Your Guide on How to Apply Simple Everyday Makeup

The most efficient way to get long-lasting, flawless makeup

How to Apply Simple Everyday Makeup
Photo: Christopher Robbins/Getty Images

From vibrant eyeliner colors to glitter lipstick to quarantine pastel hair, there's no shortage of beauty trends to try. But sometimes, less is more (especially on a day-to-day basis). But given all the time we've spent indoors over the last year and a half, it can be easy to forget the basics of a simple, everyday makeup look.

But don't worry, if you're in need of a little makeup refresher, we've got you covered. From prepping your skin to amplifying your eyes, cheeks, and lips, we have gathered all the right steps to achieve that simple everyday look.

"The biggest secret to achieving the no makeup, makeup look is assessing what you really need verses just doing the steps," says professional makeup artist and beauty expert Jonet Williamson. "Everything from skincare to coverage should be specific to where it's actually needed."

So keep on scrolling for our guide on how to apply simple everyday makeup, and mix-and-match the steps to create a custom routine that fits your personal makeup needs.

Prep Your Skin

Before reaching for any of your makeup products, it's important to start with a clean slate. Cleansing and moisturizing your skin will help your products blend easily when doing a simple makeup look. Williamson also recommends adding a hydrating serum and SPF to your prep routine to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

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Step One: Cleanse Your Face

How to Apply Simple Everyday Makeup
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Start by cleansing your face to remove any dirt or oil from your complexion. Running a cotton pad soaked with a rinse-free, vitamin-rich micellar water like Bioderma's Sensibo H2O will wipe away impurities without causing redness or irritation.

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Step Two: Serum

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The SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel oil-free serum will hydrate and plump your skin creating the perfect blank canvas to apply the rest of your makeup.

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Step Three: Moisturize and Prime

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Williamson suggests opting for a moisturizer that also doubles as a primer to save time and ensure long-lasting makeup all day long. The Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base Priming Moisturizer has hyaluronic acid and shea butter to hydrate the skin, and a unique blend of vitamins (including Vitamins B, C & E) to wake up and prime the skin.

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Step Four: Don't Forget the SPF

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Ending your prep work with a sunscreen is extremely important and should always be included in your a.m. skincare routine. SuperGoop!'s Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 is the perfect lightweight SPF that layers flawlessly under makeup.

Even Out Your Skin Tone

Now that your complexion is fresh and clean, move on to the first part of your simple makeup look: evening out your skin tone. Williamson recommends only using the amount of coverage you need. After your skin tone is evened out, you can go back and touch up spots or color correct blemishes.

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Step One: Apply Tinted Moisturizer

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The easiest way to even out your skin tone is to reach for a tinted moisturizer like bareMinerals' Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, which comes in 20 different shades. This product will give you sheer coverage with the added skincare benefits of a moisturizer throughout the day. Apply it all over your complexion like your regular moisturizer.

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Step Two: Conceal Any Trouble Spots

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Dab a concealer on any blemishes or dark circles that need a bit more coverage. Choose a pigment-rich formula that isn't matte or cakey like NARS' Radiant Creamy Concealer for a seamless, natural finish. For blemishes, dab the concealer on the spot and blend it using your finger or makeup sponge. If you do have a blemish or two, Williamson recommends prepping that area of the skin properly (see above). "If you color correct blemishes and hyperpigmentation beforehand, you'll need less concealer to cover it," says Williamson.

As for dark circles, swipe the wand under your eyes and pat it in with your finger or blend it with a makeup sponge.

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Step Three: Use Translucent Powder, If Necessary

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If you have oily skin, or need to blur out an imperfection, Wiliamson recommends grabbing a translucent setting powder, like Laura Mercier's, to stop mid-day shine. Apply it with a fluffy brush in a circular motion so that it goes on undetected.

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Step Four: Apply a Warm Blush Color

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For a subtle, natural flush, use a cream blush like Stila's Convertible Color in Petunia to warm up the apples of your cheeks. Use your fingers to massage the color on your skin, or reach for a makeup sponge.

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Step Five: Highlight

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For a nice dewy finish, Williamson suggests a little touch of sparkle. She swears by the Armani Beauty Silk Glow Setting Powder, which can double as a highlighter when applied in the correct spots (cheekbones, nose bridge, and cupid's bow). "It's just gorgeous and gives just the right amount of glow," she says.

Define Your Eyes And Lips

Now that you've evened out your skin tone, move on to enhancing your features. When doing your simple makeup look, make sure you're in a room with enough natural light to keep your application from being to heavy-handed. To save time, Williamson also suggests looking for those "multi-use" products, like the Evio Beauty color sticks, which can be used on cheeks, eyes, and lips.

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Step One: Shade Your Eyelids

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A shimmery champagne eyeshadow like the Half Baked Urban Decay eye shadow will make your eyes pop and look wide awake. Use an eyeshadow brush to sweep the shade across your entire eyelid up to the crease, along with the inner corners of your eyes and your brow bone.

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Step Two: Apply Eyeliner

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For more definition, dot a steel gray or black eyeliner pencil like Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner in (Iron)y between your top lashes. If you want to take your simple makeup look from day to night, opt in for this step.

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Step Three: Swipe On Mascara

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A few coats of a glossy mascara like Clinique's will boost your eyelashes. Choose a dark brown shade for a softer finish and apply a couple coats of it on your top lashes, along with a single coat on the roots of your bottom lashes.

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Step Four: Enhance Your Lips

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Pick a tinted balm in a shade that matches your lips. We like Revlon's Color Burst Matte Balm, which adds a shine-free touch of color to lips. Apply it directly from the tube and use your finger to pat it in for a natural, just-bitten finish.

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Step Five: Multi-Use Colorstick

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Combine eyeshadow, blush, and lip steps into one with this time-saving color stick. Plus, you can easily keep it in your purse for quick touch ups.

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