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The Art of Wearing Make Up : The Complete Guide

Updated on November 18, 2013

Makeup is an old invention that takes us back to the Ancient Egyptian pharaohs, but the demand really emerged in the sixteenth century. It is now a huge market, as the global makeup industry generated close to $35 billion in 2010, with the United States dominating the market, with the leading company Procter & Gamble, representing 14.2 percent of the market.

Makeup wasn't made to hide, but at first was used to indicate that you belonged to the upper class, with the very pale skin contrasting the tanned skin of the farmers for European women in the sixteenth century, for example. Nowadays it is more of a way to enhance qualities and hide flaws of the new modern woman. It is supposed to make us feel better, but sometimes it just adds to the pressure to be always feminine and "perfect".

Makeup can do a lot for you, but it can be confusing or considered as a waste of time. Here is a complete guide to help you navigate through the maze of products and tips and methods related to makeup and beauty care in general.


A few tips

1. Keep it natural. We'll never say it enough, if people see that you're trying too hard to change your face, you're losing the whole effect you were trying to create. Simple, well-applied make up is always better than a lot burying your features, especially if you're a beginner in the cosmetics world.

2. Have fun. Staying natural on a daily basis is nice, but as you get better at working with brushes and lipsticks, you can try to play with colors, or try original ways to apply your lipstick or eye shadow. This tip only works for younger women (under 30), as older women will want to look more respectable and moderated.

3. Find the balance.Even when having fun, you need to look human : pick one part of your face to highlight, it's either your lips or your eyes. You can pick the one you prefer, and sometimes try to have fun with the other one (once in a while, put some bright red lipstick on your lips if you're used to focus on your eyes)

4. Prioritize. If you're in a hurry, take care of your face first. It's your base, and even if you spend time on your lips or eyes, the flaws of your skin will pop and ruin your efforts.

5. Invest thoughtfully. Invest in a good foundation or BBcream, and in skin treatments. The rest can be cheap, but you also need to invest in waterproof products for the summer.

6. Everything matters : from your nails to your hair and your clothes, everything matters to create a complete look to match your perfect make-up.

Brushes, necessary tools for everyday make up


What you need

Make up requires a few tools :

1. Brushes : you need 5 different brushes to start, the concealer brush, the bronzer/powder brush, the blusher brush, the eyeshadow brush and the smudger brush, and a special soap to wash them. You can also buy a starter kit, such as the 12 brushes for 12$ on

2. A beauty blender : this pink sponge is available in cheaper versions in department stores. It's very useful to apply foundation and concealer after humidifying it for a very natural result.

3. Eyelash curler : to use before putting on mascara for a wide open effect on your eyes. Perfect for every type of lashes, it's usually sold in department stores for 1$.

4. A pencil sharpener : ideal and necessary for your eye pencils that need to be sharpened regularly for more precision.

5. Tweezers : always, always have tweezers in your purse wherever you go, as your eyebrows might need a final touch during the day.

Create your own makeup bag to take everywhere you go


A few products to keep in your purse

To fix any problem, change from day to night makeup or simply reapply makeup during the day, you need a few products in a little makeup bag you can easily find at sephora or in a department store.

Go for multipurpose products, such as the cover-all in a pink shade ( that you can use for your lips, eyes and as a blush. Add a small pressed powder, a concealer and a retractable brush, along with a small pencil and mascara. You can also add some foundation, such as the fit me stick (Maybelline). Add a tinted lip mosturizer (baby lips Maybelline), a little box of nivea cream, a portable hand cream, a mirror and some gums. You might also need a universal atomizer (sephora) and an antibacterial gel.


Your face is your base. If you don't have time, always focus on the foundation. But putting makeup on a flawed face won't make it perfect : you need to take care of your skin first. The minimum you have to do is to apply a good mosturizer every morning and evening after removing your makeup (including in the morning). You can also add a mask and a peel-off every week and drink a lot of water every day for a healthy skin.

Follow 3 steps every morning (that you can reduce to the first or the two first steps) :

1. The base : apply a base, then pick a foundation or a BBcream adapted to your skin tone and apply it with a beauty blender or a foundation brush. Add a concealer for your dark circles if needed.

2. Powder : especially if you have oily skin, apply powder to the T-zone (nose and forehead).

3. Blush, bronzer and illuminator : smile and apply blush on the cheekbones, stretch towards the forehead. Use the bronzer under the cheekbones and on the edge of the face, and on the sides of the nose if you want to make it look thinner. Work with the illuminator in small quantities on the tip of the nose, under it, in the inner corner of your eyes and under the eyebrows.



To make your eyes look bigger, you can apply some illuminator on the inner corner of the eye, and just under the eyebrow. Keep it light, though, otherwise you're just stating that you think your eyes are too small!

You can try eyeliner, as it is a classic makeup product, but don't try to apply it in just one movement : it will be more precise if you apply little eyeliner at the time. You can also use a pencil to line your upper lid before applying the eyeshadow. The typical way to do that is to go from light to darker eyeshadow from the inner corner of your eyes. But you can also do a smoky eye by applying the same amount of eye shadow all over the upper lid. Remember to stay natural, and never forget the mascara, it's the final touch that will make your eyes look bigger and make the color pop.

Eye shadow colors for every eye color

Eye color
Best colors for you
Worst colors for you
Brown to black eyes
Pretty much everything! Pink, blue and green eyeshadows will make your eyes pop, though.
Try to avoid intense black or white eye shadows as they might make your eyes look dull.
Hazel eyes
Golden brown tones will suit you better, but you can try shades that work for both brown and green eyes.
Steer clear of intense black eyeshadows and eyeliner.
Blue eyes
Brown, taupe, purple, gray, and pink with moderation.
Try to stay away from blue eyeshadows
Green eyes
Purple shades are the best to create a dramatic contrast, but you can try earthtones for a more natural look (brown, taupe...)
Ditch silver eyeshadows and black eyeliner in general.

Make up art



Your lips can be a very feminine and sexy asset as red lips still are elegant in a classic and womanly way. You can choose to not highlight that part of your face if you don't like it, but if you do remember to adapt the color to your age and skin tone. Prefer creamy recipes to overly glossy lipstick in general, and stay with matte textures if you want to make your lips look thinner.

The best color for pale skin would be light or bright pinks, instead of warm-based shades. For olive skin, the best would be reds with oranges bases, that would look great on fair skin. Medium skin, on the other hand, will adapt to every skin color, while brown and black skin will look better with purple (grape or berry) and pretty much any other color.


My favorite products

We all have products that we use for years because they make us feel confident. Here are a few of my all-time favorites :

Skin : For the base, I use the happy light matte serum primer by bourjois. For the foundation, I love the true match by l'oréal for the photoshopped aspect it gives to my skin. On a daily basis, I usually prefer a BB cream (6 in 1, multi-perfecting by Cosmence for combination skin). Powder by the italian cheap brand Kiko, blush fit me! by Maybelline.

Eyes : I am addicted to the creamy and durable texture of maybelline's color tattoo, and I never leave my voluminous million lashes by l'oréal (always waterproof) and the colored pencils by urban decay.

Lips : I'll never get tired of the high pigmentation and the rich texture of maybelline's color sensational lipsticks.


The best brands (cheap or expensive)

The best brands at the time are M.A.C, benefit, make up forever, NARS, O.P.I for nail polishes and BareMinerals. For cheaper products, you can try Maybelline as it is very reliable, the Italian brand Kiko on the other hand makes low-cost nail polishes and beautiful eye shadows, and finally eyeslipsface (elf) is known for low-priced accessories and has pretty much everything you need, including gift boxes.

Make up for every woman and for every occasion

Every woman has the right to wear makeup. But you need to adapt every detail to your age, skin, hair and eye color. The most important thing is to keep it age-appropriate : no loud colors for older women, no hard eye-liner around the eyes as it gives a more rigid look. In general, go for a natural but sophisticated look if you're more mature.

You also need to adjust the makeup to every occasion : first date, fancy dinner in a restaurant or night out at the opera, wedding, etc... You can choose to do a smoky eye and leave your lips natural, or go for the eternal refined look : black eyeliner and bright red lipstick. A classic!

Classic and elegant make up for special occasions


Make up mistakes

What not to do

There are a few common mistakes we keep doing : wearing lipstick too light, overplucking your eyebrows, applying bronzer all over the face to look tanned and too much makeup in general, picking the wrong foundation shade, or a concealer that is too pale, or wearing long or fake nails. Here is a video presenting a lot of those mistakes in a funny way.

Beauty isn't necessary, but feeling good in your body and confident about how you look is a great way to be happy about being a woman! Start wearing makeup today, you have no excuse to not feel beautiful, because every girl is actually pretty.

Last stop on the wonders of makeup


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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      Good chart on the eye color. I am going to have to avoid the dark and light colors to avoid hiding my brown eyes. Fascinating who the origin of make up was due to high society. Interesting read and very useful.

    • AliceFournier profile imageAUTHOR

      Alice Fournier 

      4 years ago from Amsterdam

      Thank you for reading and for the positive feedback!

    • JG11Bravo profile image


      4 years ago

      This isn't something I'd usually take a moment to read, but I'm impressed by how thorough you were. Well done.

    • AliceFournier profile imageAUTHOR

      Alice Fournier 

      4 years ago from Amsterdam

      True but they are also trying to look more like Europeans or Americans by doing so, they're losing what make them look special.

    • Hezekiah profile image


      4 years ago from Japan

      I'm a guy but I know that, you can get great tips from Asian women, especial Japanese and Koreans. They use a lot of make up, but with their tricks and techniques they do some crazy transformation.


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