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Your Makeup Questions, Answered – Part 2

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Your Makeup Questions, Answered (Pt. 2)

Hey everyone, it’s Natalie Setareh, your makeup artist and beauty coach! I recently hit “publish” on an episode for my Be Your Own Makeup Artist podcast where I answer a bunch of your makeup questions! I absolutely love doing this, which is why I make it very easy for all of you to ask me questions using the “Ask Setareh” form on my website.

This is Part Two! Don’t forget to catch up on Part One here.  Part I was one of my most popular episodes this year! I don’t want to take up too much time in the introduction because there are soooo many questions, so let’s just jump into it!

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#1 – As a complete beginner, what’s the best way to learn makeup? [03:51]

Okay, so there are two parts to this. The first part is that if you are just starting out with makeup, you need to first find out your skin type. I need to know your skin type so that I can know what types of makeup formulations will work best for you. Maybe you have very youthful skin or very normal skin. Then you can put whatever you want on your face and it’s going to work.

Once you know your skin type, then you can think about makeup. I have a great skin type guide which is 100% free. It’s not sponsored, it is purely educational. Full disclosure, I am not an aesthetician, I am not a skincare expert. I just know a lot about makeup and skin prep.

The second part is a little bit more personal. So, many beginners make the mistake of wanting to do it all. They think, okay, I’m a beginner to makeup so I need to do foundation, blush, eyeliner, eyeshadow, lipstick, lip gloss, highlighters, bronzers, all this stuff. And really, I think that’s too overwhelming.

If you are just getting started, I would encourage you to pick one feature to highlight using makeup. You can also use makeup to maybe diminish a feature that you don’t love so much. Say you have a more prominent forehead. Contouring and shaping with the right products could help you feel more confident. You don’t need to do your whole face. 

I will also say that I have a guide called Makeup for Beginners. It’s a four step digital guide that will help you build out a simple makeup application that won’t be overwhelming. You can get it here. The reason I charge for it is so that I don’t have to use any affiliate links, which means I’m not putting any bias into it. Which is great if you just want the info and not some #sponcon.

#2 – Do you prefer thick or thin eyeliner? [08:09]

I’m assuming what we’re talking about is black eyeliner. Since I can’t see the person’s eyes who asked this question, I don’t know their eye shape which is important because if you have a larger, rounder eye, you can definitely get away with a thicker eyeliner. If you have a smaller, narrow eye, a thick eyeliner is going to close them, which could be the effect that you want, I don’t know. But most of the time, people want their eyes to appear bigger and brighter.

Personally, I like to just skip eyeliner if I don’t need it. I actually skip it a lot. If I do wear it, my personal preference is actually a tapered eyeliner. I love where you start very thin and it gradually tapers in and gets wider or thicker towards the outer corner of the eye. 

eyeliner and mascara

When you think of eyeliner, you have to think of the effect you’re going for. For a more sultry look, you can go with a thick eyeliner. But if you want your eyes to be a little bit brighter, I would consider applying a thin tapered line. I do have a fantastic eyeliner chart and an eye shape chart in my book, Be Your Own Makeup Artist, in case you’re curious! 

#3 – What kind of school do you go to to become a makeup artist? [10:56]

I don’t know where in the world the person who asked this is located. If you’re in the US, it really depends on the state you live in. I did not go to makeup school. I really wanted to. But I started my business in Monterey, California and the closest makeup school was in San Francisco, which would have meant four hours commuting every day.

And, when I researched cosmetology schools, I realized they focus a lot on hair and nails in addition to makeup. So I decided to just do it on my own. It did take me a long time before I could call myself a professional. I kept feeling a little bit like an imposter, to be honest with you.

So, if you want to be a makeup artist, you definitely can go to cosmetology school. There are some amazing makeup schools that will get you on the right track, especially if you want to go into film or commercial work or television or special effects. If you’re interested in being a freelance makeup artist, I did write up a blog post where I talk about the startup costs, which might be helpful. 

So again, you will want to make sure you understand what’s available in your area. Make sure you also know the laws for your state or country and what kind of licensure, if any, is required. I hope that helps!


Check out this post that goes into more detail on the true cost of being or becoming a makeup artist!

5 ways to start or grow your makeup business during slow seasonv


#4 – How can I make the outer corners of my eyes look uplifted? [13:38]


This one goes back to eyeliner. If you’re applying eyeliner, you know you can just flick on that outside corner, just a little kitty flick. That’s going to instantly lift up the eye, no matter what your eye shape is. I have downturned eyes and that is what I do!

Also, be sure to curl your eyelashes, especially the outer ones. Then, when you apply mascara, apply an extra coat on those outer lashes and that will also lift the eye. If you don’t curl them, then they might fall flat.

Eyelash Curl Before and After

Another thing I like to do is use a shadow shield. You can also use a credit card or tape. Just follow along the bottom lash line as it curves up and keep the eye shadow in that corner and in that outer corner. You can also use a small brush to apply eyeshadow here as well.

#5 – What is the best way to clean your makeup brushes? [15:30]

For the longest time, I would use baby shampoo because my brushes are expensive and I wanted something gentle and without a ton of fragrance in it. So, I would put a drop in the palm of my hand and clean out each brush one by one like that.

Now that I’m a pro and I’m a bit busier, I use a bar that I can really lather the brushes with (I use the Sonia Roselli Tiger Eye Brush Soap). I’m assuming you’re talking about personal use, so just use some baby shampoo. Or get the brush soap I use! It’s fantastic! It’s quick drying and that saves a lot of time.

Makeup Brush Cleanser Sonia Roselli Tiger Eye Brush Cleanser

You also asked about sponges. So, sponges are controversial. Normally you toss sponges after you use them. The only sponge that I have experience using and cleaning are the Beauty Blender brand. With these, I use both their liquid cleanser and their charcoal-based cleanser. Follow the instructions and do it about three or four times per sponge.

If you have a particular sponge you like, look and see if they make a specific cleanser for that specific sponge. If not, I would just err on the side of tossing it. Sponges harbor bacteria and they can be nasty. So you really want to keep those clean!

I do want to mention that I have a sanitation guide for non-pros that outlines how to keep your makeup and your brushes clean! You can grab it here.


#6 – How do you figure out the perfect concealer for your skin? [18:59]

First of all, what is your skin type? If you have oily skin or if you have really dry skin, it’s going to affect the formulation you shop for.

Next, what are you trying to conceal? Are there little blemishes here or there that you just want to spot conceal? Or are you hoping to conceal a larger area?

Finally, what’s your undertone? For instance, find out if you have yellow undertones or olive undertones or pink undertones. This will help you choose the most natural looking concealer. A lot of concealers are formulated with a more yellow undertone because most cosmetics that are available in the mainstream are formulated for white women, and yellow color corrects the purple under the eyes really well (which is common for white women). Without knowing your undertones, you might accidentally buy one for a different skin type or undertone.

This is all broken down in my book, but really, your foundation should conceal most of those “imperfections” that you want to conceal. It should even it out. I don’t love using a ton of concealer. If you find yourself putting on a lot of concealer after your foundation, I would say it’s time to try a different foundation that maybe has more coverage. Then you won’t need the concealer as much (concealer is essentially just concentrated foundation).

Oh, it’s also important to note that as we age, you’re going to need to use a setting powder after your concealer to make sure that it doesn’t settle into wrinkles. It still might, but this will help.

#7 – How do you get rid of wrinkles around your eyes? [23:05]

The person that wrote in with this question said, “Being 25 and having wrinkles leaves me unhappy and insecure. Is it possible to get rid of them?” First of all, I want to give this person a big hug. I have a ton of wrinkles around my eyes, too, and I often have to give myself some self love and guess what? Now I like them!

Unfortunately, makeup artists cannot make wrinkles go away. Not without special effects or prosthetics, anyway. You can get Botox or fillers, but honestly, wrinkles are just a part of life. It doesn’t matter how many primers you put on your face, you can’t make them go away. The only thing you can do is look at your skincare routine, make sure that you’re targeting wrinkles, drinking a lot of water, and using products that are going to slow down the process. I’m not an esthetician, but I know that for anti-aging, you want the skin cell turnover to go faster.

Wrinkles tell our stories, but I do understand how you could feel insecure with wrinkles at 25. So, you might want to try to highlight other areas of the face. So, if there are crow’s feet on the outer eye, you could focus on brightening the inner eye instead. If you have wrinkles around your mouth, check where your blush placement is. Is it down too far? Is it bringing down your face or is it lifting up your face? 

There are so many other ways that you can play with makeup to take the attention away from areas that you are insecure about and draw the attention to areas that you are confident about, but just make sure you are taking care of the skin around your eyes and go find some good products that work for you! And of course, just just love yourself… you’re beautiful!

Don’t Miss This Content Related To Wrinkles:

Makeup For Mature Skin

What Makeup Can And Cannot Do For You

#8 – What are the essential palettes for a makeup artist? [25:18]

This is another “it depends” question. Who are your clients? What services do you offer? What’s the geography? Is it a really humid area? Are you in a really dry climate? These factors will determine which types of palettes I would recommend for you.

Blurred Background Makeup Table

So, without knowing more, I can’t give you a specific palette recommendation, but I can tell you the four palettes that I would say every makeup artist should have (take that with a grain of salt, because I don’t think there are any “shoulds” when it comes to this stuff). 

  • A cream foundation palette. For the longest time, before I knew really what I was doing, I carried bottles of foundation in my kit and I never made custom blends for clients. Now that I am more experienced, I can work out of my foundation palette. I’ve learned how to warm the product up and change the consistency or the coverage. I can change and adapt a wax based foundation to suit the client’s skin type and the type of event. A good foundation palette is always a solid bet. 
  • A blush palette is always good. I’ve used blush palettes for eyes and lips in a pinch, especially if you’re working with a cream or wax-based palette. You can a lot of times use the foundation straight as concealer and even as contouring depending on the shade range. Make sure you have an inclusive shade range, by the way. Make sure you have blushes that are good for all skin types and all skin tones.
  • A matte eyeshadow palette is a must. You can use this for the eye (obviously), but it’s so multipurpose; you could use it for contouring if you needed to, you can use it for brows, you can turn them into liquid for an eyeliner… I mean, a matte eyeshadow palette is so much more versatile than a shimmery or metallic one. 
  • A lip palette. I like a good lipstick, but with a lip palette, I can custom make any color. Anybody who sits in my chair who gets a custom color on their lip gets so excited. I always come up with a fun name for them, it’s just something fun we can do. 

If you want to learn more about palettes, check out my interview with the Queeen of depotting; none other than Grishan Roof. 

#9 – Can I use foundation as a concealer? [30:32]

So, as I said earlier when we were talking about concealer, foundation really should be evening out your skin tone and hopefully concealing all of those little imperfections. A lot of cream foundations are actually wax-based and you’re not supposed to use them directly from the pan onto your face. You want to thin them out because they’re super concentrated. You can just thin it out a little less and have it pull double duty as a foundation AND a concealer.

Truthfully, I would much rather see somebody using foundation to conceal than concealer because I’m just kind of sick of concealer and sick of seeing people swipe it all over their faces. It might look good on a video, but in real life It probably doesn’t look that good. I could go on and on but yes, use your foundation as a concealer.

#10 – How long does makeup last and when do you throw away cosmetics? [32:28]

Last but not least, how long does makeup last? First, read the bottle, there is generally always a date stamped on there. If it’s not, here are some pro tips, if you will.

  • The expiration date on creams, lotions, and powders is about two years. You can extend the shelf life by keeping these products in dark spaces.
  • Keep in mind that really good quality skincare products are probably not injected with tons of preservatives, and so they’re going to actually have a shorter shelf life. 
  • Don’t buy things that you know you can’t use up in one to two years. Hello, eyeshadow palettes! Hello, tons of foundations! Hello, extra skincare! Now, this is just my opinion, but sometimes I’ll see skincare products go on sale at massive discounts, especially at bigger retailers. When I see tons of skincare products at a significant discount, I’m like, oh, they’re probably close to expiration date. Even though they haven’t been opened, when were they manufactured? You just want to check on that. So be a good consumer, don’t buy makeup that you aren’t going to use. It’s better for your wallet and better for the environment. Hopefully cosmetic manufacturers will follow suit and make the right decisions in the future.

If you found this style of post interesting, perhaps you want to submit one of your OWN makeup questions so we can do this again in the future! You can always submit your questions via my “Ask Setareh” form and I’ll personally respond to them directly, or in a podcast episode and/or blog post.

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Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can't put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you're doing it from a position of correction.

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