Make-up isn't about trying to change your features, but about enhancing them. It's working to be the best you can while still being you.
Make sure your face is clean and moisturized, then apply a base make-up that matches your skin tone. I just use my finger, but some people prefer make-up sponges. If you're using someone else's make-up, or sharing your own, then sponges are the way to go. Place a small dab of make-up on each cheek, your chin, your nose and your forehead, then spread it round until your entire face is lightly covered, including your eyelids. Make sure there isn't a hard line at your chin, but you don't want to go clear down your neck, or you'll end up with make-up on your clothes. Blend around your chin and hair line so the make-up fades in and doesn't stop abruptly.
Next apply cover-up. This should be slightly lighter than your base color. I'm paranoid about the dark circles under my eyes, so I always start there. Try not to be too liberal. A few dabs will do, then blend. In high school, I used to put it on so thick, and used such a light color that all my pictures looked like I have raccoon eyes, so don't get carried away. Remember: enhance, not change. I like the liquid cover-up in a tube, applied with a sponge applicator. You can use the stick kind, but I find that my mascara smudges more when I use that. Dab a small amount of cover-up on any blemishes you want to hide and gently tap with your finger to blend. Use your middle finger, especially on the tender skin under your eyes, and you won't use as much pressure as when you use your index finger, since it's less used and not as strong. We want to pull and manipulate that skin as little as possible to avoid pre-mature wrinkles.
At this point, lightly dust your entire face with a thin layer of powder that matches your base make-up color. This sets your base and cover-up, and gives a nice, matte finish. This can be applied with either a large, round make-up brush, similar to a blush brush only bigger, or a powder puff that comes with the loose, finishing powder. You can also use a powder compact, which comes with a pad for application. These are better for traveling.
Blush adds needed color to your cheeks and accentuates your cheek bones. It's much easier and lasts longer than the olden days method of pinching. If you want contours, start with a darker shade, and apply it just below your cheekbones with a smaller, round blush brush that's flat on the end. Use shades of pink if you're looking for cooler tones, and peach if you want a warmer look. Next use a lighter shade of whatever color you've chosen, and with a blush brush, dab your color, tap off the excess, and brush it onto your cheekbones using a circular motion. Start at the edge of your eye and blend out, not quite to your ear. When you feel you have enough color, then take a make-up sponge and blend the edges so there are no harsh lines, and make sure your contour and cheek colors are smoothly blended.
Hold a pencil at the edge of your nose, straight up past your eye. This is where your brow should begin. Now tilt the pencil at an angle from your nose through the center of your eye. This is where your arch should be. Tilt the pencil further until it goes past the outside edge of your eye, and this is where your brow should end. If the shape of your eyebrows are all wrong, you might want to consider letting them grow for 6 - 8 weeks, then tweeze and reshape. In the meantime, an eyebrow pencil or an angled brush and dark brown eye-shadow can go a long way to creating the shape of brow you want. You can also purchase eyebrow/lash tint. This usually lasts anywhere from 2-4 weeks.
Primer - with a large eye-shadow brush, apply off-white eye-shadow, or a shade just lighter than your skin tone, to your entire eyelid, all the way up to the eyebrows. You can also lightly dust this color just under your bottom lashes.
Eye-shadow - my eyes are close-set, so I only apply darker shadow on the outer half of my lid. If you don't have this problem, you can use the whole lid. Work your shadow from light to dark, starting by covering your lid, ending at the crease, with your light color, then add increasingly darker shades with an eye-shadow brush, using the dab and tap method (dab in the color and tap off the excess) and circular motions until to get the intensity you want. If you want a more natural look, use colors close to your skin tones. For a more dramatic look, use bolder colors.
Highlight - using a color lighter than your skin tone, clean up the edges of your eye-shadow, then highlight under the brow and close to the nose using a small eye-shadow brush.
Blend - with a darker color, reemphasize the crease in your lid and make sure all your colors are blended together.
Eyeliner and Mascara
Liquid or eyeliner pencil is a personal preference. If you want a softer, more blended look, go with the pencil and a smudging tool. For a crisper, harder line, liquid is the way to go. Apply a thin line as close to your lashes as you can get. For close-set eyes, only go halfway. For a dramatic look, extend beyond the outer edge with an upwards swoop. Finish your eyes with one or two coats of mascara on your upper and lower lashes.
The final step is your lips. I've gotten lazy in my old age and only apply lip gloss. If you want a longer lasting, more dramatic finish, start by lining your lips with a lip pencil in a color that matches your blush tones. You can free hand this, or if you want to be more precise, place dots at the corners of your mouth, at each peak, and in the dip in the center, then connect the dots as carefully as you can. Then fill in your lips with lipstick of a slightly lighter shade than the liner using a lipstick brush. If you want your lipstick to last longer, fill in your entire lips with the pencil, then apply the lipstick. For a pouty look, choose an even lighter color that matches, and with the lipstick brush, dab a few strokes onto the center of your bottom lip. Voila! For longer lasting results, you can use a lip stain. Our favorite is LipSense. Contact us for vendors!
Make-up is a great tool when applied correctly (I don't know of anyone it doesn't help). But, don't forget to let your inner beauty shine through. Remember that nothing on your face is more attractive than a smile!