Overcoming Anxiety is a series where Cat shares tips for balancing a desire to be social with various phobias/fears. If your life is severely impacted and/or limited by your own anxiety, please consult an actual mental health professional. She is not one.
Finally! Part four has arrived! If you’re new to this series (or makeup in general) make sure to check out parts 1, 2, & 3. My apologies for being a bit late with this one – I assure you, I was off doing something totally worthwhile with my time.
First things first – start with a very clean face. If your skin is prone to being dried out, you can apply a very light layer of moisturizer, but make sure to give it some time to sink in before trying to apply any makeup.
No judging, but here’s my bare face.
Crap, wrong file. Try this.
Here’s the after we’re going for (smile and frizzy hair are optional):
Skin is a more even color and appears smoother, dark circles under the eyes are reduced, and both lips and eyes are more defined.
To get there, grab your foundation or tinted moisturizer. Smooth a super thin layer over your entire face using your fingertips, but skip the lips and upper eyelids. That means your forehead, cheeks, chin, nose, area between your nose and upper lip, etc. Very carefully make sure there are no lines where the skin with makeup meets bare skin. If there are, very very very gently rub (aka “blend” in beauty terms) the line until it smudges and creates an invisible transition from makeup zone to non-makeup zone. Pay extra attention to the perimeter of your face – it’s the most likely place for an obvious foundation line. I’m talking hairline, by your ears, the edges of your nose/nostrils, and your jaw line.
Time to move on to your eyes. Start with an eyeshadow primer – dot it lightly across one of your eyelids like this:
Now careful smooth the primer around the following area of the lid using your finger until it is blended in:
Next, take an eye shadow brush (looks something like this) and work a bit of the eye shadow that’s closest to your skintone onto your brush. Now gently color in the entirety of the area I have circled above. It should be a very light layer, and the edges where the rest of your face meets the eye shadow should not appear like a harsh line – it’s more of a soft-focus, blurry change of zone. Here’s how it looks on me:
It’s a small difference, but as we go, all of the small changes we make will add up. Now I want you to take the darkest of the eye shadow colors I had you select and fill in the following zone:
Again, try to avoid and stark lines and instead use the brush to “blend” and soften the edges. Make sure you start with a very light layer of shadow – you can always add more if you think it’s too subtle. Build up layers until you find something you’re happy with (it usually only takes me one or two layers for a subtle “day” look). Here’s how it looks on me:
Now we’re going to add a highlight. Either carefully clean your brush by rubbing it on a clean tissue, or switch to a new brush (I prefer using separate brushes for dark and light colors when possible). Using the brightest eye shadow color, fill in the following zones:
Make sure the area directly under your brow is well blended. The spot by your inner eye can be more bold.
If you’re planning on curling your lashes for the upgraded day look, do that now BEFORE you put mascara on (here’s a nice tutorial video to help). Next, carefully apply your mascara to your upper lid’s eye lashes (like last time, just gently brush it onto your lashes without touching the wand to the skin around your eyes). If you mess up, you can use a lightly damp q-tip to remove the problem spots. Here’s how my eye looks at this point in the process:
Now do the same thing (but flipped, like a mirror image) to your other eye lid. Try to keep your eyes looking as symmetric as possible.
Great news! You’re done with the eye area and you’re nearly done with the whole look! Lets move on to blush.
You’ll want to avoid adding too much of a rosy glow. The key is very light layers of blush.
Using a blush brush (it’ll look something like this) you’ll add a light layer of blush along your cheek bones and blend back into your hair line. Exactly where you should apply the blush varies a bit by your face shape. Don’t freak out too much about where – if you’re using a light hand, it should be fine pretty much anywhere you put it. Here’s where I put it:
Do that to both cheeks (again, with an eye on symmetry) and take a peek in the mirror. How are things looking so far? Any overly defined lines? Spots that stand out as too harsh? You can fix them by using a clean brush to blend blend blend the line away.
Holy cow, we’re almost done with the basic day look! Just color in your lips using the lip gloss and you are set!
MWAH! All together, it should look similar to that after picture I showed you earlier:
It’s a fairly easy look that’s great for the office or just feeling a little extra snazzy when you’re in the mood. If you found this super easy and still want just a little bit more to the look, get out the extra tools listed in part 3 and we’ll upgrade things like so:
The differences are: liquid eye liner, highlighting powder, bronzer, brow powder and an eyelash curler (as mentioned previously, you should curl your eyelashes BEFORE applying mascara – here’s a nice tutorial video for how to curl them).
The hardest part of all of that is the liquid eyeliner, so we’ll tackle it by first. Only attempt if you have a fairly steady hand. Let’s take a closer look at it:
I essentially “drew” a line starting near the inner corner of my eye leading out to just past the end of my eye opening. The line starts very thin, and then gradually widens, eventually coming to a point at the end. To recreate this, just start by drawing the very thin line that starts near the inner eye and draw it outward. Then, going the opposite direction, draw another thin line where from where you want the “point” to start back towards the thinner line. Color in any area that’s accidentally left bare. For a more dramatic look, you can try this out. The hardest part, really, is getting your other eye to match. Practice will make perfect, so make sure you’re not trying this for the first time before some big, important event.
As for the highlighter, just very lightly dust it over the bridge of your nose, above your blush, the area between your eye brows, and dot it just a tiny bit above your cupid’s bow. Like so:
Brow powder should be used to make your brows look just a bit thicker. Just fill in using the natural shape of your brows as a guide. Here’s a before and after – see how subtle the change is?
Bronzer should be applied slightly below your blush and not as far into the center of the face and along the sides of the nose if you’re wanting it to appear a tiny bit more narrow. Like so:
Make sure to step back from the mirror to get a better look at yourself from far away. Are there any harsh lines? Is anything lopsided? Blend blend blend your way to a look you like. 🙂
That’s it! A day look and a slightly upgraded day look. I hope my instructions were pretty clear – please let me know if you have any questions in the comments!
Next time, we’ll tackle a more dramatic “evening” look. See you then!
(Featured image from iStockphoto)
She lives in the Bay Area and cites her diverse background as her biggest influence: her visual artist mom is half-Chinese, half-Greek, and from Hawai’i; her film-loving, world-music curating dad is from Montana; and she lived in both California and Montana while growing up. She loves at least a little bit about virtually everything (Pokémon Snap included) and aims to be a Jane of all trades. By day Cat is a multiple-hat-wearing media person.
She is also allergic to felines.