KENTUCKY — People rely on makeup to put their best faces forward. Cosmetics can enhance natural beauty or completely transform a person's appearance for a dramatic effect.

Women are most likely to wear makeup, and many rely on it to cover up subtle flaws and bring out their best features.

Makeup application is a skill that requires technique, and that can take years of practice to master. While it's possible to get by with basic application abilities, knowing some of the tricks of the trade can offer the flawless look women seek.

Exfoliate your skin. The most precise makeup techniques can be hampered by unprepped skin. Start the process with clean, exfoliated skin to ensure that dry skin and any errant flakes are removed and will not clump up under the makeup. Use products designed for your skin type. Consult with the expert at your favorite cosmetic counter to find out which formulations will give you the desired results. Exfoliation does not require expensive equipment. You may be successful with just a mild cleanser and a nubby washcloth. Finish with an SPF-containing moisturizer.

Apply a primer. Primers can help concealer and foundation set. Applying primer is similar to a painter prepping a canvas. Even without foundation, primer can soften the appearance of your skin.

Hide dark circles and blemishes. Use concealer to even out your complexion. According to the experts at Laura Mercier, it's a myth that concealer should be a shade lighter than your skin tone. Select a matching color and apply in little stripes with a makeup brush to blend evenly and to avoid a masked look.

Brush on foundation. You may be tempted to apply foundation with your fingers. While effective for a sheer application, applying foundation with your fingers can introduce bacteria and oils to your face. Foundation brushes can offer more precision. With regular cleaning, brushes will not add germs to your face. Light brush strokes can be blended together to give a matte, airbrushed effect. A light dusting of powder, particularly in the spots that tend to appear shiny, can set the foundation.

Use a light touch. It's easier to add than take away with regard to applying eye shadow. Therefore, start with a light hand and build up to the desired smokiness. To learn even more eye-shadowing techniques, go for a professional application and ask for some instruction. Purchase those products and keep practicing at home.

Makeup can play up a person's features, hide any imperfections and help individuals look their best. Techniques are easy to learn and can be perfected with time and patience.

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