How to Apply Makeup Step by Step like a Professional

Someone putting makeup on a woman

Applying makeup isn’t easy. It requires knowing what products work for you, picking the best level of coverage, knowing what shade is best for your skin, and knowing how to layer all of your products in the best order for that perfect finished look. Plus, if you apply makeup incorrectly or in the wrong spot, it can end up making your face saggy or highlighting your blemishes instead of concealing them.

On top of this, it’s important to keep up with the makeup trends. What looks are in, and what’s out? Trends move fast, and we’re big fans of the more natural makeup trends coming our way this year! But knowing how to get the natural look? Not so easy if you don’t have the right tools in your makeup bag.

There’s a lot to juggle. But don’t worry! HIDE has all the products and info you need to get that professional look you’re going for. Plus, we’ve thrown in a few bonus makeup hacks along the way to take your look from already great to absolutely fabulous.

Let’s dive in.

What Sets Professional Makeup Apart?

When it comes to makeup, not all products are created equally. Depending on ingredients, your skin type, and how it’s made, your product may not offer the coverage you need. It’s important to know what to look for in professional makeup products, and typically this means investing just a couple more bucks to get the best option.

Professional makeup products have these qualities that set them apart from other types of makeup:

  • Higher-end makeup products often have more pigment. More pigment means more coverage and a better shade match for your skin tone.
  • Professional makeup also offers a wider range of shades with different undertones to match the skin. Finding the perfect shade is paramount to getting a professional look.
  • They last longer. A professional makeup product will last for at least 12 hours and offer coverage that doesn’t break apart or require reapplication during the day.
  • Professional makeup brands never use cheap, synthetic ingredients in their products as these tend to break apart and irritate the skin. Instead, they use careful chemistry and high-quality ingredients.

The ingredients in your makeup play a huge role in how professional it looks once it’s on your face. However, application matters too. If you don’t know how to properly use your makeup products, you may not end up with that million-dollar shine you’re going for.

So, we’re here to break down everything you need to know about makeup application and getting the perfect professional look.

1. Prep and Prime

Prepping your skin and priming it for your foundation and concealer is key to getting that professional look. To prep your skin, use a gentle cleanser and moisturizer. This helps get rid of any dirt or oils in your skin that may cause breakouts if they’re trapped under your makeup all day.

Moisturizing is also paramount to your skincare routine. Skin can become dry, flakey, and irritated if you cleanse your face without moisturizing. A good moisturizer helps seal in hydration, reset your skin’s moisture barrier, and probably has some SPF in there too. Even if your moisturizer has SPF, it’s important to supplement with a good sunscreen on top of that. Look for something with broad spectrum for UVA and UVB protection and at least SPF 30.

After you cleanse and moisturize, it’s prime time. A primer is a makeup product that creates a smooth foundation for your makeup before it’s applied. It evens out any bumps by filling in pores, creases, wrinkles. In other words, it takes textured skin and makes it smooth. A good primer can take your good makeup look and give it that sparkle that makes it a pro makeup look.

Primer also makes the application process smoother and easier and creates a barrier between your makeup and your skin, so it lasts longer. If you have dry skin, look for a hydrating face primer. If you have oily skin, a matte face primer will help you look less shiny.

To apply primer like a pro, simply dab it in with your fingers or a makeup sponge in the center of your face and work out. One light layer of primer does the trick. Let it dry before applying your foundation, and voila! You’re well on the way to that pro makeup look.

2. Apply Foundation and Concealer

Next, it’s time to put on your foundation and concealer. We like to put foundation on first, but the order doesn’t make a huge difference. Simply find what works best for you and stick with that. Not sure which order you prefer? This resource can help you decide which order is best for you.

Find Your Shade Match

When using foundation and concealer, you have to find the right match. Using the wrong shade of makeup can make you look washed out, orange, and unprofessional. Know if your undertones are warm, cool, or neutral. Then, find a shade match with those same undertones and simply match to your skin.

Foundation First

Foundation is a makeup product that goes all over your face. To apply it, you can use a brush, a sponge, or your fingers. We recommend using a liquid foundation like HIDE’s Premium Foundation as it goes over blemishes and acne more easily and is more versatile.

Concealer Second

Concealer is a makeup product that only goes over areas you want to hide—hence the term concealer. For instance, you can dab concealer under your eyes to hide dark circles and bags or over blemishes, imperfections, scars, or tattoos for coverage there. Here are a few things to know technique-wise about using concealer.

Under Eyes

If you’re applying concealer under your eyes, it’s important to use the right shape. Simply dabbing it underneath can create a puffier, saggy look. Instead, use this method.

Apply concealer in the shape of an upside-down triangle. This gives you a lifted look instead of dragging your skin down. The base of the triangle should be a straight line under your eye, and the tip should extend down your cheek as long as your nose. Use your fingers or a sponge to dab it into your skin and blend.

Over a Blemish

You can also cover up blemishes with concealer. For this, you’ll probably want to use a brush. Dab the blemish with the center of your brush and blend out. If the brush isn’t working, you can resort to using your finger. Let the concealer dry and add another layer if necessary.

3. Highlight and Contour

Highlight and contour are the parts of your makeup routine that create dimension. Instead of having a flat makeup look, highlight brightens the parts of your face that naturally catch the light and contour darkens the places that catch the shadows.

Supplementing the light and shadows is vital to getting that chiseled, professional makeup look. Choose a highlighter with a pearl shade as these tend to look the most realistic. If your skin tone is darker or has warm undertones, using a peachy or pink highlighter will compliment your undertones. For deeper skin tones, use a golden or copper highlighter.

Pick a contour shade that compliments your skin tone and highlighter in the same way! Then, use both of these products together to get the perfect, million-dollar look.

4. Blush and Bronzer

Blush and bronzer together make a professional sun-kissed glow. Blush adds the perfect, natural touch to your makeup to give you rosy, flirty cheeks. Simply dab blush along your cheekbone angled upwards for a sun-kissed, lifted look. Bronzer adds to this sun-kissed glow by giving you a tan lift to your cheekbones and face.

5. Eye Makeup

The finishing touch to your professional look is your eyes. As far as eyes go, it’s pretty simple to figure out. Natural brows are trending this year, so ditch the high, sharp arches and go for a bushy, full, boy brow look. You can also opt for neutral tones of eyeshadow and light liner for a more natural, professional look.

Pro Tips and Tricks

  • Blend up for a lifted look.
  • Only use concealer where necessary to avoid looking cakey.
  • Go for natural brows instead of high, sharp arches.
  • Go for neutral tones of blush, eyeshadow, and lips for a professional natural look.
  • Less is more. When using makeup, use a light hand and gentle strokes. Adding too much can take your professional look and
  • Have fun! Makeup may be made with science, but when it comes to getting that professional look, there’s more than one way. What works for you may not work for someone else, so as you try and fail, don’t forget to have fun. 


    Whether you’re planning a girl’s night out or a fun night in, having the perfect makeup look can make or break your day. And if you’re trying to conceal blemishes, a breakout, or dark circles, this can be even more challenging.

    Luckily, HIDE’s got you covered. With a custom formula, HIDE’s Premium Concealer and Foundation offer the coverage you need to rock your professional look with confidence. Learn more here about how to use them.



    Quick Dose: How Much SPF Do You Really Need? | Northwestern Medicine

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    Dark circles under eyes Causes | Mayo Clinic

    Do You Really Need a Skin Care Routine? | Northwestern Medicine