How to Create Wearable Makeup Looks

Posted by Valora Abbett on

I see a lot of makeup looks on YouTube, Instagram, and in magazines that look neat on video or in photographs but would not really work in real life. There is a big difference between editorial makeup and everyday makeup. I feel like the lines have become a bit blurred. So, I want to help take any confusion or frustration out of the mix when it comes to how you should be applying your makeup.

How Much Makeup is Too Much?


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There is nothing wrong with creating a bold makeup look or wearing makeup at all as long as it is well applied. But ask yourself - do you really need 3 layers of foundation or 5 different shades of eyeshadow on your eye? The answer is no, no you do not. The purpose of makeup is to help enhance your natural beauty. You should always get noticed first and your makeup second if at all.

Looking polished and professional is very important in your business life and your personal life as well. We all want to look our best when attending an important meeting or job interview, on a first date or at a special event. Applying your makeup well will help with this.

Pro Tips:

  • If you have clear to fairly clear even skin then skip the heavy foundation and concealer and opt for a very light coverage one or even a tinted moisturizer or BB cream.
  • If your skin is less clear or has a lot of blemishes or hyper-pigmentation then go with a full-coverage foundation. One layer should be enough. Do not over apply.
  • Spot conceal as necessary. A lip brush works great for this.
  • Only apply a light dusting of powder where you need it. Such as under the eyes and to help set concealer and/or the t-zone.
  • Blend your makeup well! Avoid streaky blush, uneven lips, and patchy looking eyes by taking the time to really blend your makeup.
  • Don't over contour or use too much highlighter. Subtle contouring and strategically placed highlighter are what look best.

Balancing Your Eye and Lip Makeup



The value and contrast level is important when deciding where to place your makeup colors and how much color to apply. What is value? It is how light or dark a color is. For example, black has a low value and white has a high value. Contrast refers to to the arrangement of colors that differ in value (light and dark).

A polished makeup look has the right balance of colors. How do you achieve this? It's fairly simple actually. The first thing you want to look at is your overall contrast level. Do you have light hair, light skin, and light eyes? Are you more medium or do you have very deep coloring?

As a general rule, you don't want to wear makeup that is too high or low in value in relation to your overall contrast level. The chances of a super dark intense smokey eye looking good on someone with really light coloring is not likely. It will look like they have two black holes where their eyes should be. Their eyes would simply disappear and all you would see is the dark eye makeup.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a person with really deep coloring would look off in very light pastel eyeshadow, blush, and lip colors as well. Even if they were the right pastels for their season. They would work as clothing colors but not as makeup.

Light or low contrast individuals should stick with light to medium-deep makeup colors. Those with very deep coloring should go with the medium to deep colors of makeup. See the photos above for good examples of this.

If your contrast level is medium (medium brown, red or blonde hair, medium to light skin) then you have more leeway. Pastels can look great on you as will some darker colors.

How to Wear Bold or Bright Makeup



Less is definitely more when it comes to wearing more dramatic makeup. While this may sound contradictory it's the key to a successful bold or bright makeup look. By choosing one area of the face to be the main focus you create a very stunning yet wearable look.

Wearing too many bright colors on the face or too dark of an eye look with a super dark lip or glitter all over the face can ruin the whole look. Remember you should always be front and center, not your makeup.

Pro tip:  apply blush last if you are doing a bold eye or lip look so as to avoid accidentally applying too much.

The Classic Smokey Eye



Pair a dramatic smokey eye with a softer more neutral lip or a deep lip color with a more toned down nude eye. A soft smokey eye with a deep lip color can work as well as long as you don't overdo it.

Keep the depth of color between the eye makeup and lips in the same value range and you will look stunning. A colorful smokey eye looks really beautiful as well. 

Pro Tip:

To create the most beautiful smoky eye, you will want to layer your eye makeup rather than just smudging a bunch of dark eyeshadow and liner all over your eye.

Start with a medium shade on the lid and layer it with a darker shadow. Blend well and apply eyeliner after, again blending well. 

Bright Makeup

Really bright makeup colors are fun to play around with and add a cheerful and youthful look to the face. But beware of going overboard with them. They look best when used in smaller doses and when strategically placed. Just as with a smokey eye, you want to choose either the eyes or the mouth to accentuate.


Badly Done Bright Makeup 


While the makeup look above is pretty I find myself noticing the makeup more than the model. Her face and individual features are just kind of there in the background. I am not really seeing her. There is just too much going on with that makeup. Too many colors that are too heavily applied. This is what you want to avoid.

A simple pop of bold bright color is all you need. Pick one maybe two colors. A bright lipstick or a bright eyeshadow. Colored mascara or a colorful eyeliner. See below for examples.




Metallic and Shimmery Makeup

Another great way to jazz up your makeup is with metallics or shimmery and glittery products. They are especially good for evening looks. Just don't put them all over your face. If you are using them on your eyes and/or lips keep the rest of your face on the more matte side.


Metallic Makeup


For tips on how to choose the right eye makeup colors for your seasonal color type and eye color check out our Makeup Guides (available in our shop) and stay tuned for more color and fashion advice!


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