Teach me to use makeup

I’m going to be 30 in two weeks, and I’m thinking I’d like to start wearing makeup. But I never have, and I’m not sure how to go about learning. I assume there’s some skill involved in applying the stuff. How do I pick the right colors? What do I actually need, out of all those shelves and shelves of stuff? Is this going to cost me a fortune in trying things before I figure out what looks good on me? Where can I find a guide to how to use it that doesn’t assume that I already know what I’m doing?

Or should I just chuck the whole project and not bother?

You might want to try going to the makeup counter at a department store and explain your situation to one of their trained professionals. They usually give you a free makeover (if it’s not a busy day) and samples to try at home. You can take the samples and match colors with cheaper stuff at your local drug store.

Do you have dry skin, oily, or combination? Dark, light or medium complexion? That’ll make a difference in choosing colors and types of makeup. This site http://www.makeupdiva.com/index.html provides tips and advice without trying to push a particular line of cosmetics on you.

Oo! Oo! I was in the same boat the other week. I’m from a town with a larger “hippy” populaiton, so for about 10 year I just dressed like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo and never wore make-up. I had to attent a trendy event in New York city, so I figured that I needed to look current and trendy (had to represent an musician in a world where “image is everything”).

So I’ve been out of the make-up thing since the 80’s when eyeliner was just drawn across your bottom lid as if you were underlining your eyeball (the Michael Jackson look). I turned to the internet.

Do a Google search on “How to” with key words like “eye makeup,” “eyeborws” etc. I found a site that showed me how to properly sort out my eyebrows for plucking and how to choose the right make-up crap for the shape of my face.

Warning: Most of the website are primarily product driven, but some carry extensive tips-n-tricks.

Also, there’s a really good hair one I can recommend (I finally got the results that previously I only managed to have when I went to the salon – got me the right kind of brush and hair-dryer technique.)

Now I can do girly stuff!

Okay, now back to my sensible shoes and power-tools…

The most basic make up is lipstick. The easiest lipstick to deal with is Max Factor’s Lipfinity. If you put a dab of lipstick on the back of your hand, it gives you a fair idea of what tht color will look like on your skin (for example, most red-looking lipsticks show up bright pink on my skin. Just my coloring.)

Once you are fairly comfortable wearing lipstick out & about you can consider adding eye makeup such as eyeliner or mascara. I hear remarkable things about 2000 Calorie mascara (not sure what the brand is)

I consider blush, foundation, and eyeshadow to be Advanced Topics in Make-up Application, myself. I’m 27 and its plumb too much for me to deal with.

Watch out for those make-up counter ladies, they have a tendency to slather it on.

I suggest you go to a department store or, better yet, a MAC store and have one of their people make you up. They are usually happy to pass on some tips while they do so. Go to several different counters whenever you have time to see all the different methods they use to dainty you up - just remember you aren’t obligated to buy anything from them!

In my experience, the MAC employees tend to be the most knowledgable and friendly, but as stated you should definitely shop around for makeup advice.

If you’re looking for books or guides, Kevin Aucoin is highly recommended.

Now that I see my advice has already been given, I’ll just give the easiest way to avoid being guilted out of a purchase by the makeup ladies: simply smile, thank them and say “I’ll have to think about it” or “I’ll be back later” or “I’m on a budget.”

Then be sure to exit through the OTHER side of the mall when you leave later on :smiley:

Damned post-eating hamsters!!

I would suggest going to marykay.com and using their consultant locator to find one near you. They will come to your house and do it all there. They have plenty of samples that you can use and see while making up your mind about what you’d like. The samples are little one-used thingies, and they will show you how to put everything on (or as much as you’d like). Also, if you ever do buy anything from MaryKay, they will take it back any time in any condition (even half gone). Good luck and let us know what you do!

Hello Again, I almost NEVER use lipstick! I would have suggested eye makeup first. I am a total lip-chewer, so lipstick is pretty much wasted on me.

Try going to www.makeup411.com . They give product suggestions and have a message board full of make-up artists that love to give tips.

Ditto on the make up counter advice - They can show you HOW to apply. And more often than not, they’ll show you what you DON’T want to wear.

Start small. Find colors that you like. One of my favorite aunts gave me the best piece of advice when I started wearing make-up. Buy make-up to match your skin not your outfit. Find basic colors that you are comfortable with and build on them.

Remember, Make up is about shadow more than color. You don’t have to spend on 15 different eye shadows. Later, when you’re more comfortable, you can develop a “special” style for special occasions. Get comfortable with the basics first.

Experiment and find what you HAVE to use. I won’t leave the house without eyeliner. My mom has to have lipstick. My sister, foundation.

Every day I wear basically the same thing.
-Eyeshadow (dusty rose or taupe on the lid, medium brown in the crease)
-Eyeliner (dark brown)
-Mascara (soft black)
-Powder (oil control, loose, matt)
-Blush (rose)
-Lipstick (rose)/carmex (depending on my mood)

Now this is what I feel looks good on me. I can dress it up at night with bolder colors. And wear what you’re comfortable with. I go to make-up parties and leave looking like a prostitute. Not everyone looks good in blue eyeshadow and red lipstick. Trust me on this.

The best thing to do is to walk around the counters and see someone who is wearing makeup that you like. Ask them to do your face. Tell them, right off the bat, that you are only trying things out. Tell them that you will come back later after you see how you like the make up. This way they know from the beginning that you aren’t going to buy. I also recomend this because I have had colours put on me that look well in the mall and horrible outside of it.

MAC is fun and all, but their products are so (physically) heavy and extremely pigmented. I always feel and look like a drag queen when they do my make up, YMMV.

I would recommend Clinique for first time make up wearers. A lot of their products are aimed at a younger crowd - a crowd that most likely will not wear much make up or at least, lighter applications of it.

Max factor’s lipfinity is another product I would urge caution with. I love lipstick and I hated that one. I felt like I had tape on my lips the whole time. It was a horrible feeling.

Ms Boods’ Tip of the Day:

If you go to a counter and ask if they will help you make up, and the girl says, ‘Sure! But don’t look until I’m done’ – RUN!!! Run, run, run. ALWAYS watch, and a good make up artist will explain everything she is doing, and why.

wee hijack:

I wear very light make up, mostly to tone down a red-cheeked complexion, and I stopped in a favourite wee boutique in Covent Garden last spring for a bit of a pick me up (I frequently buy my goodies there & have always had good experiences). I mentioned to the girl who was waiting on me that I was looking for a nice face powder – she wanted to make me up, and, like an idiot, said ‘All right.’

When she was finished, and I hadn’t looked, she had made me up with a super pale all- over- my- face foundation what was white with faint green undertints, and had managed to take an innocent tube of pale lavendar lipstick and paint my lips deep purple! I was miffed, to say the least! Especially as I had said I was meeting someone later, and thought it would be a nice thing to do.

Whilst scraping it all off, and informing her I was NOT pleased, she became rather snarky and suggested I look in to Botox – and also recommended a doctor ‘she knew’ who could get me pills to help with my complexion (before you ask, why didn’t I talk to the manager, I found out that she was the manager!)

Anyway, I managed to excavate down to my own skin and was trying to repair the damage with what little I carry on me (fortunately it was only a 5 minute walk back to my digs), she had to get in one last comment, ‘As bad as you think I made you look, it was better than the [stuff] you were wearing when you came in here.’ Mind you all of this was being witnessed by the rest of the very uncomfortable staff by this point; it’s a tiny shop.

I smiled and said, ‘But I bought all of that stuff HERE.’


Ah yes, forgot to mention that MAC does tend to be more ‘dramatic’ when it comes to their colors. They come highly praised from me only as someone who is constantly searching for just the right hue of electric blue eyeshadow to match her hair, so keep that in mind :wink:

However, their more conservative colored foundations and powders are all excellent and affordable.

What does MAC stand for?

I second the idea of buying drugstore and supermarket products instead of department store cosmetics. Often they are made by the same company under different names.

Determine what skin type you have – dry, oily, T-zone or other. That is where the department store ladies can help you. If you skin is oily, you will want to use products that are water based. If it is dry, the products with some oil content are okay.

After you have cleansed your face, pat it with your dampened hands so that you have left a little moisture on your face. Then use a moisturizer. Put a small amount of moisturizer on the tips of your fingers and apply evenly. (My favorite was recommended by my dermatologist. It’s called Moisturell and you can find it at Walgreens and probably other places. I like the cream better than the lotion. You can get a BIG jar for around $13,

After you have applied moisturizer, you are ready for a foundation. Do match your skin!! You want your makeup to be the same color as your neck. The foundation helps to cover blemishes and imperfections. Be sure to blend and blend and blend until the foundation looks very smooth. Also blend thoroughly any color you use.

I’ve always liked matching the eye shadow to the color of the iris of your eye – or at least keeping it in the family. If your eyes are brown, you can probably wear anything from a beige to a sultry charcoal for evenings, for example.

I’m really cheap when it comes to using blush. I just use the lipstick I’m wearing and make LITTLE dots of my cheeks and then blend, blend, blend. Just a slight bit of color goes a long way. Don’t wear powder if you have many wrinkles.

Use an eyelash curler. They are worth their weight in gold. Apply mascara to the tips of your lashes only.

Use a lipliner to outline the NATURAL contours of your lips then fill in with your choice of lipstick. (Again, department store ladies can help you to know what looks best.)

My nomination for best night cream is Eucerin. It is also available in drugstores. After you remove your make up, just spread a thin layer of this cream over your face.

These are just some general principles. I hope that they help!

I hate makeup counters and prefer not to pay for expensive makeups like Clinique. Since so many seem to be recommending such things, I will throw my 2 cents in as a different option. If you tan well, you are more of a warm color than a cool color. Warms should stick with colors like raisin and coffee and away from pinks, true purples, and bright reds. (match your skin tones as DeVena said, not your clothes.)

You only need foundation if you want to hide flaws, in my opinion. I only put spot coverup on (under eyes and on the nose to hide large pores) rather than full foundation. I use Maybeline cover stick (color = light) and it covers minor dark circles very well. I have Loreal Ideal balance currently as well and that doesn’t work nearly as well at hiding differences. If you do get full foundation, buy foundation that matches your skin color at your jaw line, or else you look like you are wearing a mask.

Lipfinity does feel weird, but only if you don’t apply the moisture overcoat periodically. It is the only lipstick I have found to really last all day. They haven’t printed the name on the tube, but it says the color is #185 - it is a very neutral color that accents well without being flashy. A good color to start with, for warm or cools, I think, but definitely warms.

I will second the Maybeline 2000 calorie mascara. I don’t have thick lashes, but that mascara really makes them look full and pretty. It stays well all day, but still comes off at night very well. Stay away from heavy black unless you have very dark hair. I have tried many others - probably all the grocery store brands - and it works best for me.

If you have thin lashes, you might also want to do an eyeliner. Do not apply to the inside of the lid, as in above the eyelashes on the smooth wet part. Apply underneath the lashes - that is - actually at the base where the hairs grow from - and whatever you do to the bottom row, also do to the top for balance. I prefer a liquid eyeliner myself - I currently have Loreal Line Intensifique in brown (I have brown eyes) and it stays all day without flaking (except extreme crying situations.)

That is all I apply on a daily basis. I agree that blush and eyeliner are more advanced because where to apply and how much is so dependent on your face structure.

As always, YMMV, but this seems to work well for me and doesn’t cost me a fortune.

oops - meant eye shadow is more advanced, not eye liner.

Actually if you want a free makeover MAC might not do it for you. In my area MAC does give free makeovers but only with a $40 purchase. So if you know that you’re going to buy the stuff it’s great because you can see it on yourself but if you really hate the makeup you’re out of luck. Your area may be slightly different.


Who has caught InStyle Magazine’s 100 Best Beauty Buys that comes out in each March issue?
I have found some products I like by reviewing that feature.

I always buy more than I need, so now I’m getting to the point where I think, “Will I really use this? In the 40 minutes it takes me to get ready for work in the morning, will I take an extra 3-4 minutes to apply this? No?” Then I don’t buy it.

Clinique has shades I like. Loreal is a nice drugstore brand. Their Voluminous mascara is popular.

The one product I won’t leave home without applying is a very thin line of liquid eyeliner, with mascara to balance the line out.

Slight hijack
anyone know a good eyeliner or a way to keep eyeliner from bleeding on the upper lid or right below the eye? If some one could give me a clue I would hug them, I look bangalangin in eyeliner until an hour later and then I look like liz taylor with football makeup on :eek:

I generally only wear makeup for special occasions, as I cannot seem to do things halfway. If I do lipstick, I must do the foundation to tone down my acne, and then I need blush, then powder and eye makeup… it’s just more than I want to deal with unless I’m getting dressed up.

Having said that, I must differ with the previous posters on one point. Sometimes, department store makeup is worth buying. I tried every brand in the drugstore and simply could not find a foundation that:

A) did not irritate my skin
B) matched my skin tone
C) lasted more than an hour without turning into an oily mess. (I have oil-field skin, BTW.)

Off to the department store. After having numerous makeup ladies do their stuff on me, I ended up with Chanel. ::sigh:: At least my bottle will last a long time, since I don’t use it often. As far as eyes and lips go, however, I can do Maybelline etc. just fine.

So, if you have problem skin, department store foundation may be worth looking into.

Oh yes and I would like to add that if you have a hard to match skin tone a make up counter might not be a bad idea, I have never been able to find a foundation that matched until I went to Clinique.