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Getting Started with Makeup

One of the most requested topics I get, both online and in workshop requests, is for makeup tutorials. Makeup takes a lot of experimentation and can be frustrating at first, especially if you have never or rarely worn makeup in everyday life to begin with. Everything seems so intimidating! Garish! SCARY!

So here is your invitation to play. Explore. Build up your courage and confidence. And go forth and make your face glamorous!

Here are some videos I like:

A bare beginners lesson in makeup. Not dramatic enough for stage, but is great for helping you understand the steps, what shades of a palette go where, etc. I think her “newbie” tutorial cred gets ditched right around when she decides to do WINGED LINER, so I say skip that business if you’re not ready to rock that.

TheMakeupChair has lots of great videos. This is good, close-up, simple. You can put so many colors in where she puts the golden yellow color.

Wayne Goss has a fantastic “mistake-proof” method that works with any color range and is a great introduction to some simple blending skills.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include my own tutorial on this subject. It is a bit more advanced, but is something to work up to after getting some basic materials and technique practice under your belt!

Shay’s Tips

I never fully understood this growing up and didn’t get why so many makeup looks were so garish on me. But if you blend really well (your finger works, but a good fluffy domed brush is better), you can make the strongest/darkest/brightest colors look beautiful.
The Makeup Geek herself has some good tips and info here:

And Mr. Goss gives some good tips here:


While our makeup should always have drama, we need to punch it up for stage (far away from the audience) compared to restaurants or parades (closer up)
This video, made by a bellydancer no less, explores this difference:

When following online tutorials, it’s important to be realistic about the fact that her eyes aren’t yours, and thus the exact shaping and scale of application they use may not translate directly to yours. You can only learn how best to adapt your application with lots of practice. There are lots of tutorials on how to figure out your eye shape, but honestly…I have found that even if one knows their eye shape, it doesn’t help you know how to apply makeup much better than before you knew that. The only way to learn is to try. But if you’re curious, check this out:

I never really used brushes when I first learned makeup. I seriously thought that the little foam tip stuff in the drug store makeup plus my fingertips would get me the results I wanted. With a more practiced hand, you can definitely get some decent results with no brushes, but good quality brushes used to their ideal purpose can get you farther, faster. At minimum, a flat shader, a blending brush, and an angled liner brush will do wonders for your eyes; a blush brush and powder brush for your face, though I would add a kabuki brush is great for liquid or mineral foundations. As with all things, you mostly get what you pay for. I have been happy with Real Techniques (Ulta) and Japonesque (Ulta, Target) for low-end brushes of some types. For mid-range, Sigma is the way to go (online).  The basic eyes kit is just perfection in its variety, IMO. Finally, MAC is popular for a reason–their brushes are pretty universally awesome, though spendy (in-stores and online).

Finally, there is NO ONE WAY TO DO ANYTHING. There are hundreds of techniques and methods to accomplish various looks. Don’t get locked in to a dogmatic approach to your makeup. It’s far more organic and creative than you may imagine.

I have a makeup/beauty blog (kinda dormant now), which has my recommended materials list, with brand suggestions and further info. Find it a little bit down the page here: http://www.beautyalong.com/basic-materials/

I will leave you with this fantastic BuzzFeed, “21 Things Only People Who Are Clueless About Makeup Will Understand.” Enjoy!

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Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

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