Perfect Makeup: 5 Easy Steps For A Flawless Face




It all started with one blue eyeliner.  My mom and sister never wore makeup when I was growing up but I came across an old blue eyeliner that my mom had somewhere deep in her bathroom cabinet.  I played with that eyeliner and was fascinated from that point on with makeup and the way it could transform and change the way people looked.  As a makeup artist, I’m passionate about makeup and I’m always excited to share what I’ve learned over the years through my obsession with it.  I’m no fashion expert, but MAKEUP – makeup is my thing. In my first post, I wanted to start with the basics:  How to get perfect (looking) skin.  This technique is easy enough to do every day (or at the very least when you’re going out and want to look good)!  These are the products and techniques that we use in all of our pics on the blog.


I never wash my face before bed.  (I know, I know!) I’m not a big skin care person, although I know I should be.  By the time bed rolls around, I’m exhausted.  I want to go to bed as fast as possible (sometimes I don’t even make it off the couch where I’ve fallen asleep) and washing my face is just NOT happening.  I’ve had to get really good at faking great skin.  Here’s the way I do it:



Step One: Exfoliate

Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin.  Exfoliation is important for a number of different skin issues including acne, wrinkles, dry skin and hyperpigmentation.  If you don’t have enough money to get microdermabrasion or chemical peels (I certainly don’t), Philosophy’s Resurface – The Microdelivery Dual-Phase Peel is a lifesaver!  It is one of those products that DELIVERS.  (And also about the only skin care product I swear by).  Read the reviews on this one, Mamas – it is amazing.  I use it about once a week (it’ll last you a long time) to exfoliate and smooth my skin.  It only takes a few minutes and leaves my skin SO soft.  It’s especially great in the winter months when I have areas of dry skin.  The VIB sale is a great time to try it out (20% off) and with Sephora’s great return policy, you don’t have to worry about being stuck with something you hate.

Step Two: Primer + Foundation

Primer is one of those products that is often overlooked but is essential in producing awesome final results.  Primer “preps” your skin and creates a smooth canvas for your foundation to go over.  It also helps your makeup to last much longer than it would without it. There are primers for all types of skin issues, but I’ve highlighted my favorites here.  (Primers can be applied with your fingers.)

Foundation isn’t the thick, cakey makeup you may think it is.  Liquid makeup can literally transform the look of your skin and erase imperfections with the swipe of a brush (which is the key to applying it!).  Here are my favorite foundations for all skin types:

*Shana and I both LOVE the Naked foundation by Urban Decay. It improves your skin over time and it’s easy to find your shade using their number system.  If you have pink undertones, choose a shade that ends in .5 and if you have yellow undertones, choose a shade that ends in .0.  For reference, Shana has pink undertones and I have yellow undertones.

  • No matter what foundation you choose, Urban Decay’s Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush is a necessity for applying it.  This brush is worth every penny and helps your foundation go on flawlessly, getting into pores and wrinkles and creating an even finish.  Your fingers (or even a sponge) simply can’t apply foundation as well as this brush can.

To apply, put a little foundation on the back of one hand, dip the brush into it and apply it in small circles all over your face until it’s evenly blended.


Step Three: Concealer

Concealer works WONDERS to brighten and wake up your face.  I have clients who are amazed by how refreshed they look after I apply concealer to their under eye area.  The key is using the right products and applying it correctly.

*If you have yellow undertones, choose a “golden” shade.  If you have pink undertones choose a “beige” shade.

To apply, put a small amount (a little goes a looong way) on the back of one hand, dip your brush into it and dab onto skin in a “v” from the inner corner of your eye, down your nose and up to the outer corner of your eye.  Blend using the brush.


This pic of Shana shows you where to apply the concealer . . . blend it all together within the lines you see here.  You don’t want to apply in the typical semi-circle shape under your eye because this can create reverse-racoon eyes and doesn’t draw the eye up to look more open.

Step Four: Blush

Some women shy away from blush, but it really warms up the face and creates a healthy glow when used correctly.  There are a ton of options when it comes to blush; stains, creams, liquids, sticks, etc.  The EASIEST form, however, is good old-fashioned powder.  The key here is finding one that has great pigment so it will last throughout the day and again, correct application.

To apply, tap brush into product (don’t drag as you’ll end up with too much product on your brush) and dab onto your cheek from mid-apple of your cheek up to top of cheekbone.   Don’t smile when you apply it, as your cheeks are higher when you smile . . . which will make you apply it lower than where you actually want it.  If you have blush applied too low, it drags your entire face downwards and makes you look older (or sadder or saggier)!  The goal is HIGH cheekbones so remember that next time you’re applying blush!  🙂


In this picture, you can see I’ve applied the blush from the apples of my cheek upwards, blending it so it fades toward the hairline.

Step Five: Powder

To set and blend everything together, use a pressed powder applied with a brush.  This last step creates a flawless finish and seals your makeup so it lasts throughout the day.

To apply, tap the end of the brush into the product and swirl onto your face in circles.


So there you have it!  No matter what makeup look you’re going for–whether you want dramatic smokey eyes or dark lips or if you want a natural glow, you have to start with great skin.  Great skin will always look good, no matter what you’re wearing! Let me know if there’s a specific makeup tutorial or other makeup tips and tricks you’d like to see in the future!  Remember the Sephora VIB sale starts TODAY, so get your code and get your shop on!





[Note from S: After going through 12+ pages of coats…. The Mom Edit’s Nordstrom Clearance Sale shop has been updated….with coats. #obviously Mostly puffers. But I stand by my puffers.]


      • Oops, just saw your comment on CC creams and their ilk. Thanks. Also, just wanted to mention how much I love this post! I have been reading this blog for a while, it has helped me so much on my personal path. Makeup tutorials are a (very!) welcome addition! Score! Plus I love that you two are mothers and sisters. Keep up the good work.

    • jw – I’ll work on a tutorial for that, but for now I can recommend Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer . . . it changed my life. Ok maybe that’s a little dramatic, but it really, really helps with helping your makeup STAY where you want it to and not crease. I also like Too Faced Shadow Insurance . . . both are available at Sephora!

    • Harper . . . LOVE your name! I’m wearing Sephora’s nano lipliner in color 08 “Brilliant Berry” and Revlon’s lipstick in “Raisin Rage” (a throwback to the 90’s!). I love a dark lip in the fall! 🙂

  1. I was bummed to see that quite a few of the recommended products contain parabens which some studies have linked to cancer. I love the idea of the make-up tutorial post, however. Tarte brand is one of my favs for natural, paraben-free cosmetics.

    • TJ – I actually started paying attention to parabens when Shana told me about their link to cancer. The Urban Decay cosmetics are all paraben free, as is the Clinique CC Cream, the Amazing Concealer and of course the Tarte cosmetics like you mention. I did find some articles that listed Smashbox primer as not having any parabens as well, but it wasn’t in black and white in the product description like the others. There are, unfortunately, parabens in the MUFE foundation and the Philosophy Microdelivery. I’ll be on the lookout for products that are formulated without parabens for future articles!

  2. What are your thoughts on BB/CC creams and powders? I’ve noticed a lean a lot more towards double duty products since becoming a mom. I’m into a 5 minutes, or less, face for most days!

    • I’m all about double duty products! The CC cream in this article is one of my favorites (especially for winter months) and it provides really good coverage. The problem with CC and BB creams is that they aren’t consistent across brands. Some CC creams are heavier than others – the same with BB creams. It really comes down to marketing. I would suggest reading reviews and/or asking for samples at your local cosmetics counter since they all vary so much!

  3. I never knew that you are supposed to put powder on last!! I always use primer, foundation, then powder, then eye makeup, then blush!! Always thought that was the order!!! Then I always stress out later in the day when I would feel that my face was a little shiny cause I was afraid to reapply the powder over my makeup to mask the shine, cause I thought I would be masking my blush!!

    P.S…..could you do a little more on the face care products that are not cosmetic? I am so confused about cleanser, scrub, toner, face creams, eye creams, astringents, face masks, etc! I have like an 8 step skin cleansing process cause I keep getting confused on what to buy, and therefore I buy it all, in the hopes of having fantastic skin!! It is exhausting!

    • Meghna (Meghan?) I’m glad I could help! The foundation is a great “base” on which to apply the blush . . . it’s like something for it to stick to. Then the powder sets it so it lasts longer . . . and also, if you’ve found you’ve applied the blush with a heavy hand, the powder can tone it down a bit. You can absolutely touch up your powder later as you need . . .

      As far as the skin care products . . . yeah, I honestly don’t know! I use face wash with salicylic acid in it (to prevent acne) on my Clarisonic and then a moisturizer. Once a week I use that Philosophy Microdelivery . . . I don’t need the scrubs because of the exfoliation of the Clarisonic and the Philosophy product. I don’t use eye creams (although I should!), astringents or toners (my face is on the drier side and these are typically for oily skin) or face masks. I try to keep my skin care routine as simple as possible!

  4. YES, I would also love a smoky eye tutorial. Also, I really want a winged eyeliner tutorial with maybe some gel liners/liquid liners for a novice to try! =)

  5. Thank you for this! I used to get away with wearing very little makeup but in my 40’s I REALLY need it. Question: How do you know if you have yellow or pink undertones? I have no idea what skin tone I have….

    • Diana, that’s a great question! It’s also a hard one to answer sometimes. Some people are very clearly one or the other, but sometimes it’s hard to tell. If you look at your inner wrists and your veins appear blue, you have pink undertones and if they appear green you have yellow undertones . . . but honestly that “test” doesn’t work for me. What did was standing next to someone who has very clearly pink undertones (think rosy cheeks, skin that looks pink) . . . in this case, my husband. When I have my arm next to his it looks VERY yellow. Or you could hold different colors up to your face and see how they look . . . for example, you know that really bright citrine color? I love the way it looks on me but on Shana it makes her skin look . . . weird. I would suggest getting color samples from a local cosmetics counter (one pink undertone one yellow) and applying them on either side of your forehead (when you’re home!) and leaving them there for a few minutes. Go back to look in the mirror and one should fade into your skin matching it better than the other one. That’s what I did with UD’s Naked foundation. I used one that ended in .0 on one side of my face and one that ended in .5 on the other . . . that test clearly told me I was yellow! 🙂

  6. Just wondering — I use the Clarisonic oscillating face scrubby…thingy every morning. Would you still recommend exfoliating? And in addition to the smoky eye, I’d love to see different patterns for eye shadow application. It seems like there’s “smokey eye” and “smear eyeshadow onto lid” and…that’s it. I’d love more options!

    • JS – I use that every day, too – it’s a great way to exfoliate. The Philosophy Microdelivery is a product I only use every one-two weeks to really get all of the dead skin cells and to brighten up my face. Because I use it so infrequently, the product lasts a long time and it really does make a difference!

  7. Wonderful tutorial. I’m wondering though…being a woman over 50 (52 in a month!), would you still recommend the same products for us “older” women? What do older women need to look for in cosmetics that are different (if anything) from those that younger women use? Thanks!

    • Kris, I actually recommend the exact same products to my mom (looking fabulous in her 60’s)! She’s very concerned about makeup “settling” into fine lines and wrinkles and that’s where the primer and brush help so much! With the concealer, make sure not to overdo it . . . a little really really goes a long way. It does start to cake if you use too much!

  8. This is all so helpful, Scotti! I’m looking forward to your contouring tutorial. And I would love some suggestions for concealing serious dark circles. Mine are hereditary, but, since having my 3 little ones, they seem to be taking over my face!

    • Me too! After kids I have these deep dark circles and hollow under eyes – I’m sure it is the first thing people see. Honestly I am considering more than makeup at this point – it’s that bad.

  9. I’d love more detail on concealer. I’ve got a pretty serious dark circles problem that was handed down from my mom, which is made worse by 2 girls that are 2 1/2 & 7mo. If I dont cover up from the inside corner of my eye along my entire under eye then I look like I was in a bar fight. It’s seriously just dark purple. Is the “v” application trick really going to distract from that? It seems like it would be more of a highlight than the cover up I really need. And it looks like it doesn’t address the inner eye at all. Should it be lighter than my foundation, same? Right now my foundation is MAC stuido fix fluid NW25. I love it, the color match is great, stays on all day. But looking at the color it just seems neutral to me, not pink or yellow.

    • kl & Kelly . . . concealer is my secret weapon. I don’t think I could live without it because I, too, have the purple undertones. I’ve had them since I was in elementary school . . . it’s just pigmentation. SO, the “v” shape needs to be blended in from inner corner to outer corner and down the nose . . . getting as close to the lashline as possible (which is why the brush is so important . . . you can get much closer than with your fingers). One trick I also use when my circles are out of control is layering a yellow (like straight up yellow color) cover up underneath my concealer. You really have to be sure to blend it like crazy so it doesn’t look thick and cakey, but it helps off-set the purple of the circles. I have MAC concealer in NW25 for the summer (when I’m tanner) and I use NW 20 when I’m not as dark . . . I’d recommend trying NW20 for concealer with NW25 foundation to lighten up the undereye area (you don’t want to go too much lighter than your foundation) because everything will darken throughout the day and after you apply powder. Hope this helps!!

  10. Please tell me about the gorgeous eyelashes in this post (both Scotti and Shana)? Extensions? Great mascara you need to post about?? THANKS.

    • saltytexan . . . I apply my own “extensions” weekly using the clumps and special glue. It’s much cheaper and easier than getting them in a salon! Working on a tutorial . . .

      • Oooh cool! I’ll be on the lookout for this one! I feel like I need to print out this tutorial — I keep coming back to it. Thanks for putting it together!

  11. What colors of the tarte blush do you recommend? I’m also a warm toned light/medium skin girl. Light brown hair and green eyes, if that helps. Thanks!

    • Julie, I would start with “Fearless” (if you want a pinkier tone) or “Blissful” (if you want more of a peachy-coral). They are both matte finishes (shimmer is harder to work with) that would look great on your skin!

  12. Thank you for this post! I am like the tomboy who always secretly wanted to be girly… is that a thing? So I am a little terrified of going to a makeup counter to have someone examine my skin and help me select makeup! Trying to work up the courage (and comes to terms with the cost) for heading into my local Sephora…

  13. I love all of your suggestions, THANK YOU, I just returned from sephora and after a “skin consultation” I found the perfect shades for me. I currently have a moisturizer that I love but I’m always open to try another one…. Any suggestions? And what are your thoughts about a nighttime face cream?

    • Oh man . . . no nighttime face cream for me because I don’t wash my face before bed (I should!) but I love Estee Lauder’s face creams!

  14. Scotti, this post came at the perfect time for me as I was looking to break out of my makeup rut! I’ve never used primer before… should it go over clean skin or can I use my usual moisturizer first?

  15. I’ve read this post about eight times so far–thank you! Especially the tip about the concealer, which I feel like I have to apply with a trowel (four kids, insomnia, heredity, argh) so I am always looking for new ways to brighten up the eye area. But my question is about the order of things too. I have really pale skin and a family history of skin cancer, so my dermatologist wants me to use “at least SPF 70” every day. Most sunscreen makes my makeup goopy looking. Do you have any suggestions for good sunscreen that can go under all of these layers? And would I do sunscreen, then primer, then everything else? Or are there primers that are also intense sunscreens?

    • You know, I’ve always used a moisturizer with sunscreen added in it . . . have you ever done that? They aren’t too greasy and still provide the protection we need.

  16. I’m torn with this post – I love it but… 5 steps is too much for this Momma. If you HAD to whittle it down to 1-3 steps what would you do? Because, am I the only one who either a) goes makeup-less or b) swipes on the all-important concealer and lipgloss and calls it a day before the toddler manages to get into something!

    • Hmm . . . ok, if I HAD to, I would suggest the foundation (applied with the brush . . . it’s actually faster and easier than your fingers) and powder with EITHER the concealer or blush depending on what your skin needs are. If you have dark bags or blemishes, I’d go with the concealer. If you have sallow or dull skin then I’d go with the blush. It’s amazing how much you can do with 5 minutes . . . even 3! 🙂

  17. This is great! I used to wear concealer but now that I’m older (37) it just settles into my wrinkles and makes them look more prominent. So I’ve stopped wearing concealer…but I do need it! How to fix this problem??

    • Oh, girl . . . I feel you. I really do. I used to cake on the concealer because there were no lines for it to go into! AGH! Not so much anymore. I’ve found the key is to use LESS than you think you need. It’s easier to add little by little than it is to wipe away excess. The brush is key to putting it on evenly . . . and the thick coverage concealers don’t work as well (which is unfortunate because I have purple bags under my eyes)!

    • Ooh – good tip! I don’t wear mascara anymore because I wear fake lashes, but I’ll keep that mascara in mind for my makeup business!

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