Makeup is a wonderful tool that can help us express ourselves and feel more confident. When you know what you’re doing with makeup, you can achieve incredible results — but if you're not in the makeup know, it can be hard to break into the beauty world. You’ll need to learn not only how to apply makeup, but also what different products are available and what you should be buying. It can be intimidating to the point where you may want to give up and stick to the same routine you always have.
While things may have been tricky in the past, don't give up just yet. At Subtl Beauty, we want to help every person — novice or expert — find easy-to-use makeup products that fit their lifestyle and routine.
We put together this ultimate guide to help any beginner start their personal beauty routine journey. We're here to answer your questions and ease you into all things beauty with purposeful products meant to help you put your best face forward every day.
Read on to discover a few basic yet invaluable tips and tricks that will come in handy for beginners and serve as good reminders to those with a little more experience. You don’t have to be a makeup artist to look and feel your best!
Before we dive into eyeshadow, setting spray, or any other items involved in putting on full-face makeup, it's super vital to understand the importance of taking care of your skin. When you're first learning how to do simple makeup, your skincare routine doesn't need to be anything extensive, but it does need to be consistent.
Even if you already have a daily skincare routine, give this list a review and see if your current practices are missing something.
Every morning, get into the habit of washing your face and applying a moisturizer before using any other beauty products.
Without a clean canvas, your makeup won't look as smooth, won't last as long, and could lead to impurities and germs getting trapped in your skin. You wouldn't eat dinner off of yesterday's dirty dishes, right? It's the same concept for makeup and skincare.
Big bonus points if you opt for something with broad-spectrum SPF! A moisturizer with SPF will keep you protected from sunburns and the rough, dry skin that comes with it. If you choose a standard moisturizer, make sure you’re putting on sunscreen separately — we want to protect against those harmful UV rays!
Before you go to bed, make sure you wash your face, even if you didn't wear makeup that day. Debris, pollution, and other gunk come into contact with your skin every day and can cause breakouts and irritation. Washing your face at the end of the day also keeps dead skin from accumulating, which can make your skin look dull or affect how smoothly your makeup goes on.
A few times a week, it's a good idea to exfoliate, whether you use a physical or chemical exfoliant (and don’t worry, they’re not as scary as they sound). An exfoliant will just help remove even more dead skin cells to keep your skin smooth and glowing.
You may also want to apply a night cream to help keep your skin super moisturized.
Primer is usually the first step in any makeup application process after you wash and moisturize your face. Applying primer prepares your skin for the makeup you’ll be applying. It's a good investment product to lock in your look and ensure that it lasts a little bit longer.
Many face primers on the market are also infused with a myriad of ingredients to tackle all sorts of skin concerns.
Some are infused with antioxidants, vitamins, or SPF to nourish your skin and protect it from harmful UV rays. Others might contain color-correcting properties to help even out darker spots or red patches. Primers containing salicylic acid act as an all-over acne treatment you can benefit from all day long. Silicon-based primers are great if you have larger pores or skin texture you want to smooth out.
If you've got a dryer skin type, consider a primer formula with hydrating properties. Primer serums and serums are excellent ways to ensure your skin can quench its thirst and won't overproduce oil. It can also ensure that your makeup doesn't dry out by midday.
If you've experimented with makeup a little before and noticed the makeup just didn't "stick" to your skin, you may have been missing primer.
Foundation is a skin-toned powder or liquid makeup product that you apply all over your face. It serves as the base for any other makeup you put on.
You want this layer of makeup to be as smooth and clean as possible. If you start with a good base, you're halfway to a flawless beginner makeup look.
If it's your first time trying out face makeup, you may not want to dive in immediately with a heavy, full-coverage foundation. Instead, try a basic foundation product like a tinted moisturizer for lighter coverage that still evens out the skin tone and covers blemishes.
You can also use a high-quality concealer, which is a color-correcting type of makeup that hides skin imperfections, to spot correct instead of applying product all over your face.
Our Cream Concealer comes in a unique, easy-to-blend formula, making it an ideal choice for this stage of makeup application. There are a few ways to apply this product.
Make sure you blend the product outward toward your hairline, onto your chin, and double-check the crevices around your nose.
Take it from those who have come before you, and start small before building up. You've heard the "less is more" rule thousands of times — because it's true. Using too much product can lead to a cakey, unnatural look.
You can always start small and add more product if you need it, but you can't really take it away (kind of like putting salt on your food). Starting slowly before gradually building up your makeup will keep your face looking smooth and fresh. It'll also prevent any touch-up layers added later on in the day from looking heavy or flat.
When it comes to covering up dark circles, fine lines, and blemishes, our Cream Concealer really can do it all. While this product can be used to lay down an all-over base, it's also effective on its own as a concentrated spot treatment.
Here's a quick makeup tutorial for how to use it:
Using a similar swirling technique, warm up the product in the pan with your ring finger and dab it on top of any blemishes, red patches, or other places you may want to even out.
Blend the concealer into the surrounding skin with a second clean finger. Using a clean finger to blend will keep you from layering on too much at once.
Once you’ve covered up blemishes, move on to your under-eye area. Saving the area under your eyes for last ensures you can immediately set them in place with setting powder to minimize creasing.
Using the same ring finger technique, delicately pat the concealer below your lashline and gradually blend it in. Using your ring finger lets you use the gentlest touch and keeps you from putting too much pressure on the most sensitive areas of your face.
A translucent powder or setting powder, such as our Shine Control Pressed Powder, is an excellent way to reduce shine, set cream or liquid products into place, and absorb natural oil throughout the day. These powders are lightweight and colorless on your skin, so they can be used easily with any skin tone.
To apply your Shine Control Pressed Powder, tap an applicator lightly into the palette and gently pat it over any foundation or concealer to lock your look in place.
For general all-over coverage, swirl a fluffy face brush, like our Stack Brush BFF, around your pan a few times and then onto your face. You can get one of these brushes free with any Subtl Beauty order.
The right translucent powder is light, absorbent, and complementary of all skin tones. Our Shine Control Pressed Powder checks every box on this list while adding an additional layer of protection.
All day every day, we stare at our phones, tablets, computers, and televisions. These electronic devices emit blue light, a type of UV ray. Over time, blue light can affect your eyes, sleep cycle, and skin. This means these deep penetrating rays can eventually lead to less firm skin and other premature signs of aging later on down the road.
Taking screen breaks, not sleeping with the television on, and using blue light-blocking reading glasses are effective ways to lessen these harsh effects. A simple dusting of Subtl Beauty's translucent powder takes it a step further to make sure you’re protected around the clock.
There are an infinite number of ways to play up your cheeks and brighten your face. Bronzers, blushes, and highlighters can change your whole look by adding a touch of glamour, giving you a youthful glow, or even changing the shape of your face.
Here's some more info on each of these products and how you can use them.
Blush is a basic way to start adding a little color to your cheeks, and Lip and Cheek is arguably the best place to start. It's just what it sounds like: a refreshing pop of cheek color — and lip color.
For an easy, natural look, swirl one of your fingers around the pan a few times, then tap the color onto your cheeks. Hold three fingers together and use your fingers' natural warmth to melt the pigment into the skin for a radiant glow.
For lip application, apply it just like you would a lip balm out of a tin.
This type of lip/cheek color hybrid is a great way to start using versatile products and to create a stunning monochromatic look. However, if you want to go with the more traditional blush, we also have Powder Blushes.
These pigmented beauties pack a punch and can easily be layered on top of your look with your Stack Brush BFF. You could also dab it on top of your Lip and Cheek to set the balm and kick the color up a notch during your everyday makeup routine.
If you go this route, wait a few minutes before applying a powder on top of a balm. If a liquid or cream product has not dried down and you try to brush something onto it immediately after, this could change the product's color, affect the texture, and move around the product already on your face.
Bronzer also brings a natural pop of color to your face. For a basic application, use a fluffy brush to sweep the bronzer across the top of your nose and to the top outer frame of your forehead for a sunkissed look.
Bronzer is also a fun way to dip your toes into the contour game — just be careful not to go overboard. Here are a few general bronzer tips to live by.
Whether you use it alone or in conjunction with other cheek products, highlighter can bring dimension to an otherwise flat face and light up all your best angles. Our glimmering Highlighter can be applied with a brush or with your fingers in moments when you may be pressed for time.
When using your fingers, run the pad of your fingers across the pan a few times, then pat the shimmering pigments onto the high points of your face. The tops of your cheekbones, your brow bone, the tip of your nose, and the top of your cupid's bow are the best places to catch the light.
Try not to smear the product on your face by pressing down too hard. Again, this can cause lower layers of makeup to move around, run together, and look muddy.
You can also apply your highlighter with a brush, keeping in mind that a fluffier brush will give you a more toned-down look, while dense brushes will really pack the product in for a more intense glow. Using a denser brush, especially on special occasions, is a super easy way to take your highlighter to the next level.
If you've never used eyeliner, mascara, or eyeshadow before, it can be intimidating. There are so many options and colors it's difficult to know where to start. Sometimes the best thing to do is to start simple.
Begin small with a neutral color combination like our Jelly or Crush Eyeshadow Duo. Each color combination is designed to offer a balanced, flattering everyday look that can be built up for a more dramatic appearance.
Each of our sets comes with both a velvety soft matte and a shimmery finishing shade. Just like all of Subtl Beauty's other on-the-go creations, this is a beginner-friendly eyeshadow option you could apply with your hands or a brush.
Whenever you use your hands to apply makeup to your face, you'll want to make sure they are clean. This is especially true when applying makeup around your eyes so that you don't accidentally rub any other products from previous steps into your eyes.
If you’re using your fingers, rub one of your fingers across the matte shade a few times and apply it onto your eyelid and into your crease. You'll want to use a combination of soft, short strokes (going in one direction) and taps.
If you’re using a brush, you can make your base layer subtle with a fluffier brush or really pack it on with a smaller, denser brush. If you have a clean brush on hand, use it to blend out any hard lines.
Then, pick up some of the shimmery shade with your pinky finger and pop it right onto your lid. You could also use a packing brush for this step, but the warmth from your skin will help the pigment really melt onto your eyelid, giving a more vibrant appearance than if you were to use a brush.
A hydrating lip balm will do more for your lips than any lipstick or lip gloss ever could. If your lips are dry, chapped, or windburned, lip liner will look dry, apply unevenly, and come off in patches, and a matte lipstick or particularly sticky gloss can exacerbate these issues. You'll want something basic that can still create a lovely effect.
We formulated a Lip Balm to give off a hint of shine — perfect for day-to-day use, even when your lips aren't at their best. Our unscented, clear formula is an easy everyday go-to.
The Subtl Beauty Makeup Stack is compact, concise, and fits in where you need it to. It's ideal for a purse, backpack, or gym bag, with a portable design that makes it ideal for quick fixes or makeup touch-ups when you're strapped for time.
Bring your complete Stack collection with you for a fresh look after a gym session or a quick lunchtime check-in. To find your perfect Stack, you can get a customized creation or ask us for some guidance with one of our Premade Stacks.
When you're just starting out with makeup, learn to walk before you run. Once you nail the basics, you'll have plenty of time to experiment with bold eye looks, neon lipsticks, and full-fledged glam. Learn to build a good base first, take care of the skin you’re in, and work with what you were born with. Over time, you'll come to see that you truly don't need much more than that.