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4 Things I’ve Learned in Makeup School That Will Save Your Face

Makeup is a skill that we’re all expected to know by the time we’re in college, but, let’s face it, it’s not easy. The world of makeup is constantly changing; trends come and go, products become more expensive, and beauty gurus get canceled left and right, but don't worry! There are some things I’ve learned from my training in makeup school that will save your face, no matter what’s going on in the makeup world.

Your goal is to apply makeup, not bacteria.

Okay, let me preface this by saying that this is the first thing I learned in makeup school, and it literally made me want to burn every piece of makeup I owned. The amount of bacteria that can grow in makeup products (and that you’re putting on or near your eyes, nose, mouth and ears) is honestly pretty terrifying, but it’s nothing you can’t prevent! 

Lots of people complain about their makeup “breaking them out,” but chances are they’ve never cleaned their brushes or replaced their products. To prevent this monstrosity, try to always transfer cream products onto a clean plate or tray and dip your brush into that before you use it so you’re not contaminating the whole product. For powders, just spray them with 70% alcohol spray, let them sit for 30 seconds, and then wipe it off. Make sure you close your products as soon as you’re done using them, clean your brushes often, and pay attention to expiration dates. Mascara and eyeliner should be thrown away after four months, foundation should be thrown away after six months, powder products should be thrown away after a year, and lipstick or lip gloss can last up to two years. Expiration dates are important since they mark when the bacteria has grown enough to become harmful and irritative, and when the products won’t work as well anymore. Remember, you want to look sunkissed, not sunburnt. Rashes aren’t cute.

You can apply eyeliner, I promise.

The thing I hear the most as an aspiring makeup artist is “Can you please teach me how to apply eyeliner?” So, here I am to teach you!

When applying eyeliner, you have to know your eye shape. If you have 90-100% hooded eyes, which means you can’t see either of your eyelids since there’s skin covering them up, wearing eyeliner is not ideal since it will smudge on your eyelids. If you have any other eye shape, applying eyeliner is possible.

First, research eye shapes and find out which eyeliner style will suit your eye shape the best. Then, consider the different eyeliner products. If your problem is smudging, use a felt tip eyeliner instead of liquid liner. If your problem is making a straight line, avoid using a liquid liner and try to use a gel eyeliner pot and an angled brush, or a felt tip liner. If your problem is applying eyeliner evenly on both eyes, always try to match the smaller one to the bigger one by adding little by little. If you want a sharp wing but it keeps ending up dull or stubby, use a q-tip dipped in moisturizer or oil-free makeup remover, lift up the side of your eye, wipe the q-tip along the bottom of the line to create a sharp wing, and then clean it up with concealer. Try resting your hand on your face lightly to keep your hand steady, always apply with your eyes and mouth slightly open, and pull your eyelid both to the side and upwards lightly for the best application.

Remember, start simple and small — it’s easier to add than to take away. You don’t need to be a beauty guru to apply eyeliner, it just takes some practice and the right products! 

What imperfections?

Let’s be real: nobody’s skin can be perfect all the time, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. But, if you’re trying to hide any acne, rosacea, scars or black spots without looking like a cakey mess, you just need to remember the three Cs: Correct, Cover, Conceal.

Color corrector is really the best way to cover imperfections. Purple can be used to cancel out yellow tones, green camouflages redness, peach neutralizes blue or purple shadows, and orange cancels out dark spots. Using a concealer brush, tap the color corrector into the areas of the skin that need correcting. Then, once you apply foundation over it, it will be neutralized. (Pro tip: Cream foundation is the best for covering any imperfections!) Finally, use a concealer where needed, set with a thin layer of powder, and you have a neutral canvas to work with.

All About That Base!

Base matching is not easy, so if you have trouble finding a foundation that matches your skin tone, you’re definitely not alone. Believe it or not, there are more than five skin colors, and a lot of foundation companies aren’t representative of the many different shades and undertones that people have. You may need to mix a few colors together to get the foundation that works for you. If you find a foundation that looks very similar to your skin, test a small strip of it right above your jawline and wait for it to oxidize (combine chemically with oxygen) since it will become darker. If you test foundation and can barely tell that there’s anything there, that’s your color.

Before going foundation shopping, learn about your undertones and the shade of your skin to find foundations that are best for you. For base matching with olive and darker skin tones, you should always choose a color tone that is a bit warmer than the undertone you feel is correct, in order to prevent the appearance of ashiness. I know this is a lot of information to learn, but there are professionals that will help you. Go to any makeup store and ask for help with base matching and they’ll definitely tell you about your undertones and shade. They’ll also tell you about a product that works for you.

Hopefully, this article motivated you to learn a little bit more about your skin and the products you put on your face! Whether you only wear makeup for interviews or events, or you like to wear makeup every day, please remember to respect everyone and their choices about what to do with their face and body. Lots of people wear makeup because they love the artistry of it and love how they feel when they wear it, while others choose to embrace a makeup-free face. So, please always try to celebrate others instead of bringing them down, no matter what! 

Alexandra is a sophomore at the University of Central Florida, studying print and digital journalism. She loves to be creative in any way, shape, or form and is currently training to be a makeup artist! When she's not in class or writing, she's either at Disney or creating something new.
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