The Beginner’s Guide to Makeup: 5 Easy Tutorials

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The Beginner’s Guide to Makeup: 5 Easy Tutorials
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Photo: ImaxTree

By the time you hit a certain age (say, when you can legally buy a shot of vodka or rent a car—ideally not at the same time), there are a few things you’re magically expected to know, and for some reason, makeup is one of them. We’re not sure if the entire world had a secret makeup 101 seminar in between junior high and high school that we weren’t invited to, but somewhere along the way, your best friend, your co-worker, and your bank teller managed to perfect the art of the cat-eye, airbrushed concealer, Cara Delevingne-level brows, and just looking really, really good.

MORE: Meet Retinol Oil: The Coolest Anti-Aging Product That Actually Works

Hey, nobody needs to wear makeup. If you feel comfortable with the routine you have right now—whether that’s just a layer of sunscreen, or a coat of mascara and lip balm—then hell yes; more power to you. But if you want to finally learn how to use all of those products sitting in the bottom of your makeup bag, or just get a refresher on the tricks you’ve already tried, then hey, welcome.

Because we rounded up the most-asked beauty questions of 2016, including how to fill in brows, subtly contour and highlight your facecover up pimples, apply concealer, and use liquid eyeliner, and broke them down into easy-to-follow, ridiculously simple, gif-filled tutorials. Call it the makeup manual you never received, or your beauty fairy godmother, because either way, by the end of this slideshow, you’ll have a mastery of makeup. Or, at least, a pretty intermediate grasp—which is still enough to rival your bank teller.

Photographer: Tory Rust
Model: Rachel Besser
Makeup: Ashleigh Ciucci
Hair: Akihisa Yamaguchi

MORE: Surprise: Makeup Wipes Are Actually Really Bad For Your Skin

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HOW TO: Fill in your eyebrows
HOW TO: Fill in your eyebrows
Photo: Tory Rust
Step 1: Draw a fine line
Step 1: Draw a fine line

Using a pencil one shade lighter than your natural eyebrow color, draw a skinny line across the bottom of your brow, starting at the inner corner and extending the line all the way through the tail of your eyebrows.

PRODUCTS TO TRY:
1. L'Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Definer, $8.99; at Ulta

2. Benefit Precisely, My Brow Eyebrow Pencil, $24; at Benefit Cosmetics

3. NYX Micro Brow Pencil, $10; at NYX Cosmetics

Photo: Tory Rust
Step 2: Shade in the rest of the brow
Step 2: Shade in the rest of the brow

Lightly fill in your eyebrow by softly shading back and forth with the side of your pencil. Be careful not to draw too closely to the top edge of the brow, or you'll get that squared-off, Groucho Marx look.

Photo: Tory Rust
Step 3: Blend, blend, blend
Step 3: Blend, blend, blend

The difference between beginner- and expert-level brows is in the blending. Using a clean spoolie, brush your brows up and over, moving from the inner corner to the tail of your brows. Repeat until all lines and marks (especially that initial line you drew) blend in seamlessly with your brow hairs.

Photo: Tory Rust
Step 4: Add some shine and polish
Step 4: Add some shine and polish

Brow gel is always optional, but if your brows tend to get unruly—or if you like a more polished—finished look, brush a clear brow gel (for shine and hold) or a tinted brow gel (for a thicker, bolder finish, plus a dose of shine) through your brows, using short strokes to pull the hairs up and over.

PRODUCTS TO TRY:
1. Glossier Brow Boy Clear, $16; at Glossier

2. Essence Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel Mascara, $2.99; at Target

3. Wet n Wild Ultimate Brow Mascara, $4.99; at Wet n Wild

Photo: Tory Rust
HOW TO: Apply eyeshadow
HOW TO: Apply eyeshadow
Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 1: Create a base
STEP 1: Create a base

If you want your eyeshadow to look insanely smooth and expertly done (and, trust us, you do), you need to first create a base by sweeping a nude, iridescent eyeshadow—iridescent is easier to wear than matte—over your entire lid, blending it from your lash line to your brow bone with a tapered blending brush, like the Sigma E40 or the MAC 224.

PRODUCTS TO TRY: 

1. For light-to-medium skin tones: Smashbox Full Exposure Palette, $52; at Smashbox

2. For medium-to-deep skin tones: Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette, $46; at Sephora

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 2: Define the crease
STEP 2: Define the crease

It sounds counterintuitive, but subtle, natural-looking eyeshadow actually requires layering on a bunch of shadows to give the illusion of depth. Otherwise, your eyes can look flat and dull. So swirl your tapered blending brush over a warm, soft-brown shadow (only a few shades darker than your natural skin tone) and blend it into the outer V of your eye, sweeping it from your lash line to the middle of your crease.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 3: Darken the V
STEP 3: Darken the V

Using a blending brush, like a Make Up For Ever 216 or an E.l.f. Crease Brush, pick up a darker brown shadow (only a few shades deeper than the last shadow) and smudge it lightly it into the outer corner of your eye near the lash line, then blend it beneath the eye, sweeping it along the first third of your lashes. Don't freak if it looks a little dark—we'll be blending the hell out of it in the next step.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 4: Blend, blend, blend
STEP 4: Blend, blend, blend

As with all makeup, blending is key, lest you look like you finger painted your face. So swirl your tapered blending brush (don't pick up any extra shadow) over the dark-brown eyeshadow you just applied, blending it up into the crease of your eye and across your lash line to really define that outer V. Keep blending in concentric circles until all harsh lines are invisible.

Photo: Tory Rust
HOW TO: Apply liquid eyeliner
HOW TO: Apply liquid eyeliner
Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 1: Draw your wing
STEP 1: Draw your wing

The goal of any winged liner is to accentuate and elongate your eye shape, which means the first line you draw should follow the natural slope of your lower lash line and extend up toward the tail of your brow. If you're nervous, hold the cap of your liner against your eye as a guide, positioning it from your lower lash line to the end of your eyebrow, and lightly dot the spot where you want your wing to end. Then drawn from the dot to the corner of your eye, imaging it's an extension of your lower lashes.

PRODUCTS TO TRY: 

1. Maybelline Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner, $8.49; at Ulta

2. Bodyography On Point Liquid Liner Pen, $17; at Bodyography

3. Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, $20; at Kat Von D

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 2: Line the eyes
STEP 2: Line the eyes

Starting at the inner corner of your eye, gently trace your lash lines with short, even strokes. If you have smaller eyelids (meaning they're barely visible when your eyes are open), keep the line skinny—too thick of a line will give your eyes a tinier appearance. If you're worried about layering it on too thick, try using just the tippy tip of the pen to dot the liner between your lashes, then connect the dots.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 3: Connect the lines
STEP 3: Connect the lines

Pretty self-explanatory, but finish the final swoop of the wing by drawing a connecting line from the wing to your lash line.

Photo: Tory Rust
HOW TO: Apply concealer for dark circles
HOW TO: Apply concealer for dark circles
Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 1: Draw your guidelines
STEP 1: Draw your guidelines

A super-common concealing mistake is only applying your concealer to the half-moon arc beneath your eye (a.k.a. directly over your dark circles), which ends up calling attention to your shadows, rather than lightening up your entire face. Instead, using a small concealer brush, like the E.l.f. #1821 or the Ulta Concealer Brush, or the applicator wand of your concealer, draw two sides of an inverted triangle beneath your eye with a hydrating, creamy concealer. Don't connect the lines or fill in the middle, or you'll leave the area looking heavy and cakey.

PRODUCTS TO TRY:

1. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, $30; at Nars

2. Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, $6.99; at Ulta

3. Laura Mercier Secret Concealer, $27; at Laura Mercier

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 2: Blend it out
STEP 2: Blend it out

With a tiny dampened sponge, like the Beautyblender Micro or the Ulta Super Small Blender, blend the concealer inwards, dabbing and rolling the sponge across your skin until the triangle is seamlessly fi

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 3: Set it
STEP 3: Set it

To keep your concealer from sliding off or settling into fine lines by noon, lightly set the concealer with a dusting of translucent powder. Just dip a clean, fluffy eyeshadow brush, like the Sigma E40 or the Anastasia #23, into loose powder, tap off the excess, and softly sweep and swirl the brush over your under-eye triangle until completely blended.

PRODUCTS TO TRY:

1. NYX Studio Finishing Powder, $10; at NYX

2. Kat Von D Lock-It Brightening Powder, $25; at Sephora

3. No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder, $13; at Ulta

Photo: Tory Rust
HOW TO: Cover up a pimple
HOW TO: Cover up a pimple
Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 1: Dab on a base
STEP 1: Dab on a base

After applying your foundation (or tinted moisturizer or BB cream), swirl a stiff concealer brush, like the Sigma P86 or the Hourglass Concealer Brush, in a full-coverage concealer and lightly press the side of the brush into your zit until the blemish is totally covered.

PRODUCTS TO TRY:

1. Dermablend Quick-Fix Concealer, $26; at Dermablend

2. CoverGirl Outlast All-Day Soft Touch Concealer, $11.99; at Ulta

3. BareMinerals Correcting Concealer, $21; at BareMinerals

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 2: Pat it in
STEP 2: Pat it in

Using your ring finger, gently tap on the concealer to sheer it out until it blends into your skin. Don't press too hard—you just want the warmth of your finger to help the concealer melt into your skin.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 3: Set it
STEP 3: Set it

Zits are inherently oiler than the rest of your skin, so you'll need to "set" your concealer to keep it from sliding off by lunch. Using a clean, fluffy blending brush, like the Bh Cosmetics 12 or the Ulta Pro Blending Brush, pick up a layer of translucent setting powder, tap off the excess, then press and dab the brush against the blemish, until fully covered.

PRODUCTS TO TRY:

1. NYX Studio Finishing Powder, $10; at NYX

2. Kat Von D Lock-It Brightening Powder, $25; at Sephora

3. No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder, $13; at Ulta

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 4: Blend it in
STEP 4: Blend it in

Here's the key step most people skip: blending. Sure, you've blended the concealer and the setting powder, but to make sure you're not left with an obvious-looking patch of makeup, take small, fluffy blush, like the E.l.f. Tapered Brush, and lightly tap it against the blemish, moving in a small circle to make sure the powder and concealer are totally blended with your surrounding skin.

Photo: Tory Rust
HOW TO: Contour and highlight
HOW TO: Contour and highlight
Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 1: Chisel it out
STEP 1: Chisel it out

Swirl a fluffy contour brush, like the Sephora 45.5 or the Ulta Angled Brush, over a matte bronzer, tap off any of the excess, and gently sweep the brush over your temples and beneath your cheekbones (and by beneath, we mean directly on the edge of your cheekbones, so much so that your brush should be skimming your cheekbones as you swipe it). Make sure to seamlessly blend the bronzer into your skin by lightly swirling the brush in concentric circles back and forth over that C-shape you just created.

PRODUCTS TO TRY:

1. No7 Match Made Bronzer, $12.99; at Ulta

2. Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer, $29; at Benefit Cosmetics

3. Palladio Matte Bronzer, $10; at Palladio

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 2: Add the light
STEP 2: Add the light

Some fast facts for you: A cream highlighter looks more natural than a powder highlighter 100-percent of the time. Rub your ring finger over an iridescent highlighter (shimmery or glitter-flecked formulas scream "Hey! I'm your highlighter!") and lightly tap and dab it over the tops of your cheekbones, gently blending until there are zero obvious lines. Look for champagne-hued highlighters for fair skin, peachy-apricot for medium skin, and rose-gold or bronze for dark skin tones.

PRODUCTS TO TRY:

1. Maybelline Face Studio Master Strobe, $7.99; a Ulta

2. NYX Bright Idea Illuminating Stick, $7.99; at Target

3. RMS Magic Luminizer, $38; at RMS Beauty

Photo: Tory Rust
  • HOW TO: Fill in your eyebrows
  • Step 1: Draw a fine line
  • Step 2: Shade in the rest of the brow
  • Step 3: Blend, blend, blend
  • Step 4: Add some shine and polish
  • HOW TO: Apply eyeshadow
  • STEP 1: Create a base
  • STEP 2: Define the crease
  • STEP 3: Darken the V
  • STEP 4: Blend, blend, blend
  • HOW TO: Apply liquid eyeliner
  • STEP 1: Draw your wing
  • STEP 2: Line the eyes
  • STEP 3: Connect the lines
  • HOW TO: Apply concealer for dark circles
  • STEP 1: Draw your guidelines
  • STEP 2: Blend it out
  • STEP 3: Set it
  • HOW TO: Cover up a pimple
  • STEP 1: Dab on a base
  • STEP 2: Pat it in
  • STEP 3: Set it
  • STEP 4: Blend it in
  • HOW TO: Contour and highlight
  • STEP 1: Chisel it out
  • STEP 2: Add the light

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