Make Up For People Who Don’t Wear Make Up

kristine rose

By Kristine Rose, AP contributor

While I like to think I sprung from the womb fully formed with glittery eyelids and a bright red lip, we all have to start somewhere. For some of us, our earliest memories include ransacking the bathrooms of older make-up wearing relatives looking like an extra from the Lady Marmalade video and others are only just discovering make up in their later years. One benefit of playing with make up since pre school is the freedom to experiment with color, unburdened by social norms. We get the practice out of the way when it feels like nothing is at stake, and (hopefully) arrive in adulthood with a perfectly drawn cat eye.

Trying new things later in life can lead to anxiety. I’ve read countless articles and comments by first time or new make up wearers lamenting their lack of skill, unsure of where to start. Maybe you’re starting a new job and want a boost of confidence. Maybe you’ve always wanted to wear make up but never knew what would suit you. Maybe you want your body to better reflect your gender or personal identity. Maybe you just want a new outlet to express your creativity. If you want make-up to be a part of your life, it’s never too late! Make-up is for you, if you want it to be for you. Period.

Your bathroom mirror is your friend. Try on every color under the sun until you find what’s right for you. Thankfully make-up is washable, you can play around till your heart’s content and not feel stuck. Still, not everyone will feel comfortable jumping straight to false eyelashes and contour pallets. That’s ok. If you’re looking to dip a well pedicured toe into the make up pool, here are some basics that won’t make you feel basic:


If you’re not used to wearing make-up, you might not want to start with a base that will feel heavy.

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Creme: If your skin is on the normal or drier side, try a tinted moisturizer. It will give you a hint of color and even your skin tone.

Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Tinted Pressed Finishing Powder: If you have more oily skin, try a light dusting of powder to give you a matte finish.


Your brows can completely transform your face. Filling them in with a little powder is a short cut to looking polished with little effort. There are many methods for filling in your brows but a powder is lighter and easier to control. Try Anastasia Beverly Hills brow powder duo with an angled brush. Use a color one shade lighter than your hair.


If you’re a blush virgin, try a powder formula, as it’s the easiest to work with. Apply it with a kabuki brush for more sheer coverage. Try e.l.f. Studio blush in Tickled Pink (for light skin tones) , Berry Merry (for medium skin tones) , and Fuchsia Fusion ( for darker skin tones).


Try Maybelline Full N’ Soft mascara for healthy, naturally lush lashes.


Not to be cliche, but try the Naked Smokey Palette. This is a diverse collection of shades that have already been pre coordinated for you. It takes out all of the guesswork. Plus with a nice mix of metallics and mattes you can do everything from a simple day look to full on drama for night.


Lip products can be the hardest to get into if you’re not used to wearing anything. Ease the transition by swapping out your regular Chapstick for a tinted version. Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip balm for a your lips but better effect without any fussiness!

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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7 Responses to “Make Up For People Who Don’t Wear Make Up”

  1. Sewing Faille

    Hi! My problem is that I don’t actually know how to apply makeup, especially eye makeup. Do you have any recommendations for a good starting point for that?

    • angelchrys

      There are some great tutorials on YouTube. Those weren’t around when I learned how to do makeup, so I hung around the makeup counters at a department store and said “this looks cool, but how?” and looked appropriately confused. A lot of women working the makeup counters will also love it if you show up when it’s slow and say “have fun with my face” and then just ask them about any techniques you particularly liked.

    • emily wylie

      try lisa eldridge on youtube. calm, professional, with before-and-after.

    • Devon

      I would go to and look for their tutorials:
      (also linked from the top right of Sephora’s main page.)
      Don’t look at the “trendy” stuff for now – they have plenty of basic tutorials, and they’ll also tell you which products they used. (sometimes.)

      If you decide to go to youtube, limit your search to something like “daytime eyeshadow tips” so you don’t get all the fancy, nighttime looks which are harder to do.

      good luck!

  2. Monica H

    My 0.02 as someone who started wearing makeup in my late 30s is to go to a makeup counter of a brand known for a subdued look. A makeup savvy friend suggested I go to Bobbi Brown, since I knew I wasn’t going to full-on drama right away, I just wanted to enhance a bit.

    The makeup artist chose good colors for me, which was SUCH a help because on my own I’d only picked dozens of bad ones. She showed me how to apply everything also. It was somewhat pricey to be sure, but I had already spent a lot of money buying stuff that ended up in the garbage, so it was very worth it! I still wear the same blush and eyeshadow that she picked out for me, they are my daily go-to.

  3. Zaianya

    My issue is glasses–I don’t do contacts, and my vision is SO bad it’s impossible to apply eye makeup without glasses (and frankly impossible to apply while wearing them). Is it still possible to create a signature look if you skip eye makeup entirely?

  4. oohlookasquirrel

    I just recently, in my 30th year, started wearing eye makeup. I followed a push liner tutorial that gives me subtle eyeliner without looking like I’m wearing a ton of makeup, and after months of regular practice I finally feel comfortable with it. It is amazing how much more awake and healthy I appear when I have a little eyeliner and lipstick on. I still resent the fact that women are pretty much expected to wear makeup every time we appear in public, and I don’t always bother with it, but I like to know that I have the skills to give my face a temporary upgrade if I feel like it.