Make-Up Application

A Guide To Make-Up Application

The secret of fantastic make-up is in its application.

Most professional make-up artists have their own tricks and short-cuts, but what works for a model on a fashion shoot will not necessary be the best answer for someone applying make-up in their dressing-table mirror. Take a few tips from us and work them into your own routine; before you know it, you’ll be getting flawless results every time!



Gather together your eyelash curler and your favourite mascara and position yourself comfortably in front of a mirror. Start by curling your lashes carefully before application, taking care that the pads are properly positioned and the curler is wide enough to reach all of the lashes.

Once your lashes have reached their optimum curl, comb the mascara evenly through lashes from the base right through to the tip, wiggling as you go. Rolling the brush will help you to avoid accumulating clumps, whilst zig-zagging it slightly will separate lashes perfectly. Your bottom lashes are often sparser and can be irregular in their growth pattern, so use a much lighter hand when applying mascara here.

Don’t: Brush too quickly, as you may not distribute the mascara evenly. Don’t apply layer after layer without waiting for the last coat to dry – no one wants clumpy lashes!

Tip: When you remove the mascara wand from its barrel, wipe away any unruly clumps that may have collected between the bristles with a tissue. You want even coverage from root to tip of every lash.


Eye Shadow

Set yourself down in a well-lit area with clear access to a mirror. Choose three shades of eyeshadow – one in a light colour, the second in a medium shade, and the third in a dark shade to build intensity.

Load an eyeshadow brush with the light coloured eyeshadow and, using gentle sweeping strokes, cover the entire eyelid in the shade all the way up to the eyebrow. Next, take the medium coloured eyeshadow and sweep it across the eyelid and under the bottom lashes, taking care not to stray too far past the eye socket/eye crease. Lastly, apply the darker colour along the lash line, sweeping it out at the corner of the eye. Blend the colours well so that there are no obvious colour blocks.

Don’t: Use an overly dark shade to cover a large area… less is usually more!

Tip: Once you’ve collected powder on your brush, gently tap the excess away. This way you’ll avoid over-application of stronger colours.



Eye liner is often particularly tricky for people to get right. Make sure that you’re all set up in a well-lit space with a mirror, and preferably have a flat surface to lean on.

If you’re looking to line with liquid eyeliner, pull the skin taut and use light feathery strokes. Use a cotton bud moistened with makeup remover to correct mistakes, sculpting the line to your desired shape. If you prefer a softer, smokier look, dab a kohl pencil along the lash line and blend and smudge to your heart’s content. For a more intense look, finish by running the kohl pencil along the inner rim of your lash lines.

Don’t: Attempt to draw a solid line in one go, as this can end up uneven, wobbly and hard to correct.

Tip: If you’re using a pencil, warm the tip in a tissue by rubbing it gently between your fingers to soften it before use.



Begin by smiling gently to yourself in the mirror. Finding the chubbiest part of your cheeks, sweep the blush over these parts with a big brush to give yourself a natural, healthy flush. Avoid an unnatural finish by taking the colour up, around the corner of your eye to your temple. If you would like to create the illusion of angular cheekbones, compliment your blusher with a slightly darker shade placed below your cheekbone and angled up towards the top of your ear. Blend this shade well, or you could end up with two parallel stripes!

Don’t: Use too much blusher: you should only see a hint of colour when it’s applied correctly.

Tip: Once you’ve collected powder on your brush, gently blow the excess away.


Lip colour

Whatever formulation you’re using, be it a lipstick, lip gloss or lip stain, you should smooth the colour around the outer edge of your lips first. This creates an outline that is easy to fill in. Fill your upper lip first, moving your brush up-and-down rather than side-to-side, as this will give you a more natural, even finish. If you’re wearing lipstick, ‘kiss’ a blotting tissue firmly to ensure that excess waxes do not collect between the lines in your lips.

Don’t: Be tempted to enlarge your lips by painting your lipstick outside your natural lip line. It only works for photographic make-up artists who have lights and reflectors to play with!

Tip: If you are applying a solid lipstick, apply it with a small lip-brush for greater precision.



Select either a large brush for a more diffused effect, or a sponge for a more concentrated dispersal of product. Gently swirl the powder over your face once the rest of your make-up is finished to ‘set’ it. Concentrate on your cheeks and forehead, where skin is most likely to be shiny. If your skin is very greasy, choose a specialist mattifying formula that will absorb excess shine.

Don’t: Apply too much powder and avoid particles clogging in key areas, such as at the sides of your nose and beneath your lower lip.

Tip: If you wear foundation choose a translucent powder. If you don’t, choose a powder in a complementary skin tone.



To conceal blemishes, apply a stick concealer underneath your foundation by brushing a layer over the area you want hidden and a couple of millimetres beyond. Concealer is formulated to remain on the surface of the skin (unlike foundation, which is absorbed into the upper layers of the epidermis) so you need to blend the edges in carefully. If it is dark eye circles you are looking to disguise, a lighter liquid concealer won’t drag the sensitive eye skin and will contain light-reflecting pigments to make eyes seem more alert and beautiful.

Don’t: Apply your foundation before your concealer has dried.

Tip: Choose a shade that’s the same shade or slightly lighter than foundation.



Get comfortable in a well-lit area in front of a mirror. Dab foundation over key areas: one dab in the centre of your forehead, one on each cheek, one on your chin and one on the end of your nose. Using your applicator, work the formulation out from the centre of your face to the jaw line, hair line and ears, taking care to blend well.

Don’t: Try to give yourself a tan by using a darker shade of foundation! If you’re after the bronzed look, try a facial self-tan formula.

Tip: Always test out shade on your face, and not on your hand


Nail varnish

Brush your selected colour on in three strokes: one down the centre and one either side of it. Nail varnish brands vary greatly in density of coverage; some will require just one coat, while others will still look wishy-washy after three. If you’re applying more than one coat, wait for each to dry completely before starting again.

Don’t: Take the colour right up to the sides of your nails. Concentrating colour in the middle avoids polish wandering onto your skin, and makes your nails appear longer and slimmer.

Tip: Speed up drying by dipping your nails into cold water and shaking dry.