The Beginners Guide to Giving Makeovers

Being a self-confessed makeup addict – I feel like there must be a stronger word to use, but we’ll roll with that for now – people assume that as well as being able to do a pretty alright job of shading, blending and sculpting my face into a more aesthetically pleasing version of itself (emphasis on the ‘alright’ – I ain’t no miracle worker), that I have the ability to do the same on others. But being a completely self-taught individual renders me practically hopeless in that realm. Back in the day my housemates used to line up in the living room before night’s out and I’d attempt to recreate the smokey eye I’d just done on myself on their lids and hopelessly fail offering them extra shots in the hope they wouldn’t realise. The above picture was taken on a more successful makeover occasion; that’s me trying not to jab my Mum in the eye with a mascara wand (a post featuring the final look can be viewed here), but that took practice man. So I thought it was a time to call in an expert, just incase you or I are ever called up for makeover duties. Enter MAC’s Senior Artist, Dominic Skinner…

1) “Sit directly opposite your subject. This will help you see clearly the structure of the face and prevent an unsymmetrical application.”

2) “Lighting is super important. Try and be seated near a window or make sure the light is balanced on both sides. If one side of the face is in shadow, this can make it difficult to perfect a finished look.”

3) “When applying makeup try and use both your right and left hand. Though I am left handed I will use my right to map out the placement and then use my left hand to apply. This helps to make sure your make up will have symmetry.”

4) “Often I use MAC Eyebrow Pencil in Fling to sketch the look out before hand. This is very faint and easy blended into makeup, but can give you more confidence when applying something more dramatic like liquid liner.”

5) Prepping the skin is key. If the skin is hydrated and primed for a base, the end result will always look better. Something like the MAC Prep + Prime Natural Radiance in Pink not only controls excess shine, but grabs hold of the foundation for that all day perfect finish.”

Just a bit of food for thought next time your mate coaxes you into to giving her a pre-Saturday night out makeover, eh? 


  • Evelyn Morales

    It can be quite a challenge to get it right when it comes to make up on other people. Because you are so used to your own face and know what works and what not. I always like to start of light and then build it up, a lot of people are not even used to eyeliner and when you wack it on they get scared.

  • Anna Blush

    I know exactly what you mean about doing others makeup. I think I’m pretty alright at doing my own but put me in front of someone else and it’s a different story! Great tips x

  • Mallory

    Thanks for the little masterclass Anna x

  • Holly Hutcheon

    This is so helpful, my flatmates will be being lined up this evening, thank you!

  • I helped my mum with her makeup for the first time and I loved the experience! And yes, I am planning to start more makeover with family and friends as I really enjoyed it.

  • Ella

    This is SO useful! I can do (matching) flicks of liner on myself in seconds, but when my friends ask me to do theirs? Wonky, smudgy, uneven black splodges here we come!

  • Megan Capon

    I try and help my naturally gorgeous but hopeless with make up sister when she goes on nights out, I’d say I don’t do a bad job until it get to doing eyeliner, that’s a whole other task!!

  • Manouk

    So the woman in the picture is your mom? Looking beautiful <3 beauty and art blog xx

    • Yep! Will pass on the message 😉

  • Hahah I find it so awkward doing other peoples make up I find it quite confronting because the pressures on! xxx

    Verity | Life of Verity

  • Sarah Nunn

    Agh! This is SO true. Everyone thinks that because I’m so into make up that I’ll be able to do their make up for them, and I just can’t! It’s so much more difficult to do someone else’s make up than your own haha! xx

    Sarah Nunn | UK Style Blog

  • Doing makeup on others *is* so much different than doing my own. Partly because of all the shape and textural differences we all have and partly because it requires different angles to wield a brush. Great tips on the basics!

  • Renee Hartwig

    This is great guide! Thanks

    Renee x

  • jadiee bevan
  • Haha funny that this post went up now, as it was only the other week that my sister ‘booked’ me in to have her makeup done one Saturday morning, prior to a wedding she was attending (payment was in the form of a hand-delivered Flat White) . I don’t mind doing it, but we have such different skin tones that i find it hard to use much from my stock, but harder when she doesn’t own much makeup in the first place!

  • Federica B

    Nice post! I feel the same, I can do my make up pretty well, but I find it very hard to do someone else’s make up!!

  • I find that prepping the skin is SO important. So many people are dehydrated and dry skin changes everything. I really think this is the hardest thing to adjust to when doing others makeup. Colors and finishes look so different on dry,oily or normal skin.

  • sofika
  • This takes me back! At college I used to help out doing performers’ makeup for school plays, which I loved (one year I got to paint a rather hunky young man from the year above’s semi-naked body gold… fond memories!), but I always struggled doing the right side of everyone’s faces – being ambidextrous would have come in very handy 🙂

    Emily x

  • Amy Taggart

    Thanks for the tips! I always get a shaky hand when applying liquid liner on others but not on myself! X.

  • Great tips, I’m so bad at doing other’s makeup but people always ask me! x

    Maddy from UNSTITCHEDD

  • Kasope Sonola

    i am the same, i can do a decent eyeshadow look on myself but when it goes for doing it on someone else it turns into a disaster, these tips will hopefully be useful ahha!

  • I can totally relate to this! I find it so hard to do makeup on others because people have very different eye shapes and skin tones!

    The Beauty Break

  • Charlotte Willetts

    great post, very helpful and informative. xo

  • Me and Baby E

    Great tips! And yes, prepped skin is KEY. I always push the skin care aspect of beauty, as even the best makeup won’t look good on poorly cared for for and poorly prepped skin. Thanks for the tips!

  • Catrin

    I’ve only just managed to do a decent smokey eye on my sister! These are such great tips.


  • It’s so hard to do someone else’s make-up! These tips will definitely help me in the future hahaha! Your Mum is so pretty, you look just like her 🙂

  • Charlotte Copeland
  • Jessica O’Keefe

    In September I’ll be training to become a make up artist, recreating looks I’ve done on myself to other people is going to be a challenge as I can never get it exact! – thanks for the tips

  • roshkud

    Great post! I always end up doing my sisters and mums makeup and even though I’m pretty good at my own I’m rubbish at others. I’l work on these tips 🙂

    Roshni’s Journey

  • Stephanie

    Such a lovely post! Great tips!

    Stephanie (@hopefreedomlove)


  • Great tips, my friends always ask me to do their make up (not because I’m any great shakes but probably because I buy far too much of the stuff and they just want to nosey at my collection!) and I can never manage it the way I can on my own face, so will bear these in mind!

  • Zoe

    Your eyes look just like your mum’s from this pic

  • Charlotte Lucy Philpotts

    such good tips! will definitely be using these next time my mum calls on my services x

  • Real good tips. Love this blog check out my blog