How to Learn How to Do My Own Hair and Makeup?

Updated on January 14, 2012
A.B. asks from Sarasota, FL
15 answers

I have always been a very "low maintenance" woman. My mom never really taught me much about doing hair or makeup. Not that I fault her for that at all, I have the best mom in the world. :) But it is kind of funny considering she used to work as one of those "makeup ladies" at Walgreens!
Anyway I digress. As I get older (30's) I am realizing the importance of being "put together" and making the most out of my femininity...I am enjoying wearing more girly clothes but as far as hair and makeup, I am clueless!
I don't want to try to learn by looking at websites and things. I want real, hands on help!
What should I do???
I have been thinking of going and getting a makeover at the cosmetics counter at a department store (do they still even offer this service???)...or even asking a girlfriend to come over and have a girls night and teach me her makeup tricks!!!

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thanks so much for the responses. You ladies are the best. :)
I had no idea that salons offered makeup lessons. That is exactly what I need. I can't wait to book one!

Featured Answers



answers from Orlando on

Go to Clinique! Consultations are complimentary (a salon will charge you!) and they will teach you how to apply. I have been with Clinique for 15 years and this is what we are trained to do! Call and make an apponitment and tell them you would like to see an "accredited consultant". This is someone who has been there at least a year and has had to take an exam to earn their accreditation.
I see you are in Naples! I used to work at the counter there at Dillards/Coastland Center in 1999/2000. I have no idea who is at that counter now, but give them a call!

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

Oh wow... I could have totally written your post. I have been thinking exactly the same for the past few days!!! Goodluck :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

All good ideas that you mentioned.
Go to a good hair salon + ask for a good "senior" stylist's suggestions/style.
Then head to the mall & pick a counter--maybe something low-key and low pressure like Origins and ask someone to do your makeup. You don't have to buy everything...but will give you a good idea of what to look for on your own.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

I TOTALLY TOTALLY feel ya. That was a resolution for last year (no lie, lol---learn how to be more of a girl), and a lady came to my MOPS club from the local beauty school to discuss different "stuff", using volunteers from the club to be models as she showed moisturizing and different makeup techniques. When she was done, I went and asked her what I could do, and she said to call the local beauty school and I could get an appointment for a "makeover" there with teacher-led sessions. I learned a few interesting things that way and it didn't cost me anything, and because it was a school they weren't hard pressing me to buy stuff. So my first suggestion would be to see if there's a local beauty school in your area. I can't think of the name of the place, but there is a store at the mall here that does this as well. It's not as hard as I thought to get some basic tips from professionals.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I have had my makeup done at Saks Fifth Avenue several times, by Christian Dior as well as Estee Lauder (during the time my sister worked there and she would hook me up with the best, most experienced makeup artists in the store), but I don't like the fact that you feel you must buy one of their products because you feel like they went through all this trouble for SOME reason, not just to make you feel pretty for a few hours for free, plus the fact they pressure you to buy it ("oh that lipstick looks BEAUTIFUL on you, I guarantee no other makeup counter or drugstore will have a color that matches it. It brings out your eyes, everyone else in the store kept looking at you because it's as if it was made for you, and I can give you a special gift if you buy it along with...").

Personally, I am a drugstore cosmetics girl, why spend more when makeup at the drugstore is just as efficient, and no pressure from pushy salespeople? I don't mind my mother and sister giving me their free makeup samples from their Clinique gift bags or whatever, but I won't go out of my way to spend more to have these blushes, lipsticks, or eyeshadows. Even magazines have pointed out that L'Oreal and other cosmetics are the go-to for news anchors and celebrities, because drugstore cosmetics are getting better all the time, and for half the price.

Youtube has many tutorial videos on how to do hair and makeup. Unlike the instructions you READ in a magazine, you are actually SEEING the person apply the makeup from scratch on video. They tell you the products they used in case you want to get your own and copy the look, and you can always send them private messages asking questions and they usually will answer. I recommend looking up some of the most popular makeup application videos (especially paying attention to those which have someone that has a similar skin tone and eye color to yours applying makeuo) and hairstyling tutorials if you don't have the time or the money for a makeup application course at the local community college or beauty school lessons. You can also ask your hairstylist about how to style your hair the next time you go. They can teach you some simple ways (side part versus middle part, how to hold curls, add volume, etc.), when you're getting a cut, a blowdry, or a coloring. Most of the stylists I have used don't mind, they are realistic and know that the average woman simply cannot get their hair styled by a professional on a daily basis, and don't mind making your life easier with a few tips. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

You can make an appointment at a good hair salon. Explain what it is you want.

There are psalons that do both hair and makeup. Let them know you really never learned how to do all of this and so you would like to be taught.

They do this all of the time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

I am exactly the same way!! For my birthday one year, one of my girlfriends took me to one of the make up counters at the mall, I think it was Clinique, and they taught you how to do your makeup, whether for going out, at the office, or just around the house. Best part: they didn't pressure me to buy anything!

Then, a few years after that, I had a professional hair dresser come to my house and teach me a thing or two. I LOVE her, I'm still in touch with her, and whenever I need a new do, she'll either walk me through it over the phone or come right out (she's paid, of course, and worth every penny!!)

Have fun with it, make a day of it, maybe get one of your girlfriends or your mom or sister to do it with you :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I would go to a Mary Kay sales person and listen to them somewhat while they do a facial. If you tell them you are only looking for basic glamour items and are not interested in skin care they should listen to you and not try to sell you a bunch of cleaners and lotions. You are going to be able to tell if the colors look right or not.

Base should not leave a strip around the chin. It should blend in well under the jaw. Blush should not make your cheeks look like they would glow in the dark. Eye shadow should not stand out and look like it could be peeled off.

I think getting a few basic things, base, blush, an eye shadow palette, some mascara. Then practice and practice. Use blending pads to make the makeup look better. That is a trick that most people don't know about. That makes the colors more natural looking. I use the foam pads from Walmart and wash them out when they get too dirty. They last forever.

If you have green eyes dark purples will make your eyes pop.

If you have blue eyes then browns can make your eyes pop.

If you have brown eyes most any color will look good but in very limited amounts so that the eyes don't turn in to dark circles.

If you are older looking stay away from frosted products. They reflect the light and make wrinkles pop out.

If you are you smooth skinned and very young looking then most any style of makeup can be used to emphasis your looks.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Do you have/can you find a MAry Kay lady near you?? Some Avond ladies still help with this, but the Mary Kay woman I know is well trained in skin care and make up. She came over to our hosue to do a little lesson for our teens to help them avoid the "goth" look when they were new to wearing make up.

I bet they could hook you up. (And no, I don't sell Mary Kay)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

To be honest, many woman aren't even trained at the make-up counters. They get hired with no experience and go through a "training" day or two. You might have some luck in Ulta and Sephora. Even then, they are usually just brand representatives...not make up artists. I think your best bet, would be going to a salon or spa with trained make-up artists. They generally have deals where you come in and they teach you all about how to apply make-up, the best kind for your individual skin, the best moisturizer, etc. That's what I did and it's SO worth the cost!! They often have the same deals for hair, as well!

Another thing...
Getting together with your friend would probably be really fun, but you won't learn much. She has learned to put make-up on HER face. It's a different ballgame for each face. What she does, might not look good on your face.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

All the makeup counters (bareminerals, estee lauder, mac, clinque, etc.) do makeovers. Some have started to charge, some still do it for free, some are appointment based, others are walk in and first come based.

I've found these to be hit or miss.

I used to have my makeup professionally done for work. I quit paying attention, because theatrical/photo makeup is ENTIRELY different than real life makeup (although there are some tricks that I still use, like how to reshape my nose... and how to fake being "fresh" when you're actually strung out or hungover... the trick is blush, btw., everywhere you get sunburned; bridge of nose, top of cheeks -instead of apple-, forehead, and your chin. Which has come in more useful than ANYTHING else... because being a sleep deprived mom I looked FAR worse than I ever did partying the night before! but I'm digressing).

Who I LOVE are the makeup ARTISTS that upperend salons employ. They can do makeup for any occasion (daily wear, special occasion, photos indoors, photos outdoors, bridal, etc.)... and they give LESSONS!!!

In our area a basic makeup lesson is $30-$50 depending on what kind of lesson you want (just eyes, full face, etc.). They're not selling makeup, so there's none of the "You need this, and this, and this and this!". Instead they chart your face, and give you 2 or 3 options depending on your "needs".

For myself... most basically (warpaint)... I need foundaition, blush 1 (the sunburn type... no, you don't actually look sunburned, it's super subtle, but it kills the sleep deprived zombie look), and mascara. That's daily walking around warpaint.

Next level up "looking nice" but still fresh/not made up = foundation, blush1, blush2, eyeliner, mascara, tinted gloss or sheerish lipstick (my face doesn't support lipstick unless I'm fully made up. It makes me look harsh.

And the list continues all the way to club makeup & photoshoot makeup with full shadowing (3 colors of foundation to create angles in my face that people see in normal light, but that cameras don't pick up or that get lost in a dark club/theatre). The "list" changes with everyone. And it changes geographically and with age for everyone (my own list changes when I'm somewhere sunny... my skin evens out and is just luscious. Up here, I'm blochy and uneven.)

An honest to god makeup artist will be able to do a 'warpaint' lesson (daily walking around makeup) very very easily, and very very well. And be giving you tricks of the trade, and have you repeat them, and colors and types of things to look for/buy. They can work with just about any set of makeup, and will know the rather lengthy list of which makeup brands/types would work best for you and your budget.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I am a glamour bug, I tell ya! I get called on by friends and family to help with make-up for special occasions. What I did was to pay attention to different looks, look at magazines, read the tips (like, put a little highlight between your eyes if they are close together) and decide what I like. Then, practice, practice, PRACTICE.

Your skin will be key; keep it smooth and clear and moisturized. Figure out what you want to accomplish with your foundation. Do you want a flawless matte finish or do you want to look more natural, etc? Do you have dark circles under your eyes or really unattractive dark spots on your face? If your skin doesn't exactly match any particular shade of foundation, then you might need to mix a couple.

Pay attention to the details--I can't say that enough.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wichita Falls on

I was exactly YOU! Until I was about 50!!! I wish I had started sooner. Look up your local M. Kay person. I love M. Kay and they give you one on one make overs and I love my M. Kay. I am not a representative. Just like the stuff!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tallahassee on

I'm with many here: I'd go to Mary Kay. My mother never wore make-up, but my MIL set up a Mary Kay visit for my birthday (before she was even my MIL!), and bought me some make-up. Be sure when you call to make an appointment to tell her you are new to this... she will work harder to help you find what works for you.

I've had representatives who wear a lot of make-up, but most don't, and I've never had a single one try to make me do my face in a way I wasn't comfortable with. Unlike one responder, I don't wear foundation--I have very sensitive skin, and every "cover" after a few days gives me a rash--but I do things to take care of my skin in other ways. I use Neutrogena wrinkle cream (day formula and night), and it WORKS, and I moisturize, since I tend to have dry skin. Your needs will be different--and your MK person should be able to adapt to what you need to know and do to take good care of yourself.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I disagree that the ladies at the consultant counters at department stores are not trained except to take your money...........many are well trained and continue training with their brands to move up with their company. This is typically at a more upscale store such as Neimans or Nordstrom. They are top 2 to go to.. they know what they are doing.

That said... Many salons have consultants for your hair and makeup. They are also a great place to go for ideas and how to's.

I personally use Clinique and I've never met an inexperienced consultant. I realize they don't all appeal to my tastes all the time but that does not make them inexperienced. You have to find someome you relate to and stick with that person.

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