Beauty, Makeup

How to Not Suck at Makeup | 10 Pro Makeup Tips

How to Not Suck at Makeup Simply StephanieKay

10 PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP APPLICATION TIPS FOR BETTER LOOKING MAKEUP

Let’s face it, applying makeup can be downright frustrating. There’s literally hundreds of products, tools and techniques out there, making it hard for the average person to know what to do and which products to choose. Not all of us are professional makeup artists with years of experience and know how under our belt, but still want to up our makeup game. If this sounds like you, I have good news! You don’t have to be a pro to get pro looking results. So, grab your pencils, because class is in session.

why you should exfoliate and moisturize your skin simply stephanie kay

1. PREP YOUR SKIN

Flawless looking makeup starts with the skin. Having a daily skin care regimen in place is essential. Your routine can be as simple or as complex as you’d like, but should, at the very least, include products that exfoliate and moisturize.

  • Why Exfoliate? Makeup loves to cling to dry skin and can accentuate textured areas, such as pimples and bumps. Exfoliating products help scuff away dead skin and debris, leaving the skin clean & smooth, and will make your makeup go on much easier.
  • Why Moisturize? Makeup can be drying and harsh to your skin, especially when worn all day. Moisturizer puts moisture back into the skin and prevents dry flakes from forming, plus may help fight aging and wrinkles.

what makeup products to use for your skin type

2. USE PRODUCTS MADE FOR YOUR SKIN TYPE

Knowing your skin type is key in choosing the best skin care & makeup products for you.

  • If you have oily skin, you want to choose products that are mattifying and/or oil free. These products are made to control oil, and keep your skin matte for longer periods of time. It’s also best to stay away from cream based products such as foundation, contour, highlighter, etc., as they may cause more oil production and wont last as long.
  • If you have dry skin, you want to choose products that are hydrating or luminizing, and bring moisture & luster back to your skin. Cream products may work better for you than powder based products, as powder can grab on to & accentuate dry skin.
  • If you have combo skin you’ll need to test which type of products work the best for your skin. You can customize your routine by using different types of products on different areas of your face.

how to determine your skin's undertone simply stephanie kay

3. KNOW YOUR SKIN TONE (UNDERTONE)

Arguably the most important step in having your makeup look professional is knowing how to match product shades to your skin’s undertone.

  • What are undertones? Your undertone is the color that shows through from underneath the surface of your skin and determines which foundation, contour, blush and lip shades will look best on you. Essentially, blue (cool) or yellow (warm).
  • How do I tell which undertones I have?  An easy way to determine your skin’s undertone is by looking at the color of the veins in your wrist. If the veins appear blue/purple, you have a cool undertone. If they appear green, you have a warm undertone. If they don’t look blue or green, you likely have a neutral/olive undertone. You can also tell by which type of jewelry looks better on you. If you look better in silver jewelry, you likely have a cool undertone. If you look better in gold, you likely have a warm undertone. Look good in both? You likely have a neutral undertone.
  • How do I pick the right shades for my undertone? When it comes to skin undertones and makeup, you want to match the undertone of the product to the undertone of your skin. Blue based colors tend to look best on cool undertones, where as earthy colors tend to flatter those with warmer undertones. Neutral/olive undertones can typically pull off both cool and warmer colors (lucky you!). If you’re still unsure on how all this undertone stuff works, watch this amazing video.

eye shape makeup tutorial

4. KNOW YOUR FACE & EYE SHAPE

Knowing what face and eye shape you have plays a huge role in knowing how to do your makeup in a flattering way, especially when it comes to contouring and highlighting. Face shapes include: diamond, heart, round, oval/oblong, square and rectangular. Eye shapes include deep set, monolid, heavy fold/hooded, protruding, upturned, down turned, close set and wide set.

I’m going to be working on an in-depth guide on how to tell what eye & face shape you have, and which makeup placement is the most flattering for each type. Unfortunately, it’s too much to jam pack in to this post, but for now you can find your face shape here, and your eye shape here.

How to find your perfect foundation shade

5. MATCH FOUNDATION SHADE TO NECK

Many people have a lighter complexion on their face than they do on their neck, which makes finding the perfect foundation shade frustrating. In order to get your foundation base to look amazing and as natural as possible it’s best to match your foundation shade to your neck (or whichever area is the darkest). Ideally, the foundation shade should appear to just melt in with your skin color. If you struggle to find the perfect shade, you can try mixing 2 or more shades to create a custom blend.

Pro Tip: Applying foundation to your neck & ears can help prevent a noticeable line of demarcation.

High Quality Makeup Brushes Simply Stephanie Kay

6. INVEST IN QUALITY BRUSHES

Makeup brushes make ALL the difference in regards to the outcome of a makeup application. Fingers and q-tips are OK if you’re in a bind, but nothing can really yield the same results as brushes.

Quality brushes don’t have to be expensive, but rather well-made. You want to make sure the brush is soft and the bristles won’t fall out after one wash. Fortunately, there are a lot of excellent brushes on the market that are super affordable, and you don’t need hundreds of them – just enough to get the job done.

If you’re a complete brush noob, don’t fret! I’ll be doing an entire series on brushes, so stayed tuned.

HOW TO WASH MAKEUP BRUSHES

how to properly apply makeup simply stephaniekay

7. USE A LIGHT HAND

When applying makeup, especially for beginners, it’s hard to not douse your brush or application tool in product. Unfortunately, this typically does not yield great results, and will make your makeup look “muddy” fast. Instead, go in very light handed and build up the opacity slowly. When working with powder products, tap the excess product off the brush before applying to the face. When working with cream or liquid products the same rules apply, go slow and build up to the desired effect. It’s easier to add more makeup than remove it when there’s too much.

how to blend your eye shadow simply stephaniekay

7. BLEND, BLEND, BLEND

Blending the lines of your makeup so that the eye can no longer (easily) tell where the lines start and stop allows the makeup to look more natural and less out of place. This goes for any makeup you apply that is not clear – from foundation & concealer, to contour / bronzer / blush and eye shadow. Blending can be accomplished with the right brush, or a beauty sponge – depending on what you’re blending out. It’s best to blend after each step, and not wait until the very end – plus it gives you more control over the final look.

how to keep your makeup routine simple

9. KEEP IT SIMPLE

The amount of makeup you like to wear is, of course, a personal choice, but keeping your everyday routine as short and simple as possible makes life A LOT easier. It’s easy to get caught up in “social media makeup”, which often includes full/thick eyebrows, heavy eye shadow, winged liner, fake lashes, contour, highlight, lipstick & blush. Although these looks can be absolutely gorgeous, they’re typically not realistic for daytime – and honestly, who has THAT much time on a daily basis? Certainly not me! A little BB cream/foundation, mascara, blush and lip gloss can make all the difference and honestly, just looks more professional. I leave the experimentation for weekends and nights out, when I know I have more time to play.

how to make your makeup last all night

10. SET YOUR MAKEUP

Setting your makeup is important for longevity. You can set your makeup in two ways, or a mixture of both.

Powder – Loose or pressed powder is great for setting concealer and foundation, and keeps them from creasing & appearing cakey throughout the day. It’s especially great for oily skin, as it will help absorb the excess oil and keep you matte longer. Even if you’re not oily, I still recommend setting your concealer with powder.

Setting Spray – You can also set your makeup with a liquid setting spray, which helps lock everything in place. Be sure to pick one that works best with your skin type and the look you’re trying to achieve (mattifying, moisturizing, luminizing, etc.) Settings sprays also help take down the overly powdered appearance, and makes the skin appear more natural.

As a side bonus, setting sprays can also be used for skin prep, BEFORE makeup application. If you have dry skin, a few sprays of a product such as Mac Fix+ will help add additional hydration to your skin. If you’re oily, a product such as Urban Decay Deslick can help control excess oil and allow you to remain matte longer.


Phew! I know that was a lot of info to sift through at once, but I sincerely hope that it helps you in some way, shape or form. Please don’t beat yourself up if you don’t master makeup immediately, it takes time and lots of practice. If you have any questions for me on anything discussed above, or on makeup in general please feel free to ask me down below. You can also send me a message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible! I absolutely LOVE helping people look and feel better, and would be honored to help you!

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Post may contain affiliate links. I am not a medical professional. My statements should not be used as substitution for professional medical advice. Please see your dermatologist with any skin care & product questions or concerns.

*All photos courtesy of pexels.com

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