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How To Apply Makeup The Expert Way: A Step By Step Guide For Your Makeup Routine

How To Apply Makeup The Expert Way: A Step By Step Guide For Your Makeup Routine
Jess Maisey
Writer and expert3 years ago
View Jess Maisey's profile
Last Updated: 18/04/2024

Makeup is a wonderful form of expression, it’s also a confidence booster and a clever way to enhance your best features whether it be sparkly eyes or chiselled cheekbones. At LOOKFANTASTIC, we love how transformative makeup can be and so we constantly have our fingers on the pulse searching for the latest innovations in formulation from our favourite makeup brands. Here, we’ll be sharing our professional step by step guide on how to apply makeup the expert way.

 How To Apply Makeup

When it comes to makeup application, half of the fun is in trying out different looks and different products, practising techniques and seeing what works for you and your skin. And whilst there are no set rules on how you apply your makeup, if you follow our easy routine, you can guarantee a flawless professional finish.

Step 1: Cleanse Your Skin

It’s time to prepare your skin for makeup application. For a flawless makeup application, it really does make such a difference if your skin is properly prepped. Begin by washing your face with your favourite cleanser and a warm flannel to remove any oil and dirt from your skin, as well as any traces of old makeup such as stubborn mascara or eyeliner.


Step 2: Moisturise Your Skin

Now that your skin is freshly cleansed, you can move on to applying moisturiser. Moisturiser is like a refreshing drink of hydration for your skin making it to look instantly brighter, plumper and more radiant. Depending on your skin type, you may prefer to use a face serum, facial oil or a face mist. Whatever your chosen formulation, ensure you don’t miss out this step to complete your preparation ready to apply makeup. Discover the best face moisturiser for every skin type.


Step 3: Apply A Primer

Once you’ve given your moisturiser time to soak into your skin, it’s time to prime your face with a makeup primer. Primer is a great base for foundation and ensures your base makeup applies smoother and lasts longer. Primer works by filling in any uneven texture, fine lines and pores creating a smooth canvas for makeup. Apply a pea-size amount of primer to your fingertips before working it into your skin around your cheeks, forehead, chin and eyelids. Curious to learn more about primer? Check out our previous article: What is a makeup primer?


 Step 4: Expert Tip: Apply Your Eye Makeup First!

You probably didn’t expect us to tell you to apply your eye make up first? This is a pro tip! When you apply eyeshadow, eyeliner, or mascara, it can transfer onto your base makeup causing smudges and imperfections in your perfectly applied foundation. By applying your eye makeup first, you can clean up any mess without affecting your base, genius!

1. Apply Eyeshadow

Eyeshadow application doesn’t need to be complex, you can keep it simple with a swoosh of one colour all over your eyelids, or mix it up by blending multiple shades together. If you’re going for a blended look, start by applying the lightest colour first, before sweeping a darker shade throughout the crease of your eyelid and over the lash line. Don’t forget to finish by blending with a clean, fluffy blending brush. Discover: Which eyeshadow colours suit me?


 2. Apply Eyeliner

Eyeliner can really enhance your eyes and can be used in a number of different ways to create many eye makeup looks from simple and chic to seriously sultry and smokey. If you’re new to eyeliner, choose a pencil eyeliner as the formula is typically softer, easier to apply and blend. It can also be applied to the tight line and the waterline which are the rims of skin around your eyes. Always make sure your pencil eyeliner is sharpened to avoid snagging the delicate skin around your eyes.

For a super precise line and for creating looks such as a winged cat eye, liquid eyeliner or gel eyeliner is best suited. Looking to learn more of the expert techniques on applying eyeliner? Start from the middle of your eyelid and work your way outwards.  We can also help with the best eyeliners to buy.


Whether you’re looking to achieve fluttery long lashes or voluminous fanned lashes, mascara can help transform your entire face. Available in neutral shades such as black or brown, or fun vibrant colours, mascara is the key to extra gorgeous eyes. Begin by using an eyelash curler to curl your lashes to define them and achieve beautiful Bambi eyes.

  • Place the curler at the base of your upper lashes, being careful not to grab any of the sensitive skin around your eyelid
  • Close the curler gently
  • Hold it in place for a few seconds
  • Release gently

Once you have curled your lashes, you can apply mascara, starting at the base of the lashes and brushing upwards towards the tip of your lashes. Apply multiple coats for volume, working any clumps out as you go. Check out our top tops on how to apply mascara.


Step 5: Apply Foundation

Now that your eye makeup is done, it’s time to head back to base and apply some foundation. Make sure you’re using a foundation that correctly matches your skin tone. Need some help? Read our guide to finding the perfect foundation shade for your skin tone.

Next, you’ll want to consider what formulation of foundation you prefer, whether it be liquid, powder, or stick foundation to apply your foundation the expert way, start at the centre of your face and blend your foundation outwards. For the application, depending on the formulation you’ve chosen, as well as your personal preference, use a makeup sponge, a foundation brush or your fingers to apply and blend.


Step 6: Apply Concealer

Concealer is designed to help even out your skin tone, cover blemishes and camouflage aspects of your skin that you want to look less prominent. We recommend choosing a concealer that is the same colour as your skin tone to cover blemishes and redness, as well as a concealer that is lighter than your skin tone to cover dark circles and add luminosity to areas of your face. Apply your concealer with light touches (either with a concealer brush or fingers) don’t forget to set your concealer with a powder to avoid creasing.

Discover our expert guide to applying concealer and how to cover blemishes, dark circles and more.


Step 7: Apply Bronzer

Bronzer can add a gorgeous warmth to your face that mimics where the sun would naturally add colour. Not to be confused with contouring, bronzing is best applied to the high points of your face such as your forehead, cheeks and the bridge of your nose. Always choose a bronzer that is 1-2 shades darker than your natural skin tone. Depending on whether you choose a powder bronzer or a cream bronzer, you can apply with a makeup sponge or an angled makeup brush.

Discover the best bronzers for a sunkissed glow.


Step 8: Apply Blush

For a fabulously flushed cheek, you can count on blusher to deliver. If you prefer a powder blush, we recommend using a large, dense brush to apply blush to the apples of the cheeks (the front part of your cheek that becomes pronounced when you smile). If you prefer a cream blush formula, you can use your fingers or a makeup sponge, lightly pressing the colour onto the apples of your cheeks.

For more tips on how to apply blush check out our guide on how to effectively apply blush.


Step 9: Apply Highlighter

Create a glowing lit-from-within radiance with a highlighter. Highlighters are available as creams, powders and liquids depending on the finish you’re looking for. For best results, highlighter is best applied across the tops of your cheekbones, underneath your brow bone, down the bridget of your nose, above your cupid's bow and the centre of your chin.

Discover more expert tips on how to apply highlighter.


Step 10: Add some colour to your lips

Whether you prefer long wearing lipstick, lip gloss, or a buildable balm, add some colour to your lips. Maybe you prefer neutral shades, perhaps your preference is pops of punchy colour whatever you prefer, make sure you’ve applied a balm to your lips before applying your lip colour of choice to avoid it flaking off and accentuating any dry patches. If you want a more defined lip look, start with a lip liner to liner the outer portion of your lips before filling in with colour. For a more diffused look, blot your chosen lip shade with your finger and apply a clear lip balm over the top,


 Step 11 - Use A Setting Spray Or Powder To Lock In Your Look

Now that your beautiful makeup application is complete, don’t forget to lock in your look with a makeup setting spray and powder. Setting spray stops your makeup from creasing or becoming patchy and helps prevent unwanted shine. Simply hold the setting spray a couple of inches away from your face and spritz. Don’t be tempted to rub the formula in, just let it air dry.


 We hope you’ve found our step by step guide to applying makeup helpful and perhaps even picked up some new tips along the way.

Jess Maisey
Writer and expert
View Jess Maisey's profile
Ever since I discovered makeup and tutorials from a young age, I have been completely in love! Makeup, for me, is more than just a look - it’s a feeling. I am obsessed with the process of applying my makeup, bringing a look together and feeling a whole new level of confidence. My makeup routines and looks have been on a transformative journey over the years but now my most favourite go-to look is glowy, natural and sun-kissed. The Iconic London Radiance Booster is the ultimate game-changer and a makeup must-have!