Step 1: Foundation
Understand Your Skin Your skin type should determine what kind of foundation you choose. If you have dry skin, try a liquid or hydrating powder formula, says Michelle Obama’s makeup artist, Carl Ray. Use powder or matte products on oily skin. Powder and liquid foundations work well on combination skin. Find the Right Shade When selecting a shade of foundation, pick one that matches your neck, arms, and chest rather than your face. “It may look a little strange at first when you put it on,” says Fetzer. “But it will blend down into your neck and your arm.” Apply It Correctly Start by covering your face with primer, says Ray. If you’re using a liquid formula, put a few drops on a sponge or your fingers; then dab the makeup on your forehead, nose, chin, and cheeks. From the center of your face, blend the makeup into your skin in a downward direction, and work your way out to the edges. “Always apply foundation going down so the little hairs on your face lay down pretty,” says Ray.
Step 2: Powder
Women with normal-to-dry skin can forgo powder, but those with oily skin should use it to reduce shine, says makeup artist Jeffrey Fetzer (whose clients include Madonna and Michelle Pfeiffer). To apply, dip a light and fluffy brush into the product, tap off the excess, and then swipe it over your face, paying special attention to the T-zone. You can also try a powder puff for increased coverage.
Step 3: Bronzer
Choose Your Type For a contoured, subtle look, apply a matte formula that will give you a glow, says Ray. Select a shimmer bronzer if you want to highlight certain features. Find the Right Shade Dark tones can easily age you, so use them with caution. “There’s a fine point between healthy and crazy,” says Fetzer. He recommends starting out with a light shade of bronzer and working up to a deeper hue once summer starts. Apply It Correctly Feeling up for the task? Using a brush, swipe bronzer where the sun would naturally shine on your face, such as your cheekbones, forehead, and nose, says Ray. Apply bronzer lightly and slowly build up as desired.
Step 4: Blush
Understand Your Skin Type If you have normal-to-oily skin, use a powder or cream blush, says Ray. Make sure to refrain from mixing textures, though. “If you’re using a powder foundation, you have to use a powder blush,” says Fetzer. “If you’re using a liquid foundation, you can use a cream blush.” Find the Right Shade Choose blush tints that correspond with your skin’s natural look when flushed, says Ray. Wear cool tone blushes with cool lip colors, and pair warm shades of blush with warm lip colors. When in doubt, Fetzer says, pick a rose blush that contains hints of brown — this hue generally flatters everyone. Apply It Correctly Smile slightly to locate the apples of your cheeks. For both cream and powder formulas, place the blush first on the apples and then blend it toward your hairline. Don’t worry about overdoing it, says Fetzer. “If you put too much on, take your same sponge that you use for your makeup, dab it a little bit, and just blend it all in.”
Step 5: Lips
Lipstick The ideal lip tint will enhance the natural shade of your pucker. Selecting a sheer tone will minimize the chances of a mismatch because your natural color will shine through. “Find a color in the same region of the hue of your lip color,” says Ray, “and it will always be correct.” Lip liner Stylists recommend a nude, or natural-colored, lip liner for its versatility compared with its more colorful counterparts. It’s much harder to find a color pencil that exactly matches a lipstick, says Ray. “Natural lip liner works with every color.” Apply It Correctly Cover your lips with moisturizer. Then line your lips, staying within the natural boundary before applying lipstick, says Ray. Reversing the order and using lip liner second can help correct any imperfections.
Step 6: Eye Shadow
Understand Your Skin Type Choose matte formulas to give your skin a smoother and prettier look, Ray says. Find the Right Shade Natural tones such as brown and taupe universally flatter, Ray says. Gray and muted purples — including mauve and plum — also create a classic look. Apply It Correctly Start by covering the area from the lash line to brow with primer or concealer, patting it in. This will help make your shadow last longer. Blend two shades of eye shadow on your lids, says Ray. Pick a lighter tone for your base, sweeping it across the area between your lash line and brow. Then cover the lid itself with another layer of shadow, using the darker hue so that the colors blend from darker to lighter, with the darkest shade hitting closest to your eye.
Step 7: Eyeliner
Understand Your Skin Type Pencil eyeliners resist smearing — ideal for ladies on the go, says Ray. Up the glam factor with gel liners, which provide water resistance, refrain from smudging, and allow increased control over line thickness. Choose the Right Shade Black or dark brown shades flatter most women. Apply It Correctly When using a pencil liner, make a line of small dots as close as possible to your lash line. Then, dip a small brush into powder of the same hue as the pencil and swipe it across the line of dots. “It will make a perfect line every time,” says Ray. “Anyone can do it.” Grab a slant brush when using gel liner (if the liner doesn’t include one) to apply the product smoothly across the lash line.
Step 8: Curl Eyelashes
Curl your eyelashes before applying mascara. Using a clamp tool, start at the bottom of your lash line and work your way outward. Clamp once at the base and again at mid-lash; finish with a press at the ends of your lashes, says Ray. Fetzer recommends counting to 10 before unclamping the curler.
Step 9: Mascara
Select mascara with a large and fluffy brush to reach every lash, says Fetzer. To apply, start at the root, wiggling the brush back and forth in a left and right motion. “You can lift, define, and separate the lashes all at the same time,” says Ray. If you’re feeling bold, lightly coat the lower fringe as well.
Step 10: Shape and Define Eyebrows
Visit a professional to initially establish a suitable shape that you can later maintain at home. “Keep brows thick, keep them long,” says Ray. “The more you play with brows, the harder they are to grow back.” To define your brows, fill them in using an angled brush dipped in brow powder about two shades lighter than your natural hair color. Fetzer recommends taupe powders for women with gray hair. For redheads, he suggests eyebrow pencils or powders in a tint that matches their hair color. If the right shades are unavailable, look for lip liner or eye shadow with red undertones.