While there are lots of rules with make-up, it is important to make them work for you.

A “rule” about eye shadow, for example, may not work on one woman due to her eye shape, but is fabulous on another. As a make-up artist I try to be liberal with the rules because each face is different.

Keep the rules in mind but they are open to interpretation. However, there are three simple guidelines I follow.


Balance in make-up refers to many things:

Balance in symmetry: One side is the same as the other.

Balance in colour: Warm tones (bronze, copper, chocolate brown) used on the eyes need to be matched with warm tones on the cheeks and lips (coral, bronze, peach).

Balance in focus zones: Strong smoky eyes, for example, should be balanced with soft nude lips.

Balance in overall look: If I wear a blue dress (cool tones), for example, I will contrast the colour and balance it with warm colours in my make-up.


Understanding how dark and light tones work together is art in its more basic form. It is an important element of make-up application.

Dark tones pull inwards while light tones push forward.

Dark edged eyeliner will pull your eye shape outwards and create depth. Using light pigments on the inner corner will open up the eyes and pull them apart.

Light and dark does not necessarily mean white and black pigments; it can also refer to matte and shimmer.

Contour the face using a matte contour, applied just under the cheekbone to draw the cheek inwards.

The highlighter is applied on to the tops of the cheekbone to create height in the face.


The last guideline is a simple reminder: if you don’t like something you can change it: cover a blemish, conceal dark circles and even contour your nose if you think its too big.

You can also enhance features. Everything from your face shape to your eye colour can be enhanced.

Make your eyes pop by using contrasting colours. Enhance the bow of your lips by using a highlighter in the centre.

Whenever I teach make-up, I use these guidelines to help people understand how they are applying their make-up — most of us are already using these rules and don’t even realise it.

But when you understand why you are doing something, you tend to improve at the task.

Find which make-up rules work for you and then understand why.


© The West Australian

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