So you are a beginner to makeup, and you want to pick up basic makeup steps so that you can use makeup on a more regular basis? Allow us to help. While none of us here at DV are professional makeup artists, those of you new to this whole shebang may still find these tips about makeup for beginners useful because we are just like you: everyday people who simply enjoy wearing makeup to go out or for work.
We’ve broken down the makeup journey into bite-sized chunks that aren’t too hard to digest. This simple makeup tutorial is all you’ll need to take your first step into the wonderful slippery slope of makeup.
1. Do your skincare first
This shouldn’t be much of a surprise, but sometimes we tend to forget that our makeup goes on easier when our skin is well prepped and hydrated.
Make sure your skin is well cleansed, then use a cotton pad to go over with some toner. After that, follow up with your usual skincare routine.
DV tips on makeup for beginners: Many makeup products are advertised as containing sun protection ingredients. That’s great, considering that many of us in Singapore are exposed to the sun for long hours everyday. However, we recommend all makeup beginners to still apply a sunscreen as part of their pre-makeup skincare routine. Any additional sun protection you get from your makeup should be treated as a bonus rather than as a replacement for a proper sunscreen.
2. Apply primer
If you’ve been reading American-centric makeup content, you may notice that primers can be a polarising subject – some can’t live without it, others say it doesn’t make a difference to them, while others even complain that it breaks them out.
In hot and humid Singapore and around Southeast Asia, however, a primer is generally regarded as essential, especially if you have combination to oily skin. They play a huge role in controlling your oil production, and helping your makeup last longer through the day.
P.S. even your favourite Korean makeup gurus like Pony and Heizle use primers in their daily makeup routines!
DV tips on makeup for beginners: If you aren’t certain whether your skin agrees with primers or not, try finding affordable and well-reviewed drugstore brands to experiment with – there are many out there! See our list of 12 best primers for oily skin for some inspiration.
3. Apply foundation
Explaining foundations would take a whole other article, so we’re going to keep it short and succinct here.
With liquid foundations, we like to drop or pump out a bit on the back of our hands before using fingers or a brush to apply them on the face.
Always remember to blend as much as you can!
DV tips on makeup for beginners: Always check close-up in the mirror after applying your foundation to make sure you didn’t leave any brush streaks or fingerprint marks on your foundation anywhere. You may not see them clearly at home, but they are painfully obvious in the fluorescent lights of the office!
Also, extend your foundation downwards past your jawline to your neck area. Having your face look like a different colour from your neck is not a flattering look!
For tips on finding your perfect foundation shade, we’ve also written up a how-to guide on that!
4. Apply concealer
Should you apply foundation or concealer first? This is a question in the makeup world that polarises people as much as asking whether the chicken or the egg came first. While the IT Cosmetics VP of Global Education prefers to do her foundation first, what we say is: whatever floats your boat. You can also try both methods and see which result you prefer.
Test out how thick your concealer is on the back of your hand first before applying them onto your undereye areas and zits.
For very thick concealers, a small dab of product will probably be sufficient to give good coverage. You don’t want to end up with too much concealer, which will cake up and feel heavy under your eyes.
Remember: blend, blend, blend! Harsh lines of makeup are a no-no. You can blend easily by patting (not swipe!) gently with your finger. Extra tip: Look upwards so that your undereye is slightly stretched, so it makes blending a little easier.
DV tips on makeup for beginners: Liquid and cream products must always be applied before powder products. This means that if you’re using a powder foundation and a liquid concealer, you don’t have a choice here: your concealer must come before your foundation.
The reason is because powder is able to sit on top of liquids and creams and, in fact, prevents them from slipping about, but the same does not apply the other way round. Liquids and creams cannot grip to powder as well as it does to your skin.
On a related note, this also means that if you are using other cream products like cream blushes, highlights, and bronzers, you should be applying this before any powder products like powder foundations and setting powders.
5. Set your undereye concealer and your face
If you happen to be using a liquid concealer on top of your liquid foundation, now would be a good time to set your undereyes.
Many of us tend to have fine lines underneath our eyes (if you don’t, count your lucky stars!). This means our undereye concealers are prone to getting caked within those lines – this is termed “creasing”.
Dabbing some setting powder on your undereye concealer after application will ensure less slipping around of the liquid or cream, which should also mean less creasing.
Don’t be dismayed, however, if you still see some at the end of the day – most concealers can’t eliminate creasing entirely, but a good one should reduce the appearance of these fine lines.
If you have oily skin, this is the time you can use setting powder on the rest of your face to control oil production throughout the day.
For combination skin types, use setting powder only on your oily zones, so that your normal areas don’t get overly dried out from the powder.
DV tips on makeup for beginners: With undereye concealers, many people like to use densely packed powder brushes, or a velour puff (with a flat and smooth surface) to really pack on the setting powder underneath the eyes.
6. Draw your brows
Eyebrows used to be a sadly neglected feature of makeup that few people did, but the past few years have seen a resurgence in the emphasis that people place on brows.
In order to have an easier time drawing your brows, make sure the are already nicely groomed to begin with. You can either pluck the stray hairs yourself, or you go to a professional brow salon to shape and tweeze your brows into shape.
There are so many different ways to draw your brows that we had to write another article on it, but it really depends on what you personally like to see on your face. Most Singaporeans tend to go for a natural but luxuriant arch, while there are others who do Korean straight brows in order to look younger.
If you’re not sure what brow you like yet and don’t want to overdo things, simply follow the natural shape of your brows, adding vertical upstrokes to mimic extra hairs.
Use the spoolie that commonly comes with brow pencils to comb your brow hairs and blend out the pigment as well.
DV tips on makeup for beginners: Get a brow product that matches your current hair colour. It doesn’t need to be a 100% perfect fit, but it shouldn’t be leaping out to grab people’s attention before the rest of your face does.
If your hair is dyed a funky colour, you don’t have to try and find a blue or green eyebrow pencil! Rather, try to get your brows to match the general darkness and tone of your hair.
Most importantly, don’t leave the house without your brows drawn. You could forego the rest of your eye makeup – but not your brows!
7. Do your eye makeup
Eye makeup is a good-to-have but not exactly a need-to-have, especially for makeup beginners.
They tend to require the most skill and practice, as it is easy to go wrong and get a makeup look you definitely don’t want. Hence, you’ll need to spend some time perfecting it at home before you are ready to make a public debut.
DV tips on makeup for beginners:
For eyeliners, draw as close to your lashline as possible. You want to avoid the unsightly gap between your lashes and your eyeliner.
For eyeshadows, you definitely want to set aside some spare time to practise instead of trying it out for the first time one morning before work. It will not turn out well.
Watch as many YouTube tutorials as you can to get an idea of how people mix and match colours. Warm-coloured shadows tend to work the best on Asian skin tones, and it also helps that they are always in trend
Eyeshadows also tend to crease over the day, especially if you have oily eyelids. To get over this issue, we suggest that you invest in a good eyeshadow primer – they are a godsend.
If you want to get your first eyeshadow palette but are not sure what to buy, you can also take your pick from our comprehensive list of eyeshadow palettes for beginners.
For mascara, make use of eyelash combs – you may have to buy them separately, but they are certainly worth it. They help to de-clump your mascara and separate your lashes for a more fanned out effect. Be careful not to poke yourself in the eye though!
8. Apply blush
Leaving the house with only foundation on can make you look rather ghostly and pale. Foundation knocks out the natural redness of your face, so you need to add some of that healthy flush back.
Blush is usually necessary for most people, and the right shade applied with the right intensity can be very flattering.
Blush is most commonly applied from your temples to the high point of your cheekbones just beside your nose, in a slight U shape. Remember to blend your blush out well if you want to avoid looking like Pikachu!
DV tips on makeup for beginners: If you don’t want to commit so much financially to makeup just yet, try out products that are marketed as being “lip and cheek stains”.
These products are commonly of a liquid or cream formula, so make sure you apply these before using any powder products on your face.
They also tend to dry and stain your skin really quickly, so if you’re using them – work fast!
9. Highlighters, bronzers, and contours
These three products are, we feel, more optional than the others. They enjoy popularity in America, but Asians veer towards more natural looks that don’t involve a ton of contouring.
There are, of course, always a lot of good quality, affordable options in the drugstore for you to experiment with if you’d like.
10. Apply lipstick
The wonderful world of lipstick is too big for us to fully explain in a single point, but we will attempt it.
If you have a lip liner, draw along the outer edges of your lips to create a guide for your lipstick, and to prevent lipstick from feathering out.
If you don’t have a lip liner, go straight to lipstick application proper. With your lipstick, draw an “X” where your cupid’s bow is – this makes it easier to draw more precisely along that tricky area – and continue applying as per normal.
What you’re aiming for is a clean, crisp line along the shape of your lips. This may require a bit of practice before you’re able to do it perfectly – don’t be afraid to clean up mistakes with cotton buds drenched in makeup remover!
DV tips on makeup for beginners: Lipstick stains on teeth are a very real problem in life. After you’ve applied your lipstick, shape your mouth like an “O” and use a finger to wipe around your inner lips. No more embarrassing lipstick stains!