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how to do make up

How to Do Makeup for Beginners: Your Step by Step Guide

Stepping into the world of makeup can be both exciting and a tad bit intimidating. The myriad of products, a spectrum of colours, and the artistry involved can seem complex.

But fret not, with a bit of understanding and practice, you can create stunning looks that enhance your natural beauty.

This comprehensive guide provides a step-by-step walkthrough to applying makeup, particularly tailored for beginners.

We’re going to take a look at the science behind layering makeup, discuss the best approach to makeup application, and reveal tips and tricks to make the process easier.

By the end of this guide, you’ll be well on your way to becoming your own makeup artist!

The Science Behind Layering Makeup

Before we delve into the specifics of applying makeup, let’s shed some light on the logic behind the makeup application order or the art of layering. It may seem arbitrary, but there’s a science to the sequence in which you apply your makeup products.

A bit like applying skincare products, the rule of thumb is to move from thin to thick – start with lighter, more liquid-based products and move towards thicker, creamier ones.

The reason for this lies in how the products adhere to your skin and to each other. Lighter products like serums and moisturisers are absorbed quickly, preparing your skin for the subsequent products. Heavier creams and oils, if applied first, can prevent these thinner products from penetrating the skin.

Layering makeup also influences how your makeup looks and lasts. For instance, primer – a product applied after skincare but before makeup – smooths the skin and provides a grippy base for foundation and concealer. This helps the makeup adhere better to the skin and increases its longevity.

In terms of colour cosmetics, the layering process ensures each product gets its moment to shine without overshadowing the others. For example, applying eyeshadow before eyeliner allows the liner to stand out against the eyeshadow, defining the eyes more effectively.

how to do makeup step by step

Is There a One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Makeup?

When it comes to makeup, one could argue that there’s a standard process that works for most people – cleanse, prep the skin, apply foundation, and so forth. However, it’s important to remember that makeup is a deeply personal and creative process, and the ‘standard’ approach might not suit everyone.

Individual skin types, face shapes, and personal style significantly influence how one applies makeup. For instance, if you have dry skin, you might prefer to use a hydrating primer before your foundation, whereas someone with oily skin might opt for a mattifying one. Similarly, the way you apply blush can differ based on your face shape and the effect you want to achieve.

Thus, while this guide provides a general step-by-step approach to makeup application, consider it a flexible framework rather than a rigid set of rules. Feel free to tweak the process to suit your unique needs and preferences. The real secret to beautiful makeup is understanding your own face and skin, and knowing how to enhance your individual features.

Read More: Ultimate Guide to the Best Beauty Subscription Boxes in the UK

how to do makeup step by step

How to Apply Makeup in Order

First of all, creating a flawless makeup look begins way before you pick up your makeup brushes – it starts with skincare. Properly prepping your skin ensures a smoother application and a longer-lasting finish – in short, the perfect canvas for your makeup products. Here’s a step-by-step guide to makeup application, starting with skincare:


Always start with a clean canvas. Use a gentle cleanser suited to your skin type to remove any dirt or oils, and finish by patting your skin dry, never rubbing it abrasively.


Apply a toner to balance your skin’s pH level and prepare it for the subsequent skincare steps.


Apply a serum that targets your specific skin concerns. Wait for a few minutes to let it sink into your skin.


Hydrate your skin with a moisturiser suitable for your skin type. Even if you have oily skin, don’t skip this step as dehydrated skin can produce more oil.


Sunscreen is crucial, even on cloudy days or if you’re staying indoors. UV rays can penetrate through windows and cause skin damage.

Now that your skin is prepped and protected, let’s move on to the makeup.

how to do makeup for beginners


A primer smoothes out your skin and creates a perfect base for foundation. It helps to extend the longevity of your makeup. Pick a primer that suits your skin type.


Always choose a foundation that matches your skin tone and meets your coverage needs – this will prevent tide marks and excessive layering, which can end up looking cakey. You can apply it with a brush, sponge, or your fingers, starting from the centre of your face and blending outwards.


Once your foundation has set, apply concealer to any areas that need extra coverage, such as under the eyes or on blemishes. Remember to blend well to avoid noticeable differences in texture or colour.


Setting your base with powder prevents it from shifting or creasing, so focus on the areas where makeup tends to move, like under the eyes and the T-zone.


While optional, bronzer adds warmth to your complexion, while contour adds depth. Apply these sparingly to the areas where shadows naturally fall on your face.

how to do makeup for beginners


For a glowy finish to your complexion, apply blush to the apples of your cheeks for a healthy flush of colour. Blend upwards towards your hairline for a lifting effect.


Another optional step, highlighter can go a long way in helping you achieve a glowy, translucent finish to your makeup. Using a liquid or powder highlighter, highlight the high points of your face – this includes the tops of your cheekbones, brow bone, and cupid’s bow.


If you’re adding an eye look, apply eyeshadow first in your chosen colours. Typically, lighter shades go on the lid, while darker shades are used in the crease for depth. You can always apply an eyeshadow primer first, but it isn’t always necessary, especially if you don’t have oily skin.


Define your eyes with eyeliner. You can create different effects based on how you apply it – a thin line for a subtle look or a wing for a more dramatic effect.


Apply mascara to your eyelashes, starting from the base and wiggling upwards. If you’re looking for a more bold look, opt for thickening mascara. For a flirty, more natural look, opt for lengthening mascara.


Fill in your eyebrows using a pencil or powder that matches your hair colour, or apply a clear gel if they’re dense enough already. Follow the natural shape of your eyebrows for a more natural look.

Lipstick/Lip gloss:

Finish off your makeup look with a lipstick or lip gloss in your chosen shade – and there you have it!

how to do makeup

Applying Makeup for Beginners: Tips and Tricks

Now that we’ve walked through the general order of makeup application, here are some tips and tricks to elevate your makeup game:

Know Your Skin Type:

Understanding your skin type – whether it’s dry, oily, combination, or sensitive – is key to choosing the right products. For example, if you have dry skin, opt for hydrating primers and foundations.

Find Your Perfect Shade:

When testing foundations, always swatch on your jawline to get the closest match to your face and neck. The right shade should blend seamlessly and look natural. Whether you

Don’t Overdo Powder:

Powder is great for setting makeup, but too much can make your skin look dry and cakey. Use a light hand and focus on the areas that tend to get oily.

Blend, Blend, Blend:

The key to natural-looking makeup is blending. Whether it’s foundation, eyeshadow, or blush, ensure there are no harsh lines or uneven patches.

Invest in Good Tools: Quality brushes and sponges can significantly improve your makeup application. Keep them clean to prevent bacteria build-up and skin irritation.

Practice Makes Perfect:

Don’t worry if your makeup doesn’t look flawless at first. Keep practising different techniques and experimenting with different products to see what works best for you.

Remove Makeup Before Bed:

No matter how tired you are, always remove your makeup before bed to avoid clogged pores and skin irritation.

Final Thoughts

Mastering makeup application takes time and practice, but it’s an exciting journey of self-expression and creativity.

Remember that makeup is not about masking imperfections, but about enhancing your natural beauty and expressing your individuality.

So, don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with it! And if you’re looking to continually test new shades, products and beauty finds but don’t have an unlimited budget, why not try out a monthly beauty box subscription?

With a bundle of new goodies to try every month – from skincare products to makeup – you’re sure to find your new favourites in no time.

how to do makeup

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section we answer your questions on how to do makeup.

How to do makeup for beginners?

For beginners, it’s essential to start with a clean palette, meaning a well-cleansed face. Follow the step by step guide mentioned in this post, from skincare to the final makeup look. Don’t forget, practice makes perfect!

Which makeup brush is best for applying liquid foundation?

For applying liquid foundation, many prefer using a beauty blender or a dense, flat-topped foundation brush. These tools provide a smooth, even application.

How can I mask dark circles under my eyes?

To mask dark circles, apply concealer that’s one or two shades lighter than your natural skin tone. Blend it well, ensuring you cover the dark under eye circles without making the area too light.

What’s the best way to achieve a natural look with makeup?

For a natural look, focus on using neutral shades that enhance your natural beauty. Blend products well and use lighter coverage products to let your skin shine through.

Why is my makeup not lasting throughout the day?

Ensure you’re using a makeup primer before your foundation. For those with oily skin, setting your makeup with a setting spray or powder can make all the difference. Always remember to pick products suitable for your skin type.

Do I really need a makeup sponge for application?

While a makeup sponge like a beauty blender can provide a seamless finish, especially with liquid products, some prefer using their fingers or brushes. It’s all about personal preference and the finish you desire.

How should I apply bronzer for a sun kissed glow?

To achieve a sun kissed glow, lightly apply bronzer to the high points of your face where the sun would naturally hit – the top of your forehead, cheekbones, and bridge of your nose.

Is lip liner necessary when using lip gloss or lipstick?

Lip liner helps define the natural lip line and can prevent lip colours from bleeding. However, for casual days or a more natural look, you can skip it.

What should be included in a basic makeup bag for beginners?

A basic makeup bag should include foundation or BB cream matched to your skin tone, concealer, blush, mascara, an eyebrow pencil, a neutral eyeshadow palette, lip balm or lipstick, and a setting product like powder or spray.

How often should I clean my makeup tools?

Cleaning your makeup tools, especially brushes and sponges, should be done weekly to prevent bacteria build-up. Not only is this better for skin health, but clean tools also provide a better makeup application.

How can I remove stubborn makeup residue?

For stubborn makeup residue, especially from long-wear products, use an oil-based makeup remover. This will break down the makeup, making it easier to cleanse off.