Hints and tips to apply make-up

On this page

General tips

  • Practice each new make-up technique using your fingers or a brush without make-up so that you can feel exactly where to apply each product.
  • Using your fingertips helps you to explore the contours of your face, the shape of your lips, and your unique bone structure.
  • Try counting the number of strokes needed to apply each kind of product when you are learning how to apply them, so you can put the right amount on.
  • Label your cosmetics with braille or another identifiable system and explore the shapes of all the different products so you can find your products without assistance.
  • Wash your hands frequently while applying make-up so you don’t accidentally rub some make-up residue off on your face or clothes. You could keep a wet washcloth or wet wipes nearby to remove make-up from your fingertips. 
  • Keep practicing your technique. During the first few attempts, get some feedback from a friend or family member, or someone who works at a make-up counter. 
  • If helpful, there is an extensive selection of illuminated and magnifying mirrors that can be helpful if you have low vision.
  • Storing your make-up in the fridge can provide a temperature difference that makes it easier to feel where you have applied the product.
  • You can always add more colour to your face, but it's much more difficult to remove excess foundation or blusher.
  • When selecting the correct shades of make-up to buy, take a sighted friend with you or ask for help from a make-up counter. Most make-up counters provide a free service in matching the products to your skin.

Cleansing and moisturising

  • Have a think about what skin type you have and use products designed for your own skin type, such as oily, dry or normal. If you are unsure, ask at a make-up counter.
  • First, wash your face with warm water and a mild soap or with a facial cleanser. 
  • Next apply a light cream or moisturiser that suits your skin. 


  • Put on a moisturiser before applying foundation as the foundation will sit nicely on your skin and has a slightly sticky feeling that makes it easier to feel where the foundation or other products have been spread.
  • Place a pea-sized drop into the palm of your hand. Apply a dot to each cheek, your nose, chin and your forehead, which will provide enough coverage.
  • Use your fingers rather than a brush so you can feel your progress. The key to even application is to use your fingers to feather and smooth up and out so that you can barely feel the makeup. Blend and blend some more!
  • Start at the same place each time so you can keep track of where make-up has already been applied. It’s helpful to start at your cheeks, then  chin, then nose and finally your forehead.
  • Blend carefully at your jawline and throat, paying special attention to areas where foundation tends to collect, such as your hairline, the sides of your nose, the area in front of your ears, and around your chin.
  • To apply powder, start on one cheek and go across, being careful around your nose. Make-up tends to stick to either side of your nose so rub in carefully with your fingers.
  • You could ask a friend or family member to check if you wanted to.


  • Your skin tone and hair colour generally determine your choice of blusher colour. If you're unsure which colour to choose, ask a family member, friend, or professional on a make-up counter for help choosing.
  • Use your fingers to explore your cheekbones before applying blusher. The area to cover extends from the centre (or "apple") of each cheek out to your hairline. Your blush colour shouldn’t extend below the centre of your nostril.
  • Blush is easy to apply once you find the cheekbones and follow the line up to your hairline. 
  • Powder blushers are one of the only products we would recommend using a make-up brush to apply, rather than your fingers.
  • To apply blusher, smile and brush the blusher onto the apples of your cheeks away from your nose towards your ear. Less is better with blusher.
  • The bottom of your nose or the base of your cheekbone can form a boundary for applying blush. 


  • The end of your eyebrow is a good landmark to use in deciding how far out to go with your eye shadow.
  • Eyeliner and mascara can be harder to apply, and some people might consider them optional. 
  • For special occasions, many salons offer eyebrow and eyelash tinting that lasts for about three weeks.
  • Use your finger to apply the eye shadow and only place the colour where you can feel your eye underneath and be careful not to place the colour too high. Start with a neutral shade until you feel more confident.
  • When applying mascara, place your hand holding the brush against your cheek to keep the hand steadier and find your eyelashes more easily.
  • Place the mascara brush at your lash roots and slowly pull it away as you close and open your eye to avoid letting it touch the area around your eye.


  • Start with a clear gloss or lip conditioner such as Vaseline until you are comfortable with the motion, and then move on to brighter lipstick colours. You could only apply lipstick to your bottom lip as it will naturally cover your top lip. 
  • Use your finger to place the Vaseline in the centre of your lips and rub your lips together


  • If you want to use nail polish, you might want to consider a clear coat or simply buff them. 
  • You could also try keeping your nail polish in the fridge so that the cold temperature will make it easier to feel.