Here is my 12-step process explaining in detail how to apply makeup. Keep in mind that less is actually more so go ahead and skip a step or a few. I often leave the house feeling gorgeous in only sunscreen, mascara and lip gloss.
The most important part of your beauty routine is to get your skin in tip-top shape. Once you have a fresh, gorgeous palette to paint on, you only need to highlight your eyes or your lips or perhaps your bronzed skin (hello bronzer!) for the perfect look.
Time Required: 10 minutes
- Start with sunscreen A dewy, fresh complexion is sexy and youthful. Starting with a clean face, apply sunscreen to face and neck (see my list of the Top 10 Sunscreens). Rain or shine, you should get in the habit of applying sunscreen every day. I use a tinted moisturizer with SPF 50 (it's on my list) so I don't have to use foundation. Because I have dry skin, I apply moisturizer BEFORE my sunscreen. If you have oily skin, rinse face with warm water and pat dry before applying sunscreen.
- Apply concealer Dot concealer with your ring finger to the spots that need it most (under the eye, along the nose, on the chin). Blend in by patting in, never rubbing, the concealer (see How to Apply Concealer).
- Foundation is next Apply a tinted moisturizer or foundation to your face making sure to blend along the jawline so you don't have a tell-tale line. Few people need to apply foundation all over the face (see "How to Avoid Cake Face"). Simply apply where you have uneven skin tone (usually along your nose and on the skin). In wintertime, if your cheeks tend to get ruddy, apply there as well. For more sheer, natural coverage, consider a tinted moisturizer, which goes on much lighter than typical foundations. See my list of the Best Foundation.
- Blush, bronzer Apply blush on the apples of your cheeks (see How to Apply Blush). If you want to appear sun-kissed, apply a bronzer as well (see How to Apply Bronzer). At this point, I love to use a highlighter pen to brighten my face (see how in this review of Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat.
- Apply eyeliner Now that your face is set, it's time to make up your eyes. Apply eyeliner to lids. There are many different way to apply eyeliner. You can go for the basic eye, a smokey eye, a cat eye and much more. For a basic eye, simply apply liner to the upper lashes and the lower lashes, smudging along the lower so it doesn't look drawn on. For many more tips on eyeliner, see How to Apply Eyeliner.
- Apply concealer If you wear eyeshadow, be sure to set the eye first with an eyeshadow primer, otherwise the shadow will melt into your eyelids.
- Next is the eyeshadow Just as there are many ways to apply eyeliner, there are many eyeshadow looks you can experiment with. For a basic eye, simply apply a base shade on the lid of the eye. Apply a darker contouring shadow in the crease. Make sure to blend it all in well. For many more tips, see How to Apply Eyeshadow.
- Curl those lashes Curl your lashes with an eyelash curler. You can blast your curler for 3 seconds with a hairdryer to make the curl hold better, just be sure to test the metal to ensure it's not too hot first.
- Moving on to mascara Apply mascara by wiggling the wand from the roots of your lashes on through to the ends. To perfect your mascara application, check out How to Apply Mascara.
- Leave your lips for last Once you have your face made up you can see exactly what type of lip treatment you need. You can either fill in lips with lip liner and apply lip balm or gloss over it, or you can line lips first then apply lipstick. Some women opt for just gloss or balm. For more tips on lips, see How to Apply Lipstick.
- Set your makeup Set your face with loose powder or a spritz of Evian spray.
What You Need
- eyeshadow primer and eyeshadow
- bronzer and/or blush (or neither!)
- mascara and an eyelash curler
- lipstick, gloss or balm