With the thousands of styles of makeup floating around out there, getting familiar with just the basics can be somewhat intimidating. Not everyone is into the complicated techniques behind the more “inspired” looks — some of us just want to try a simple change of pace. Many makeup-wearers seek a realistic everyday approach that is appropriate for both work and play.
Here’s a simple three-step process for those who’d like to start dabbling.
1. Even out your skin tone
According to Real Simple, this first step will provide you with a neat base, appearing to remove or subdue any blemishes or deviations in your skin tone.
For a nice “on-the-spot” fix (think small blemishes or discolorations), a quick concealer job will do the trick. Elle recommends Erase Paste by Benefit Cosmetics (Sephora, $26). To skimp a few bucks off the budget, also try Elle-recommended Mineralize Concealer by M.A.C (Nordstrom, $20).
If you’d prefer an all-over boost to your face’s natural skin tone, Real Simple suggests you use foundation. Glamour says to use the Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick (Sephora, $44), which Sephora refers to as “iconic.” (Does this mean Jackie O used it?) Those of you on a tighter budget may prefer to use the same foundation technique with the Cosmo-endorsed Maybelline Fit Me Shine Free Foundation Stick (Ulta, $8.99).
Apply the stick in thick but judicious lines, tracing your cheekbones, nose, and above the brows. Blend the lines into your natural skin using your fingers. This will have your skin looking even and smooth, even glowing. While evening out your skin tone may prove beneficial to conveying a more “seamless” look, it is by no means necessary. Many makeup users rarely — if ever — use these products, opting for a more natural look.
One last tip: Have a cosmetics team member help you choose a color that suits your skin. There’s nothing worse than accidentally picking a tone three times more orange than your natural glow!
2. Make your eyes pop
For anyone looking to accent their eyes with eyeliner — making a slightly bolder statement to the look than lash-lengthening mascara alone — a pencil (versus liquid) eyeliner such as Clinique Quickliner (SDF, $15) or Avon Ultra Luxury Eye Liner (SDF, $6) is a good place to start, says Redbook.
In applying eyeliner, Redbook advises the wearer to maintain a steady gaze forward. Then, place the tip of the pencil at the innermost lash of your eye and draw carefully outward along the lashline. Rather than holding one straight line, this can be accomplished in shorter flicks, minimizing the risk of error.
Next up is a simple swoop of mascara to highlight your eyes, according to Real Simple. Harper’s Bazaar recommends M.A.C. “False Lashes” Waterproof Mascara (Nordstrom, $21), or Maybelline Great Lash Mascara (around $5 at any drug store), if you’re looking to save a few dollars.
Beginning at the outer corner of your eye, position the wand horizontally beneath the top layer of your lashes and sweep gently outward from the roots to the tips. Be careful not to poke your eye!
Tip: For anyone with a more visual approach to learning, there are thousands of video tutorials made to help beginners (and pros) nail down these techniques online.
3. Add a splash of color
Real Simple‘s final step in tying together your look? Add a little lip color. According to Vogue, “Everyone loves Clinique’s Chubby Stick lip colour balms — they’re the brand’s number one lip product globally.”
The Clinique Chubby Stick (Sephora, $17) for lips is a hybrid lip balm and tint, making it an excellent and easy-to-apply starter. Sephora points out that these moisturizing lip balms are not only healthy, but are also apply smoothly and neatly. The product is hydrating and fragrance-free, and is available in a wide range of colors.
Real Simple tells users apply a lip balm or stick starting at the center of each lip — one at a time — and moving out toward the corners. Once a streak is applied, lightly rub the lips against each other to even out the tone and absorb the color. Lips — and look — complete!