Be Better At Makeup: How To Put On Blush Without Looking Like You Have Hives

In which I lead my first tutorial -- and you can finally hear my weird, hybrid accent.
Publish date:
April 29, 2013
shoppables, makeup, beauty tutorial, blush, How-To

Who taught you how to put on your makeup: Your mom? Your sister? That 19-year-old Ukrainian anime girl from YouTube?

The mysteries of caking crap on your face to look like a different person -- 'cause that was totally my intention at the time -- were revealed to me when I was 13 by my friend Janet, who was a professional ballroom dancer.

(We actually reconnected through Facebook last week, and guess what? She's on DWTS, making her, still, a professional dancer. Except now she goes by her real Russian name, rather than her Americanized name, which always made me think of this song.)

So I basically learned how to put on STAGE makeup, I guess, and walked around with that infamous line of too-dark-for-my-complexion foundation around my chin. That lasted until, near the end of junior high, this one kid who hardly said a word to me gave me a mix CD filled with punk music.

And thus began the phase of me wanting to look dead.

(Seriously: I wore white flour as face powder and rimmed my eyes so heavily they looked like the eye sockets in a spooky skull. Alas, people still approached me on the street and asked, “Does anyone ever tell you that you look like Paris Hilton?” And then I truly did want to die.)

Somewhere between trying to pass as Tara Reid a la American Pie (the sexualization of young girls did NOT arise in just this past decade, hi), and then Brody Dalle, and then, well, myself -- who simply considered makeup a very fun hobby, would get stoned in a car with my friend Tiffany, and we'd put on loads of powders and sparkly things and listen to "My Humps" on repeat for hours multiple times a week -- I got good at applying makeup, one might say. If "one" were the 20 girls on my floor freshman year of college, who all wanted me to do their makeup before sorority events.

When I took a makeup class last year at this rad, artsy educational center in my ‘hood, I did so merely for funsies. Remember: I thought I had that shit down.

But what ensued were six hours of some INTENSE application of a myriad of products -- and the horrific realization that I had been doing my makeup in a way that might not have been the most flattering.

“Try it again,” the instructor, a runway and commercial makeup artist, said as he handed me the liquid eyeliner I’d been wearing for four years at that point. "The way you apply it makes your eyes look droopy."

I huffed, wiped my lid clean with a Q-tip, and re-applied the black liner.

“No, again!” He shoved a clean Q-tip at me.

Although I wanted to cry off my clumpy $30 mascara at the time, I came out of the class with some top-notch tips -- and might I say, better looking (and certainly less droopy-eyed)? I think my favorite part about taking it, really, was that I started wearing even less makeup than I did prior to that point.

With those lessons, combined with my experience of getting high as hell and making other people look purdy, I bring you my unofficial series of way-evergreen makeup tutorials where I'll show you some tips I've learned that will perhaps have you applying your makeup a little better (and that will incite someone, inevitably, to question my weird accent that I don't even understand myself).



Nars Blush in Luster, $29,

I'm fully aware one side of your face has one cheekbone, since I'm no longer rattled and talking to my digital face on a laptop. (I'll get less nervous, soon, promise -- hopefully.) ANYWAY: I swipe a bronzer in-between my jaw and cheekbone to contour, and use this blush right ON my cheekbone above that to "complete" my contouring.

I previously put all my pinky blushes on my cheekbones, but realized that obliterates any definition you create with contouring. Hence, the eyebrow-nostril technique I demonstrate a million times in the video.

Bella Bamba Blush by Benefit, $28,

I obviously have a thing for Benefit's blushes: I did this post practically dedicated to Coralista, used in the end of the video, but here's a link to buy it over at Benefit anyway.

Tarte Cheek Stain in Flush, $30,

GO, GO to your nearest Sephora and play with these cheekstains immediately. They come in a bevy of colors, smell like fruits and flowers and summertime happiness, and will bring pure joy upon whoever starts swiping the testers on the back of their hand. (WIPE THE TEST STICK OFF WITH THE TISSUE FIRST, GROSS.)

I buy these as gifts for friends since they're kind of novelty and not-too-cheap. They last forever, though, and can be quite addicting.

So was that helpful?

And tell me who taught you how to put on your makeup, the weirdest makeup phase you've ever been through (I wore red blush as eyeshadow when I was 15 -- GOTH GLAMOUR!), and what fun products or techniques my jittery ass can possibly show you in the future.

Follow me on Twitter: @caitlinthornton.