How to Teach Yourself Grown-up Makeup

by Tori Telfer

What is it about contouring and shading that brings even the most powerful women to their knees? As women, we seem to have this widespread idea that a REAL woman feels comfortable in red lipstick; a GROWN woman knows that dark eyeshadow goes in the crease. I've heard plenty of 20-something women bemoan the fact that they don't really know how to "do" makeup besides mascara and, uh, glitter eyeliner. It's irrational, but we definitely associate a certain level of makeup skill with that elusive state known as "all grown up."

If one of your 2014 resolutions was to just master liquid eyeliner already so you can stop obsessing about it, this one's for you. I've compiled some of the most straightforward tutorials around the web for a sort of crash course in DIY makeup application. Follow these tutorials every day for a week until the blending and shading feels like second nature, and you'll be ready to strike out on your own.

Before we begin, the song you'll want to be listening to, on repeat, is this:

1. Foundation

I really like Oprah's step-by-step foundation application guide, which holds your hand all the way from pre-foundation moisturizing (very important!) to finishing up with two types of powder. Key piece of info: stripe foundation shades onto your cheek and pick the one that "disappears" into your skin.

Teach yourself: O 's Step-by-Step Foundation Guide.

2. Contouring

Obviously, contouring doesn't need to be done every day, but it's a good tool to have in your back pocket. The best contouring tutorial I've ever seen is a simple photo that teaches you all you need to know about contouring your face in one fell swoop. The illusion created by light and dark is actually kind of magical. All you have to do is imitate the photo and then blend like your ego depended on it.

Teach yourself: Visual contouring guide.

3. Eyes

Eye makeup can be so complicated, and there seem to be an unlimited array of options out there. Neon eyeliner? Mermaid-inspired eyeshadow? A rusty red diseased-but-high-fashion eye? I find that videos are best for eye makeup, since there are so many steps (waterline, lash line, inner eye, middle of lid, brow bone, etc.) that it helps to see it all unfold in real time.

The basic smoky eye from the first tutorial can basically be worn from 3 PM onward (but don't let me make all the rules). Next, Michelle Phan gives us a pretty, bright look for daytime, when you want your eyes to look sort of effortlessly striking. And I'm also including Alexa Chung's cat-eye makeup "tutorial," which isn't really that helpful, but it will inspire you to draw cat-eye after cat-eye until you get the flick right — and really, practice is the only secret for that look.

Teach yourself: Classic Smokey Eye Tutorial; Brighter and Larger Looking Eyes; Alexa Chung's Cat-Eye Tutorial

4. Blush

I adore blush, but I've always felt kind of weird about it. Isn't the whole point of blush to fake a "youthful glow"? And shouldn't I already have one? Maybe blush was associated with aging debutantes and loose women in the past, but today it comes in so many beautiful hues (coral! orange! mauve) that it'd be a crime to ignore it.

What no one tells you is this: Blush doesn't always have to go on the apples of your cheeks. In fact, you can use it to lightly contour your face, too. Makeup Forever has an amazing visual tutorial that shows you four ways to apply blush: along the cheekbones for a classic look, on the apples of your cheeks to glow, up and around the eyes for highlighting, and lower on the cheeks to sculpt.

Teach yourself: Blush Applications by Make Up For Ever

5. Neck highlighting

Just kidding! Trying to keep you on your toes.

6. Lip color

Girl, a bright lip is all fun and games until you buy cheap red lipstick and realize that it creeps out beyond your natural lip line as if you're an 85-year-old smoker. When it comes to lip color with staying power, the trick is to fill in your entire lip with lipliner in a matching shade first. Lipstick and lipgloss may fade, but a lipliner base ensures bright color for hours. Plus, it's easier to outliner your natural lip shade with liner — or fake a lip shape that's a little more Marilyn than usual.

Teach yourself: The Perfect Red Lips Tutorial

Image: Bustle Stock Photo