applying makeup should be open to more than just professionals or enthusiasts. Here's a beginner-friendly eight-step guide that simplifies this craft. This guide shares fundamentals allowing those new to makeup to achieve a flawless look. Whether it's for an everyday look or a special occasion, our guide is here to make the process intuitive and fun. Embrace this journey and discover the joy of makeup with us!

1. Prep Your Skin

The foundation of any great makeup look begins far before the first brush stroke of foundation or the sweep of an eyeshadow palette—it starts with skincare. "Always cleanse and moisturize for your skin type," suggests Sesnek, a renowned beauty expert. This initial step is crucial because the skin's condition can significantly impact the final makeup look. When the skin isn't given the proper TLC, makeup can settle into fine lines, appear patchy, or gravitate toward dry areas, leading to a less-than-desirable finish.

Moreover, a well-moisturized face provides a smooth canvas, ensuring that subsequent products can be applied seamlessly. Skincare isn't just about looking good; it's about nourishing the skin. And in the realm of makeup, it's the silent hero behind every stunning look. To get started, consider brands like La Mer or Kiehl's.

2. Apply Primer

8 Steps of Applying Makeup for Beginners

Photo by Joanna Kosinska

Once your skin is well-prepped, the next step is to ensure your makeup stays put. Enter the primer—a product designed to bridge the gap between skincare and makeup. Not all primers are created equal. Skin types vary, and so do the requirements of a good primer. Selecting the right one can make a world of difference. "Apply primer in fine, sheer layers," advises Sesnek.

A common mistake many make is applying too much primer. When overapplied, the product can start to ball or pill, which is not the desired outcome. The goal is to achieve a velvety finish, focusing primarily on the T-zone, including the forehead, cheeks, and chin, which tends to be the oiliest part of the face. Based on Allure's list, you can get more valuable resources for recommendations tailored to different skin types.

3. Grab Your Foundation and Concealer

8 Steps of Applying Makeup for Beginners

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The dynamic duo of any makeup routine is foundation and concealer. These products work in tandem to create an even canvas, masking imperfections and highlighting features. The beauty community has an ongoing debate: foundation first or concealer? Sesnek offers a perspective: "It's about what works best for you." Typically, a few dots of foundation on the T-zone, which includes the forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin, can create a base.

Using a foundation brush for blending offers precision. Sponges and fingers are alternatives, but a brush ensures an even spread. Once the foundation sets, concealer steps in. The magic wand targets under-eye circles, blemishes, and dark spots. But remember, less is more. "Dab, don't drag," advises Castro, another beauty expert. By spot applying and gently blending, the result is a radiant complexion. Brands like MAC and Bobbi Brown offer diverse shades catering to multiple skin tones.

For a comprehensive tutorial on how to apply foundation and concealer seamlessly, watch Lisa Eldridge's Foundation Course video.

4. Set Your Base

8 Steps of Applying Makeup for Beginners

Photo by Raphael Lovaski

After putting on your foundation and concealer, it's time to ensure everything stays in place. Setting your base with powder ensures longevity and a matte finish, preventing unwanted shine. A gentle brush or velvet puff sweep into the setting powder, followed by a strategic press onto the face, can make a difference. Primarily focus on the notorious T-zone, an area known for midday shine. For those special occasions or those desiring a more polished, airbrushed look, 'baking' is a technique worth exploring. This involves letting the setting powder sit on the face for several minutes to lock in the base makeup before brushing off the excess. Laura Mercier's Translucent Setting Powder is a highly-rated and favorite in the beauty industry.

Slim Reshae offers excellent advice on setting makeup. Check out her tutorial on How to Apply Setting Powder.

5. Contour is your face's best friend

8 Steps of Applying Makeup for Beginners

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The magic happens when you give the face back some depth. Contouring shapes the face, and highlighting makes it shine. For newbies, powder contour is the safest choice. "Start under the jawline," says Sesnek as a suggestion for how to contour. Placement under the cheekbones, around the hairline, and along the sides of the nose can give depth and shadow.

If you're feeling uncertain, bronzer is a forgiving alternative. Highlighting is the finishing touch, illuminating areas where light naturally hits the face. The cheekbones, brow arch, and nose bridge are prime real estate for highlighters. Sesnek's tip: "Blend well for a realistic dimension." NARS and Benefit Cosmetics offer some of the best in the market for product recommendations.

For beginners aiming to master the art of contouring and highlighting, watch Tati Westbrook's guide on How to Contour for Beginners.

6. Add Some Color

8 Steps of Applying Makeup for Beginners

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With contouring and highlighting done, it's essential to reintroduce some warmth and color. Bronzers and blushes achieve this, mimicking the natural flush and heat of the skin. When choosing a bronzer, the shade should be slightly darker than your natural skin tone. A little goes a long way. Apply it as if you're drawing the number three on your face: starting at the hairline, sweeping into the hollows of the cheeks, and then along the jawline.

Blush application requires a light hand. "Smile and dust the apples off your cheeks," Castro suggests. Upward sweeping motions give a youthful appearance. Tarte Cosmetics and Too Faced have standout offerings for a curated list of products.

Blush and bronzer application is an art. Learn the techniques from Ale Jay's in her tutorial on How to Apply Blush and Bronzer.

7. Enhance Your Eye

8 Steps of Applying Makeup for Beginners

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Eyes are the window to the soul, and eye makeup is the decorative curtain. The possibilities are endless, whether aiming for a daytime natural look or a sultry smokey eye. Essentials include eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara. Sesnek's tip for beginners: "Start with a creamy pencil liner." Experiments with liquid and gel liners can elevate the look as confidence builds.

Eyebrows, often considered the frame of the face, should be addressed. From pencils to powders to gels, there's a product for every brow need. Anastasia Beverly Hills is a renowned brand for brow products.

Eye makeup can be intricate. Watch Smitha Deepak's tutorial on Eye Makeup Basics for a beginner's guide.

8. Add a color on your lips

8 Steps of Applying Makeup for Beginners

Photo by Daria Gordova

A flawless makeup look is only complete by addressing the lips. From subtle tones to vibrant hues, the color spectrum is extensive. Starting with a lip liner defines and acts as a blueprint for lipstick application. Layering and blending can create ombre effects or even give an illusion of fuller lips. recommendations, iconic brands like Chanel and YSL have timeless collections.

Perfecting lip makeup is essential for a complete look. Watch a step-by-step guide by Lisa Elridge on How to Apply Lipstick Like a Pro.

As we conclude this beginner's makeup guide, it is clear that mastering the fundamentals does not require years of practice or an extensive collection of products. The transformation of one's appearance into one that exudes confidence and grace can be accomplished with only eight elementary steps. Remember that makeup is both an art and a form of self-expression. Therefore, while this guide provides a foundation, feel free to adapt and develop these stages as you further explore the beauty world. Embrace the journey, experiment, and remember that makeup is a reflection of

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