When you see someone with a gorgeous face full of makeup, you may think that it’s too complicated of a look to pull off for yourself. However, many dramatic makeup looks start with a very simple setup. Having just a few crucial tools can set you up for a great makeup look regardless of whether you’re going for a casual face of the day or some nightclub flair.
Below you’ll find an overview of seven tools and supplies you’ll need for a simple makeup look that is sure to stun anyone who sees it. You’ll also learn how to avoid the criticism of wearing too much makeup by making your look more seamless and natural.
Makeup Looks Can Seem Hard, But They're Not
Several things that can make putting on makeup seem more complicated than it really is. While it’s true that there are a lot of steps to take and a limitless number of supplies and tools you can use, for some people that makes the whole process seem too complex to take on.
Here are a few reasons why makeup can seem harder than it really is:
- It has a lot of parts. Learning how to do makeup well involves layering different makeup elements on top of each other in a way that they complement each other rather than overpowering your look. Even if it takes less than thirty minutes to put on a face of makeup, having to use six or seven products sounds like a lot if you’re not used to it.
- It can be expensive. If you’re trying to put together a huge, varied arsenal of makeup products to choose from, you can bust your budget in a hurry.
- It can take some time to do well. If you’re planning on doing a full face of makeup, you should set aside at least thirty minutes to “get your face on,” and that’s after you’ve learned how to apply it effectively. Some makeup looks are time-consuming.
- It takes practice. That perfect winged eyeliner might look like witchcraft at first glance, but it’s actually the result of hours and hours of careful practice. The more often you do your makeup, the better you’ll get at applying it.
So does this make makeup hard? It isn’t that applying makeup is hard, it’s just that it’s a real skill. You’re not going to pick up an eyeshadow palette and magically know how to look like the girl in the YouTube video. Like other art forms, makeup requires prep work and a little knowledge of how to get a great final result based on what others have done before you.
To know all the secrets and details of makeup, find out the 7 steps to become a certified licensed makeup artist in this article!
Why a Simple Makeup Look is Usually Overcomplicated
When it comes to makeup, it’s very easy to accidentally overstep the line from complex and beautiful to a hot mess. Makeup looks can become overcomplicated in many ways. While it might be fun to do heavy-handed looks, it’s also easy to cross the line into a look that is caked-on and muddled.
Here are some of the biggest mistakes people make to overcomplicate or ruin a simple makeup look
- Not matching skin tones. If you don’t correctly match your foundation and concealer to your natural skin tone, you’ll end up looking like you’re wearing a mask. This creates a weird uncanny valley effect that isn’t just overcomplicated, it’s mildly creepy.
- Too many products. For makeup that’s simple and effortless-looking, it’s important to remember that less is more. To keep your makeup simple, minimize the number of products you use. Many makeup steps, such as eyeliner or mascara, can be skipped for a lighter look.
- Lack of balance. If you’ve ever tried to put makeup on and ended up looking clownish, the issue is usually that you tried to pair a heavy eyeshadow with a heavy lipstick. The key to a simple makeup look that is stunning is to balance a bold, bright lip with an understated eye palette or a nude lip with dramatic eyeshadow.
- Conflicting shades. Just like with fabrics, if you choose different shades in your makeup palette that clash with each other, such as pairing cool tones with warm tones, you’ll end up with a mismatched aesthetic. Keep the tones in your makeup in the same family (cool or warm) for a unified look.
- Not applying foundation evenly. If you don’t apply foundation to your ears or your exposed chest as well as your face when you’re putting on your makeup, you’ll end up with weird lines between your foundation and your skin that will ruin the effect of your makeup and make it look unnatural.
- Not blending enough. The transitions between colors in your eyeshadow and facial contours should usually be very gradual, with almost no distinction between the two shades. More sharp contrasts are okay in some looks, but in others will look garish or overdone.
- Applying too much makeup. In some cases, the “caked-on” look associated with heavy makeup is the result of applying way too much. You see this goof when you see people wearing thick unblended streaks of blush or bronzer, thick gooey spider-like mascara, or when the makeup looks literally cakey in texture because it’s too thick.
Avoiding the mistakes above can help keep you from turning a simple makeup look into an awkward photo at your next social gathering.
What Do I Need for a Simple Makeup Look?
Wearing makeup can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it, but there are a few items that act as the foundation for the rest of your makeup look. These items can form a simple makeup look for everyday wear, or a base to build a more dramatic style on top of.
When you’re going for simple makeup, you’ll need to look at three general areas:
- Your skin: Good skincare and skin products like primer and concealer are the most important part of a simple makeup look. The better your natural complexion is through skincare, the less product you’ll need to use to achieve a flawless look. You can also improve the condition of your skin by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
- Your lips: For a simple makeup look, you might opt to go with a tinted gloss or lip balm over a full lipstick. This can give you a more subtle and uncomplicated makeup look while also refining your natural beauty.
- Your eyes: Eye makeup in a simple makeup look can be obvious or subtle, but you’ll want at least a basic eyeliner and mascara for most makeup looks whether they’re simple or not.
Once you’ve established a good skin base, the colors that you apply to your lip and eyes are mostly a matter of preference and creative expression. You can make the resulting style as dramatic or natural as you like.
You Need Just These 7 Things for a Simple Makeup Look
Below you’ll find a list of the seven most important products you’ll need as your starting arsenal to achieve a simple makeup look, along with links to some of the best products on the market to get your collection started.
Lots of people who are new to makeup may have heard of primer before, but aren’t sure exactly what it does for their skin in makeup.
The purpose of primer in makeup is sort of like the purpose of primer when you’re painting interior walls – you put down a layer of primer before applying paint so that you have a flawless, smooth surface to apply your pigment. This allows the pigment to spread more evenly and prevents you from getting a blotchy or blemished-looking result.
Primer is applied before any other skin makeup is applied. Any makeup applied on top of primer is less likely to “melt” or move around on your face, even in warm or humid weather. This makes primer especially essential for people who live somewhere with a hot climate.
Almost everybody has an uneven skin tone in some regard. Whether it’s dark undereye circles, acne, or some other kind of facial blemish, these issues can be distracting from your overall makeup look. Concealer acts as a color corrector and helps to cover up facial blemishes and areas of discoloration.
Concealer is a lot thicker than foundation, so remember that a little bit goes a long way when applying this product. You also need to do a lot of blending with concealer under your other skin makeup to make sure that you don’t end up with lighter blotches in areas where a lot of concealer is typically used, like beneath your eyes.
A good tip for concealer is that while this product is good for using beneath your eyes to cover dark circles, you shouldn’t use it on your eyelids. Concealer will cause any makeup you place over your eyelids to crease, causing it cake and break down.
While concealer is used to correct areas of redness of discoloration in your skin tone, foundation helps even out the skin tone across your entire face. Choosing the right foundation in both weight and shade is one of the most crucial parts of setting up your signature makeup look without clashing against your skin tone.
When applying foundation, the key to a good look is to use as little of the product as possible to achieve an even skin tone. The more foundation you put on your face, the greater the chances that your makeup will look too heavy and caked-on.
Many people don’t wear blush because they’re afraid that it’ll look too obvious and gaudy on them. The truth is that blush is often worn improperly because people wear too much of it, or wear it in the wrong part of their face. Blush is an essential part of a simple makeup look because even just a small dab of it can make you look radiant with youth and vigor.
Blush should be applied sparingly across the top edge of your cheekbone and spread across the apples of your cheeks. It’s sometimes easier to control cream blushes than powder blush products. Translucent setting powder can be used to help tone down the look of powder blush if you fear that you’ve over-applied it.
5. Lip Products
If you’re going for a simple makeup look, you might not choose to do a full lipstick. Instead, you might opt to go with a tinted lip balm or a lip gloss. These products can give your lips a little extra fullness and shine without drawing a ton of extra attention to them with a bright pop of color.
For those who want to do a simple makeup look and still wear full lipstick, try choosing shades that are closer to a natural or neutral color such as taupe, sand, and peach. However, you can still do a dark lip on a simple makeup look if you minimize the makeup you use on your eyes to balance things out.
No-mascara looks have been popular on fashion runways the past few years, but most people who wear makeup still wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without a little mascara. Mascara can help brighten your eyes and make the color in them pop, helping to draw people into your gaze.
As with blush and foundation, the key to getting a great look with mascara is to have a light hand while applying it. You can build up several layers of mascara if you want a particularly lush and full lash look, but do it gradually and allow the layers to dry a little to prevent lashes from clumping.
Eyebrows are also a special delicate part of any type of makeup. Learn the details on how to do your eyebrows step by step in this article!
When It Comes to Makeup, Keep It Simple
As you can see from the list above, you really don’t need a kaboodle’s worth of makeup products to pull off a stunning yet simple makeup look for everyday wear. With just seven products, you’ll have everything you need to put on a full face of makeup in less than half an hour.
However, there is always that special event where you just want to look more glamorous. We have got some green eyeshadow looks to help you with that. Practice with the tutorials on this article and tell us how you did!