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Makeup has evolved tremendously between ancient Egyptian norms and the current Instagram famous makeup artist climate. We aren’t mixing our own mica and minerals in a mortar and pestle or putting the shells of crushed holographic green beetle on us as body paint – or at least most of us aren’t…how ever Amrezy gets those green shades is her own closely kept secret.


But in this day and age, there is a strong tendency for women to walk around in cosmetics applications that quite honestly only look good from the front and in artificial lighting.



We don’t live in a strictly face to face world, people see our faces from every angle and side view and they see every expression we make in the course of the day. We also don’t walk around lit the entire time by our Lumee cases. One of my personal pet peeves is the complete departure from knowing the difference between photo shoot makeup and everyday makeup. The distinction isn’t wholly rooted in just the colors chosen or density – much of the distinction comes from the above.

To make sure you’re looking stunning in every angle, lighting scenario, and with every diverse expression – follow my tips below.

1. Potentially the most crucial is to avoid harsh lines in your application or blending. I know many of you reading this are saying “but I blend, I know I blend well – this doesn’t apply to me.” You blend, sure, but do you gradient your application, then blend, then melt? These crucial two bookend steps give your makeup a three dimensional quality that never looks like a new face or mask was painted on over your existing features. (A look that’s too common.) To gradient see my other post here. To properly melt, see my other post on the topic here.


2. Lighting is everything. First and foremost it’s always key to do your makeup in natural lighting because if it looks good in sunlight, it will look good in any other light. If you can’t leverage natural sunlight, you can purchase lightbulbs it even special makeup application lighting that mimics the intensity and temperature of natural sunlight. If that isn’t an option, one trick I learned in the model chair is to take a white light lamp and a warm golden light lamp and place them at 2 o clock and 10 o clock at each side of you as you apply your makeup. You’ll want them far enough away that they don’t spotlight you and wash you out but close enough to overlap so that the temperatures cancel each other out.

3. Movement is also key, most Instagram beauty looks play to the straight ahead photography lens. In real life this just looks ridiculous as the face isn’t a flat and always facing forward entity. Many women make this same mistake because they are playing to the mirror as they do their makeup. I realize this is a really difficult habit to break, as most women grew up with that mindset of looking in the mirror to apply makeup and using it as the barometer of effectiveness. This is why most women walk around with a forward facing mask on. Sorry, not sorry. The correct way to apply your makeup is to shift and angle the face as a makeup artist would do. They take in the face and its dimensions and then work on one area at a time before blending and softening the whole look with a setting powder. The look should be built up over time, not applied with a one stroke heavy hand.

4. Layering and sheering shouldn’t be overlooked. Most women I see day to day take the flight attendant approach to makeup. They just layer it on, harshly, in a way that reads very 80s runway to my eyes. The best way to ensure you and your makeup look as one is to practice layering and sheering. You can find my broader tutorial here. But for the time being we can think of it like layering makeup in multiple light sweeps in certain areas of the face, for instance with the cheek contour, highlight, and sub and ultra contours and sheering in others, such is the case with lip products. I always line my lips then buffer off the residual liner once it sets followed by a finger tip or soft brush application of liquid lipstick which I also blot off. This ensures that you are creating depth and coverage where it belongs and letting your natural lip color and skin tone peer through where necessary too. This is what creates the YOU, but better, look rather than the appearance of building a new face out of cosmetics.

Author Mischaela Elkins

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