Easy Spring Makeup Tutorials to Cure Your End-of-Winter Blues

Spring is here! Despite what the temperature says. I’d tell you to have a little faith, but in my experience, a makeup refresh has the same effect.

Though I’m all for trying out runway beauty trends on myself, over-the-top makeup looks don’t satisfy me as much come (almost) warm weather. I want that subtle, dewy, just-popped-out-of-a-tulip look instead. Slight problem: The cold season leaves my skin looking a little…well, like it’s just been through a cold season.

I tapped veteran makeup artist Min Min Ma (who counts Tessa Thompson, Hailee Steinfeld, Zosia Mamet, Troian Bellisario and Brie Larson as clients) to share some tips to help me and my new friend Kat look and feel like spring chickens without an extra-complicated routine. Keep scrolling to learn more and then get started if you’re in the mood. Her tricks are suitable for everyone, from beginner to makeup professional.

Spring Look #1, as Shown on Kat

1. Skin Prep and Light Coverage

Foundation doesn’t have to cover everything (maybe you want to dress up your acne instead of hide it), so instead of focusing on that, Min Min suggests you to start from the beginning: proper skincare. She loves using Kate Somerville EradiKate Daily Foaming Cleanser, Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment, Burt’s Bees Acne Solutions Daily Moisturizing Lotion and her local 100% raw honey as a mask treatment on both herself and clients.

After moisturizing, use a primer to prep the skin, specifically focusing in on the T-zone area. Then apply a thin layer of lightweight, matted texture foundation all over the face. “I prefer using my fingertips for more of a smooth, even and light application, but you may use a brush or a sponge,” she says.

A few extra tips:
-Look for a moisturizer that already includes SPF — a separate SPF layer often results in more oil, which you don’t want.
-Make sure to apply primer to cheeks and around the nostrils — those areas get surprisingly oily.
-Don’t forget about your eyes — even if you aren’t planning on wearing shadow, add a little primer there too.
-Always apply foundation from top to bottom, otherwise you “fluff up” your peach fuzz, which can make the foundation more noticeable.

Min Min used:

2. Reveal (or Conceal) As You See Fit

Min Min was honest in that this next step can be time-consuming. If you’re in a rush, focus instead on the few spots or blemishes that bother you the most.

“Pick a concealer that’s not too creamy in texture and with a small brush, dot the pimple. Then, with fingertip, pad and blend the concealer,” Min Min says. Repeat as needed. “Unlike under-eye concealing, where you need to go for warm tones, pick a concealer color as close as possible to your natural skin complexion.”

A few extra tips:
-Add a little foundation to your ear; it minimizes the look of redness that can occur when it’s still cold out.
-When in doubt, pick a concealer shade that’s your skin tone or darker. Concealer that’s too light highlights what you’re aiming to hide.

Min Min used:

Step 3: Set It

According to Min Min, the biggest mistake many people make is forgetting to set their makeup. If you feel like your foundation is all but gone by the afternoon, that could be why.

“I love Mally Beauty Poreless Face Defender. I apply it by using a sponge and gently padding onto the skin. A thin layer works beautifully,” explains Min Min. “If you prefer a powder form, I recommend Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish and Dr. Hauschka Compact Powder.”

A few extra tips:
-Focus on applying your mattifier cream or powder on the T-zone and nose area.
-Min Min prefers using sponges over brushes here. It allows you to “press in” product in rather than sweep it on, ensuring it lasts longer.
-There’s no “wrong” way to do this — once you feel like your foundation is set, you’re done.

Min Min used:

4. Finishing Touch

Sweep on a universally flattering peachy coral lip. You’ll look like the version of yourself that got a full night’s rest, drank lots of water and took your multivitamins. (I personally recommend Sonia Kashuk Lustrous Shine Lip Crayon in Dahlia 01.)

Spring Look #2, as Shown on Janell (Me!)

1.  Prep Your Skin

You don’t just slap colorful paint onto a bare wall without using a primer first. The same logic applies to makeup: A little bit of preparation is key. Min Min stresses the importance of extra hydration (pre-makeup) after a New York winter of exposing skin to harsh indoor heaters.

A few extra tips:
-Look for products to help with redness, sensitivity and inflamed skin for nighttime treatment (Min Min recommends Jurlique Calendula Lotion and Image Skincare Clear Cell Restoring Serum).
-Using a facial mist after makeup and throughout the day helps to hydrate and calm the skin. I personally love Cap Beauty’s The Capitivator or Palermo Body’s Hydrating Facial Toner for a pick-me-up.

Min Min used:

2. Even It Out

As with Kat, Min Min opted to skip using traditional foundation on me as well. “I love using BB creams or tinted moisturizers. It gives subtle coverage while leaving the skin feeling and looking like skin,” explains Min Min. “For leftover skin discoloration and hyper-pigmentation, I like using a hybrid foundation/concealer such as Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation/Concealer. Apply as needed.” Meaning, you’ll have enhanced skin without looking like someone else. (My everyday pick is is Glossier Stretch Concealer in Deep — you can barely tell I have any makeup on!)

A few extra tips:
-For a DIY version, simply mix your favorite foundation and day lotion onto your palm and apply.
-Out of foundation? Spot-conceal instead, just like Min Min demonstrated on Kat above in step 2.

Min Min used:

3. Highlight and Contour With Products You Already Have

It’s possible to sculpt your face subtly. Contouring does not have to look scary or severe. “I’m a huge fan of natural-looking highlight and contour,” adds Min Min. “In general, and especially with daytime wear, I like using a matte bronzer for contouring and a hybrid of a highlighter/concealer for highlighting.”

A few extra tips:
-Stick to cream-based products because they are easier to use and blend, and they offer the most natural feel.
-Bronzer may feel like a weird choice for brown skin, but don’t fret. The right shade will make you glow (not look muddy)!
-(Plus, I use one daily — my fave is Make Up For Ever’s Pro Bronze Fusion Bronzer in Soft Iridescent Caramel. )

Min Min used:

4. Finishing Touch

That universally flattering coral lip she used on Kat? It’s back — and further proof that you can’t go wrong when you stick to this shade family.

“To find the best [coral] lip color for this spring, see first which skin undertone you have,” says Min Min.

“Are you cool or warm? Generally speaking, if you’re on the warm side (like Janell), tangerine oranges, fire or brick reds work best. If you have a cool undertone, go for poppy pinks, fuchsia or berry reds. If you’re intimidated of bright lip colors, opt for a tinted lip balm or a stain. This will soften the look without losing the fun.”

Min Min used:

And there you have it: two simple spring looks that you can achieve no matter your skill level in the beauty department. What other beauty looks do you want to master this spring?

Makeup by Min Min Ma; Modeled by Kat and Janell

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