• 09/20/2023

How to Apply Makeup: Step-By-Step Process for Beginners

Makeup brushes of various sizes.

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Whether you’re a newbie or an expert, applying makeup is always a fun and unique experience. Others consider it an art as the finest camera-perfect look is only achievable with sufficient makeup skills. If you’re new to the world of makeup, here are 16 steps to successfully creating your first piece of art. 

1. Prep Your Face

Starting on a clean slate is the first rule of makeup. Use a gentle face wash to remove the dirt, oil and remaining makeup on your face. 

After washing, apply a moisturizer to hydrate your skin. It provides a barrier over the layers of products you’ll be putting on your face. Remember also to apply sunblock generously if you’re going out.

Our Pick: CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser: $15.48 on Amazon
Our Pick: CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion with SPF: $14.61 on Amazon

2. Start With a Primer

The primer serves as the base to smoothen the skin. It also blurs the pores and refines the texture so the following product glides through. More importantly, it keeps your makeup on for hours. Spread a thin layer of your favorite primer and let it sit for a few minutes.

Our Pick: e.l.f. Power Grip Primer: $10.00 on Amazon

3. Add a Foundation

Foundations come in different forms — liquid, powder and cream. There’s no set rule as to which is the best, as it depends on your skin type and preference. Many like to use liquid foundation as it’s easy to blend and provides better coverage for the 44% of women who want to hide their flaws and skin imperfections. 

Coat a layer and spread it evenly on the face. The amount of foundation to put on is up to you. If you prefer a no-makeup look, a thin layer is ideal. If you want full coverage, apply more. 

Our Pick: L’Oreal Paris True Match: $14.97 on Amazon

4. Conceal Imperfections

Apply a concealer to cover blemishes, dark spots and bumps. Remember to dab some under the eyes to hide the dark circles. Include the chin, beside the nose wings, in between your eyebrows and areas you need to conceal. Use a brush or your clean fingers to mix the product.

Our Pick: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer: $8.80 on Amazon

5. Set With a Powder

A setting powder holds the concealer and foundation in place. Use a large, fluffy brush and apply a thin layer to your face. You may use a loose or compact powder to set the makeup base. In addition, it also helps remove the shine or excess oil to make it easier to apply the blush. 

Our Pick: Anastasia Beverly Hills Loose Setting Powder: $38.00 on Amazon

6. Apply a Highlighter

Applying a highlighter requires some knowledge about depth and face shape. You can use it to accentuate your best features and the high points of your face. These are the cheekbones, forehead, cupid’s bow, nose, chin and brow bones. Many women skip using a highlighter, but such a minor step makes a lot of difference in the final look. Use your fingers or a brush to apply it. 

Our Pick: e.l.f. Halo Glow: $9.00 on Amazon

7. Contour

Some people with excellent contouring skills can make their faces look younger and lifted. 

Contouring adds dimension and shadows to your face and changes your look. Apply it to the jawline to hide the double chin. Slim your face down or put it on your forehead to make it look smaller. Apply a bronzer in the hollows of the cheeks, jawline, nose and forehead. Use a big bronzing brush to buff out the bronzer so it looks natural. 

Our Pick: Smashbox Countour, Highlighter & Bronzer Face Palette: 429.91 on Amazon

8. Apply the Blush

A slight blush gives your face a pinky, fresh or sun-kissed glow. Use a large brush to apply the product on the apples of your cheeks. Ensure you’re not putting too much — just enough for that natural flush.

Our Pick: goop Beauty Cream Blush: $34.00 on Amazon

9. Fill the Eyebrows

After the basic face makeup, you can work on your eyes. Starting with the eyebrows, fill them in with a brow pencil. Target the sparse areas and use light strokes, mimicking the hairs, to color them. As natural looks are the trend, it’s best to use a pencil the same color as your brows.

Our Pick: Benefit Cosmetics Brow Microfilling Pen: $20.00 on Amazon

10. Put on the Eyeshadow

Eye makeup is one of the highlights of the face. Eyeshadows can accent your eyes and make them look bigger and bright. Begin by applying a base to the eyelid. Stick to one color if you’re going for a basic, natural everyday look. Bring this all the way to the brow bone if you want a dramatic look. Apply a second or third eyeshadow on the eye crease to add depth to the eyes. 

Our Pick: L.A. Girl Beauty Brick Eyeshadow: $7.98 on Amazon

11. Line Your Eyes

Applying eyeliner opens up your eyes and makes them look bright. It’s beneficial if you want to create a variety of eye looks for different occasions. The goal is to create a line as close to your lash line as possible. 

Start by creating dashes or dots on the lash line, then connect them to form a line. You can do the same on the waterline of your eyelids or to the bottom lash. Take note doing this will create a different look. 

Our Pick: Maybelline Liquid Eyeliner: $7.99 on Amazon

12. Add Mascara

The mascara draws attention to your eyes. Thick, long, dark and curly eyelashes will complete the eye makeup and give you a youthful exterior. Apply your mascara as close to the lash roots as possible. Wiggle the brush while coating each lash to cover it entirely. Limit mascara to two coats to maintain the natural appearance. 

Our Pick: L’Oreal Paris Telescopic Mascara: $10.82 on Amazon

13. Prime the Lips 

After completing the eyes, it’s time to prep your lips. Apply your favorite lip balm to moisturize and make your lips soft. It’s easy to apply other lip products when the lips are smooth. Like the face primer, this will keep your lipstick and lipliner for hours. 

Our Pick: La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Lip Balm: $7.49 on Amazon

14. Line the Lips

Choose a lip liner that matches the color of your lipstick. Outline the natural line of your upper and lower lips. Start from the outer edges of the lips and slowly move the product to the other side. 

Our Pick: NYX Line Loud Lip Liner: $7.97 on Amazon

15. Apply Lipstick

Putting on the lipstick is easier when you’ve lined the lips. Choose your lip color and begin at the center of the lip to the side, applying as close to the inside of the lip liner as possible. Blend the color evenly using a lip brush, your finger or by pursing your lips. If you accidentally go outside the lip line, grab a tissue or a cotton swab and wipe it off slowly. 

Our Pick: L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Lipstick: $6.99 on Amazon

16. Retouch Loose Makeup

Finish off the look by checking for minor details. See if there are smudges to fix, excess oil to powder on or if you need more pink on your blush. If everything looks perfect, set the makeup with a setting spray. Hold the bottle a few inches from you, close your eyes and spray a few times on your whole face. It will help the makeup stick longer. 

Our Pick: Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray: $36.00 on Amazon

Apply Your Makeup Successfully With These Step-By-Step Process

It takes months or years of applying makeup to become a pro. Like with other skills, practice will make you better at it. If you’re just starting to discover makeup, these 16 steps will help you learn the correct order of putting various products on the face. If applied right, makeup can boost your confidence and make you feel and look beautiful. 

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