Ever felt like a cavewoman while your goddess friends are contouring like they’re professionally trained? Confused why everyone’s colouring in their eyebrows? Wondering what the hell those weird egg sponges are for? Well fear not, fellow makeup novices, I’m here to help.
Disclaimer: I know very little about makeup. I’ll confess I only tried top eyeliner for the first time a week ago and I’ll still sometimes opt for no makeup when I can’t be bothered. So, I’m not going to claim to be a make up guru. Even though I’ve been trying to teach myself a bit more about it, I’m still embarrassingly out of the loop.
There will be millions of infinitely more qualified guides out there if you want professional help, but during my recent cosmetic journey, I’ve been picking up tips and cheats from friends (and the internet) that have made the whole thing a little easier. I thought I’d reach out to my fellow clueless ladies (and gents) and share with you some money- and time-saving tips.
These may not all work for everyone, and I literally know nothing about if they work for all skin tones (for reference I have basically yellowy hair, yellowy skin and yellowy eyes, so make of it what you will). Some tricks I haven’t tried myself but they’re vouched for by my more glamorous friends, and some might be obvious, but if you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing, hopefully they might just make that “I left it too late getting ready for pre-drinks and I don’t want to go out feeling like a troll” moments a bit simpler. Who knows, maybe I’ll be the next Zoella (I can say with great certainty I will probably not be).
Before I start, definitely try Youtube tutorials. There are loads of professionals and style vloggers who can talk you through everything with step-by-step guides for all occasions, and plenty will try to use affordable products and simple explanations. Just search for whatever style you’re aiming for and try to copy what they do, and it can be super helpful for mastering those tricky bits, or for party makeup.
This is something I was really reluctant to try for a long time. All I knew about it before was that it was bad for your skin and that it made some people look like oompa loompas or worse, Donald Trump, so I was quite put off by it.
It’s not an essential, so if you want to keep your skin cleaner, avoid it, but it’s great for covering up blemishes or uneven skin, and they don’t have to be thick and oily.
I’ve tried various “lighter/natural” foundations that just come straight off, but I recently discovered Body Shop foundation and I can’t recommend it enough. It covers blemishes really well and doesn’t even feel like you’re wearing anything, and it seems to last a long time from my experience, as long as you don’t get too hot.
To avoid aforementioned Donald Trump look (definitely not speaking from experience…), I’ve always been told to choose a colour that’s slightly lighter than you think you are – don’t be tempted to make yourself more tanned because it won’t match your neck/arms etc, and it won’t work in winter if you’ve lost your summer glow. Start by putting concealer on blemishes and redder/darker bits, then use a foundation brush (if you don’t have one just use your fingers!) and spread it lightly.
Ok so first things first, what on God’s green earth is contouring? It’s something everyone seems to be talking about these days, the subject of many a meme, and completely baffling to us mere mortals. It’s hard to master as what you do totally depends on your face shape and what you want to emphasise, and I’ve still not quite got my head around it, but here’s what I find easiest.
I’ve yet to get on this girl’s level of contouring, mainly because my highlighter just makes me look hella sweaty, but use the graphic, or a tutorial like this, and follow the main rule – apply highlighter to the parts of your face where the light would naturally touch it, and contour the parts that would be in shadow – if, like me, you are not blessed with a slim face, this can make you look more angular. Contouring sticks are super easy to use, but you can use powder or liquid bronzer, or even just a dark matte eyeshadow.
If it’s a bit overwhelming, stick to the cheeks – it’s the only contouring I do regularly and it’s easy to do well! Use highlighter along the top of the cheekbone and bronzer along the line under them. For that, start around the top of the ear and follow the line towards the corner of your mouth, stopping in line with your eye. Add a bit of blusher to the “apple” of your cheek (the bulgy bit between your ear and your eye) if you fancy extra glam.
Another often talked about aspect of makeup, blending is baffling. Get yourself a beauty blender (the little egg things) or blending brush, and smooth the edges so there’s no line – from my experience it’s not worth spending more on them as the cheaper ones seem to do the job. Finish the whole thing off with a bit of powder to look a bit more matte, and voilà – your skin is good to go!
If you found this even slightly helpful, come back next week for tips on eye makeup! And if it’s been completely useless and you’ve deduced that I’m a neanderthal and a fraud, go find a Tanya Burr video.