How to Choose Makeup and Use It Beautifully

Check any woman’s bathroom, and chances are you’ll find a plethora of makeup, much of it old and barely used.

Check any woman’s bathroom, and chances are you’ll find a plethora of makeup, much of it old and barely used. But choosing a makeup should be as simple as choosing an ice-cream flavor — once you know what’s best for you. Along those lines, follow this advice:

  • Use a moisturizing makeup remover that leaves your face feeling clean and soft.
  • Eye Makeup
    Accentuate the outer corner of your eyes with a gray-brown powder and extend it toward the edge of the eye to make close-set eyes look farther apart.
  • Throw foundation away after three months. After a few months, the oils in foundation can go bad and smell rancid, says Gabriela Hernandez, makeup artist in Los Angeles. Powder makeups like blushes and eye shadows last a little longer, but make sure to throw them out after a year.
  • Keep your makeup style fresh and current. A subtle change now and then will keep your look fashionable. If you’d rather not change your colors completely, change the texture. For example, if you love a particular shade of eye shadow, choose the same shade in a sparkly version. The small change will get noticed, but it won’t be too dramatic.
  • If you’re blessed with great skin, use as little foundation as possible, suggests Dianne M. Daniels, image consultant and color analyst at Image & Color Services in Norwich, Connecticut. If you do use foundation, choose a sheer liquid foundation instead of a corrective foundation and top it off with a dusting of loose powder.
  • For a bit more coverage, go for a crème-to-powder foundation.
  • Mature skin usually requires a heavier crème foundation — a powder finish may actually accentuate lines in your face.
  • Make sure you apply the right amount of foundation to your face. Too much is like pointing a neon sign at your wrinkles, says Daniels. Instead, dip a fine brush or makeup sponge in a lightweight foundation and dab it on skin blotches and brown spots to even them out. Then take a damp sponge and apply foundation to your entire face, making sure to match the color of your neck and blend in well so there’s no obvious line at your chin.
  • For instant radiance, mix liquid bronzer with your foundation or moisturizer before applying it to your face.
  • Use a makeup sponge instead of your finger to apply foundation. Dipping your finger into your foundation spreads bacteria, which can cause breakouts. And use a fresh, disposable makeup sponge every day.
  • Hide pimples with red neutralizer (available at your local beauty supply store). Just dab it on the pimple before putting on foundation.
  • Buy a good concealer. It can hide a multitude of flaws, such as pimples, dark circles, or patchy lip tone. Look for a creamy, yellow-based concealer that’s one shade lighter than your skin tone.
  • Don’t use concealer all over your face. Just dab a bit on where needed, but don’t try to substitute it for a good foundation.
  • Cover lids, brow bone, and eye corner with concealer. It evens out skin tone and provides a base for eye makeup so the color stays in place longer.
  • Skip under-eye concealer if you have under-eye lines. The skin under your eyes is too thin to hold the heavy concealer, says Andrea Lynn Cambio, M.D., a New York City dermatologist. Instead, dab on foundation.

Cheeks and Lips

  • Match the shade of your lips without lipstick to your blush color to get the most natural color. Or you can match your cheek color after you’ve exercised or gotten overheated.
  • Smile broadly, then brush blush on the puffy tops of your cheekbones. Brush upward and outward to your hairline.
  • Match your lip liner to the shade of your lipstick. Lip liner shouldn’t look like it’s outlining your mouth. Instead, apply a sheer, frosty lip gloss over your regular lipstick for a more subtle, elegant look.
  • Choose the right color lipstick. That would be pink shades for light complexions, and dark, earthy tones for dark skin.
  • Put a little concealer on your upper and lower lip to prevent lipstick from bleeding past your lips. Follow up with a little translucent powder.
  • Exfoliate your lips once or twice a week to keep them soft and kissable. Once they’re exfoliated, douse your lips with a lip balm enriched with vitamins E and C.


  • Zigzag your mascara wand while applying mascara for clump-free eyelashes, suggests Susie Galvez, owner of Face Works Day Spa in Richmond, Virginia, and author of Hello Beautiful: 365 Ways to Be Even More Beautiful.
  • Apply eyeliner with a brush. It provides a smoky look while gently blurring the color. It also gives your eyeliner more staying power. For best results, look for a thick angled sable or synthetic-fiber brush.
  • Remove waterproof, smudgeproof mascara with makeup remover before going to bed. Nothing makes you look more worn-out than residual mascara under your eyes in the morning.
  • Draw attention to your eyes and make them look bigger with a dab of gold or silver eye shadow applied to the center of your eyelid just above the lash. When you blink, people will be attracted to the light and therefore, to your eyes.
  • Brush Japanese rice powder onto lashes before applying mascara to enhance thin or short eyelashes, recommends Janet M. Niegel, M.D., an ophthalmologist in West Orange, New Jersey.
  • Accentuate the outer corner of your eyes with a gray-brown powder and extend it toward the edge of the eye to make close-set eyes look farther apart, says Gina Michele Bisignano, model and beauty expert in Los Angeles.
  • Use a white eyeliner on the inside rim of your eyes to make your eyes look more open and brighter, thus making them look bigger.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest