How to Apply Makeup in 9 Easy Steps

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Instructions by a Thumbtack professional

How to apply makeup in 9 easy steps

So you’re attending a fancy party, a wedding or an epic first date, and you want to know how to apply makeup. If your skills don’t extend much farther than Cherry Chapstick, Dyana Razinn of Celebrity Army in Los Angeles will be your fairy godmother. A 20+ year industry pro, she started as a model in 1993 and soon realized the magic that went into the makeup transformation. She saw shy, timid people become vixens who killed it on the runway or in front of cameras. After training with M.A.C. for two years, she opened Celebrity Army in 2009 and has been a successful makeup artist ever since - including launching her own line of Celebrity Army lipstick. Follow her tips and learn to how to apply makeup in nine easy steps.

Shopping List

7–10 makeup brushes, toner, moisturizer, primer, foundation, eyeshadow, gel eyeliner, eyebrow pencil, mascara, bronzer, blush, highlighter, powder, lip liner, lipstick

STEP 1: How to apply makeup

Assemble your makeup kit

First things first. Kit yourself out with a basic set of makeup brushes. You can find great deals online, Razinn says. You’ll need between seven and 10 brushes for a complete face. Some people are allergic to natural (animal hair) brushes, she says, so you may prefer synthetic. They even make vegan synthetic brushes. Here’s what to look for:

Brushes for skin **(A)**. Get a good skin and foundation brush. Razinn prefers a dual-bristle brush that mixes animal and synthetic fibers. The bristles blend your products well to create a smooth, airbrushed look. Another option is a stippling brush for applying foundation.

Brushes for eyes **(B). **A small blending brush for eyeshadow is a must, Razinn says. A lot of her clients don’t know to use one or know how important blending their shadow is for a polished look. Small eyeshadow brushes with shorter bristles are also useful. The short bristles give you more control when using darker shadow colors. A precision pencil brush lets you apply eyeshadow close to eyelashes and blend it near the eyeshadow line. An eyeliner brush is very delicate with a tiny, pointy tip, and it is best used with gel eyeliner.

Brushes for finishing touches **(C)**. A bronzer brush and a blush brush can help you add the finishing touches to your face. A fan brush works well as a highlighter — it’s literally shaped like a fan. A powder brush can be used for dusting your face lightly after makeup application.

STEP 2: How to apply makeup

Prepare your skin

Having the proper base is the key to great looking makeup, Razinn says. Before doing anything, she preps the client’s skin so that the makeup lasts and the skin glows.

Brush toner on your bare skin to refresh, moisturize and provide ph balance. Apply the toner using your dual-bristle brush. Next moisturize your face. What moisturizer you use depends on your skin type. For dry skin, use a heavier moisturizer. For normal to oily, use a moisturizing enzyme serum so your makeup won’t look too heavy. Apply the moisturizer with your dual-bristle brush or your fingertips.

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STEP 3: How to apply makeup

Apply primer and foundation

Primer creates a sheer, silky barrier between your skin and your foundation, smoothing imperfections and preventing clogged pores caused by makeup. Apply primer over your entire face with your dual-bristle brush.

Foundation creates an even appearance to your skin tone. Dab little dots on your forehead, cheek area, under your eyes and a little on your nose (A). Using the dual-bristle brush or a beauty blender sponge, blend foundation into your skin with circular motion (B). Bigger pores do better with the sponge because the texture enables the foundation to blend better. Remember that the sponge has to be damp, otherwise it just soaks up the product.

STEP 4: How to apply makeup

Apply eyeshadow

First, apply eyeshadow primer. This silky base makes your eyeshadow stay put and eliminates creasing. You can apply it lightly with a finger like you would an eye cream, Razinn says, if you don’t have a brush.

Select three, complementary shadow colors for blending — a main eye color and highlight colors for the inner corner of your eye and brow bone. First apply a line of blending shadow along the top of your lid cease with the blending brush (A). Razinn often uses a light brown shadow for this step. This defines and contours the crease and creates a transition from your lid color to your highlight color (B and C).

Anything below this blending line will be your darker color and above it will be the highlighting color. Plum is a really popular main eye color for brides these days, Razinn says.

STEP 5: How to apply makeup

Apply gel eyeliner

Apply gel eyeliner with the eyeliner brush (A). If making a cat eye, first mark where you want the wing of your cat eye to end with a small touch of liner. Grab some of the gel with your brush, then swipe close to lash line, starting at the inner eye (B).

About three strokes will cover your eye and reach out to your marker if doing a cat eye. Between each stroke, reapply product to your brush. For a smooth, dramatic cat eye with winged liner, leave it as is. For a smoky look, blend the eyeliner with the precision pencil brush.

STEP 6: How to apply makeup

Make your brows look great

Use an eyebrow pencil to draw short strokes, almost like you’re drawing hair. Most brows are lighter toward the middle and darker toward the outside, so consider two shades of brow pencils. Brush eyebrows with a spooly brush after applying the pencil.

STEP 7: How to apply makeup

Put on mascara

Always apply two coats of mascara. Allow mascara to dry for a couple minutes between coats. For each coat, start by positioning the brush at the base of your top lashes and wiggle up through the lashes.

STEP 8: How to apply makeup

Apply finishing details

Finish your face with bronzer, blush, highlighter and powder. For bridal or special-event makeup, Razinn typically does a highlight and contour at this point, but for a more streamlined day look, we will skip that step here.

Bronzer **(A)*. *With the bronzer brush, apply bronzer in the shape of a numeral three, swooping from forehead to temple and then out onto your cheekbones then down along your jawline. Really blend the bronzer into your hairline, Razinn says, to avoid an obvious color line.

Blush **(B)**. With the blush brush, accentuate the apples of your cheeks. Smile, and apply blush in circular stroke back toward your ear.

Highlighter **(C)*. *Highlight your face using the fan brush. Apply highlighter on your upper cheeks between the apple and your lower eye. Swipe backward toward your hairline with one or two strokes to create some allure. You can also apply highlighter to the tip of your nose if you want the button look.

Finishing powder **(D)**. Razinn recommends a more dewy, glowy look, which requires less powder. Only apply powder to problem or oily areas. For a matte look, you can apply powder to the whole face, but you’re liable to lose dimension, she warns.

STEP 9: How to apply makeup

Apply lipstick

Lightly cover your lips with waterproof lipliner (A). For thinner lips, accentuate the cupid’s bow and bottom of lip but don’t overdo it, she says. Think more in terms of a pout than a full outline.

Draw lipstick on over the top of the liner, starting in the middle then carefully filling in the corners (B). Blot, and reapply lipstick for longer life. If you draw outside the lines, correct your mistakes with a concealer brush — taking care to clean the brush off immediately.

Razinn is partial to her own paraben-free, vegan Celebrity Army lipstick line, especially the peachy nude Kitten Pink.

Next stop: fabulous makeup! It pays to hire a professional makeup artist for big events, Razinn says. Even if you’re amazing at doing makeup, you don’t want to do it for your own wedding. There are too many other things happening. A professional can ensure a cohesive look between you and your bridesmaids. From red carpet events to baby showers, Razinn has done it all. The best part of having makeup professionally done, she says, is the sense of empowerment it gives the wearer. She recently did the makeup for a woman attending a fancy charity event. She was a manager at a local Lowe’s, Razinn says, and she was nervous about meeting the celebrities at the event. After having an elegant makeover, she felt like a million bucks and went to the event feeling beautiful and glam.

About the pro - -Whether you're searching for a soft glow for a beautiful bride, elegance for a special occasion, or need to transform a model during a photo shoot, I can provide the picture perfect look. -My trained eye sees the unique beauty and potential in each face and adjust for the different factorsShow more

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