How to Apply Makeup in 10 Easy Steps
Celebrity makeup artist Sharon Gault provides effortless basics for your everyday appearance to achieve simple beauty and evening glamour.
Step 1: Hydrating the Skin
Hydrating the skin is a simple, but very important, first step. It gives you the smooth and supple skin that is ideal for applying makeup. First spray clean skin with water or a spray fixative, then liberally apply moisturizer.1 of 11
Step 2: Primer
Use a primer to prepare your skin for the concealer and foundation. Apply all over the face and neck. With a primer, makeup goes on better and lasts longer. Primers can also help to minimize pores.2 of 11
Step 3: Concealer
Use concealer to cover problem areas on the skin such as redness, spots or blemishes. Pat onto the skin wherever needed. Concealers come in different tints. In this case, Gault uses a yellow-based concealer to even out the red areas on the model's face.3 of 11
Step 4: Foundation
Select a foundation color that's as close as possible to your natural skin tone. Apply all over the face and blend into the neck. You can keep layering it but be sure that it's smoothly applied and well-blended. You want it to be invisible to the eye for a flawless, balanced finish.4 of 11
Step 5: Contouring -- Highlighter and Bronzer
Highlighter and bronzer help contour the face to create definition. Bronzer should be a warm hue that's a bit darker than your natural skin tone. Highlighter is brighter. Sweep bronzer under the cheekbone and continue up along the hairline. Then apply highlighter on the cheekbone for instant killer cheekbones. You can help define your jaw by adding bronzer just beneath the jawline. Regardless of the feature you choose to enhance, be subtle.5 of 11
Step 6: Blush
Blush gives you a nice, rosy glow. While smiling, apply blush to the apples of the cheeks and blend back toward the hairline. You don't want any noticeable splotches of makeup so blend well. Be sure to avoid applying blush below the cheekbone.6 of 11
Step 7: Brows
Defining the eyebrows really makes the eyes pop. Here, Gault uses a pencil that is a slightly lighter shade than the model's eyebrow. This helps make her eye color more vibrant and brings out the lighter tones in her hair. Follow the shape of the eyebrow and fill it in to enhance your natural brow line.7 of 11
Step 8: Eyes -- Shadow and Liner
The next step is a big one: eyes. For a natural look, use neutral tones like earthy browns. Apply a light brown shadow all over the lid and crease. Then, with a darker brown, start at the outer corner of the eye and work the shadow along the crease and the edge of the lid. This will create depth and elongate the eye. Make sure all the shadow is blended. Next, add brown liner to the lid along the lash line. Apply from the outside in and soften the line.8 of 11
Step 8 Con't: Eyes -- Mascara
Now that your eyes have depth, it's time to make them really stand out with a few coats of mascara. If you have an eyelash curler, use that on the lashes before applying any mascara. When you apply the mascara, be sure to coat and separate every last lash. Use a clean mascara brush, free of clumps.9 of 11
Step 9: Lips
To complete this natural look, all you have to do is finish up with the lips. For a daytime look, you'll want to choose a neutral shade. First use a pencil to line the lips. This will create your lip shape. Then apply a coat of lipstick, and finish off with a matching gloss.10 of 11
Step 10: Day to Night
The final step is transitioning your daytime makeup into something more glamorous for evening. It's just three easy steps. First add more blush. Then apply black liquid eyeliner for more dramatic eyes. Finally, go for a classic red lip. With a few items you can carry in your purse, you're ready for nighttime in no time.11 of 11
Sharon Gault earned the nickname "Mama Makeup" in 1990 when she applied her skills on Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour. Since then, she's created flawless makeup for Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Uma Thurman, Kate Bosworth, Britney Spears and countless other A-listers. She's also been a long-time muse to artist David LaChapelle. Her expansive portfolio boasts "Vogue" covers and advertising campaigns, and plenty of stars have worn her work on the red carpet.
Gault tells eHow how to create a basic makeup look in 10 steps.
eHow: How do you prep the skin before makeup?
Sharon Gault: I like to start with a fixing spray. A few spritzes will help makeup last longer and "hold" onto the skin better. Next, it’s really important to feed the skin with moisture. A really hydrating moisturizer will give you a nice surface to work with. I love Embryolisse cream. It’s French, but you can buy it online in the United States and it’s really affordable. I discovered it at makeup shows and then found out that all the models in Europe use it. You can use it as a moisturizer and a makeup remover and it can also work as a primer. I love Clinique and Neutrogena moisturizers too.
eHow: What is the purpose of primer and do you use one?
SG: I do love to use a primer after the moisturizer. I like to use brushes to apply everything, but using your fingers to apply and blend is fine too. Primers just really make your pores disappear and the makeup goes on really smooth after. I like Make Up For Ever’s primer or Smashbox’s Photo Finish primer. I also use some color corrective primers sometimes. If you have some redness, you can use a little green-tinted primer, or yellow-tinted primer to counteract shadows and dark circles.
eHow: How is concealer applied, and are several types necessary?
SG: After priming, you can use your fingers to blend a yellow-toned concealer under the eyes to lighten and brighten shadows and any redness. You can also brighten under-eye circles with an illuminating concealer like Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Eclat, or plenty of drugstore brands make good ones. I dab that under the eyes and blend, then I cover that with a layer of creamy concealer that matches the skin tone perfectly. Make sure you blend really well with a brush or fingers. I also like to put concealer around the nose to cover any redness or discoloration. A little extra brightness there works to "lift" the face, and be sure to blend in an upward motion. To get the right color, you want to make sure it matches the skin on your neck and jawline when you look at it in daylight.
It’s better to go with the shade that’s a little too light for you rather than the one that’s too dark, because you can add color with blush and bronzer later. The same rule goes for foundation color.
eHow: How do you apply foundation and which type is best?
SG: One of my favorite foundations is by the drugstore brand Milani. I love their creamy foundation. Again, I like to use a brush, but you can use your fingers. You just really need to make sure everything is really blended well. That’s the key thing with foundation – blend, then blend again.
If you’re using a foundation with a heavier coverage for blemishes or uneven tone, you’ll need to apply some of the product to your neck, blending really well, of course. If you’re wearing a low neckline, you can blend a little foundation all the way to the edge of your top. I put tissues around the neckline of the clothes to protect them while I’m working. You do need to be careful not to get foundation from your neck onto your collar – it’s not a good look. Tinted moisturizers are a great option for lighter coverage. Start with a small amount and blend really well. You can always add a little more. I don’t like to use a lot of powder after the base; it can look too cakey. If your T-zone is really shiny, you can use just a touch of powder there to mattify.
eHow: How do you use bronzer and highlighter for daytime?
SG: First, make sure your bronzer it’s not too orangey. Then, make what I call a "fish face" and suck in your cheeks. Using a large, round powder brush, sweep a little bronzer from the temple to under the cheek, then under the jawline, blending well. I blend a little into the hairline too for warmth. Next, brush a little highlighting or illuminating powder over the upper cheekbone area and out towards the temples. But don’t use too much. It can easily look tacky and overdone. Think subtle glow.
eHow: How do you do a natural daytime blush?
SG: I like cream blush because it gives a more youthful flush to the face than powder. It should be like a little glow, as though you just came in from the cold. I love that kind of classic Hollywood pinup girl flushed cheek. Just dab a little onto the apples of the cheeks. This is the roundest part of the face when you smile big. Then blend really well in a circular motion, using your fingers.
eHow: How do you define brows without them looking fake?
SG: Well-done brows can really transform the whole look and make you look polished and put together. I use a pencil or a small angled brush with a little matte brown shadow to fill and define what’s already there. It is easy to overdo it, and for a fresh natural look, it’s best to work with what you have, so don’t draw outside the lines.
eHow: How do you do a pretty, subtle eye for daytime?
SG: I like to start with an eye primer or eye shadow base. It helps the shadow "stick" to the lid and go on evenly, plus it allows the color to be more of a true shade, because it won’t be diluted by your skin tone underneath.
I prefer a clean and classic look for daytime. First, apply a light creamy shade to the brow bone and the inner corners of the eyes to make them really pop. You can use either a flat or rounded eyeshadow brush. As always, blend well.
Next, apply a light brown shade to the entire lid and blend. Then put a touch of a medium brown shadow in the crease of your lids and the outer corners, using a v-shape to elongate the eye, then blend really well. Use the tip of your brush to bring a little color around to the lower lash line. There should already be enough powder left in the brush for this.
Then gently pull the upper lid taut and draw a thin line with pencil as close to the lashes as possible. One of my favorite tricks is to also use the liner on the inner upper lid line, under the lashes. It just really adds to that doe-eyed look. Use a small brush to smudge and blend the lashline’s hard edges.
Curling the lashes really opens up the eyes. Curl before mascara and if you want an extra boost, curl again afterward. When you apply mascara, use the tip of the wand to really coat every individual lash for a lush, feathery look. I like to use black, but dark brown works for day too.
eHow: How do you do daytime lips?
SG: I like to use a little foundation on the lips first because it acts as a primer. Then I take two natural brownish-pink lip pencils, one slightly darker than the other. I line the outer edges of the lip with the darker color and lightly blend the line inwards, then fill in the lips with the lighter pencil. Then I use a little apricot or clear gloss over the top. The effect is three-dimensional, making lips look fuller.
eHow: How do you easily take daytime makeup into evening?
SG: I love the '50s-style old-Hollywood liquid liner look with a red lip. It’s very Angelina Jolie. So I would first add a slick of liquid liner on the upper lashline. This takes practice to get right, so if you’re not confident, try using gel liner and a brush as it’s easier to apply. You will still need to practice, but the gel needs less of a steady hand than liquid. You can also use a black pencil and blend it for a smoky effect. Maybelline, Cover Girl and L’Oreal all have fantastic, affordable liners and pencils. For the red lip, I start over with a dab of foundation for primer, then I line and fill in the lips with a matching red pencil so the lipstick will really stick. I love Make Up For Ever’s Moulin Rouge lipstick, it’s really creamy. Then put your lipstick, lipliner, eyeliner and pressed powder or blotting papers in your purse for touch-ups.