A Teen Makeup Step-by-Step

Written by Amanda Azar

In recent years, millennial makeup application techniques trend towards heavier coverage and more dramatic finishes. However, when consulting with a teenage client for a makeup application, it is important to stay true to their age, lifestyle, and parental discretion.

The key to any teenage makeup application, whether the client is 13 or 19, is to focus on healthy, glowing skin and a simplified approach to enhancing all of the facial features. The makeup should not overshadow their youth; it should promote self-confidence.


Sebaceous production is a prominent concern with teenagers due to hyperactive hormones, sports, and other activities. Therefore, it is common to see teenage clients with acne, blemishes, and other oil-related skin conditions. An opportune time to discuss proper skin care hygiene with a teenage client is during the makeup application, since the professional has their undivided attention. Always remind these clients to cleanse their face daily with clean hands, never share their makeup with anyone, and to replace their products on a regular basis.

Typically speaking, a teenage makeup application should not take any longer than 10 minutes from start to finish. For special occasions, such as homecoming, prom, and graduation, 20 minutes may be more adequate so that the professional can add a few additional details to amplify the eyes or other choice features.


1. Cleanse the face using upward and outward strokes. Makeup remover wipes work great for on-the-fly cleansing.

2. Moisturize the skin thoro­ughly and apply sunscreen during daytime applications.

3. Apply the primer with fingers, a sponge, or a synthetic-fiber brush. For dry skin, use products that contain glycerin for more intense hydration. For combination or oily skin, use an oil-free formula or look for ingredients like rice protein. Primer can be applied after the moisturizer has absorbed into the skin, if desired. This process can help even out skin tone and ensure the product’s longevity.


4. Apply a nickel-sized amount of foundation to the face and blend out using a buffing circular motion with a dual-fiber brush. When it comes to foundation, less is more. For teenage clients, a tinted moisturizer, BB cream, or lightweight liquid mineral foundation is more appropriate than a full-coverage foundation. The foundation should be sheer and natural, matching the color of the neck. For oily and acne-prone skin, use foundation formulas that contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide which help absorb oil and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.

5. Apply concealer, strategically. Aside from the under-eye area, concealer (or even a stick foundation formula) can be used to cover blemishes, imperfections, and hyperpigmentation. Choose a flesh-toned shade as close to the base color as possible. If the concealer is too light, it will enhance the imperfection in a negative way. Dab the product on the desired area and gently blend it out using the fingers or stipple with a synthetic-fiber brush.

6. Apply powder to entire face, if needed. Use a lightweight powder to set any liquid or cream products using a large, fluffy brush and sweeping motions. To set specific areas without over-blending the product, stipple the powder and wipe off any excess.

7. Groom the eyebrows. Run a clean mascara spoolie through the eyebrows in the direction of the hair growth. If needed, lightly fill-in the eye­brows with an eyebrow pencil, powder, or tinted eyebrow gel. Be careful that they are not too defined or structured.

8. Apply neutral-color eyeshadow from eyelash line to crease using a fluffy eyeshadow brush. Blend out the crease to avoid any harsh lines and apply a transition color, if desired. The intensity should be minimal to offer a color-washed effect. If suitable, use a light, shimmery shade under the eyebrow bone and in the inner tear duct area.


9.   Apply pencil eyeliner (optional). Use a kohl pencil or darker eyeshadow along the upper eyelash line, smudging with a pencil brush to avoid harsh lines. Avoid tight-lining and applying eyeliner in the waterline; this practice makes the eyes appear small and closed.

10. Use an eyelash curler at the base of the upper eyelashes to enhance the curl and create a youthful lift. Apply two coats of black mascara with zig-zag motions to separate and lengthen the eyelashes. Apply the mascara to the bottom eyelashes first, then have the client look down to apply to the upper eyelashes. This application procedure will keep the mascara from transferring. For special occasions, false eyelashes can be applied for additional drama. Individual clusters create a more natural look, but strip eyelashes are also a great option, depending on the style.

11. Sweep blush on the apples of the cheeks using a fluffy powder or blush brush. Choose a fresh, natural hue to compliment the client’s skin undertone (soft pink or peach). Have the client smile to identify the apples of the cheeks and distribute the product. Gently blend the blush color along the cheekbone and upward toward the temple. If the client asks for a more sun-kissed look, bronzer can be used in place of, or in addition to, blush. Be careful not to cover the entire face with bronzer and only apply it moderately to where the sun would naturally hit the face. Do not contour heavily.

12. Finish the look with lip gloss. Gloss has sheer coverage with a kiss of color, making it a more flattering choice for teenagers versus heavier lipstick. Dab the gloss in the center of the lips and have the client pout their lips together; the product will naturally spread to the edges of the lips without bleeding over the edge and prevent it from looking excessive.

Amanda Azar is a published makeup artist, medical aesthetician, and licensed body wrapper in South Florida. Founder and Executive Artist of Azar Beauty, Azar is also a makeup artistry instructor at Florida College of Natural Health and lead makeup artist at St. Andrews Country Club. Azar has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Florida Atlantic University, Fashion Makeup Artistry diploma from Cosmix School of Makeup Artistry, and dual licenses from a 1,200-hour paramedical aesthetician program at Southeastern College. She is a member of the National Association of Professional Businesswomen and National Aesthetic Spa Network, Look Good Feel Better®, and a RAW Artist showcase alumni.

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