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Get the perfect look with these essential YouTube makeup tutorials

Need help getting the perfect look? These videos can help.


Jaya Saxena


Posted on Aug 23, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 5:10 am CDT

Makeup is basically witchcraft, and there are all sorts of witches on YouTube with glamorizing spells and tricks. The sign of a good witch, of course, is not just whether they can change their own looks but if they can help you learn how to change yours, too. OK, enough with this strained metaphor: My point is that with the best makeup tutorials, you actually get the look you’re going for.

It’s important to remember that makeup doesn’t look the same on everyone. It depends on your skin, your age, and your overall taste. And any look takes practice. But for a range of looks, from no makeup to full-on goth, here are some of the best YouTube makeup tutorials out there.

“No makeup” makeup

An eternal struggle is how to wear makeup without looking like you’re wearing makeup. You have to choose between looking like you’re wearing a flesh-toned mask, or like you just got out of the shower. It may sound counterintuitive, but if done right, the “no makeup” makeup look will just have everyone thinking you have effortlessly clear, dewy skin and bright eyes. Chloe Morello’s guide covers how to hide blemishes, lightly line your eyes and add just a teeny bit of color, and gives plenty of options for how to layer on top of the look.

Five-minute makeup

Surprisingly, looking like you’re wearing no makeup can actually take a lot of time. If you’re looking for a quick routine, Sazan Hendrix’s everyday look doesn’t even use foundation. OK, it uses a bunch of other products instead, but it’s super fast, and at the end, you get pink lips and bright eyes without looking like you’re being done up for a photo shoot.

Vintage pin-up makeup

The opposite of the “no makeup” look is probably this 1940s-inspired makeup look, complete with bright red lips, dark eyes, and fake eyelashes. The best part about this look is you can incorporate elements of it separately whenever you want, whether it’s a bold red lip or eye-popping eyelashes.

Sort-of goth makeup

The goth look is a really specific one to pull off, but things like black lips and dark eyes are very in these days, and you don’t have to make yourself look like an extra in a Cure music video to wear them. Sarita Robert’s video shows how to wear a bold, black lip with winged eyeliner for an ultra goth-glam look.

All-in goth makeup

OK, maybe you do want to look like an extra in a Cure music video but want to make sure it doesn’t look like you’ve just drawn on your face with black crayon. Snowy Lowther’s goth tutorial involves ombre lips and a hell of a lot of matte black eyeshadow, so stock up before you try it out.

The difference between professional makeup and drugstore products

One of the frustrations of buying makeup is weighing whether to splurge on fancier brands or to risk finding their equivalents at the drugstore. Because while there are some $2 eyeliners that work just as well as the $25 ones, other times you’re just wasting your money on bad quality. In this video, Christen Dominique does half her face with department store products and the other half with drugstore brands, and she talks about where you can spot the differences. It could wind up saving you a lot.

Smokey eye without looking like you got punched in the face

A smokey eye is one of the coolest makeup looks, but unfortunately, quite often it just looks like you’ve smudged black eyeshadow all around your face and/or have a black eye. This subtle smokey eye from Eimear McElhorn is like a baby version of a dramatic smokey eye, which you can build on once you master it. She also gives lots of options for different skin tones

Makeup for “mature” skin

You could probably watch nothing but Lisa Eldridge makeup videos for the rest of your life and come out looking like a model, but in this video, she addresses one of the biggest problems of the makeup world—that all the tutorials are done by 20-somethings with perfectly smooth skin. Here, Eldridge gives a tutorial for glowing, everyday makeup for older women and discusses which products work well with wrinkled skin.

Using makeup for acne coverage

Similar to elder skin, skin marked my acne is a struggle for many people who wear makeup. Instead of covering acne, much makeup seems only to highlight it. This video from Miss Nicki shows how to tackle acne, dark spots, and other “flaws” (though, of course, your face is perfect as is).

How to get the perfect winged liner

Raise your hand if you’ve tried to get a beautiful cat-eye only to pull back from the mirror and realize the wing tips are pointing in completely different directions. The struggle is real, but Patrick Starrr outlines how to get a dramatic wing evenly. Starrr also takes a realistic approach to liner, acknowledging that some days you’re just going to be off your game. But practice makes perfect, and Starrr zooms in really close so you can see exactly what he’s doing.

How to cover up dark undereye circles

Thanks to the wonders of genetics, I have dark bags under my eyes. Honestly, I’m fine with them, but most eyeshadow tutorials assume I don’t have them, and thus I’m left looking like a raccoon. Chanel Ambrose also has deep set eyes with dark circles under them and demonstrates how to cover them up with concealer and highlighter. It’s a lot of work, but the results are pretty amazing.

How to look like a bag of Doritos

Skelotim is the king of snack-food inspired looks (or maybe just the only one who does them), but c’mon, who hasn’t been inspired by the bold colors of Doritos? His deep red lips, orange eyelids and expert contouring are perfect for any night out—even if it’s just to the 7-11.

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*First Published: Aug 23, 2016, 8:30 am CDT