Subtle & Pretty Everyday Makeup Tutorial

I’m a makeup junkie. I admit it. I spend hours upon hours flipping through magazines, watching tutorials on YouTube, browsing Sephora and, wandering the beauty aisles at the drug store… and the list goes on. I absolutely LOVE doing makeup. My goal for this tutorial was to put together a pretty and casual look that fits just as well at the office as it would at the local coffee shop. A good friend of mine, Elizabeth (of Bluegrass Goodness) recently got an amazing job offer (CONGRATS!) and asked me what kind of makeup would be work appropriate! So I’ll share my own personal routine here and hopefully it will help anyone out there with the same question. I look forward to doing a future post with Elizabeth, documenting her very own “work makeover”!

Here are the products I used in this look, clockwise from the top left: Loreal Visible Lift Foundation in “Natural Buff”, Mac Paint Pot in “Painterly”, Benefit Bronzer in “Hoola”, Mac Lipglass in “Caqui”, Maybelline Mineral Power Concealer in “Cream”, Benefit “They’re Real!” Mascara, The Balm Eyeshadow Palette in “Nude Tude”, Tarina Tarantino Eyedream Highlight Duo in “Amber/Elektron”.

First and foremost: exfoliate and moisturize! This will make or break how “natural” your makeup ends up looking. To exfoliate, you can use a product, or you can simply take a damp washcloth and massage your (clean) face, focusing on the areas that tend to be more dry. Once you’re done exfoliating, use your favorite moisturizer all over the face and neck. My favorite right now is Ahava “Time to Hydrate” Essential Day Moisturizer. You’ll also want to apply a light lip balm at this point so your lips don’t dry out.

Next, I take my flat-top kabuki brush (Sigma F80) and put a little foundation (Loreal Visible Lift in “Natural Buff”) right onto the brush. I dab this on the center parts of my face, nose, cheeks, chin & forehead. Then I gently buff and blend the foundation out so that it’s even and there are no edges. Be sure to blend down the neck too so your face isn’t a different shade than the rest of you!

Next, I add concealer under the eyes and any other place I want to “highlight” or cover redness. Typically for me, this is around the nose, chin and forehead. Pardon the blurry and scary picture hehe…

Then I blend my concealer using my tapered kabuki brush (Sigma F86). This brush fits perfectly under the eyes and around the nose. GREAT for blending.

Next, I prime my eyelids with my Mac Paint Pot in Painterly, using my Mac 252 concealer brush. Using lid primer is essential if you want to keep your eyeshadow from creasing throughout the day! Other lid primer favorites of mine are Urban Decay’s Primer Potion and Too Faced Shadow Insurance. The paint pot is my favorite because it’s easier to apply and seems to handle my oily eyelids better than the other 2.

Now it’s time for eyeshadow! I like to apply a medium-light brown (neutral) color all over the lids with my Mac 217 blending brush. I mixed 2 colors from my Nude Tude palette from The Balm – “Selfish” and “Stand-offish”.

Then I apply a darker color (from the same palette, I mixed “Sophisticated” and “Seductive”) just along my upper lash-line and then blended it up towards the crease with my Mac 239 shader brush. You want to keep this darker color on the outer 3rd of your eyelid, and concentrate the color along the outermost corner of the lash-line.

Then I soften the dark color by lightly buffing it out with my Sigma E70 angled shader brush. Blending is super important to avoid a harsh look!

Then I add a dusting of warm brown (“Sultry” from the same palette) all over the crease with a Sigma E40 blending brush. This is my favorite brush of all time for blending and applying subtle color to the eyes.

Then I like to add a little pop of highlight to the inner corners of my eyes. For this, I use my Sigma E30 pencil brush and “Elektron” from my Tarina Tarantino Eyedream Highlight Duo (a total must-have). I just dab some highlighter on the innermost corner and lightly blend it out along the inner 3rd of the upper and lower lash-lines.

Next, to add a little more drama, I smoke up the outer corner of my lower lash-line with my Sigma E21 smudge brush, using “Selfish” (Nude Tude palette). Stay very close to the lashes for this step. You don’t want to give yourself raccoon eyes!

Then I lightly buff that out to soften the edges with the E70.

Lash curling time! This step really wakes up your eyes. I use the Sally Hansen Lash Curler – it works great! You want to get the curler as close to your lid as possible (without pinching!) and pump it 5-8 times to get the best curl.

Now I apply some mascara. I wiggle the wand from root to tip to avoid unnecessary clumping. I also like to use the very tip of the wand to pull out the outermost lashes and make sure they’re fully coated. My favorite mascara right now is “They’re Real!” by Benefit.

If any eyeshadow or mascara blobs fell onto your cheeks, now’s the time to dust them away with a clean blush brush. Next, we’re going to contour. This is optional, but I find it gives some much needed definition to the face after applying the foundation and concealer. With my Sigma F40, I apply my Benefit Hoola Bronzer just below my cheekbone. If you suck in your cheeks, you can see the hollow running from your ear to your mouth. You want to dust your bronzer from your ear, halfway to your mouth. Then you want to bring it up towards your temples, along your hairline, and just below your jaw-line. This will give depth to your face, filling in the spots that would naturally have more color and shadowing.

Now for some blush! I used the Sigma F30 to apply a coral blush (“Frat Boy” by The Balm) to the apples of my cheeks, and lightly blend it up the cheek bone.

At this point, your face and eyes should be well-blended. If you’re noticing some areas that need more blending, take a clean large brush and buff out those areas. Don’t buff too much or you’ll remove all the makeup! Next, it’s time for lip color. With this face & eye, I like to use a coral tone to give some warmth to the overall look. You can use a nude too if you want! I used Mac Lipglass in Caqui.

Now you’re done! This look should last you all day long. You won’t need touch-ups and you’ll look pretty and put-together for all those meetings and lattes!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found it helpful! If there are any other looks you want to see, please share in the comments below!

Outfit credit: Sweater – J.Crew – French Hen Sweater (Acorn Blue)

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  1. so crazy about that sweater 🙂

  2. Thanks, I love it. How about a smokey eye?

  3. stunning!! love your makeup

  4. I must have that lipgloss! Gorgeous!

    • It’s a great one I hope you get it!! 🙂

    • I really like the dear information you offer in your articles. I’m able to bookmark your site and show the kids check out up here generally. Im fairly positive theyre likely to be informed a great deal of new stuff here than anyone

  5. Newest follower love the tips. We use a lot of the same stuff.please feel free to stop by

  6. Here’s an idea… don’t wear make up! It’s even more subtle.

  7. I recently got into the contouring. It’s such a wonderful thing.

  8. such a natural look and you got such great photos. hope you don’t mind that i used your contouring pic on my blog, with a link back to you.

  9. Your eyes are beautiful! They remind me of jade 🙂

  10. Michelle says:

    This is really beautiful. It came out soft, subtle and definitely perfect for work. THANK YOU!

  11. I love the lip color! They look so effortless and natural. ^_^

  12. These look like good tips. I’d love to read the post, but the text is being cut off. Can you fix that or is it a problem with my screen? Thanks

  13. It is not vital to own any special technical data about software program or smartphones.

  14. This is such a pretty and natural look! Love the lip colour Xx


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