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Welcome!

This guide to makeup is intended for anyone in their twenties or older who has never worn makeup before. I based this off everything I’ve learned since I began wearing makeup for the first time at 27. At this blog, you’ll find:

My product recommendations focus mostly on drugstore items, as I believe it’s best to start off with mostly drugstore makeup (much of which is very good) so that you can learn your likes and dislikes in terms of colors and formulas without a huge investment up front. I do think it’s worth it to spend more on foundation and concealer, especially to find a good match, so those recommendations include more mid-to-high-end products.

While the amount of information below may seem overwhelming, don’t feel like you have to rush out and get all of the different products listed here! If you’ve never worn makeup, try out new things one by one, depending on which features you want to focus on. Keep in mind throughout that you don’t need to follow every makeup “rule” you read, and there are no “have to”s in makeup. For instance, you don’t “have to” wear foundation – if you feel you don’t need it, great! You also don’t “have to” only wear bright lipstick in the spring, or wear only warm colors if you have warm undertones. The guidelines I’ve listed here are just that – guidelines.

Eyeshadow Recommendations for Brown Eyes

Because brown is a neutral color, many eyeshadow shades will work with brown eyes.  Bright, cool colors will contrast most strongly with brown, but plenty of warm colors, especially with some depth or shimmer, also work. Here’s a list of shades for brown eyes, broken down by undertone:

  • Warm: gold, copper, bronze, champagne, plummy purple, olive green
  • Cool: forest green, navy, cobalt, teal, silver, violet/cool purple

Of course, this list isn’t meant to be absolutely prescriptive or to box you in – it’s just a starting point. Every single one of these colors may not work for you; consider your skin undertone and how bright or muted your coloring is. For instance, bright teal may not look right on someone with muted coloring, and olive green may look muddy on someone with bright coloring. See here for more on this.

And there are many ways to incorporate these eyeshadow colors into your looks. You don’t need to put a green shadow all over your lid; you can use it on just part of the lid and blend it into more neutral colors, as in the image above. See here and here for some ideas on putting together eyeshadow looks. I’ve also put some example images in this post.

Below I’ve listed specific eyeshadow options, with different finishes and from different price points, for each color group. I’ve noted the finish and how light/dark each color is in parentheses. One quick note – if you have darker skin, the shades labeled as light to light-medium may look ashy on you.

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Eyeshadow Recommendations for Blue and Gray Eyes

Choosing a color that is opposite on the color wheel from your eye color will emphasize the color of your eyes. Since orange is directly opposite from blue on the color wheel, orange-y colors like peach and copper work well with blue and gray eyes. Here’s a longer list of shades for blue and gray eyes, broken down by undertone:

  • Warm: peach, copper, orange, bronze, gold, burgundy, plummy purple, rose gold, taupe, warm brown, rust, pink, champagne/warm beige, taupe
  • Cool: gray/silver (for blue eyes), purple, pink, taupe

Of course, this list isn’t meant to be absolutely prescriptive or to box you in – it’s just a starting point. Every single one of these colors may not work for you; consider your skin undertone and how bright or muted your coloring is. For instance, bright gold may not look right on someone with muted coloring, and warm brown may look muddy on someone with bright coloring. See here for more on this.

And there are many ways to incorporate these eyeshadow colors into your looks. You don’t need to put an orange shadow all over your lid; you can use it on part of the lid and blend it into more neutral colors, as in the image above. See here and here for some ideas on putting together eyeshadow looks. I’ve also put some example images in this post.

Below I’ve listed specific eyeshadow options, with different finishes and from different price points, for each color group. I’ve noted the finish and how light/dark each color is in parentheses. One quick note – if you have darker skin, the shades labeled as light to light-medium may look ashy on you.

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Eyeshadow Recommendations for Green and Hazel Eyes

Choosing a color that is opposite on the color wheel from your eye color will emphasize the color of your eyes. Since red is directly opposite from green on the color wheel, reddish colors – burgundy and plummy purples – work well with green eyes. Here’s a longer list of shades for green eyes, broken down by undertone:

  • Warm: burgundy, plummy purple, bronze, pink, brown, rose gold, taupe
  • Cool: purple, violet, pink, taupe

If you have hazel eyes, those colors can bring out the green in your eyes, and gold can bring out any gold flecks in your iris.

Of course, this list isn’t meant to be absolutely prescriptive or to box you in – it’s just a starting point. Every single one of these colors may not work for you; consider your skin undertone and how bright or muted your coloring is. For instance, bright violet may not look right on someone with muted coloring, and warm brown may look muddy on someone with bright coloring. See here for more on this.

And there are many ways to incorporate these eyeshadow colors into your looks. You don’t need to put a burgundy shadow all over your lid; you can use it as an accent color, as in the image above. See here and here for some ideas on putting together eyeshadow looks. I’ve also put some example images in this post.

Source: Joanna F. http://www.beautylish.com/f/iwjuyw

Source: Joanna F.

Below I’ve listed specific eyeshadow options, with different finishes and from different price points, for each color group. I’ve noted the finish and how light/dark each color is in parentheses. One quick note – if you have darker skin, the shades labeled as light to light-medium may look ashy on you.

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How to Choose Flattering Lipstick Colors

There are several factors you can consider to find flattering lipstick shades for you – shades that complement your natural coloring. As a shortcut, think about the colors of clothing that you look best in. What do your best colors have in common? Things to consider here are:

  • Undertones – how warm or cool your best colors are
  • Clarity – how bright or muted these colors are
  • Contrast – how light or dark these colors are compared to your skin

You can echo those characteristics in your lip color choices.

Let’s go into more detail on each.

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Introduction to Blush

Blush adds color to your cheeks, which can help make you look healthier if you don’t have natural redness there. Also, if you’re wearing foundation, blush will help keep you from looking washed out. Blush comes in cream and powder formulas.

  • Cream blush – can be applied with fingers and blended out with a stippling brush or fingers. Cream blush is especially good for dry skin. Also, you can layer powder blush on top of cream blush to increase wear time if that’s a concern for you. Note that cream blush should never be used on top of powder foundation, as it won’t blend out well over powder.
  • Powder blush – applied and blended out with a blush brush. If you use liquid foundation, particularly if you have oily skin, I recommend powdering your face before applying powder blush; it’ll blend out more easily that way.

Some blush recommendations:

  • Milani
  • Wet n Wild
  • Black Radiance
  • Sleek

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Highlighting and contouring

Highlighting and contouringHighlighting and contouring are used to “sculpt” your face as shown in the diagram, by accentuating the natural high points/shadows in your face. This is based off the simple principle that light colors bring an area forward, while dark colors make an area recede. So you would apply light colors to the areas of your face that are naturally prominent, while applying dark colors to the areas of your face that naturally recede.

Highlighting is applying a liquid or powder a few shades lighter than your skin on areas you want to bring forward, like the tops of the cheeks and center of the nose. This can make your face look more “glowy.” If you just want to highlight your cheekbones, you could use something matte or shimmery, whereas if you want to sculpt your whole face, including all the highlighted areas in the diagram, a matte product is best. While some people even use concealers, that can look cakey fast due to the high coverage in those formulas.

Contouring is using a powder or cream a shade or two darker than your skin in areas you want to recede, typically the perimeter of the face, cheekbones, jaw, and sides of the nose. This can help to define your cheekbones and make your nose look more narrow.

The best color to use for contouring is strongly dependent on your undertones. If you have very warm undertones, something warm (like a matte bronzer) can work, while a cool-toned or taupey color might pull blueish or purplish on you (you can see this effect in this swatch of NYX Taupe on warm-toned skin, where it looks a bit purplish). If you have very cool undertones, something cool-toned (gray or cool taupe/brown) can work, while a warmer color might look too orangey. If you have more neutral undertones, try a neutral brown like Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow (for light skin) or Kevyn Aucoin’s Sculpting Powder (for light to medium skin).

You can choose to just highlight, just contour, or do both if you like. Regardless, highlighting/contouring products would go on top of foundation. However, in the case of stick or liquid highlighters, you could try putting it on before foundation, then lightly patting your foundation over it, to get a sort of “glow from within.”

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