Do’s and Dont’s for Makeup Beginners


Makeup offers a fun and beautiful way to express yourself, but when you’re a beginner, the whole prospect of “doing your makeup” can feel intimidating. Are you struggling with where to start? Do you need help choosing the right makeup for your skin tone and type? Would you like to know how to correctly apply makeup so that it flatters your features?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, this guide is for you. Below, we’ve listed beginner-friendly tips that are guaranteed to improve your makeup application.

Makeup Don’ts

Don’t Buy a Lot of Products

When you’re a beginner to makeup, the last thing you need to do is go out and invest in a huge assortment of products. It’s quite easy to spend hundreds of dollars on makeup, and then be miserable with everything you’ve purchased.

Instead of buying everything from eyelash primer to finishing spray, start off with the basics. Every beginner makeup kit needs mascara and lipstick. That’s pretty much it! Of course, as you get more comfortable with applying makeup, you’ll no doubt increase your selection of lipstick colors, and venture off into eyeshadows, blushes, foundations, and more. But when you’re a true beginner, start off with two products that you love and expand from there.

Don’t Apply Makeup to a Dirty Face

Applying makeup to a dirty face is asking for serious skin problems later in life. In fact, breakouts and acne may not hold off until much later. Never apply cosmetics on top of other cosmetics that have been sitting on your face for hours. The one exception to this rule is lipstick. You can reapply lipstick or gloss. However, when it comes to applying foundations or powders, be sure to clean off what you’re currently wearing first and give your pores a chance to breathe.

Don’t Use Dirty Brushes to Apply Your Makeup

It’s easy to neglect makeup brushes. Unless you schedule a time each week to clean them, you’ll never even think about your makeup brushes until it’s time to apply your products. But, using dirty makeup brushes can introduce bacteria to your skin. Eww. Instead of taking the risk, set aside time on the weekend to wash your brushes.

To clean your brushes, fill a small bowl with warm water and a couple of squirts of your shampoo. Next, gently submerge and swirl your brush in the soapy water. You can also loosen dried-on makeup with your fingers. Then, rinse the brush under warm water and lay on a clean towel to dry.

Don’t Skip Your Eyebrows

Eyebrows are an important part of your face but often overlooked. When done well and intentionally, your brows will perfectly frame your face. If you have the time (make the time, if you don’t) fill in your brows. You can use a matte eyeshadow to fill in the sparse areas of your brows. Don’t go too dark, though! It can create an unwanted cartoon villain effect. Go for a subtle color that’s the same shade as your brows or maybe a shade lighter. If your brows are a very light shade of blonde, you can go darker to define them more.

Do’s and Dont’s for Makeup Beginners

Don’t Create Fake Brows

While you shouldn’t skip your brows, you definitely don’t want to draw on dramatic fake brows. Huge, drawn on brows come across like furry caterpillars. It’s never a good look. Instead, work with the eyebrows that you have and just focus on making them a little more defined, especially if you’re wearing foundation. (Foundation can “wash out” eyebrows.)

Don’t Sleep in Your Makeup

At the end of the day, when you’re exhausted and can barely motivate yourself off of the couch, it can be pretty tempting to simply fall asleep in your makeup. But resist the temptation. Not only can sleeping in makeup clog pores, it can actually make them bigger! Makeup can stretch pores while settling into them. Sleeping with makeup on your skin can also dry it out because your skin doesn’t have the ability to rebalance itself.

Don’t Pump Your Mascara

Pumping the mascara wand is a common trick that’s thought to get more mascara out of the container. However, it’s an all-around bad idea. Pumping your mascara wand can introduce bacteria into the mascara container. It also causes the mascara to dry out faster. And, to make matters worse, it can lead to clumpy application. Instead, if you’d like to get more mascara on your wand, simply swirl the wand gently in the container first. And remember, mascara expires after three months.

Makeup Do’s

Do Create a Signature Look

Applying your makeup shouldn’t take hours of your time, especially when you’re a beginner.

To build your confidence, start by creating a signature look that you can wear everywhere. To create a signature look, do the following:

Focus on your face, eyes, lips, and cheeks.

Face – To find the right shade of foundation, match the color with your chest. You can also opt for a tinted moisturizer.
Eyes – Pair eyeliner with mascara for well-defined eyes. Don’t forget to fill in those brows!
Lips – Choose a lipstick that flatters your skin tone. For a signature look, go for a bold red lip that’s timeless.
Cheeks – Apply blush to bring color back to your face (this is especially useful if you use a foundation that has a tendency to make your entire face look monotone).

Do Apply Makeup in a Natural Light

Whenever possible, apply your makeup in natural light. This gives you the best judgment of what your makeup will look like once you leave home. Set up your makeup station near a window if you can.

If you don’t have access to natural light, do the next best thing: Invest in a magnifying mirror. A vanity mirror with at least 5x the magnification can help you see flaws that you may not see under a shadow-casting bathroom light.

Do Buy Cruelty-Free, Non-Toxic Cosmetics

Did you know that the average woman wears over 500 synthetic chemicals every day? Whenever possible, buy cruelty-free, non-toxic beauty products. You owe it to your skin and the planet to be as responsible as possible with your purchases.

Do Apply Concealer After Foundation

When you have dark circles under your eyes, minor blemishes, or redness, a concealer is your best friend. However, a common rookie mistake is to apply concealer first before applying foundation. That’s not the most effective strategy, however. When you apply foundation first, it can actually cancel out a lot of the unevenness or discoloration in your skin. Then, you can top it off with a little bit of concealer to ensure full coverage. Doing it in this order can save more of your concealer, too.

Do Blend Your Eye Shadows

If you choose to wear multiple eye shadows on your lids, be sure to blend! Having severe lines where one color stops is a no-no. Instead, grab a brush and blend the colors together to create a smoother transition.

Do Pay Attention to Your Skin

Over the course of your life, your skin often changes. Make sure that you’re paying attention to any changes in your skin, including rashes, breakouts, itchiness, or redness. These can point to possible allergies or even gluten sensitivities.

Do Use a Primer

A makeup primer is a base that you use under your makeup. It creates a smoother surface for your makeup and also helps to moisturize the skin underneath. Primer also helps your makeup last longer.

There are several types of primers, but for a beginner, you can start with the basics:

  • Face primer goes underneath your foundation
  • Eye shadow primer goes on your eyelids before applying powdered shadow and prevents creasing.

Additional Resources

Makeup Definitions For Beginners

Makeup beginners are hit with a lot of new terms! As you begin your makeup journey, this handy reference will help any makeup newbies.

  • Skin Tone – Used to describe the range of values of the natural color of skin.
  • Skin Type – Used to describe the range of values from dry to very oily with regards to skin. Ie: Dry Skin or Oily Skin
  • Lip Gloss – A liquid/semi-gel lip color product applied from a tube with a soft wand. Lip gloss shades and finishes vary widely.
  • Lip Stick – A primary lip color makeup. A creamy stick formed to fit the lips. Made in many shades, hues, depths and finishes.
  • Liquid Lipstick – A term used to describe thick, highly pigmented lip gloss.
  • Eye Brush – A general term for any brush used in the application of eye shadow.
  • Foundation Brush – A medium round brush used to apply, blend and smooth foundation or base.
  • Blush Brush – A larger round fluffy brush with an angle to its bristles. Used specifically to apply and blend blush to the cheeks for a natural appearance.
  • Smudge Brush – An Eye Shadow Brush. A tightly packed, small headed brush used to smudge or blend two eye shadow colors into a smooth gradient.
  • Concealer Brush – A small roundish or flat makeup brush used for blending concealer products. Used to cover skin blemishes, uneven skin color, blotches or dark spots.
  • Makeup Sponge – A soft foamy like device used for evenly spreading makeup products such as Foundation, or Cream Blush.
  • Makeup Routine – A general term describing a persons complete makeup from start to finish
  • Base – Another term for Foundation. ( see below) Although some use this term to refer to a makeup primer.
  • Foundation – A large, general term for makeup products for the whole face or cheeks. Can be liquid, powder or cream. Generally used early in a whole face application.
  • Lash Line – The imaginary lines just outside but along the same curve as your eye lashes.
  • Upper Lash Line – Regarding Eye Liner and Mascara: The line just outside of the lashes on your upper eye lid.
  • Lower Lash Line – Regarding Eye Liner and Mascara: The line just outside of the lashes on your lower eye lid.
  • Water Line – Regarding Eye Liner and Mascara: The line just INSIDE of the lashes on your lower or upper eye lid.
  • Apples Of Your Cheeks – The top most round of your cheeks, usually at or just above the cheekbone. Makeup can move the appearance of the apples of your cheeks to a slightly different location on your face, if desired.
  • Cream Blush – A makeup intended to color the cheeks. Looks like a powder but when touched behaves more like a cream.
  • Lip Balm – Generally a lip treatment designed to help moisturize lips – usually colorless.
  • Natural Lip Line – Where the edge of your lip meets your face before makeup has been applied.
  • Lip Liner – Generally a cosmetic pencil used to outline, or shape, the lips. Can be used to completely fill in the lips.
  • Lip Color – Meaning the finished color of the lips after applying makeup.
  • Neutral Eye Shadow – Eye Shadow looks that are very earth tone or skin toned. Without flashy color.
  • Outer Corner – Regarding Eyeshadow: The corner of your eye that is furtherest from your nose.
  • Inner Corner – Regarding Eyeshadow: The corner of your eye that is closest to your nose.
  • Lash Curler – An inexpensive physical crimping device used to curl eye lashes.
  • Eyebrow Pencil – A cosmetic pencil used to make eye brows appear uniform, or darker.

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