Soft Glam Makeup Tutorial: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

soft glam makeup tutorial

Throughout my years covering beauty and skincare for fashion and lifestyle magazines, I’ve had the opportunity to learn the tricks of the trade from some of the world’s best celebrity makeup artists—icons like Charlotte Tilbury, Pat McGrath, and Mario Dedivanovic.

In the below tutorial, I’ve implemented a lot of their tips and will be walking you through the step-by-step “soft glam makeup” routine that I do when I want to look a little extra—a step (or two) beyond the everyday makeup that I typically wear.

I recommend watching the video and then referring to my breakdown below as you recreate the look yourself.

The products featured in this tutorial are some of my ALL-TIME FAVORITES, and they’re all things I whole-heartedly endorse. (For a full list of more makeup products I endorse, check out everything I buy at Sephora.)

Soft Glam Makeup Tutorial

1. Apply a moisturizer, followed by an SPF.

I like Supergoop! Superscreen Daily Moisturizer because it’s lightweight, hydrating, and also has sun protection. (Just a reminder: it’s important to wear sunscreen every single day, even if you’re not going outside!)

2. Apply an eye cream.

Elemis Peptide 4 Eye Recovery Cream is great because is layers well underneath makeup. (I’m VERY particular about my eye creams.) If you have extra time, you can use an undereye mask or gel patch in lieu of eye cream.

3. Use a luminizer or brightening primer for a glowy base.

NARS Super Radiant Booster is a great option.

4. Dampen a Beauty Blender. 

I prefer a damp beauty blender over a regular sponge because I think it provides the smoothest application.

5. Pump your preferred foundation onto the beauty blender.

Bounce the blender all over your face, and drag the product down to your neck. Two of my favorite buildable foundations are Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (my shade is 5.75) and Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation.

6. Use an undereye brightener.

I like to use Trish McEvoy’s Instant Eye Lift underneath my concealer for additional brightness. If you have dark circles, using an undereye brightener will be a gamechanger.

7. Apply concealer in an upside down triangle shape.

I also apply it down the bridge of my nose, on my chin, and in between my brows. I have a lot of favorite concealers, but my go-to is usually the Bobbi Brown Skin Full Cover Concealer.

8. “Bake” your makeup with a setting powder.

If you really want your foundation and concealer to stay put, using a “baking” technique is the best way to do it.

Baking actually originated in the drag community—it’s done by letting powder sit on your face (for 5-10 minutes) while you apply your contour and bronzer, allowing the heat from your face to set the makeup.

I like to use Huda Beauty Easy Bake Setting Powder in the shade Banana Bread.

9. Apply your contour just beneath the cheekbones, on the jawline, on either side of your forehead, and on the sides of your nose.

It’s important to note that “contour” and “bronzer” are two different things. Contour products usually have gray undertones, as they’re meant to mimic the shadows of your face. Bronzers are usually warmer and add an overall warmth/tan to your skintone. The best contour for beginners is Benefit Hoola Bronzer. It comes with a tiny brush that’s the perfect shape for contouring, and the color is great on a variety of complexions.

10. Use a big fluffy brush to apply your bronzer.

Bronzer application can be less precise than contour—but don’t forget about your neck. Kevyn Aucoin’s Neo-Bronzer is a great option, and I like to apply it with this brush by Bare Minerals.

11. Top with a complexion booster.

This step is completely optional, but for me it’s a must. Using my damp beauty blender, I apply Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter on my cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin. It gives your skin a three-dimensional dewiness, and almost acts like a “filter” (hence the name!) COMPLEXION BOOSTER:

12. Fill in your brows with a pencil and/or brow gel.

If you tend to be a little clumsy when it comes to filling in your brows, I recommend using Benefit Gimme Brow, which comes with a teeny tiny wand to make application fool-proof.

13. Apply blush to the apples of your cheeks.

Charlotte Tilbury’s Cheek to Chic in the shade “Love Glow” gives the perfect pop of pink, without being too dramatic.

14. Apply highlighter in a C-shape starting just above your brow and curving around to the top of your cheekbone.

I tend to think powder highlighters stay put for longer, but if your skin is dry, you might want to use a liquid.

The highlighter I use fairly often is MAC’s Mineralize Skin Finish in “Soft & Glow.”

Using the right brush for your highlighter is crucial—this one by Sigma is tapered and specifically designed for highlighter application.

15. Using a big fluffy brush, give your face a once-over.

I like to make sure there are no harsh lines, and everything is blended in properly. Shiseido’s Blending Brush is fantastic.

16. Use your favorite eyeshadow.

I’m not much of an eye-shadow gal, so I’m going to leave this step open-ended. Go with whatever shade you think compliments your eye color best. For a nice selection of neutrals, I’d recommend Huda Beauty New Nude Eyeshadow Palette.

17. Curl your lashes.

My ride-or-die lash curler by Shu Uemura is so popular it often sells out.

18. Apply mascara.

For extra volume and thickness, you can start with a lash primer. The mascara I used in this video is Pat McGrath Labs FetishEyes Mascara and it is AMAZING. I also love Lancome’s Lash Idole.

19. Apply eyeliner.

I like the way eyeliner looks in my waterline (rather than on top of my lid)—but do whatever works best for you. If your eyeliner tends to run, try something waterproof like Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon.

20. Finish with a lip liner and lipstick/gloss.

A great sheer pinky nude is Kopari Lip Glossy in “Birthday Suit.”

1 Comment

  • Ann
    March 5, 2022 at 3:05 pm

    I love Mark Jacob’s gel eye liners but they are apparently no longer offered. What is your next top gel liner?


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