Learn How To Do Your Make-Up: Level One

Welcome to my three-part series on mastering the skills of make-up! I am no make-up whiz myself (let’s just get that out in the open), but I certainly am dedicated to learning.

Level One | Level Two | Level Three

I have friends who are so amazingly skilled at doing their make-up, it absolutely puts my own to shame. Now, I can slap on some foundation and put on eyeshadow, but all the detailed skills of professional make-up artists–yeah, that’s lost on me.

So I’m here with a huge round-up of make-up tutorial, tips, and suggestions! Everything from how to apply and what brushes to use and how to wear fake eyelashes and how to wing your eyeliner and how to clean your tools.

For Level One, we’ll be covering The Basics; Prep & Clean-Up; and Foundation, Concealer, and Setting. Master these topics and then we’ll move on to Level Two!


We’re starting very simple here. You’ve never seen make-up before. You don’t know how to use it. This is the order in which you should apply it.

If this particular routine doesn’t work for you–or if you apply your make-up in a different order–that’s okay! This is not a one-size-fits-all tutorial. Personally, I apply my face make-up then do my eyes and brows. And it seems to work out well for me. Again, I’m no professional. Applying your face make-up after your eyes and brows are done allow you to better cover, fix, and hide any mistakes.

Here’s an alternative order of events:

Okay, so you have a basic understanding of what order to apply your make-up in. Now we need some tools. People highly recommend the Beauty Blender (or it’s cheaper cousin, the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge–which I actually prefer). If you purchase one of these, know how to clean it.

I’m a brush girl through and through. Here’s some brushes that will be useful to your make-up application process.

If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t need all of these brushes. The foundation brush, kabuki brush, blush brush, concealer brush, eyeshadow brush, blending brush, smudger brush,  and lash/brow comb are important no matter your skill level, though. I linked to brushes that I personally use. If you want to know more about my brushes, check out My Daily Make-Up Bag.

It’s also important to know how long certain types of makeup last. Most products have a symbol on the back or the bottom that says 6M, 12M, 24M, or some other variation. This is how many months the product is safe to use after you open it. Throw your makeup away and refresh your collection to prevent bacteria build up and potential infections.


Your face needs to be clean and primed before applying make-up. Find a daily cleanser that you love–one for the morning before you get ready and one at night to take off all your make-up and get you fresh before bed. Some of my favorite face washes can be found in this post. I use Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Water Gel as a moisturizer every day. It has sunscreen in it and is non-oily, which I love!

Once your face is clean, primer will help keep your make-up from slipping off your face throughout the day. Some of my favorite primers can be found in this post. My absolute go-to primer, though, is Smashbox’s Photo Finish Foundation Primer.

Skipping ahead to the end of your routine, you need to know how to clean your make-up brushes! For quick, everyday use, I love the Sephora Daily Brush Cleaner. I’m also a huge fan of their Dry Clean formula. Both of these are for daily use, not for deep cleaning, which is essential to preventing make-up build up and breakouts.

I have used both baby shampoo and mild face soap to clean my make-up brushes. I have avoided all types of oils (even though plenty of tutorials recommend them), simply because my face is already acne-prone and I don’t need more oil added to my face. I feel like it never completely washes out of the brush, but maybe that’s all in my head. This tutorial is pretty much exactly the way I clean my brushes.

Removing your make-up every night is crucial to keeping your skin fresh and clean (which makes the whole make-up application process easier!). For make-up removal and a clean face, Clinique and Neutrogena are my go-to brands. Clinique’s Rinse-Off Eye Make Up Solvent, Neutrogena’s Oil Free Acne Wash, and Clinique’s Clarifying Lotion are all great choices for a clean face. For nights where you crash at your friend’s house or you’re simply being lazy, Neutrogena’s Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are miracle workers. To remove pesky lip color (that means you applied it right and it stayed on all day!), I’m a huge fan of NYX’s Be Gone Lip Color Remover.


You have the tools, you have a clean face, and you’ve applied your moisturizer and primer. Looks like you’re finally ready to start putting on some make-up!

Jaclyn Hill does a remarkable tutorial for her foundation and concealer routine. It’s very simple and easy to follow, which is perfect for beginners. Her video even touches on highlighting, which will get you prepared for that step once the time comes!

Here’s a quick and dirty visual guide to applying your foundation and concealer.

Some tutorials recommend running a tissue across your face to pick up access product before moving on to your powder. My go-to foundation is Clinique’s Perfectly Real Make Up. There are two different concealers that I use, both by Benefit Cosmetics. The Erase Paste Brightening Concealer helps to hide the bags under my eyes, but it is not entirely full coverage, which is why I supplement it with Fake-Up Hydrating Concealer. Again, this is not a super high-coverage concealer, but it is good for make-up novices like myself. I’m not sure I’m ready to apply full coverage concealer without looking like a ghost.

As stated in the video, it’s important that all of your cream face products are complete by the time you seal with powder. There is no going back to cream once you apply powder! Studio Fix by MAC is a great powder, which I apply with my It Cosmetics Jumbo Powder Brush. If you prefer loose powder, I like the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Silk HD Anti-Aging Micro-Powder.

This tutorial from Roxette Arisa is another step-by-step foundation guide.

I love that she talks about color correction, which is important for those with uneven skin tones. The Benefit Erase Paste mentioned above is a color corrector for the under eye area. In the past, I have used the Maybelline Cover Stick in green to hide blemishes. As I have grown older, acne has become less of problem, so my concealer methods have changed over time.

As for setting sprays, Urban Decay’s All Nighter Long-Lasting Setting Spray and MAC’s Prep + Prime Fix+ are my two ultimate favorites! I have tried dozens of setting sprays over the years and these two have stood the test of time. They truly keep my make-up in place all day long and prevent shine.

Congratulations! You made it through Level One! Stay tuned for Level Two!


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