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Makeup? Don't know her.

Do you walk into Sephora or Ulta and internally freak out? There are countless products and brands out there, and when you are just starting or are still learning about makeup, it can be a pretty daunting experience. Finding the right products and brands can sometimes take years of trial and error, and it can seem more difficult since new products and brands are coming out so often. If you're beginning your makeup journey, stick with the basics: primer, foundation, concealer, contour (bronzer, blush, & highlight), setting powder, mascara, brows, setting spray, and if you're feeling wild, grab some eyeliner!

You are probably reading that thinking to yourself, 'That is a lot for "the basics," 'and it does seem like a lot, but I promise you it is not as intimidating as it sounds. We will delve into the basics so you can confidently walk into Sephora or Ulta.


Primer is a MUST if you want your makeup to stay and slay all day. You can use a moisturizer if you would rather not add another product to your kit, but primer does make a huge difference. It gives your foundation something to grip onto. Whether you're using a moisturizer or an actual primer, a significant key to a flawless makeup application depends on the base of your primer. You can get a water-based, silicone, or oil-based primer; they all have different benefits for the skin. A silicone primer will be your best bet if you're more oily. If you're more dry, an oil-based primer is a good option. Water-based primers are a perfect middle-of-the-road, excellent for you combination queens. Once you've chosen the suitable primer, the next step is foundation/concealer. Your foundation base must match your primer base. If you mix a water-based primer with a silicone-based foundation or concealer, your makeup will pill.


Just like primers, foundations and concealers can be water, silicone, or oil-based. Your foundation and concealer must match your primer's base to achieve the most flawless, natural-looking base possible. There are different kinds of foundations for different skin types & different results. Coverage ranges from light to full, and depending on your skin concerns or whether you need your makeup to last all day, you should pick accordingly. I have pretty dry/comb skin, and I like a more dewy look, so I have been reaching for the Makeup by Mario Foundation. It is super hydrating, has light-full coverage (which means you can control how much or how little to use), is so buildable, and gives this beautiful glow to the skin. Finding your perfect foundation shade can also be challenging at times, but if you try out a brand that offers a multitude of shades, you should be able to match pretty well. Fenty, Makeup by Mario and Ilya has a great shade range. If you are blessed with perfect skin, you might skip this step or use a BB cream or a small amount of concealer. When looking for a concealer, you need to ask yourself, 'What am I using this for?'. Are you trying to cover blemishes, redness, and bags? Or are you using it to contour? If you use it to cover up a blemish or redness, you want a shade that matches your skin tone. If you are using it to cover up bags or discoloration under the eyes, go a shade or two lighter than your skin tone; this will help cover up any discoloration, but it will also help brighten up your under-eyes. If you want to contour, go a shade or two lighter to highlight and brighten the high points of your face. And that will also help with making sharp lines for your bronzer.


Contour and bronzer are two different things: contour is more cool toned to help carve out the bone structure of your face. Bronzer is more warm-toned to help warm up the face and give you a sunkissed glow. You do not need to get both. You can use warm tones to carve out your bone structure as well; you'll just want to be careful so you don't overdo the bronzer. If you do, you'll look like Snookie circa 2010… no shade to Snooks… I love her; she is my spirit animal.


Blush is a beautiful little thing that helps bring life back to our faces (bronzer does the same). Blush, along with highlight, can be used at your discretion. There are so many shades to choose from, and it is sometimes hard to pick which would be best for you and your skin tone. I always use a deeper, plum shade on those with a deeper skin complexion. I typically use more pinks/corals when working on someone with a lighter complexion; however, I always ask my clients what they prefer. I have found that people are very picky about their bush, brows, and mascara. And as they should be. As far as choosing between a powder, a cream, or a liquid, it all depends on what result you're going for. If you want that dewy look with little to no powder on your face, go with creme or liquid. If you want your makeup last all night, you can do a creme, but make sure you're putting a powder blush on top.


Highlight is similar to blush in that it is all a personal preference. If you would rather opt out of highlight, you can do that. Highlighter comes in powders, liquids, and creams. No matter your formula, they will all have almost the same payoff. The only thing to remember when getting a powder highlight is whether or not it will look like a natural glow. What I mean by this is that sometimes powder blushes can leave a matte cast on your cheeks and will only pick up the glow in direct lighting. I am a powder highlight girly for life, and the matte cast has been an issue for almost every powder highlight I have used. The one that I have found that does not leave that gross cast is the makeup by Mario highlighters. Even though they are a powder, it does not look like you're wearing a powder. It delivers this beautiful and natural radiant glow that hugs the skin perfectly. 11/10 recommend.


Setting powder is something that is also very personal to consumers. There are so many setting powders that it can become daunting when looking for the right one. My biggest tip when searching for a good setting powder is to avoid going too light. Sometimes translucent powders can work for many people, and sometimes, they are too light. When your powder is too light, it will cause a flashback in photos. Have you ever seen someone's picture and noticed a white cast under their eyes? Yeah, it's not cute; no one wants that. That is usually a result of 1 or 2 things: either the powder is too light or too much was applied. I do not see that as much anymore since baking is no longer as popular, but just be careful when applying your setting powder. You want to ensure your makeup is fully set, but less is more when it comes to setting powder.


Mascara can be tricky, and it is once again, all about personal preference. If you prefer more volume, get a mascara with a thicker wand. If you prefer more lift, get one with a skinnier wand. I like more lift than volume, so I will reach for a mascara like the Thrive causemetics liquid lash extension or the Ilya limitless lash lengthening mascara. If you like more volume, I would try to go for something like the Better than Sex mascara or the milk kush mascara.


Brows are much less scary than one would think, especially with the natural-looking brows trending right now. A simple, clear brow gel will do the trick if you like natural-looking brows and want to avoid spending too much. If you're looking for a fuller, natural brow, I recommend a brow pencil as they are not as pigmented as pomades. Benefit and Makeup by Mario are currently my favorite brands when going for a more natural brown. I recommend a pomade or a thicker pencil if you want something bold and filled in. Anastasia is a go-to for a fuller brow moment.


This is probably the most essential step of your makeup. It ties in the whole look and adds extra hydration and life to the skin. That would come in handy if you went overboard with the powder. Setting spray can also help with removing too much makeup. If you overdo anything on the face, spray your DAMP beauty blender with the setting spray about four times directly on the sponge and lightly dab the area you put too much. This will help bring it back to an average amount of bronzer or blush. Similarly, if you feel you have put too much foundation or concealer on or think your makeup looks too much, spray your face, then lightly dab your beauty blender over your face to help pick up any extra product. This will also help your makeup last longer since you're pressing it into the skin.


As far as eyeliner goes, it is also a personal preference; some like felt-tip liquid liners, some like cream liners, some like pencil liners, and some like powder. You can play around with this to see which application works best for you. If you have very watery eyes, I would use a powder, felt tip waterproof, or avoid it altogether. I have pretty watery eyes and do not wear liners often, but when I do, I usually reach for the Stila all-day dual-ended waterproof eyeliner. It glides on the skin beautifully, and since it has two sides, it makes those sharp wings pop and is great for detail work.

At the end of the day, makeup has no rules. You get what makes you happy, and you apply it the way that works best for you. But these are good starting points if you need help figuring out where to start. I hope you found this article helpful. Happy shopping, happy exploring, and don't forget to embrace & love your most confident self.


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