When I started makeup training, there was no Instagram look or professional makeup tutorials. I watched basic, bad-lit videos from people experimenting at home. You can imagine how badly I applied foundation and dabbed on concealer. Times have changed (thank goodness) but online influencers don’t always provide the best tips for putting on makeup.
My makeup tutor taught me to analyse face symmetry. Some clients would achieve balance through highlighter across their forehead, while others needed highlighter only on their chin. Every face has unique traits which require different techniques. And this can be missing on those “how to” uploads.
For makeup beginners, my recommendation is to learn the simple steps before investing in cosmetics. Focus more on application that product. Here are 5 tips I learnt as an artist for putting on makeup.
1. Decide your beauty goal first
To apply makeup in a way that enhances your own beauty, you’ll want to consider your day-to-day. What do you want your makeup to achieve? The glamour of Monroe, the simplicity of a typical French woman; a more healthy, radiant you?
How much time can you invest? If I have 15 minutes to apply cosmetics for a healthy glow, I’ll use less eye products, concentrating instead on blusher and bronzer. When in a rush, it’s easy to throw on everything and stick to one comfortable style. I’d rather identify my biggest concerns and ensure they’re perfected. When I worked backstage at a runway show, I created looks in 5 – 10 minutes. Each product applied had to be for a reason – no putting on pretty shades simply because.
When factoring your beauty goals, ask yourself what’s practical for you. Let’s say you wear a pair of high-quality glasses – your eye makeup can go darker than a natural beauty tutorial. If you wear piercings, you don’t want too much product around that area.
Identify how to fix your biggest concerns in the time limit you have, to gain the most benefit.
2. Work on symmetry
Once you’ve decided on your makeup goal, plan how to execute it with symmetry. Most beauty tutorials demonstrate contour on either side of the forehead, with highlighter on the chin. If you want to balance a small forehead and wider chin, this wouldn’t work.
Contour = smaller
Highlighter = bigger
When applying eye liner, most of us have one eyelid more visible than the other. I always make the line on my left eye thicker towards the inner corner than on the right.
3. Match your base colours to your neck and chest
In the past decade, companies have paid attention to skin undertones (colours underneath the skin’s surface). The three colour categories: warm (yellow), cool (blue) and neutral (mixed). The way you tan can help you figure out your tone. People who tan easily for instance, have warm undertones and those who burn quickly have cool. I suggest you go through a guide if you’re unsure.
Some brands note their foundation undertones on their bottles. When you apply a foundation, you want it to blend in seamlessly. If a foundation colour suits your complexion but doesn’t blend well, it’s likely the wrong tone.
Always blend up and out. Makeup artist preferences vary on applying base products with brushes, sponges or fingers. Sponges offer the strongest coverage and work well for covering blemishes. Like brushes however they soak up product. I prefer to use fingers first and then use a sponge for touch-ups. If your skin is oily, I suggest applying foundation with your fingers over your T-zone area, using a small amount.
4. Understand colour correcting
I once volunteered with an organisation that teaches people how to use makeup when their going through chemotherapy. Colour correcting disguises the signs of treatment. Mainly used to alter discolouration, the key point to know: green cancels out red; yellow cancels dark blue and purple. If your skin seems dry or seems to lack a glow, applying some purple colouring can do the trick.
When I began my makeup career, colour correcting wasn’t available in lots of formats and hardly anyone confessed to buying. Today, drugstore brands offer every texture. You can buy some corrector in liquid, cream, powder… I recommend trying if you’ve yet to experiment – a little goes a long way.
5. Look for celebrities with similar eye shapes
Again, this wasn’t around when I was studying: Pinterest eye shape guides. When working at makeup counters, customers asked for eye shadow colours that suited them – rarely questioning application. When you know what kinds of eyes you’ve got, research (trusty Google) celebrities with a similar shape to see which areas they apply colour, add depth and lighten.
If you don’t fancy buying eye primer, use foundation across your lid and press with powder.
Putting on makeup for beginners: 3 easy changes:
- Ensure your arm is rested when you put on lip liner and eye liner. Have your elbows on a table.
- Don’t buy or put on makeup in bad lighting. Ideally, try to sit near a window for natural light and go outside a shop to check your foundation.
- Touch-up your makeup throughout the day. Especially with red lipstick and foundation on oily skin. I carry a blending brush with me to smooth out my complexion mid-day.
For more tips, read: Ten Do’s and Don’ts of Makeup to Follow
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