Your face makeup routine can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be. Some people spend hours every day on complex contouring and statement eye makeup. Others choose to wear no makeup at all. This guide will fall somewhere in between and can be used to achieve beautiful, natural-looking makeup for everyday wear.
What Makeup Do I Need For My Face?
For a polished, yet natural look, here’s what you’ll need:
- Setting powder
- Blush, bronzer or both
- Highlight and contour cream or powder
- Neutral eyeshadow (subtle tones like nudes or light browns)
- Eyeliner pencil
- Lip balm
- Optional: brow pencil, eyelash curler, lip liner, lipstick, and setting spray
How To Apply Makeup – Step By Step Tutorial
Before You Start: Cleanse And Moisturize
A flawless makeup look starts with clean, moisturized skin. Your exact skin care routine will vary depending on your skin’s needs. But everyone can benefit from a high quality cleanser and moisturizer. Tackling this step before you apply any makeup products is a sure way to take good care of your skin, but it may also:
- Leave your skin appearing more luminous
- Help your makeup stay on for longer1
Step 1: Primer
Face primers smooth out your skin to prepare it for foundation, tinted moisturizer, or concealer. Wondering if you should use a primer? The right primer may help:
- Smooth the texture of your skin
- Keep your face makeup in place
- Diminish the appearance of your pores
- Add additional moisture to your skin2
To Apply: Dab on a dime-sized amount with your fingers or a makeup sponge. Let it soak in and dry for a minute before you continue your makeup routine.3
Step 2: Foundation
The right foundation can make your skin look bright, even, and smooth. Aiming for a flawless look? First, choose the right formula and shade and work on applying it evenly.
Choose Your Formula
Most foundations offer sheer, medium, or full coverage. For a natural makeup look, choose a sheer formula. If your goal is to even out skin tone, opt for medium coverage. If you’re looking to color correct hyper-pigmentation or hide blemishes, go with a full coverage or matte formula.
Use The Perfect Shade
Using the right shade of foundation will help you avoid an obvious line on your neck. To find the right color, try out shades on your chest or directly on your face.
Consider your skin’s natural undertone and match accordingly. Do you have a warm complexion? Choose a foundation with a yellow undertone. Cool complexions should go with a foundation with a pink undertone.4
To Apply: Using your fingers, dab liquid foundation onto the center of your face and blend outward. For a natural look, only apply to areas that need coverage. Use your fingers or a damp makeup sponge to blend into your skin and neck.5
To apply powder foundation, use beauty tools like a sponge or a buffing brush to apply and blend outward.6
Step 3: Concealer
Once you’ve applied a base of foundation, you may want to add concealer to help cover blemishes, redness, or dark circles.
To Apply: Dab concealer onto the areas you would like to diminish. Melt the concealer into your skin in a patting motion. To conceal dark circles, apply it in the inner corners and under your eye.
Step 4: Setting Powder
Now that you’ve spent time meticulously covering uneven tone or texture on your skin, it’s time to set it. Using a setting powder ensures that your face makeup doesn’t slide off by the end of the day.
To Apply: Using a fluffy powder brush, apply powder in circular motions. Pay special attention to oily skin areas like your T-zone.7
Step 5: Blush
After you’ve used foundation to even out your skin tone, you’ll want to add a little variation back in. Blush and bronzer can help brighten up your appearance and give you a sun-kissed glow.
To pick the perfect shade of blush, go for one that matches your skin tone when you flush naturally. (Pro tip: next time you work out, check out your face in the mirror. There’s your blush shade.) Using a blush brush, smile and start your application of blush on the apples of your cheeks.
When choosing your bronzer color, only go about 2 shades darker than your natural skin tone. Using an angled brush, sweep bronzer into the hollows of your cheeks and along your temples.8
Step 6: Highlight And Contour
Highlighting and contouring can help enhance the depth and dimension of your face. If this step conjures thoughts of complicated face charts and dozens of different beauty tools, don’t fret. While this step can be elaborate if you want it to be, it can also be simple.
Follow these basic guidelines:
- Apply highlighter to areas that light would naturally hit.
- For example: your cheekbones, brow bones, and the bridge of your nose
- Contour the areas of your face that you’d like to define.
- For example: your jawline, sides of your face, sides of your nose, or underneath your cheekbones9
You can choose cream or powder beauty products for this step.
To Apply: For powder applications, angle the brush along the area you’d like to contour or highlight. If you use a cream stick, trace the area with the stick and blend with your fingers or a sponge.10
Learn To Highlight & Contour With Face Makeup Tutorials
If you love to play around with makeup and beauty products, know that there is a depth of knowledge on the internet to explore. Makeup tutorials can show you how soften angles, enhance certain features, and even change the appearance of your face shape.11
Step 7: Eye Makeup
Once you’ve applied face makeup, you may want to enhance the natural beauty of your eyes. Here’s a simple eye makeup application routine that works for everyday use.
- Cover your eyelids in a neutral shade of eyeshadow that’s slightly darker than your skin tone. You can use a finger or an eyeshadow brush.
- Apply a darker shade of that same tone to your eye creases.
- Apply eyeliner pencil to the upper rims of your eyes.
- Use an eyelash curler, and then swipe on mascara.12
At this stage, you may also want to fill in your eyebrows, apply eyeliner to your lower lids, or apply more shadow for a statement look.
Step 8: Lips
The options for lip color are endless. There’s lip balm, lip gloss, tints, sticks, stains, and pencils. Each option carries a different level of pigment. For a natural, everyday look, you may choose to just apply a swipe of lip balm and head out the door.
If you’d like to experiment with color, you may want to start with lip gloss or a tinted balm. These products won’t leave a permanent stain — so when they wear off, you can choose to reapply or not. If you prefer a bold look, you can jump right into a lip liner and cream lipstick.13
To Apply: Apply lip balm. If you’d like to add color, first define your lips with a lip pencil that is the same color as your lipstick. Then apply the lipstick, starting in the center and working outward.14
Step 9: Setting Spray
You’re almost done. There’s just one thing left to do: set your makeup. Just like powder is used to set your foundation and concealer, a setting spray is used to set all of the rest. A setting spray is a light mist that bonds to your makeup and helps keep it in place.15
To Apply: Hold the setting spray at least 14 inches from your face, close your eyes, and spritz the center of your face, forehead, cheeks, and neck.16
How To Choose The Right Makeup For Your Skin
You apply beauty products directly to your face – potentially every single day. You want to choose products that contain high quality ingredients. In general, steer clear of products that contain potentially harmful ingredients, such as:
- Imidazolidinyl Urea
- Propylene Glycol
- Synthetic Fragrance17,18,19
If you have concerns, seek out advice from your doctor.
Feel Confident In Your Own Skin
No matter what makeup routine you choose to follow, beauty starts from within. Learning how to expertly apply your own makeup will help you feel confident and in control. Once you have your own routine established, you may want to experiment with more elaborate looks or choose to wear no makeup at all.