Modern Classic Makeup

Polished Perfection Style Extreme

Modern classic makeup style exudes polish, precision, knowledge and confidence.  It is has style qualities that appeal to a very large audience.  With that popularity and design appeal, makeup that enhances one's beauty without dominating it, it has become a classic.

The Look

Classic makeup styling has high standards; flawless looking skin, defined high precision eye makeup and lips that make a statement with bold color.

If you need a few individuals to help bring this look to life, think Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, Angela Basset, Meg Ryan, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Chlöe Sevigny. 

And notice that when you think of these individuals, you never think bland or ho-hum.   That is because classic modern is not boring. It is the epitome of beautiful clean design that can stand the test of time.

The fashion houses these classic beauties choose to underscore their style are designers like Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Halston, Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, and Chloé.

Key Points, Makeup & Tools for Modern Classic Makeup

photo of faceThe key elements to modern classic makeup design are a clean, flawless complexion, soft eye makeup, pretty lashes, strong mouth, and in general, a very polished application.

CLEAN, FLAWLESS COMPLEXIONarrow graphic even tone, matte skin

  • foundation sheer as possible (but still meets objective of even skin tone) and concealer
  • blush that compliments your skin tone ( good options? coral or pink for warm skin tones, rose or earthy pink for cool )

SOFT PRETTY EYE MAKEUParrow graphicneutral eyeshadow, lined upper lash line, dark lashes

classic makeup palette illustrationIllustration of Modern Classic Makeup Palette

  • earthy neutral tone eye shadows, that compliment both your eye color and skin tone
  • pencil eye liner; dark brown or black, and flesh colored
  • black or black/brown mascara

STRONG MOUTHarrow graphicdefined mouth with strong to bold color (often red).

  • lip pencil in matching shade to lip color.
  • lip color bold, matte, can be glossy (but no sparkle)
  • POLISHED MAKEUP LOOKarrow graphicprecise makeup application that reflects skill and effective design and color choices.

    • eye lash curler
    • small angled eye liner brush
    • medium eye shadow brush
    • blush/bronzer brush
    • powder brush
    • foundation brush, or application tool
    • lipstick brush
    The Steps

    Not many of us are born with flawless skin, so you aren't alone if you know you are going to need foundation to pull off "flawless". Before you start with this application, consider using a primer first. Not only will it help improve the precision of your foundation application and create a smooth look and feel to your skin, it may just allow for less foundation.



    Easy to apply, follow your specific product directions and smooth all over your face. 

    A good option?  One of the best is Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. I personally use this product and find it easy to use and effective.



    FOUNDATION - Choose as light a foundation formulation as possible, to meet the objective of evening out your skin tone and hiding flaws. Apply in small increments blending well. A foundation brush is a great way to quickly distribute liquid foundation all over your face. Finish with finger tips to blend, smooth and work into skin.  If you use a compact, you usually have a preferred application tool on the go. Again, smooth and blend well.

    A great light to medium coverage foundation option? TRY  Bobbi Brown Natural Finish Long Lasting Foundation SPF 15.  It is liquid, light weight, oil-free, humidity resistant and creates even, matte looking skin.  Bobbi also make a number of other foundations which are all excellent and offer an amazing skin tone range match from fair to dark.

    Speaking of Bobbi, she also makes great brushes including a foundation brush and powder brush that are worth the splurge.

    CONCEALER -Cover blemishes and under eye circles.  Ensure a good skin tone match.

    TRY Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage. Two shades will allow mixing for the perfect match.

    POWDER -Lightly dust face with translucent powder to diminish excess shine, set makeup applied and provide working base for makeup to come.



    Yes classic makeup style does have a particular look to its blush. The cheek area has a soft glow of color at the central cheek. To make the "glow" work starts with good shade choices. 

    Are you warm or cool, or perhaps neutral skin toned? If warm, you have options that range from coral to pink, however, any option needs to be a soft, slight presence on your skin.  If you are cool, consider peachy pink or rose shades. Again, a soft presence of this shade.

    Even though the blush is a subtle glow, two shades are still the ideal for a soft dimensional quality. Blend each shade well.  There should be no detectable start or stop to either color.

    Shade 1 should be a natural looking shade that resembles your natural flush. Placement starts at the cheekbone, central face and sweeps out along bone.

    Shade 2 can be a slightly more vibrant tone, placed in a smaller zone, at central cheekbone, and swept circularly blending out in a radial pattern.

    There are lots of great options in blush products.  If you are looking for long wearing, great colors consider NARS Powder Blush in these great shades; Gilda (coral), Orgasm (peachy-pink), and Dolce Vita (matte dusty rose).



    Modern Classic Makeup style has a clean, sophisticated, and pretty feel to it so "matte", flattering shades work best (in other words, avoid bright sparkle). Neutral earth tone shadows work well to flatter and bring sophistication, as well as, define your eyes.

    graphic classic eye makeupEyeshadow SHADE 1: Light earth tone shade shadow from lash line to just below brow bone (blend into brow bone not the the brow)

    Eyeshadow SHADE 2:  Medium shade of same color family blended in crease area of upper lid and just under lower lash line (thickest line under middle of lower lashes that tapers and gently blends out to corners). Optional, for more definition, try dark shade of same color family placed close to and along upper lash line.

    TRY Cargo Eyeshadow Palettes for a great selection in beautiful neutral multi shade palettes.

    EYELINER 'Classic Modern' eye makeup style is a very high precision look. Make sure that you line the top lash line, as close to your lash line as possible (short angled strokes between lash base using a sharp point pencil liner works well). Soften line with angled eye liner brush.

    "Set" your liner with matching dark powder eyeshadow powder  by pressing powder along liner. This will help it last and stay put.

    TRY Tarte double ended pencil eye liner in 'Classic Black/Khaki" .



    Be sure to use a good eyelash curler to make the eyes as large and wide open as possible (this is an important measure for any makeup look, including classic makeup style.

    TRY one of the original metal tong style like this one Tweezerman Deluxe Eyelash Curler Eyelash Curler



    Apply about two-three coats of high performance mascara to upper lashes using black, or black/brown (mascara that is non-clumpy, non-flaky and keeps the look of naturally tapering lashes). Place and work lashes as applying gets good results because mascara still not dry.  Use very sparingly on lower lashes.

    TRY this inexpensive favorite L'Oreal Lash Out Lengthening and Separating Mascara, Black or Brown Black OR Lancome's Famous Definicils Mascara, Black



    Grooming for polished clean finish is a must in classic makeup. Follow the basic rules of thumb for brows to create balance in scale and shape for your unique structure.

    eyebrow shaping diagram



    Modern Classic Makeup has a very clear lip makeup style; a well defined mouth.

    LIP PRIMER - Start with a lip primer to moisten and protect the lips.

    TRY Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment for an awesome lip balm that will work to 'prime' the lips, as well as, restore and protect.

    LIP LINER - Line lips with a shade as close to lip color as possible.

    TRY MAC, NARS or Bobbi Brown for great lip liner pencils.

    LIP COLOR - Apply matte or sheer shades in the rose, berry, coral or red families.

    TRY NARS Lipsticks in matte tones like Catfight (semi matte nude mauve), Gipsy (sheer warm berry), Heatwave (semi matte orange red) Jungle Red (semi matte bright red)... there are many gorgeous shades perfect for the look of modern classic makeup.


    word on this eye makeup style and overall look...

    When it comes to Modern Classic Makeup style,  there is emphasis on both precision in design, as well as,  color precision.  Well chosen makeup products with a color palette that suits your coloring will really help you deliver polished beauty. Here are some proven products that will assist your success with the Modern Classic Makeup look.

    Many of the product suggestions above can be found listed at my Best Makeup Shortlist page.

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    Spring 2018

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