Perhaps you’ve set your sights on cosmetology school but have a ways to go before you get there. While a professional cosmetology course is essential to fulfilling your dreams as a makeup artist, there are a number of techniques you can practice at home to get your skills primed and prepped for the real deal. 

Using the unpretentious supplies you have in your makeup bag, you can practice a few basic cosmetology know-hows in the comfort of your home, and on the comfort of your own face as a canvas. 

The eyeliner wing

Concentration, agility, a steady hand, and a half-decent tube of liquid eyeliner are basically all you need to perfect the eyeliner wing. Still, it’s easier said than done. Taking time out of your day to sit down in front of the mirror is one of the only ways to master the winged eyeliner look. 

The most important must-haves for this are a well-lighted area and a calm demeanor. A shaky hand will never get a wing done. Fasten the eyeliner brush into your dominant hand and use your other hand to pull the skin of your outer eye taut so that any creases don’t get in the way of your wing. 

Take a deep breath, blink rapidly to moisten your eyes and prevent drying during the application process, and begin swiping the brush gently from the middle of the eye. Work your way out carefully and smoothly. Then, move the tip of the eyeliner brush to the innermost corner of the eye and begin connecting the lines. Once you’re happy with the width of the application, begin to brush over the entire area from inner corner to outer corner, where it completes into a wing. 

With the ever slightest upward tick at the outer edge, fill in the wing by repeating over this area and layering a few upward brush strokes underneath it to create a more dramatic look. Winged eyeliner is the perfect skill to practice at home where there’s no pressure. Once you arrive at cosmetology school, you’ll get a better feel for applying it on faces other than your own. 

Proper blush application

It’s easy to overdo it on blush. However, it’s an essential touch to almost any completed makeup look. Know the importance of applying blush to a clean face first. It won’t blend properly on skin that is too dry or oily. So, cleanse and moisturize before beginning the process. 

Blush brush in hand, get ready to follow the proper technique for your face shape: 

  • Heart-shaped: Lightly dust blush on to the cheeks in an upward motion, from the most prominent part of the cheekbone to the temple.
  • Round: Smile and swipe blush gently on the apples of your cheeks. Since blush has a tendency to get more concentrated on smaller areas like these, it’s important you dust lightly. Brush slightly up toward the temples and slightly down toward the earlobe as well. 
  • Square: Use longer motions to sweep blush from to cheekbone up to the ends of your brow. 
  • Oval: Beginning at the most prominent part of the cheekbone, brush down toward the earlobe and then up toward the temple. 

Essential layering

Know the order in which makeup is applied, as this is a basic step toward perfecting your technique once you arrive in beauty school. Applying a full face of makeup is a six-step process that goes from highest-coverage to smallest finishing touches in the following order:

  • Primer: If your face is a canvas, primer is the Gesso. It prevents makeup from clumping or fading, and keeps it looking fresh throughout the day. 
  • Foundation: Aptly named, as it is the foundation of your entire look. It will even out your skin, eliminate redness, and ensure your skin is ready to take on anything else you apply. 
  • Concealer: Lightly touch up any areas your foundation couldn’t quite even out, such as blemishes. 
  • Powder: Bronzer, blush, whatever it may be — you’re ready for it! This brings some color back to your complexion that may have been washed out by the cover-up process. 
  • Eyes: Brows, eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara (in that order) are next. If you apply these first, you risk loose powder clumping up onto your eyelashes and blending in with your eyeshadow. 
  • Lips: The final pop of color just before the look is complete. It will tie the whole thing together. 

Setting spray is an optional last step for closing off the whole look and ensuring it stays together. Often, applying it will depend on the occasion and whether or not bright lights or a lot of activity are expected. Like hairspray for hair or a top coat for nails, it firms up the look and keeps everything in place.