When I first got into makeup, the only thing I knew how to put on was simple eyeliner and lip gloss. As the years progressed, I continued to practice. I perfected my wing, I found mascaras that worked for me, and I upgraded from lip glosses to matte lipsticks. But my main goal was to achieve what the makeup experts and gurus did, but without putting in that much effort or money.

It wasn’t easy. I watched countless YouTube videos, and it just all seemed like a lot of work. I wasn’t sure if I needed to get the exact products, or if I even had the right brush, to achieve the same look. Currently, my goal is to learn how to apply eyeshadow properly. I’m not that great it, but like all things, makeup just needs practice, which is what I’ve been doing. I got this cheap eye primer that allows the eyeshadow to stick and appear more pigmented. I’ve also been trying different palettes and colors to see what works.

For now, there are other things that I’ve mastered after much practice. With all that put together, it helps me create a look that is subtle enough for everyday wear but also makes me look like I’m more put together. Most of the products I use are cheap, and the process is quick, which is what we all need when we’re rushing to go out.


1. Foundation

You can get this in either powder or liquid form. I use liquid because it’s easier for me to apply. Foundation evens out your skin tone as well as complexion, so it’s an important step and product. To protect your pores, wash your face with cold water right before so that they close up, and then apply.

If you want to appear super subtle, then use this $10 foundation by L’oreal because it’s cheap and leaves a radiating glow. OR if you want a slightly more defined look, then opt for something by NYX. Their mineral stick foundation is easy appliance and the full coverage foundation is just as good. I swipe some of this sporadically on my face, namely my cheeks, down my nose, chin, and forehead. Then I blend.


2. Concealer

Concealer comes right after foundation. It brightens up parts of your face that needs a bit of shine. For me, it’s under my eyes because I have twenty three years of dark bags under them. This Revlon concealer is great because it has a wand, which makes application super easy. Just dab it under your eyes, over any blemishes, and above your lip for a little shine. Then once again — blend.


3. Beauty blender

A lot of people like blending their foundation and concealer with a brush, but a beauty blender is tons quicker and easier in my opinion. It doesn’t matter if you’re using stick or liquid because it spreads/blends both out evenly. I bought mine from Ricky’s, but I know any major makeup store carries them. They came in different shapes and colors, so go crazy!


4. Highlighter

Highlighters work magic and give you a bit shine and sparkle. I’ve used both powder and liquid ones, and it’s really a preference of which one you like most. This product is not required for everyday use, but if you want a little more oomf in your look, then it’s a must.


5. Eyebrow pencil/brush

Your eyebrows make your face, and you need to make sure they’re done up somehow. I’ve got naturally thick eyebrows, so I don’t really have to fill them in. I just use an eyebrow brush to make them look more cleaner. However, a quick swipe through your eyebrows with a shaping pencil doesn’t hurt, either.


6. Eyeliner

The most important part. The eyeliner brings out your eyes, so buying the right eyeliner is super important. I usually opt for liquid because I always do a wing, but if you want to do something different and prefer pencil that’s fine, too. My go-to eyeliners are definitely the one by Kat Von D, as well as Sephora’s liquid one. Perfecting your eyeliner can sometimes take time, but when you initially apply, go slow then that way you won’t make any mistakes. If you do slip, then keep filling until they’re both the same. It’s okay if they’re a little thick.


7. Mascara

Mascara completes the eyes. I usually don’t wear it because my eyelashes are pretty thick on their own, but for those whose aren’t, I suggest one by Benefit because they’re really good. They really define your lashes. Too Faced’s Better Than Sex mascara is great too – especially the waterproof one.


8. Lipliner/lipstick

These go hand in hand. You can apply both, or just one of them. This step is pretty crucial for me because I’m a lipstick hoarder. I have too many, and majority are a mauve pink shade. I love liquid mattes and any lip balms that leave a nice color behind. Once again, Kat Von D is my favorite. Her everlasting matte liquid lipsticks have great pigmentation and feel light on your lips. I also recommend Makeup Forever, Smashbox, Colourpop and Tarte as well.


9. Finishing (banana) powder

This is the second to last step, but it’s not a heavy appliance. This powder makes sure your makeup stays intact throughout the day or however long you need it to. Just take a brush and spread some of the powder over your face. I do this either before or after I apply the highlighter, but after eyeliner.


10. Finishing matte spray

The final step is the finishing matte spray, which makes sure the banana powder doesn’t make your face too cakey or dry. Just spray once over your face and let it dry. Then you’re all good to go.


One thing I learned over the years of putting on makeup is that what looks good on one person may not look good on you. This could be because of skin tone differences, facial feature structures, etc. So while this may help push you in the right direction, know that you need to practice and find what works for you because you’re one of a kind.


twenty three year old computer science student from new york who loves writing about her feelings, trashy reality shows, singing along to the radio while driving, boybands, and wearing her leather jacket. follow her on twitter @naureennashid.

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