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Applying Makeup Tips

Read these 22 Applying Makeup Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Make-Up tips and hundreds of other topics.

Applying Makeup Tips has been rated 4.0 out of 5 based on 1974 ratings and 12 user reviews.
What sort of base should I use for my powder shadows?

Cream Shadows as A Base

Getting your makeup to last all day long is one of the hardest tasks to master when it comes to makeup application. There are a few quick tips and tricks that you can use to get your shadows to last all day long with minimal creasing; the secret is using cream shadows as a base. Though cream shadows can be incredibly appealing and beautiful on their own, using a cream shadow as a base can help your shadows be more vibrant, satiny, and longer lasting than any primer. Though primers are a good idea if you have oily lids, using a cream shadow is just as good as a primer.

The key to using a cream shadow as a base is to choose a color that is both vibrant and pigmented but that goes well with the powder shadow that you will be using. For colors, like browns and taupe, you want to use a cream shadow that is neutral and skin colored, opt for those shades that are near to the color of concealer, peaches and light browns work well. With vibrant colors like blues and greens, you either want to use a blue or green cream shadow to enhance the powder shadow or use a white or nude to allow the powder shadow to shine. With blacks, you always want to use a black or charcoal cream shadow base so that you can get the inky color that is essential to the look.

A cream shadow acts in two ways. One, it removes oil and creates a barrier between the skin and the powder shadow. It is the oil on the eyelids that creates unattractive creasing and makes shadow flake and fall as the day goes on. Secondly, cream shadow gives you a blank canvas to work from, this blank canvas is best when working with powder shadows as it covers up any imperfections and it allows for a smooth satin finish. Make sure that you pack the powder shadow on and that you blend the edges nicely to finish the look.

   
How do I apply gel eyeliner, what sort of brush should I use?

Applying Gel Eyeliner

There are some things in makeup that are just down right tricky no matter how hard you try to master them. Gel eyeliner is one of them. There are a few basics that you can master, however, that can help you get your gel eyeliner looking great in just a few seconds. The first thing you need to consider is the formula that you will be working with. You want a gel eyeliner that is not too wet and not too dry. If it is too dry, you end up getting drag marks and your liner looks dotty and fragmented. If your liner is too wet you can smudge and end up with liner all over your face before it has time to dry. You are looking for a liner that is medium in both dryness and wetness, and that has just the right amount of slide. You can test this on your hand and if the brush moves easily and the liner dries fairly quickly, then you have the right formula.

You then need to consider what type of applicator you will be using. There are some great gel liners that come in pencil form if you are at all uncertain about using a brush. Using a brush, however, does give you a bit more control over the product. If you choose to use a brush, you can either use a tapered fine liner brush or an angled brush. A fine liner brush is a bit easier for getting a very thin line or for a dramatic cat eye but an angled brush does offer a bit more control if you are just starting out. When using a brush you want to rest your pinky just below your eye on your cheekbone for added stability.

Starting from the center of the lid, you then need to work your line out to the corner of your eye. If you are going to do a cat eye, you may want to draw the shape first then fill in the flick after you are satisfied with the shape. After you have the outer half of your eye lined, you need to work from the tear duct area to meet the line that you have already drawn. If you mess up, do not get overly stressed, you can always thicken the line to cover up any imperfections or simply clean it off and start again. With liner, practice makes perfect.

   
What type of shampoo shoud I use for my makeup brushes?

How to Care for Your Makeup Brushes: A Few Basics

Brushes are a large part of any makeup kit and as such, they are something that should be taken good care of. That being said, it is important to understand a few basics about brush care that will help your brushes last a lifetime. It is obvious that more expensive brushes tend to last longer than cheaper versions, but with the right care, even a cheap brush can last for years. The first thing you need to consider is what type of shampoo or soap you want to use. There are three properties that you want to look for are antibacterial properties, gentle cleaners without sulfates (if possible), and low odor or fragrance. Antibacterial is important because our faces are covered with dead skin cells, something that bacteria feeds off of, so you want your brushes to be hygienic and safe to use on yourself and others. Gentle cleansers without sulfates can help to keep your brushes from shedding or breaking off, a process that ends up making them virtually useless. And low fragrance is important because you are using these brushes on and around your face and heavy fragrance can easily irritate your skin and cause redness. Aside from shampoo, you also need to consider your storage methods. You should store brushes either upright with the bristles facing up to reduce bending and deformation of the bristles or you should store them in a folio or case that will help your brushes keep their shape.

   
Can you give me a step by step tips on how to apply makeup, eyeshadow, lipstick etc?

How to Apply Makeup

There is no set way to apply cosmetics, but there are some tricks you can use to get the best results from your application.

The first step is to have a clean, moisturized face.

Then start with your foundation. If you have discoloration or trouble spots on your face you may want to dab some concealer on the problem areas before you apply the foundation. By using concealer first you can get extra coverage. Foundation should be applied with a clean make up sponge or a foundation brush. Using your hands can spread bacteria or add extra oil.

Once you have your foundation blended evenly then you can finish it off with a loose or pressed powder.

The last step is to put on your mascara. Before the mascara is applied, put on your eyeliner. It is appealing on most individuals to line the top eye with a thin line along the length of the eye/eyelashes and not to line underneath, this can cause eyes to look tired.

When your eyeliner is done then you can apply eye shadow. Light colors for the base look best on most people. You can use a darker color in the outer corners to add depth and highlight your eyes.

After the eye shadow application is complete, carefully brush away any excess make up that may have fallen under your eyes. Lightly brush some powder all over your face one more time to set look.

Next add the blush. You don't want to use too much just enough to put the color back in your cheeks. This should be applied to the upper cheekbones and blended out toward the hairline. A bronzer can be used in place of blush for a more natural look.

The next application should be on your lips. You may want to use a lip base to ensure longer wear. Carefully line your lips along your natural lip line, and then fill them in with the desired color of lipstick. Make sure to use a gloss if your wanting a pouty look.

   
I have kind of a round face. How can I make my face look thinner and slimer?

Disguising the Shape of Your Face

If you want to make a round face look longer and thinner it's all about shading. Darker colors make things look smaller. Contouring your cheeks and your jaw with a darker shade will help give the illusion of a thinner, longer face and disguise the round shape.

Using a bronzer or a brown tone on your cheeks and jaw will dramatically change the shape of you face, but you have to be careful you are using color that match your skin tone and look natural; otherwise you will defeat your purpose.

   
What is your recommendation for make-up brushes?

Makeup Brushes

The quality of brushes does make a difference. Natural bristled brushes are best as they are soft to the touch and apply powder blush,face powder,eyeshadow or lipstick most effectively. Synthetic brushes are best to use for eyeshadow base,cream eyeshadows,and concealers. They should all be washed with a gentle foaming cleanser,hair shampoo or just plain soap and water. Squeeze out excess water with a towel,lay flat and air dry.

   
Should makeup be removed in the PM?

Removing Makeup Before Going To Sleep

When going to sleep, makeup should definitely be removed. Cleanse and tone your skin and apply the appropriate night cream for your skin type. Nighttime is when your skin regenerates cells and rests. If you sleep with makeup on, your pores will become clogged from the makeup. Use your three step skin care regime (cleanse, tone, moisturize) religously.

   
What make up colors should a red head choose?

Selecting Make Up for Red Heads is Easy

A lot of natural red heads have a hard time finding make up to match their hair and complexion. Here are some great pointers: Women with red hair, pale skin, and freckles should use a sheer foundation. Let your freckles shine through! As far as eye shadows, lipsticks, and blushes are concerned go for natural, neutral colors. When shopping, choose browns, camels, and neutral golden tans. For a little more color, a golden coral brown color will look beautiful on lips and cheeks. If you want to achieve a more dramatic look you can also pair a vivacious red with a gentle brownish-red blush. Or try a great purple eye color! As far as mascara is concerned, brown is your shade.

   
I would like the name of a place I can go to have my colors done. Am I a Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter?

Skin Tone Color Analysis

Today the cosmetic industry is moving away from color analysis as far as seasons. Most makeup lines are paying more attention to skin tones like pink or yellow hues. Any major department store will have several cosmetic counters where there are professional make up artists just waiting to help you select the proper colors and skin care for your specific needs.

Lancome, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Mac, and Prescriptives are some of the major cosmetic chains that have a large selection to choose from and they are competitively priced and less expensive than some of the other exclusive cosmetic lines.

   
What is the shelf life of makeup?

Shelf Life For Makeup

The shelf life for mascara is 3-4 months max. For eyeshadow and lipstick it could be a few years. Rule of thumb is if it smells bad or the texture has changed, it's rancid. You don't want to use a contaminated product in the eye area. When in doubt, throw it out.

   
How can I brighten my make-up?

Brighten Makeup

You can use a highlighter to brighten your makeup. They come in cream or powder form. Frosts or off white are best. Apply directly over blusher, mix with blusher, or use just above blusher and around the eyes. Also use under the eyebrows and a touch down the nose. This will significantly brighten the face.

   
How can I turn my day makeup into evening makeup?

Night and Day

Applying makeup to turn your day look into a night one is simple. Here are some great tips: Apply eyeshadow that is darker than your day shadow to the crease or in the back corner of the lid. Use an angled brush or sponge to add extra definition to the arches of your eyebrows. Make yourself shine by adding sparkling highlights to the forehead, neck, decolate, and cheekbones. Apply a brighter lipstick to make your evening look more dramatic (red is always a good choice—especially coupled with a black outfit). Give your daytime lipstick a lighter, juicier look by blending it well with a darker lipliner. Then, apply a brilliant gloss. Apply a bronzing powder to the cheekbones instead of a blush; this will accentuate them without overdoing it. Don't apply additional mascara, if anything try re-curling them.

   
I'm going out, what style of makeup suits a night out?

Makeup For Every Occasion

Finding the right makeup for that special occasion can be difficult as some looks just do not work with every occasion. That being said, here are a few different occasions and looks that are great for them. The first occasion to consider is something that everyone has gone to at one point or another, the party. With party makeup you can be a bit bolder, more out there, edgier, it does not matter if you wear a bit of glitter or a couple extra coats of mascara because it is a party, you want to be noticed. For party makeup you can go a bit heavier on all the elements that you love for day time to amp up the look without being over the top. Try adding dark shadow at the corners of your eyes and lash line to define and make your eyes look bigger and more awake. Also, add a set of false lashes or a bit more mascara to really frame your eyes.

The next occasion to consider is a formal event. This is a bit trickier, you certainly do not want glitter and heavy black shadow as this can seem a bit immature at a formal event. Opt for soft metallic shadows to add a bit of sheen and interest and a sharp liner. Smoky eyes are not the best look for a formal event as they can seem heavy and slightly night time. Try using a liquid liner to get a precise line or even try using shadow on an angle brush for a subtle line. You also want to go light on the mascara, though you can add enough to frame your eyes, adding seven coats until you look like a raccoon can be incredibly problematic. Try adding individual false lashes just at the corners of your eyes for a bit of elegance rather than a full strip which suggests party.

The last occasion to consider is a day time event, this can be a birthday party for the kid across the street or even your kid, a picnic, or a social event that is being held during the day, perhaps outside. With this event you want to keep the makeup simple. Opt for a neutral color like the universally flattering taupe and avoid harsh liner. Something like a soft grey or brown would be great to softly line eyes. Also, avoid heavy mascara and cheek color, try for a couple of coats of brown mascara to give you the easy, put together look without all the muss and fuss.

   
How do I buy makeup as a gift?

Makeup gifts

Makeup can always be a fun gift to give, but you have to be able to choose the right colors! Try staying with colors that are close to the receivers' skin tone. You can never go wrong with neutrals!!! Another great gift idea is a gift-certificate for a makeover and let the receiver pick out their own colors! The receiver can also learn how to put the colors on and how to pick out complimentary colors in the future.

   
How gentle are Illuminare Cosmetics?

Gentle Cosmetics

Gentle cosmetics and skin care products should not contain alcohol. They should be made from natural ingrediants and have vitamins and nutrients even sensitive skin can tolerate. Make sure to read the ingrediants on the side and not just what the product says on the front. If it says alcohol in the ingrediants, put it down and find something else.

   
After applying eye make-up, I get black blobs in the inside corner of my eyes - any advice?

Prevent Makeup From Flaking

Powder cosmetics like eye shadows can flake easily and mascara tends to have a similar problem. The excess make up can fall into your eyes and cause a build up. Skin that is not conditioned well can easily flake or look dehydrated. Make sure to use a three step skin care regime (cleanse, tone, moisturize) and exfoliate weekly. Also using cream shadows may eliminate the problem of shadow appearing in other places.

Mascara is not a long lasting product. It is recommended you replace your tube of mascara at least every 3 months if not earlier. This product dries out quickly and if it is not stored properly it doesn't stay fresh. If you are rubbing your eyes or have allergies you might want to look at changing brands. Watery eyes or excessive rubbing may cause the make up to flake or come off.

   
How do I use a highlighter stick?

Highlighter Stick

A highlighter stick is very versatile. First see if it is opthalmologist tested. If so, you can use it as a highlighter under the eyebrow as well as high on the cheekbone to brighten the eye area. You could also try it on your lips and follow with a lip gloss. Highlighters are usually frosted in a white, off-white, or have a pink or yellow undertone. They are fun and illuminate a tan nicely.

   
My 5 year old wants to wear makeup, what should I do?

How Young is Too Young? Your Child and Makeup

Most children find themselves wanting to use makeup because they have seen someone else use it or because of peer pressure. It is important that parents do not shut down immediately and forbid it as children will find ways around harsh rules. It is far better to understand what products and applications are best for younger children and help them through it rather than forbidding it and coming up against dire consequences. There are some forms of makeup that are alright for children to use, using products that are intended for adults is not the best option but there are tons of brands out there that offer kid friendly products to help ease any child through the beginning stages of makeup.

The first product that is perhaps the easiest to let your child wear is something like a tinted lip balm or a lip gloss. This is not quite as harsh as say blue eyeshadow but it still gives the feeling of being a bit more grown up without going overboard. There are tons of great brands like lip smackers, bonne bell, and more that offer tinted balms for the budding adult. It is best with children that if you do let them use makeup you avoid giving them colors that are going to be too intense, try giving them palettes of whites and pastels to play with and experiment with rather than bright blues and blacks. If you are uncomfortable with your child wearing makeup in public, as most parents are, let them play with it at home and get the desire out of their system rather than cracking down on even fun play at home.

   
What are the pros and cons of false lashes?

False Eyelashes, Do or Don't?

There are ups and downs to any makeup product but especially to something like false lashes. It is important that if you are considering using false lashes, you understand some of the benefits and drawbacks. While many say that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, it is important that each user makes their own decisions. Looking first at the pros, false lashes can quickly amp up any style, they last longer than mascara on its own, they can be used more than once, and they are a great way to draw attention to your eyes by using any one of the hundreds of different styles that are available. Each of these pros must be weighed against the obvious and not so obvious cons of this product.

The glue can be a bit irritating to people with sensitive eyes, it may cause puffiness and swelling and should be tested on skin before being applied to the eye area, false lashes can be clumsy and uncomfortable, they can come unglued during the day or night, they are not all that cheap, and they can be difficult to apply. All that being said, false lashes are somewhat awkward when you first apply them, after applying several sets and taking the time to test out several shapes and designs; you may find that wearing them is not all that bad. With the glue issue, there are several different formulas of lash glue out there that you can try until you find one that is safe for your skin and is comfortable to use and apply. With practice, even the most difficult of tasks can become easy and it is important that with something like false lashes you are comfortable with both the process and the end result before you depend on them for a look. If strip lashes are too uncomfortable, you can opt for individuals which are small bundles of three or four lashes that are a bit more comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

   
Should I use my fingers or a brush to apply my makeup?

Fingers or Brushes? What to Use to Create the Perfect Finish

Applying makeup is something that is completely unique to each individual. Face shape, skin color, skin type, and many other aspects come into play when it comes to applying the perfect makeup. Though this is true, there are some things that are universal no matter what your personal preferences and skin types. In some instances, it is important to look at the individual properties of the product when applying rather than the individual properties of the person applying the makeup. Many people struggle with the age old question, brushes or fingers, which will get the best finish. The answer is to look at the product being applied.

For shadows that are powder it is always better to use a brush. Using fingers in a powder product will upset the natural composition of the product, changing it completely. For instance, if you have a powder shadow and you apply it with your fingers, you may get streaks, smudges, areas with too much or too little product and much more. The natural oils on your fingers do not bode well with powder products. For cream shadows, however, it is almost always better to use your fingers. The heat from your fingers can help to warm up the product for a smooth application. In addition, you can control the amount that is on your eyes better with your fingers than you can with a brush.

For face products like foundation, blushes and bronzers, the same rules apply. With a powder product, it is always better to use your brushes to ensure an even application with smoothly blended edge and even disbursement of product. With cream products it is almost always better to use your fingers unless you are using a medium bristle buffing or foundation brush so that you can control the application. With liquid foundations, you can use either a brush or your fingers depending on what amount of coverage you want. If you want a sheer coverage, use your fingers; for a fuller coverage, use your brushes.

For lips, unless it is in a pot or tin and you have no other way of applying it, you can use your fingers. You want to use a brush or applicator for dark colors to keep from staining your fingers. With a clear balm, it does not make much difference what you use to apply.

   
What shadow colors look best with what color eyes?

Shadows That Make Your Eye Color Pop

There are certain colors that make every eye color look fabulous and then there are colors that are a bit more eye color specific. Using colors that are unique to your own eye color is a great way to get your eyes looking incredibly vibrant with just a few brush strokes. The first category of shadows to consider are universally flattering colors. These are things like silver and gold. These colors look great on every eye color and can serve to accent or intensify any eye color quickly and easily. Black is another universally flattering color to consider.

The science behind intensifying your eyes with shadows comes from the color wheel. Choosing colors that are opposite of your own eye color is the best way to draw attention to your eyes and make your eye color pop. For green eyes, purples and silver tone browns are fantastic. You may also want to use other greens to bring out the green in your eyes. Things like dark plum or cranberry are great for bringing green eyes up to speed.

For brown eyes, blues are always great. Using something like a deep royal blue or a shimmery silvery blue is a great way to bring out the brown in your eyes quickly and easily. For blue eyes, oranges and russet tones are always flattering and can be worn through the year. And for hazel eyes, using greens and browns is a great way to accent your eye color. You do not have to use shades that are flattering only to your eye color but using these shades is a great way to accent your eyes quickly and easily.

   
How should I apply face color?

Applying Blush and Face Color

Face color is a gray area for many people when it comes to applying makeup. Though it can be a bit daunting, there is no shame in admitting that you have little to no idea what you are doing and are looking for help. There are a few quick tips you can follow when it comes to the application of face color that can make all the difference in the world. The first tip is that color should only be added to places where you naturally gain color from the sun.

This means that when applying something like bronzer, you should only touch the high points of the face like the apples of the cheeks, the temples, the chin, and the bridge of the nose. If you were to go out and get a tan, the last place that would tan is the hollows of your cheeks or your jaw line, so avoid these areas unless you are using a contour powder to slim these areas. Now if you are using contour powder you do want to hit your jaw line with it, the sides of your nose, and the hollows of your cheeks which are just below the apples of your cheeks and are visible when you suck your face in.

With bronzer or any face color for that matter, you always want to go light to start off with and then add color as you see necessary. It is always better to have too little color on your face than it is to have too much. Bronzer is meant to enhance your color, not stand in for a tan so keep that in mind while applying. When it comes to blush, the same rules apply, you need to focus your color on the apples of your cheeks or the part of your cheeks that is rounded when you smile. You want to make sure that you blend your color up your cheek bone toward your hair line so that you get a gentle wash of color rather than a concentrated clown effect. As with any face color, start light then build your way up to the intensity that you like.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Patricia Walters-Fischer