Skip to main content

How to Take Your Makeup From Day to Night

A beauty consultant by profession, Jayne has been advising on correct skin and hair care, makeup, and other cosmetics for almost 20 years.

If you've got a particularly hectic day ahead with a series of appointments that each demand a different look, you might be wondering how you're going to manage your makeup. Wiping it off and redoing it just once can make your face feel uncomfortable, especially if your skin is sensitive. Ideally, you'd like to be able to put it on in the morning and forget about it until you go to bed at night.

But you don't want to be dolled up to the nines when you drop the kids off at school, and you don't want to look as though you couldn't care less at the ball.

Luckily—because of changing lighting conditions and the differing nature of daytime and evening events—you can gradually add to your makeup from morning until night without ever having to completely redo it.

Prepare With a Long-Lasting Base

If you're going to build on your makeup throughout the day, you need to begin with a base that will last.

Foundation Primer

Not only does primer work like double-sided sticky tape to make foundation stay on longer; it makes enlarged pores seem finer, evens out skin tone to some extent, and provides a better surface upon which to apply foundation.

Make sure your moisturizer has completely absorbed before applying primer. In very hot conditions, use a serum to moisturize instead of a cream or lotion.


Liquid, cream and compact foundations are the most durable. Use the lightest product you can get away with; the sheerer it is, the more enduring it will be, especially in hot weather.

If you apply with your fingers, it will remain matte for longer, which means you won't need to reapply powder quite as often. Foundation is the best primer for eye and lip makeup, so cover these areas, too.


Apply concealer with your ring finger to cover under-eye circles, and use a concealer brush to disguise spots and other blemishes. A brush allows for more delicate blending.

For better coverage, use a cream rather than a liquid product, and make sure it matches your foundation exactly. If under-eye circles are a problem, neutralize with a yellow color corrector worn beneath your foundation. This will allow you to use less concealer, which looks "cakey" if too much is applied.


Fix your base with loose, translucent powder.

Because loose products are finer and more light textured than pressed products, they remain invisible despite multiple applications—you'll no doubt be reapplying throughout the course of the day to take off shine. Apply downwardly from forehead to chin with a brush or powder puff.

If you expect to be photographed with a flash, it's particularly important that you blend well in order to avoid "flashback." This is when powder shows up on photos as chalky patches. Using a pigmented rather than translucent product would also prevent this, but, due to its heavier texture, it would look caked after only a couple of applications.

Finding a Durable Base for Oily Skin

It's always difficult to get makeup to stay put if your skin is oily or acne prone, but it's not impossible.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Bellatory

The key lies in finding the right primer and foundation for your skin's unique chemistry. Collect as many samples as you can of products formulated for your skin type, and try each until you find a combination that works for you.

Foundations specifically for problem skin tend to provide little coverage, so you'll probably want something heavier. However, for long-lasting results, your primer must be suitable for your exact skin type.

It's a good idea to use blotting papers throughout the day to absorb excess oil rather than constantly loading your face with powder.

Hair and Fragrance

When preparing to take your makeup from the day into the night, don't forget your hair and fragrance.


If you think you'll be in too much of a rush to restyle your hair before the night's big event, don't opt for a disheveled bob for the daytime when you'll need a sleek bob later on. Either choose a style that you can easily transform into something more glamorous, or one that suits all events.

For hair longer than shoulder length, consider scraping it tightly back to an elegant chignon at the nape of the neck. This is an easy, classic look suitable for every occasion, both day and night.


Clean aquatic fragrances are strictly for the day, and oriental are for the night. Floral fragrances, on the other hand, that are neither too heavy nor too light, are more versatile and may be worn day or night no matter the occasion. A good example is Chanel No. 5.

Because it is less intense, an eau de toilette is more suitable for the day, and its corresponding eau de parfum for the night.

Floral fragrances may be worn day or night no matter the occasion.

Floral fragrances may be worn day or night no matter the occasion.

Your Morning Makeup

In the morning, your makeup should be appropriate for taking the kids to school, running errands, or going to work. Keywords here are soft, subtle and discreet.

Soft Lipstick

Don't apply a long-lasting or indelible lipstick. You want to be able to change color as the day progresses.

For a soft, diffused effect, choose a nude or light-colored lipstick applied straight from the tube. Just make sure it corresponds with whatever colors you intend to wear in the afternoon and evening. This will save you from having to completely remove your lipstick before applying a different one.

Subtle Cheek Color

Place your blush as you intend for your evening makeup, but keep it to an absolute minimum.

You should always use a powder blush over foundation, and finish off with a dusting of translucent powder. However, if you're wearing a very light, liquid foundation, you could use a cream blush for a more subtle, dewy effect. Apply cream blush before you powder your face.

The best daytime cheek colors for most women are apricot and peach. For cool complexions, try soft rose.

Discreet Eye Makeup

If you can get away with it, use only mascara in the morning. If you feel you need more eye makeup, here are a few suggestions:

  • The Waterline: Apply bronze eyeliner to the lower waterline. It adds definition, making light-colored eyes seem more penetrating and dark eyes more smoldering while looking totally natural.
  • Eye Contour: Kohl provides a great base for eye shadow—especially for smoky eyes—as well as being very effective on its own. Apply brown kohl to the lid crease, blend upwardly and outwardly with a soft eye shadow brush, then fix with powder. This improves the eye contour without looking unnatural.
  • Highlighting: Use a liquid concealer two tones lighter than your complexion to highlight the arch of the brow and the center of the lid.
  • Eyebrows: Comb your brows down and draw tiny downward, diagonal strokes that resemble hairs using a sharpened eyebrow pencil. When you comb your brows up again, they will appear perfectly defined.
  • Lashes: Curl your lashes and apply a minimum of brown mascara, or use black if you have a darker complexion.
Keywords for your morning makeup are soft, subtle and discreet.

Keywords for your morning makeup are soft, subtle and discreet.

Your Afternoon Makeup

For the afternoon, you need a more polished look appropriate for a lunch date, a shopping trip, or the afternoon activities of an all-day event like a big wedding. To achieve this, all you have to do is add definition to your morning makeup.

Defined Eyes

Add eyeliner in either brown or black to the lower and upper lids, keeping it as close to the lash line as possible. To give it more staying power, dust lightly with powder.

Apply black or brown mascara.

Lined Lips

Trace the shape of your lips with lip liner and, using a lip brush, fill in with two coats of satin finish lipstick, blotting after each coat. This makes lipstick last longer. Again, don't use an indelible product.

Cheeks Only if Necessary

You need no more than a hint of cheek color during the day, so renew your blush only if absolutely necessary.

Powder your cheeks first, then apply powder blush, even if you used cream blush for your morning makeup. Finish off with another dusting of powder.

For your afternoon makeup, simply add definition to your morning makeup.

For your afternoon makeup, simply add definition to your morning makeup.

Your Nighttime Makeup

Now is the time for gloss and glamour. Nightlight swallows daytime colors, so your lips and cheeks need more vibrancy, and your eyes need to be bolder.

Go for powder products wherever possible; you've been powdering your base all day, so adding cream or liquid products will only look caked and may peel and ball up.

Glowing Cheeks

You need a blush color that is radiant but not too intense. Salmon, coral, cinnamon and terracotta suit most women and are easy to blend. Whichever you choose, make sure it corresponds with your lip color, and don't put too much on; you can always add more if lighting conditions call for it.

For extra glamour, highlight the tops of your cheeks with a powder highlighter. If it's a shimmery product, brush a little over your shoulders and cleavage, too.

Eyes or Mouth?

Decide whether you want to accentuate and draw attention to your eyes or your mouth. If you're in a hurry, choose the mouth.

Glossy Lips for the Night

If you want to accentuate your mouth rather than your eyes, wear a high gloss lipstick in a dark or bright color. If you want to accentuate your eyes, wear a light or nude color and lip gloss. In both cases, your lipstick should correspond with your blush.

Use lip liner and a brush, as you did for your afternoon makeup.

Understated Eyes

If you've chosen to accentuate your mouth, just touch up your eyeliner and darken the waterline. Add sparkle with powder highlighter applied to the inner corners of the eyes, the center of the lids, and the arch of the brow.

Eyelashes can never be too long or thick. Apply either lash-building mascara or false lashes.

Accentuated Eyes

If you want to accentuate your eyes, go for thick winged eyeliner or try this easy smoky eye look:

  1. Tightline with black eyeliner.
  2. Apply black eyeliner to the top and bottom lid very close to the lash line.
  3. Brush dark eye shadow along the lid crease and blend upwardly and outwardly.
  4. Apply dark eye shadow from the outer corner of the lid blending inwardly to the center, then add a mid-tone from the inner eye corner to the center.
  5. Go over the eyeliner of the bottom lid with a soft eye shadow brush blending towards the outer eye corner.
  6. Make sure everything is well blended, then add powder highlighter to the inner corner of the eye, the center of the upper lid and the arch of the brow. You may reapply eyeliner to the upper lid if the first application seems somewhat over-blended.
  7. Apply either lash-building mascara or false lashes.

"Tightlining" is dark eyeliner applied to the upper and lower waterline. If it makes your eyes appear smaller, you can counteract this by applying tiny dots of kohl to the lower lid close to the lash line and blending from the inner to outer eye corner with quick, inward strokes using a soft eye shadow brush.

To prevent eye shadow "fallout" ruining your foundation, scatter translucent powder over your cheeks, then sweep it away with a brush when your eyes are finished.

Understated lips, false lashes and thick winged eyeliner.

Understated lips, false lashes and thick winged eyeliner.

© 2015 Jayne Lancer

Related Articles