Time for Some Makeup

Updated on December 13, 2010
J.F. asks from McKinney, TX
23 answers

I'm almost 26 years old and I've never worn much makeup. I don't know very much about it either. But I'm starting to feel like I'd really enjoy wearing it. Problem is, I have no idea where to start. I need to find that age-appropriate "happy medium". I don't want to look like a teenager with crazy colors or an old lady with way too much on. I don't think wearing a "full face" is right for me but I do need some coverage. I have some very sensitive skin, seems to break out alot so I'm also in need of a good skincare regimen. Because of my lack of experience with these areas, I tend to be very self-conscious.

My ultimate question is:
Where can I go to have my makeup done for me once? I don't want someone aggressively pushing stuff at me, I just need someone who knows what they are doing and will show me what looks best. I will buy whatever makes me look decent but I would feel extremely uncomfortable with somebody throwing all kinds of stuff at me, expecting me to spend hundreds of dollars on the spot.

Is there a great makeup counter out there who will do a consultation? How much do these cost? What's a reasonable price estimate for foundation, eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascera and lipstick?

Your advice is really appreciated!!!

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answers from Seattle on

I like stila, bare escentuals, benefit, clinique, and mac. I'd go to sephora personally, that way you can try several different brands. They have their own line too, which is less expensive. My personal favorites are: foundation- bare minerals, eyeshadow-sephora or mac, eyeliner-sephora, blush-stila, highlighter-stila, concealer-mac, lipstick/lipgloss- l'oreal hip (color reserved 866) or mac lipglass, mascara-Dior show. Sonia kashuk's line at target has some cheaper but good stuff too!

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answers from Dallas on

I love Clinique at Macys. My favorite counter is the one not inside of Macy's but upstairs need Motherhood Maternity at Stonebriar mall. They are free standing but still associated with Macys and very friendly, willing to educate and not pushy. Consultations are usually free at most all brands, but you may call and make an appointment at this time of the year with it being Christmas and all.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I'm 41 and been wearing make up forever. I like very simple, basic stuff. Foundation, blush, lip gloss. I just started using Mascara (cover girl). Mascara goes bad fast and I don't find buying the pricey stuff worth it.

For years I used Cover Girl liquid foundation (which really doesn't look good because you can see the line under your jaw), then in my mid-thirties my sister turned me on to BARE ESCENTUALS and I love this line! Very clean, basic and it looks great. I get compliments when I wear it and I love that it's not heavy and I look like I'm not wearing anything.

You can go to any BE store and they'll apply the make up. Don't go overboard buying eye shadows or buying too much. I also recently splurged on their brushes and am glad I did.

The first thing I purchased was a basic kit matched to my skin tone for about $60.

If you have sensitive skin, then maybe the other brands mentioned would be better. I have never had any issues, because I don't have sensitive skin.

I'd avoid big department stores because those lines are pricey and they tend to pack on the make up.

Just decide what you want: Heavy (evening) or light look (casual day) and tell them and that should help.

Mascara Cover Girl - about $10
Lipstick - lip gloss from Burt's Bee's $5? lots of colors to choose from
I just splurged on a lip gloss at BE because I liked how it looked
Eyeliner Cover Girl - inexpensive
Blush & Foundation - Bare Escentuals - little more money but lasts a long time

Some fashion magazine, forget the name, typically compares make up lines and shows you cheaper brands compared to pricey ones.

I have never found the BE people to be pushy. And I have gone to Sak's Fifth Avenue in NYC, did a whole make up session at Chanel, loved the look, but not the feel on my face and walked away without buying a thing. No pressure. You still have a choice. You are not obligated to buy anything.

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answers from Chicago on

I love Bobbi Brown. I go to the counters but usually purchase one item there and the rest on-line. The reason is if you go to the web-site and sign up for free you get free shipping and the samples they give out are awesome.

I love BB because it is natural and classy, but with so many different options you can find something for every occasion. I have never felt anyone trying to sell me anything but more that they loved the product. You can make an appointment or just show up and let them know you are interested in pursuing a new look and they will try it all on and write it down with you so you can remember. I feel their products last a long time and can be used in different ways. For example the shimmer brick can be used for blush and eye shadow.
I would recommend the brush kit if you are planning to stick with it because it makes a big difference for application.

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answers from Orlando on

Please go to Clinique. What you are looking for is what we are trained to do. Clinique is allergy tested and fragrance free. Consultations are complimentary and we have great follow up to make sure everything is working for you. Prices are reasonable too, and the consultant will listen to your concerns and fufill that need first, not push a bunch of products on you. I would suggest you call and make an appointment and ask if there is an "Accredited Consultant" that will do the consultation for you. This type of person has had extra, in depth training and will take very good care of you.
Foundations start around $22.00, eyeliners are $14.50, mascara and lipstick, $14.00 each.
Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I love makeup. But i like a clean look. Its true all department stores will give you a demo, for free, I always liked MAC because they have awesome products that go on easily, and last. The prices are good when you consider the amount in the container, eg a foundation powder at a drugstore will have less than 15 grams, mac would have 30g. the price seems double until you consider this.
Sally beauty supply has some nice stuff, at a fraction of the cost. Their eyeshadows are just over a dollar, whereas Mac would be $16 for the same amount, with similar quality.
Maybelline makes an awesome mascara, great lash, recommended by all sorts of makeup professionals, and its $5-6.
eye shadows, check out sally or mac, its worth it, because they put a lot of pigment in the colors, meaning you use less, application will be easy and it will last for hours.
foundation, depends on your skin and preferences. I dont like liquids, they give a mask too easily, but I have dry skin. so I use a non greasy moisturizer and then a powder foundation. mac carries a product called studiofix, which gives great coverage and lasts forever. use a sponge for a heavier cover, or a large brush for more natural, just using more under eyes and over blemishes etc. its about $30 but will last and having tried many other brands, I have to say its the best. (for me)
lipstick... i use everything! (and always forget to reapply it so usually have none on) glosses, tinted chapsticks from bonne bell, lip stains, lip liner with gloss, cheapie lipsticks... I would steer clear of bright pinks and reds, few can pull that off very well, stick to neutral tones, peachy and beige coffee type names. NYC is a great cheap brand, less than $2 but has a watermelon scent (which is kind of ok)
Lancome lipsticks are heaavenly scented and feel great if you care to spend more.
most lines in department stores, like estee lauder, clinique, lancome have gift with minimum purchase. Take advantage of it if you buy those lines, you get an awesome value off assorted freebies, great to play around with, plus they usually have makeup removers, moisturizers, perfumes, makeup bags included. Mac unfortunately doesnt do this, however they have a recycling program with their lipsticks, turn in 5 or 6 empties for a free full size, your choice of color.

prices and products may be a little different, because Im in Canada :)

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answers from Glens Falls on

I would make an investment in a good moisturizer and cleanser. At your age you can use the same moisturizer night and day and you will want help choosing that as you have sensitive skin and are still having breakouts. Ask at Sephora or Clinque, or if you have a dermatoloist, buy from the dermatologist. For make-up, I would just go to the drugstore and buy Almay, which is the original hypo-allergenic brand. Almay's intense color mascara is great for sensitivities, it is the only mascara I can wear as it does not have parafin in it and it's been recommended to me at both the beauty counter and by the derm. I also love Almay's eye concealer (the anti-aging one) and all day lipstick. They are $7 to $8 each. Put your money in the skin care products. Have fun experimenting!

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answers from Boston on

ADDED: You can return any make-up to CVS and they will give you credit. I have returned stuff for wrong color, irritated my skin, L'oreal eye shadow box cracked only a week after buying it, etc. Any reason and they take it back.
ORIGINAL ANSWER: You could call your local Avon person and say that you would like to try some make-ups since they have lots of little samples they always add to my orders. Indeed Avon is a lot cheaper than Mary Kay. All those sales ladies will try to sell you on their skin care lines since that is where the money is. I buy my products at CVS since I want to get them when I want them and not wait to place an order and then wait to have it delivered. I do buy some color products (lip gloss, eyeshadow) from Avon and I buy WashOff Waterproof Mascara from Avon in qty. 10 every time it goes on sale for about $1.99 per tube (regular price is about $7 -$10 per tube at Avon as well as at CVS). My eyes tear a lot in wind or cold, so non-waterproof mascara ends up on my cheeks. I buy Neutrogena eye cream (about $14 for 1 oz tube - lasts about 6 months), face cream (Oil of Olay SPF15 for Sensitive Skin for summer, about $10 for a 4 oz bottle that lasts me about 1 month) and CVS version of Nivea Soft (about $6 for a 10 oz tub that lasts about a month in winter since I use it morning and night and also as a night cream in summer). I use Physician's Formula face powder and blusher from CVS (about $14 each but often they have a buy one get one half off sale) - they are the ones that look like they have lots of colors including green and white patches which helps blend away redness or yellowness without using a foundation. I find foundation just an extra timeconsuming step unless you really need to cover lots of splotches (zits) and redness. When I do use foundation I mix a few drops in my palm with some face cream and then put it on my face. Then I use a light sparkly eyeshadow (Maybeline color champagne) all over my lid and the Avon Mascara. Light eyeshadows "open" up your eyes and are youthful. Someone once told me dark eyeshadows make you look older, unless you really know how that do that "smoky eye" thing. If I were you I would go browse the isles of CVS and they even have a lady in a white labcoat lately who can help you select products. Alternately, you could go to a hairsalon/day spa and simply pay for a facial and make-up application and not buy anything. Just say you want to see how you skin reacts and you will come back if you like the results. Good luck, enjoy being a girl!!

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answers from Dallas on

Hi. I would stay away from people that sell make up for now. Let some experince get under your belt before heading that away.
Those people want to sell and just because they work behind a make up counter doesn't mean they know how to apply make up on you.
I would suggest asking a friend or just searching you tube for some tutorials on applying make up.
Also I highly recommend using a mineral foundation. It's most natural and looks great. Check out Everyday Minerals. They sell good products and a reasonable price and have awesome products. The also offer a free trail kit if you pay for the shipping which is a few bucks. If you don't want to do that, then go to the drugstore or a Walmart and see what they have and then get in front of a mirror and play with it yourself.

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answers from Honolulu on

Since you have never worn make-up and I assume never needed it.... then yes, you do NOT need a full face of it.

Personally, I would just use a transparent face powder.... instead of Foundations. That is probably all you need. And that way, you will not feel so made up nor look it. I really don't think, you "need" Foundation.
For me, I have never used any type of Foundation.... I only use the translucent face powder. Looks more natural. Stick with just face powder.
Foundations will make you look, made up. Too heavy.

At make-up counters, they will try and sell you
'everything.' So... maybe, have a list and a budget in mind... and then stick to it.
At make-up counters... it is REAL easy to get caught up in the 'moment' and what the Counter person is telling you... then you end up coming home with too much stuff that you don't really need.
So maybe, just go to your local drugstore and jut buy a FEW things that appeal to you. And then try it at home.

Expensive, does not equate good or better.
I have found some great make-up at just the local drug store.

At the Drugstores.... these brands are good for sensitive skin:
Physician's Formula

For skin care:
Clinique is good for sensitive skin. That is what I use. Reasonably priced.

all the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

Hi J.,
I started using Mary Kay products as a gift to myself for my 21st birthday. That was 23 years ago. :) I love the product. I have extremely sensitive skin, and use their formula 1 regimine. I have tried other products over the years, and nothing ever feels like the MK stuff does to me. Everything else I have tried has burned, made my face itch, break out, awful! But, this stuff is soothing. I have been told that I have young looking skin. I am often mistaken for being at least 10-15 years younger than I am. But, I have always been that way. When I was 25 with my first child, people thought I was 13. So, I don't know if it is the skin care that I use or just good genes. At any rate, it has maintained that youthful look. I use their makeup also, but never like they show it in their fliers. I make it very clear that I want a natural look, not something heavy. And, I make it very clear that I never want to sell their make up. I have an excellent consultant, who knows exactly what I like. She ships to me because she lives in a different state from me (we used to live there). I've tried several people where I live and I haven't had the same type of relationship with them, so I went back to my older consultant. Sometimes you have to try more than one to get what you want. Just be firm about what you want/don't want, and they will respect that. Have fun experimenting! Don't think you have to go with the first thing you try. Try various brands and styles. Find what works for you!

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answers from Portland on

I've had a make up lesson from three differanent department store counters; L'Oreal, Clinique, and Origins. None were pushy and all listened to what I wanted and helped me to achieve it. My eyes are sensitive to many ingredients and I finally stopped using most make u because of it. Clinique was the best because of my sensitivities.

My daughter learned how to wear make up as a teen and she looks really good with a powder foundation, a bit of blush, eye shadow, and mascara. She buys her make up at one of the counters. She's using Benefit now.
I've been with her and they do tell her about new products and try to interest her in more make up but they've never been pushy.

I would start by making an appointment with someone at a department store counter. You can go in and scope out the clerks to choose one you'd feel comfortable with. If they're not busy, they'll do it at the time you're in.

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answers from New York on

You know, you can go to any counter in the department store, but they will encourage you to buy more products than you need, especially after they hear that you are new to the makeup thing. My recommendation is to skip that altogether and do your own research. I love YouTube - it is surprising how many women post all kinds of tutorials on there. If you type in the search engine "natural makeup face tutorial" you will find a lot of hits for women who can teach you how to put on a basic face using drug store brands or inexpensive department store brands. Alternatively, you can experiment...if you feel you've got pretty good skin, then you can skip the liquid foundation and use a little sheer powder from the drug store to even out your skin tone a little. Try some gloss or lipstick and see what you prefer. If you want to stick to natural colors, try browns for eye colors - and at this point I would again refer to You Tube, which has tons of great tutorials for how to apply a "natural eye" makeup look. YouTube is also great for teaching how to apply all kinds of lipstick looks, from retro "Gwen Stefani" red to everyday pale pink or beige.

I say this is the cheapest and simplest way to get started. When I started, I went to a lot of makeup counters and got caught up in buying all this stuff I did not want, need, or even use, and all they did in the end was make me break out more. Trust me, the less you put on your skin, the better it will look, and you can hold on to your youthful looks longer.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Every makeup counter will do a consultation... but I'd avoid them for now, even though they're free.

Instead... I would make a "makeup application and lesson" appointment thrpugh a high quality salon. Many will actually do a free "feature" lesson with a haircut, like eyes or lips or shadowing. But all salons that offer makeup schedule pay for lessons.

To find a good salon that does makeup ... look up bridal things. Brides almost universally get their makeup done professionally... so that's where you'll find the best local reviews and recs in my experience.


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answers from New York on

I'm Chinese, 33, and never really worn make up either. I got help from a really nice gay guy working at the Channel counter in Macys. He gave me a full face make up while teaching me how to do it on my own every step of the way.

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answers from New York on

Origins. EXCELLENT stuff - the best I've ever used & my skin is sensitive, too. There's an Origins counter in my local Macy's. They will show you all their stuff, try it out on you & YOU decide what you want to buy. Perhaps you only want to purchase the skin care supplies to start. Not a problem. I believe they have a program to track which products you prefer.

I personally feel much more pressured to buy from salons.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Avoid the counters, for now.
Call some salons and ask if they have a qualified make-up professional and schedule an appointment (ask how much they charge). Usually they will ask you what the appointment is for (like bridal trial, photo shoot, etc). Just tell them the reason you want the appointment. Always be truthfull that way they can help you.
When the make-up artist is doing your make-up ask them a ton of questions. They are usually really helpful and the best part is, they have no product to sell (usually, some do).
After all of that you need to do your research online BEFORE you attempt going to the counters. I will say some of the consultants at the counters are nice, and don't push. They answer your questions and only sow you products you are interested in.....sadly those are few and far between because the main part of their job is sales.
If you are not sure how to actually apply your makeup for different looks (soft smokey eye, bold smokey eye, cat eye, etc) browse through youtube and watch the tutorials. Even if you think the makeup is not for you, watch them and check out their techniques. I like pixiwoo, they are two british sisters that are both professional make-up artists.
The best thing I ever did when I started applying makeup as an adult was to invest in a set of good brushes, and learn how to take care of them. The highline makeup stores have brushes for 20+ per brush. I found the best ones at Target.
I love to play around with make-up, if I don't like what I did I just wipe it off and start over. I found big pallets of makeup for a great price from bhcosmetics.com. They have colors that are comparable to MAC, and they are good quality, but not the greatest (they have fall out, which is powder that ends up on your cheeks or under your eyes as you apply it to your lids, but its an easy fix for me).
Good Luck on your new adventure. =)

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answers from Colorado Springs on

M. Kay is good. Another thing you can do is go to a Clinique counter at N-M or another good department store. The woman will show you skin products (most important) and will also show you how to apply makeup as well. She'll ask you what sort of look you're after; you'll want to mention that if you're going to buy you don't want to be high-pressured (just in case!). It's fun to have products demonstrated right on you.

Clinique is very good for the skin. I buy their skin care products and the basic makeup (foundation). For eye shadow, mascara, etc., I buy less expensive ones elsewhere, or I wait until the Clinique "bonus days" during which a purchase gets you many of those things free. Since you're starting, you might want to get some of these extras right then if you like them.

The products aren't cheap. My initial outlay was high. But they last a long time (a little bit goes a long way), so I think the overall cost is semi-average. I don't have to throw away products because I don't need to - they're right. A bottle of foundation lasts me more than a half year. I don't know what your budget is, but with cosmetics as with everything else, if you want cheap products you'll get CHEAP products.

There are surely drugstore products that are good, but I feel more comfortable not having to wonder what looks right on me!

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answers from Jacksonville on

I'm was in the same boat. My mom never really wore it so I never did either. And putting it on was all trial and error for me too. What I found really helped me with colors and different ways to put on eye liner and what not was to go to a Mary Kay party! Sounds silly but where I used to live I had the best Mary Kay person. She would do make overs with her sample colors at no charge, full of great tips on applying different things and never pressured you to buy anything you didn't want.

Maybe you could try that in the comfort of your own home and you can go to any store and buy make up or use Mary Kay or even Avon (I find Avon to be just as good and way cheaper!). But it will allow you to play with colors and what not. I know both companies offer viturial make overs too online.

Good luck and have fun!!

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answers from Miami on

Hi J.. check out www.cosmeticscop.com or www.beautypedia.com as well. Paula Begoun rates different products and if they live up to their claims. She also lists products that provide value for money.
have fun.

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answers from Modesto on

Trial and error my dear, trial and error till you find what you like. Go to the drug store and find some things and go home and try them out. I have a basket on my bathroom vanity with all sorts of "stuff" in it. Just go get the basics. Foundation, blush, mascara, eye shadow, eye liner pencil, lipstick... and have fun experimenting with color and brands that work for your skin.

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answers from Columbus on

I've had good luck getting my makeup done by Mary Kay ladies. They seem to do well at a nice, classy look without making me look like a clown. They can also teach you what colors to pick for your lipstick, eye shadow, etc.

As for a happy medium for everyday wear, I like mineral powder foundation. It's very quick and easy to put on, and it doesn't feel thick. You may have to try a couple different brands to see what you like the best. I like the Physicians Formula brand. For everyday I usually do a little bit of eyeliner and lip gloss. It makes me feel more "put together" without a lot of work.



answers from Tulsa on

I am not a big makeup person and since you are just starting I use a hypoallergenic base usually buy it at dollar general. I only wear light brown makeups or some light pink in eyeshadow. I put on 3 layers one on the lid one on the top area and a highlight half of the top area. I use a light pink or brown blush on my cheek bones I smile when I put it on.

I dont use mascara or eyeliner. mascara makes my eyes itch allergies. and to me eye liner makes me look like a prostitute. it doesnt on all girls but does on me. I use light lip stick. I hate bright red it makes me look like a prostitute but it looks good on other women. I hate when other people do my make up I think i look like a prostitute when other people do it. :) I do no blue or green or purple eyeshadow. no offense to people who wear the colors I dont I just dont like them on me and have seen other girls who look great in it. a powder is a must for blending. I like the blush and powder that is loose. but it also gets on my shirt so I have to do it before dressing.

I am 42 and refuse to look like a prostitutes when wearing makeup. :) I think that is a redneck thing though. I also prefer lip gloss over lip stick

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