Beginner’s Guide to Makeup

Beginning makeup users range in age from preteen to adult, but regardless of your age, you should know right away that there are makeup items to splurge on, and there are those to skip. Also, makeup consists of more than rouge and lipstick, and there are tools and tricks to know before going out and spending a fortune on cosmetics.

You don’t need to purchase all of the makeup brushes, eyeliner colors or lipstick shades. In most cases, there are only a few colors that will flatter your skin tone, eye color or personal preference, which makes it foolish to spend so much money on items you’ll wear only once. With that out of the way, here is a beginner’s guide to makeup that will get you started.

Learn About Makeup for Beginners

Foundations for Success

When you read “foundations for success” here, we’re not referring to the actual foundation you’ll use to mask flaws or uneven skin tones; instead, we’re referring to the first steps to prepare your skin for smooth makeup application. Always begin with a freshly-washed face so that you’re not adding makeup on top of dirt. This can leave you with a blotchy-looking face, which flatters no one!

Here are the steps you will need to complete before applying makeup:

  • Cleanse skin with facial cleanser or wash to remove oil and dirt from skin.
  • Exfoliate with a scrub to remove dead skin from the skin.
  • Tone with a gentle toner to hydrate skin and prepare it for moisture.
  • Moisturize skin because it keeps skin supple to avoid aging.

For mature skin, an extra step would be to apply an anti-aging serum after toner, but before moisturizer, to work on fine lines, age spots and wrinkles more proactively. The age where a woman should expect to see aging start is in her early-to-mid 30’s; however, women should begin to use anti-aging products sooner.

Drugstores, supermarkets, department stores, and beauty supply stores will carry all of the aforementioned items with a variety of products that fit every price range.

Foundation Primer

If you know you’ll be wearing your makeup for a long period of time – like to school or work – using a foundation primer is a must. Foundation primer smoothes skin, and keeps your concealer and foundations in place all day until you’re ready to remove the makeup.

Concealers and Foundations

These two items are the hardest things to purchase if you’re shopping in a store that doesn’t allow you to test the makeup and/or provides no natural light. The best way to choose the perfect concealer and foundation is to test it on your face, or the back of your hand with natural sunlight; however, if you’re not able to open the products in-store, it becomes tricky.

Hold the bottle of concealer or foundation up to your face, and choose the one that looks the closest to your natural skin color.
You will have greater success if you have concealer and foundation from the same brand and color!

If you purchase a shade that isn’t a perfect match for your skin, you may be able to return it, or purchase a lighter or darker shade to mix with the previous shade to form your own color. In most cases, you will apply concealer first to pimples, red areas or under-eye circles, and then precede using foundation; but these steps can be flipped depending on your personal preference.

Tools for Foundation/Concealer

Foundation brushes are a nice thing to have, but they’re not necessary. You can apply foundation with your fingers, assuming it is cream, mousse or liquid formula; mineral foundations require a brush to apply the foundation onto your skin. Concealer brushes are also a luxury item, and they’re not a must-have makeup tool for beginners. If you’re willing to spend the money, then purchase makeup brushes from a reputable brand.


Foundation can sometimes make your face appear one-dimensional and flat, so use blush to add color back to your cheeks, and make your makeup look more natural. Read more about makeup blush.

There are a lot of blushes to choose from, but peach or light pink tones work well for nearly every skin tone, and are easily blended to create a pretty glow on your cheeks.

To apply blush, smile and use a fluffy brush to lightly dust the powder onto the apples of your cheeks. Blend the color up to your temples by moving the brush lightly in small circular motions.


Use eyeliner to draw attention to your eyes. This is a little tricky, but with practice, it becomes easier. There are different formulas to choose from, including gel, liquid, and pencil eyeliners that come in different colors; the basic go-to color for eyeliner is black.

Gel and liquid eyeliners tend to be easier to work with because they typically come with an angled brush or applicator that allows you to begin with small lines, and build them up to a thicker line if you prefer.

Apply the eyeliner to the upper lash line by following as closely as possible to your lashes, and then gradually make the line thicker as you reach the outer corner of your eye. To keep your eyes looking awake and open, don’t apply eye liner to the bottom lash line.


For women with little lash growth or short eye lashes, mascara is a definite must-have item. Mascara can give you fuller, longer-looking lashes, and will help to make your eyes appear more awake and open.


The three colors a beginner to makeup should have are a light skin-toned color shadow, dark brown color, and a medium-toned color. These three colors can create multiple looks, and also compliment colors that you may be adding to your collection.

Apply the lightest color of eyeshadow to the inner corners of your eyes, and the darkest color to the outer corners.

Blend the colors together using the medium-toned color in the middle of your eyelid; this creates a smoky-eye look.

Tools for Eye Makeup

Eventually, you may consider purchasing a flat eye shadow brush, an angled eyeliner brush, and a fluffy eye shadow blending brush; however, in the beginning, these brushes aren’t necessities, and can be purchased as your makeup collection grows. Check some eye makeup tips on our blog.

It may seem like you’re behind on all of the makeup trends, but makeup is a form of expression, it’s an art, and it is all developed by experimentation.

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