“The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion.
But cosmetics are easier to buy.”
– Yves Saint-Laurent
I have a confession to make: I am addicted to makeup. To those of you who know me, this won’t exactly come as a shock. It’s a love affair that began at the tender age of twelve. My mom first started putting eyeliner on me in the sixth grade. I still remember crying one day when we overslept and she didn’t have enough time to apply it before I caught the bus.
To some people, putting on makeup every day is a chore. That’s so not me; to me, makeup is art. But instead of hanging on the wall in a museum, it’s on my FACE. Or even better, I’ve created a masterpiece on someone else’s face! I love doing other people’s makeup just as much as I love doing my own.
I used to be the kind of girl who wouldn’t go to the mailbox with a bare face. Not anymore! Over the years, I’ve grown comfortable in my own skin. Natural is beautiful… But makeup is my war paint. It makes me feel confident and sassy.
When I’m getting dolled up, I want to be comfortable. I relax on the couch, and use a lighted vanity mirror with both regular and magnified sides. On a normal day, I’m usually finished in about twenty minutes. Getting up early enough to “put on my face” is worth it to me. It’s fun and relaxing – my morning art project! The tutorial I’m about to share with you took a bit longer because it includes many of my special tips and tricks.
Just like clothing, makeup can set a mood. I have a lot of different looks in my repertoire, but they usually share a few of my signature elements: “cat eye” liner, light to medium shadow, and soft lips. I use a mix of drugstore and high end products. In this tutorial I’ve included the products that I wear, but feel free to substitute your own favorites! Today I’m going to teach you how to get my classic signature look. I was feeling super fierce on the day I did this, so I added a BONUS bold lip.
Begin with a clean, moisturized face. Smooth a primer over your skin. Don’t forget to blend it in under your eyes! Right now I’m using e.l.f. Mineral Infused Face Primer. If you need foundation, now is the time to apply it. I often skip this step and simply touch up the red spots on my jaw with Dermablend Cover Crème concealer in Warm Ivory. If you have any pimples, scoop up a small speck of the concealer with the edge of your fingernail and pat it on. Don’t rub it, or it will just smear around. Then set your camouflage work by patting it a small fluffy brush loaded up with loose or pressed powder. I use Benefit Bluff Dust. (Don’t worry about blending just yet.)
Then smooth a highlighting concealer (such as Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer) under your eyes and up into the inner corners. Blend it carefully and then set it with powder as well. I really like e.l.f. Undereye Setting Power. Pat it on very gently with your ring or middle finger and blend, blend, blend. Finally, take a fluffy brush, dip it in your face powder, and swirl it all over your face. Don’t forget your concealed blemishes and eyelids!
It’s time to add a little color. Contour your cheekbones very lightly by sweeping Rimmel Natural Bronzer in Sun Light in the hollows of your cheeks, stopping parallel with the outer corners of your eyebrows. Remember, a bronzer without shimmer is best for contouring. Use a light touch, so you don’t end up looking like a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Then take your fluffy powder brush and blend again.
Next use Flower Kiss Me Twice Lip & Cheek Chubby in Think Pink on the apples of your cheeks, and blend it in very well with your fingers. (All this blending will keep you looking more Impressionist Renoir than Cubist Picasso.) Now you have a lovely rosy complexion!
Eyebrows are next, and they are very important! They frame your entire face. You wouldn’t hang The Mona Lisa in a plastic poster frame from Walmart, so don’t frame your face with bad brows. I LOVE the bold brow trend. It’s important to find a shade that goes with the tone of your hair. For me, it can be hard to find a pencil that’s not too reddish. In these pictures, I’ve used Maybelline Brow Precise Shaping Pencil in Soft Brown, but my current favorite is Flower Raise Some Brows Defining Brow Pencil in Light Brown.
Fill in your brows with light strokes. Shape the edges as you wish, and blend it out with a hard angle brush or a spoolie. Don’t worry if you feel a little like Anthony Davis and Helga Pataki’s love child at this point. Once you finish the rest of your makeup, it will all balance out. (Disclaimer – a third grader taught me about Anthony Davis. Do you really think I’d have made a sports reference all on my own?)
Grab Milani Eyeshadow Primer and spread a light layer over your lids. Don’t skip it – the color will be truer, and it will prevent creasing! Then use a fluffy eyeshadow brush to smooth the lighter shade in Nars All About Eve shadow duo over your entire lid and up into the crease. This hue is like the natural color of your skin – but better! (The technical term is “shimmering flesh,” but that sounds horror movie creepy.)
Then use a lighter shade to highlight your brow bone and the inner corner of your eye, such as the creamy nude satin tone Virgin from the Urban Decay Naked Palette.
Now use a pointed shadow brush to shade Naked (a light brown, aka buff matte, from the same palette) into the crease.
Finally, use an eyeliner brush to trace that same eyeshadow softly under the lash line. And of course, use your fluffy shadow brush to blend once more.
Now it’s time for the eyeliner. I am a faithful fan of Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner in Black Brown. I’ve tried many different liners in my life, but I haven’t found anything more amazing in fifteen years. This stuff will not budge. Start near the inner corner of your eye, but not too far down. The closer you get to your tear duct, the more quickly your liner will smudge as the day goes on. If it’s a hot day or if your skin can get oily, you always run the risk of looking like The Winter Soldier.
Now make short strokes toward the outer corner of your eyelid, staying close to the lash line. Don’t try to draw one continuous line, and really work the pencil down into the roots of your lashes. Use your other hand to very gently pull your eyelid taut for a smoother line. But remember, be gentle! You don’t want to give yourself extra wrinkles on down the road.
Once you have traced your natural lash line, then flick it out at the corners to create a cat eye or wing. Start with the teeniest little point, and then gradually make it more dramatic to your liking.
After you’ve lined both eyes, use my trade secret! Take an eyeliner brush and load it with a dark shadow. Now carefully use it to trace the liner! The shadow gives it a smoother finish, blends any harsh edges, and provides even more staying power. Here I used Triple Fudge, an intense dark brown, from the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette. Try to keep it right on top of the liner, and don’t smudge it above the line. That would give you a smoky eye, which can be totally sultry and sexy – but not the look we are going for here.
Now it’s time to make your lashes luscious. Use an eyelash curler before you apply mascara. I know a lot of girls skip this step, but it really gives your eyes an extra oomph.
Different mascaras are going to work best for different people, just like the hair products that work on your best friend might not work so well on you. Right now, I’m into Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara. It will go on even more smoothly if you’ve warmed it up first. Stick it in your pocket as you work so that your body heat will do the job for you! Before you begin, dab the point of the wand on the back of your hand to prevent clumps. That way the excess mascara doesn’t end up globbed on your eyelid!
Press the base of the wand at the base of your lashes, and slowly wiggle it back and forth as you stroke upwards. Don’t forget to give a quick swipe to the back of your lashes as well. This is especially important if you have naturally light eyelashes. How many coats you apply is going to depend on the formula of your mascara and the intensity you want to achieve. Here I’ve applied three coats. Each layer gets a moment of drying time as I do the lashes on the other eye.
For your bottom lashes, I recommend Clinique’s Bottom Lash Mascara. The formula is very smudge resistant, and the tiny little brush is perfect for depositing just the right amount of product on each lash.
When I have time, I use a dab of liquid highlighter. Place a small dot of Benefit High Beam at the top of your cheekbone and blend it in a “C” shape to up above the brow bone near your temple. Its ethereal pink shimmer will add dimension and radiance. Finally, give your face a spritz of NYX Dewy Finish Setting Spray!
At this point, I’d normally throw on some soft lip gloss or a natural lip stain. But on this day, I was feeling fierce! I was ready to take on the world – or at least a roomful of twenty-five rowdy second graders. I decided to go with the bold red lip. When you wear dramatic lipstick, it’s really important that your lips be smooth and flake-free. You can use a lip mask, such as Mary Kay Satin Lips, or just buff your kisser with some petroleum jelly and a soft toothbrush.
Next, line and fill in your lips with lip liner. Colored works fine, but here I’ve used NYX Retractable Lip Liner in Vanilla Sky, a natural nude shade. Some people like to exaggerate the boundaries of their natural lip line, but I can’t. That technique works great for some people (I’m looking at you, Kylie Jenner), but I just end up looking like a clown.
Use a lip brush to coat your pout with Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss in Kiss of Life, a fiery matte red. After you have filled in your lips with color, stick your thumb in your mouth, close your lips around it, and slowly pull your thumb out. HEY – I know what you’re thinking, but get your mind out of the gutter! Any lipstick that would have ended up on your teeth is now safely on your thumb.
And there you have it! Your makeup is flawless. You are stunning, confident, and fabulous. Remember, inner beauty is key… But a little mascara never hurt anyone. 🙂