Forget diamonds -- makeup is a girl's best friend. Whether it's covering under-eye circles and blemishes or giving your perfect date outfit a flirty finish, makeup is one of the most reliable tools for helping you look your best. That said, when it's overdone, makeup can look tacky and make you seem older. There's a fine line between just enough and too much makeup. But knowing where that line falls can be tough.
When in doubt, it's probably in your best interest to err on the side of caution. Too much makeup in the workplace, for example, can detract from your professionalism. It's always better to look classic than unintentionally tacky by over-applying.
Whether you're just starting out with makeup, looking to revamp your makeup collection or looking for a way to spice up your appearance for a special night, you can learn how to look appropriate and your absolute best at all times.
If you aren't a makeup aficionado, the makeup section in the drugstore or department store may seem incredibly daunting. With seemingly thousands of choices of foundation, concealer, eye shadow, lip color, liners, glosses and powders, it's tough to know where to start. But there's no need to worry. There are simple ways to discover your best look -- starting with your basic, everyday needs and working up to more glam evening looks.
Start with a polished look for day and move on from there. To learn how to look fresh and pretty in 10 minutes or less, read on to the next page.
Daily Makeup Application
Your daily makeup routine is all about presenting a fresh, clean face to the world and keeping your morning routine as painless as possible. Your daily look will work whether you're running a meeting at the office or grabbing groceries on a Saturday, and ideally it shouldn't take you longer than 10 minutes to apply.
The most important part of any makeup routine is to start with a clean, moisturized face. Cleansing will help you start with refreshed skin and take care of any remnants of the previous day's makeup that might make the skin look dull.
The next step will be to even out your skin tone, using concealer or foundation. A common misconception about foundation is that you need to apply it everywhere. This isn't necessary -- foundation can be most helpful if it's applied only to the areas where you have redness or darker shadows, like the chin, nose and under-eye area. Dab on your foundation or concealer with your ring finger for even coverage. Deciding between foundation and concealer will depend on the type of coverage your blemishes need, but the most important thing to remember is to keep it as light as possible and to let your natural skin tone shine through.
For the rest of your look, keep it neutral and shimmering for day. Blush is a great way to perk up your look and accent the angles of your face. The color of your blush depends on your skin tone. If you're fair, try pinks; if you have darker skin, check out plums or merlots. A coral is a great choice for a medium skin tone. Use a round brush to apply from the apples of your cheek out toward your hairline for a cheekbone-enhancing look that works on everyone.
To look wide awake, even on the days that you want to hit snooze permanently, try a single coat of black mascara. This is a universal pick-me-up, no matter what your coloring.
Following these tips will keep you looking your best and not overly made-up. If you're headed straight from work for a night out with friends, read on to know what to throw into your makeup bag for a quick transformation.
Evening Makeup Application
Evening makeup is all about spicing up your everyday look. This is the time to experiment with the bright palettes you may shy away from on a daily basis. You may also choose to play up a feature that you don't accentuate every day, like dressing up your lips with a bold red or your eyes with a dark, smoky shadow. Try on a bit of a different personality -- night is the time to be sultry and flirtatious with your makeup.
When making the transition from day to night, you can start with your morning routine to get a clean starting surface. All the same rules for foundation and concealer apply as they do for the day look. If your skin looks as natural as possible, you have a lower risk of looking heavily made-up when you try bolder techniques on your other features.
When planning your evening makeup, choose a feature you want to accentuate and keep the rest of your makeup mellow. If you choose a dramatic lip color, try not to do too much with your eye makeup. If you choose a smoky or highly colorful eye shadow, go for a neutral or matte lip color to keep from overwhelming your face. Bold is fantastic for night, but too much is still a big mistake.
If you're running late or headed out for the night right after work, there's no need to redo your base makeup. You can freshen your look and transition from day to night in three simple steps. First, dust a shimmering, cool-toned eye shadow across the entire lid to make your eye makeup a bit more glamorous. Second, refresh your blush and add a bit of shimmer with a highlighting powder. Finally, use a bolder lip color to really take the look to the next level. Keep these essentials in your purse, and you'll always be ready for wherever the night takes you.
Once you have your evening routine figured out, you may want to try something extra special for an upcoming party or event. Read the next page for some ideas and guidelines for achieving your look.
Special Occasion Makeup Application
You might have your go-to look for day and night down to a science, but there are certain occasions for which you may want to look extra special. A party or big event can be the perfect time to go the extra mile with your makeup.
Holidays are a popular time to be a bit more adventurous with your cosmetics, especially when it comes to subtle shimmer and sparkle. As with all makeup, the trick is not to overdo it - there's no need to rival the decorations! Simply amplify your normal tones with a little something special. Try a sheer gold lipstick or gloss over your normal hue for an added pop that isn't too audacious. A light shimmer on your cheekbones over your blush will give you a holiday glow that makes your skin look extra luminous. If you're feeling a bit more daring, a dramatic, smoky eye is always appropriate for these nighttime occasions. Try a little glitter along the lash line for an extra pop.
Another important makeup occasion is your wedding. Bridal makeup is all about making you appear as the prettiest version of yourself, so this isn't the time to try a new look. However, you might want to apply your makeup a little darker than normal, so you don't look washed out in your photos. That said, you want your look to be fresh and pretty. Use a shimmering highlight along your cheekbones to accentuate them, and apply a bit of light bronzer to the bridge of your nose, forehead and temples for a healthy glow. You could also apply a bit of a frosty, cream highlight shadow to the inner corners of your eyes to really make them stand out. The necessary final touch is waterproof liner and mascara, so you can cry all you want at the altar and still look flawless.
The most important thing to remember is to set aside a bit of extra time to get ready for a special occasion. You may even want to have your makeup applied professionally. Plan out your makeup like you would your outfit so you have a cohesive look.
If you want to find more specific makeup tricks that suit your style, check out the links on the next page.
- Brides. "Makeup & Skin Care." 2009. (Accessed 8/17/09)http://www.brides.com/beauty/makeup/guide/getting_started/
- Brides. "Makeup Made Simple." 2009. (Accessed 8/17/09)http://www.brides.com/beauty/makeup/feature/slide/164486/#slide_164491
- Brown, Bobbi. "Day to Evening Makeup." Oprah. 2009. (Accessed 8/16/09)http://www.oprah.com/media/20080601_tows_BB806167004DAYEVN050107
- Carefair. "Makeup Tips for Day and Evening: We've Got You Covered." 2008. (Accessed 8/17/09)http://www.carefair.com/Makeup/Makeup_Tips_For_Day_and_Evening_1583.html
- Connell, Kris. "How To: Apply Makeup in Five Minutes." Real Simple. 2009. (Accessed 8/16/09)http://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/makeup/makeup-in-five-minutes-00000000002736/
- Davis, Dawn Spinner. "23 Personalized Beauty Tips." Marie Claire. 2009. (Accessed 8/16/09)http://www.marieclaire.com/hair-beauty/how-to/tips/personalized-beauty-tips
- Gluck, Didi. "Hot, Hot, Hot (and Easy) Holiday Makeup." Marie Claire. (Accessed 8/17/09)http://www.marieclaire.com/hair-beauty/trends/articles/hot-holiday-makeup
- Guglielmetti, Petra. "Blush: New Tips for Doing It Right." Dec. 1, 2008. (Accessed 8/16/09)http://www.glamour.com/beauty/2008/12/blush-new-tips-for-doing-it-right?currentPage=1
- Marie Claire. "How to Hide Dark Circles." (Accessed 8/16/09)http://www.marieclaire.com/hair-beauty/how-to/tips/eyes-tired
- McKee, Marygay and Edwina Ings-Chambers. "How Much Make-Up Is Too Much?" Times Online. (Accessed 8/25/09)http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/beauty/article5839188.ece
- Molvar, Kari. "What Guys Really Notice about Your Looks." MSN Lifestyle. (Accessed 8/25/09)http://lifestyle.msn.com/your-look/makeup-skin-care-hair/articlecosmo.aspx?cp-documentid=20980108
- Real Simple. "Easy, Elegant Eye Makeup for Day and Evening." 2009. (Accessed 8/16/09)http://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/makeup/eyes/eye-makeup-day-evening-00000000014900/index.html