How to Apply Makeup for a Beginner

By Sarah Vrba

Walking down the makeup aisle at your local drugstore is like walking through a jungle of products, tools and promotions. For beginners, this scene is often overwhelming and discouraging. But when you know what to look for and how to create a gorgeous everyday makeup look you'll feel instantly empowered. Basic foundation techniques coupled with a few eye-makeup tips are the perfect way to begin your makeup journey.

Young woman applying make up with brush
credit: altrendo images/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Summery fresh makeup only requires a couple of brushes and some moisturizing products.

Fearless Foundation

Wash your face with a gentle cleanser to remove any leftover product or dirt. Apply a dime-size amount of tinted moisturizer with light coverage and SPF to your face. This product gently evens skin tones while hydrating. Dab the product on your cheeks and forehead, and over your nose and chin. Blend in with clean fingers using gentle sweeping motions all the way to your hairline and a little under your jaw line until the moisturizer sits evenly on your skin.

Test out the tinted moisturizer in the store on the side of your wrist to get a sense for how it matches your complexion. While the lightweight nature of tinted moisturizer means it blends in gently, always opt for the shade closest to your skin tone. If you want a bit more coverage, opt for a lightweight liquid foundation.

Luminous Skin

Setting your tinted moisturizer ensures your makeup will last all day and minimize shine for those with oily skin. Swirl a fluffy kabuki brush in a lightweight pressed or mineral powder that matches your skin tone closely. Sweep the brush over your entire face and especially on any areas you want a slightly more matte finish. You only need a light application of powder to set your tinted moisturizer so avoid packing on the product.

Dip a large kabuki brush into a peach or coral powder blush -- these shades complement any skin tone. Smile and sweep the large brush over the apples of your cheeks for a springtime flush. You just need enough blush to give your face a subtle glow -- take just one pass and blend the product in gently with the brush.


Eyes draw people's attention immediately with a couple of simple beauty hacks. Sweep a neutral matte pressed shadow in a champagne or very light brown over your entire eyelid with an eyeshadow brush to neutralize the lid and give it a clean wash.

Apply a soft medium-brown pencil eyeliner to your top lash line. Use tiny dash strokes as close to your lash line as possible rather than drawing a single straight line across -- which is hard even for professionals. Mimic where your natural lashes begin and end, focusing a bit more attention on the outer corner of the eye. Follow up with a standard formula black mascara on your top lashes to open your eyes and add volume on top. Skip the bottom lashes for fresh daytime eyes.

Give Them Lip

For timid beginners look for a tinted lip balm in a warm berry color. This product will give your lips a subtle pop of color without requiring perfect application. This is also a smart way to get your SPF in a daytime office look.

For braver souls, apply a neutral lip balm to hydrate your lips beforehand. Then apply a creamy lipstick in a warm coral or berry shade with a sandy undertone for daytime perfection. Apply lightly on your lips and remove any mistakes around the edges with a makeup wipe. Skip lip liners and keep the look fresh and simple.