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How to Do Makeup for Plus-Size Women

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Every girl should have a makeup look that’s her go-to when on a hot date or out with her friends. Yet as a plus-size woman, you struggle to pull off some of the cheekbone-defining, jaw-shaping looks that makeup gurus perform effortlessly in YouTube tutorials. What are some makeup tips you need to know?

Here’s how to do makeup for plus-size women:

  • The right base is everything
  • Pick two foundation colors, a lighter and darker one
  • Contour further with bronzer
  • Choose pink and peach blush colors
  • Don’t shy away from highlighter, just focus it on the right areas
  • Create arched brows for a slimming effect
  • Line your lower lip so it’s more evenly sized to your upper lip
  • Black eyeliner is always reliable
  • Use attention-grabbing eye shadow colors 

Makeup can be a powerful tool if you know how to use it. Whether you want to slim your face or draw attention away from a double chin and undefined jawline, the tips above will help you do just that. Keep reading, as we have lots more great info ahead!

8 Plus-Size Makeup Tips to Try Today

The Right Base Is Everything

If you don’t have a good base, then the rest of your makeup won’t be as effective. A base can include just foundation (which we’ll discuss more in the next section) or a combination of foundation and concealer. We’d always recommend a good concealer when you can.

Not only can concealer mask dark under-eye bags, but a concealer with green tones can cancel out blemishes and other areas of red skin. You’ll look fresh, alert, and appealing before you even really get started with your makeup.

How do you choose the right base colors? Well, first thing’s first, don’t do it alone. You’ll need a second opinion to ensure an even color match. You can bring a friend or a family member. If no one is available to go shopping with you, then visit a makeup store and ask the professionals there for their guidance.

Remember that from brand to brand, makeup shades can vary. You’ll probably have to try a few shades per brand to find the one that most closely matches your skin tone, but that’s okay. A bit of trial and error is fine here.

The base makeup formula you need will depend on your skin type. These days, you can find makeup that’s appropriate for any and all kinds of skin, including sensitive, acne-prone, dry, and oily skin. Be honest with yourself about the type of skin you have, even if it’s less than ideal. Buying the right type of makeup will help your application last longer so you’re not in the work bathroom doing extensive touchups by lunch. 

Make sure that you have the best tools for the job as well. When applying foundation and concealer, you’ll need a clean, dry makeup sponge. Brushes will come in handy for making your eyes and cheeks pop. 

Pick Two Foundation Colors

The contouring you’ll build to create a slimmer-looking face requires two shades of foundation. The first shade is your ideal base color, which you should have already found. Then you want a darker color. It can be nerve-wracking to pick out a foundation that’s darker than what you’re used to, especially because you’re wondering how you can ever blend it in with your skin.

Trust us, you can, so don’t be scared. You’re not going drastically darker, maybe just the next darkest shade after your regular shade and at most two shades darker. 

Now, you might be thinking, “don’t I need razor-sharp facial features to contour my makeup?” The answer is no! Any face can be contoured with makeup, you just have to know what you’re doing. Through a combination of your foundation, bronzer, and blush, you’ll create incredible contouring. Then you can finish it with some highlighter.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, open your darker bottle of foundation. With your clean makeup sponge, apply the dark foundation along your jawline and the fullest parts of your temples. Blend it in a bit, but don’t go overboard yet, as you’ll want to combine the darker and lighter foundations in just a moment.

The lighter-colored foundation should go beneath your eyes (unless you have concealer there already), across the rest of your forehead, on your chin, and down your nose. Now that you have both colors of foundation on your face, go back in blend them seamlessly together. 

You might have to do a bit of extra blending to get the darker foundation colors to look natural, but the results should be worth it. Your jawline will have more shape and definition than it usually does, which will automatically make your face look slimmer. 

Contour Further with Bronzer

Now it’s time to pull out your bronzer. Not only is bronzer useful for contouring, but it will make you look like you spent all weekend in the sun even if you were indoors binging Netflix. To apply bronzer in the right areas, suck in a breath and then pull in your cheeks. You’ll make a fishy face with your lips pursed together.

Look at the parts of your cheeks that are sucked in and add the bronzer there with your makeup brush. What color bronzer do you need, you’re asking? It’s supposed to be dark, but not so dark that it looks garish. Many women use a bronzer that’s at least a shade darker than their natural skin tone if not two shades darker.

Maybe you’re not such a big fan of bronzer or you’re trying to pull off a great makeup look but you don’t have any bronzer handy. No problem! You can always try dark loose powder to create the same effect. Just make sure you pack in the product firmly on your face so it doesn’t look too powdery. 

Choose Pink and Peach Blush Colors

The last part of contouring your face is using blush. This is optional, especially if you’re not such a fan of flushed cheeks, but we think a bit of blush can really pull together a plus-sized makeup look. That said, you want to choose the right colors, these ideally being shades of pink or peach. 

How do you select between pink or peach? Look at your natural skin tone. If you have darker skin, then you’d look rockin’ in blush colors such as rose gold or peachy gold. Those plus-size gals with lighter skin need champagne-colored pinks and sheer peaches that won’t overpower your pristine porcelain complexion. 

You’ll again require a makeup brush to apply the blush. You can reuse your bronzer brush, but make sure you clean it before adding your blush. Locate the backs of your cheekbones, as this is where the blush should go, not on the apples of the cheekbones. Direct the application of the blush upward near your temple. Then blend in everything so the blush is subtle and natural.

Don’t Shy Away from Highlighter, Just Focus It on the Right Areas

Since highlighter brings attention to your face, you might have shied away from using it as a plus-size woman. Or perhaps you again wondered what the point of highlighter is for you when your face doesn’t have the sharp cheekbones and facial features of Instagram models. The point is that highlighter creates a natural shine to your face that you deserve to have at any size.

Aim the brush at your brow bone, somewhere in the middle of your eyebrow or nearer your eye corners. Then cover your temple and move down towards the tops of your cheekbones. The shape of the highlighter application should form a C from your forehead to your face. Should you want to, you can apply some highlighter on your nose bridge and then add some more on your cupid’s bow above your top lip. 

We always recommend using a subtle hand when applying highlighter. It’s a little too easy to overdo it, and the results can be rather gaudy, to say the least. You don’t want to glow like an alien under your fluorescent office lights or in the natural lighting at the coffee shop for your first date.  

Create Arched Brows for a Slimming Effect

The shape of your eyebrows can determine how slim your face looks. Even if you’re blessed with fuller brows, it’s not a bad idea to give them a bit of your time and focus when applying makeup. 

To find the point where your eyebrows should ideally begin, look at your eye’s inside corner and then make an invisible perpendicular line from there. Brushing your brows might allow them to look more arched. Otherwise, a good eyebrow pencil or other brow products can shape your brows in amazing ways. 

Why do arched brows make your face look skinnier? The curves of your face appear softer, which creates an enlarging effect for your eyes. It’s this enlarging effect that makes the illusion of a slimmer face. 

Line Your Lower Lip So It’s More Evenly Sized to Your Upper Lip

Now it’s time to move on to your lips, which we haven’t talked about yet. 

One of the best parts about being a curvy gal is that your lips are typically large. If you’re like most women, plus-sized or not, then your bottom lip is bigger than your upper lip. Yet when your lips are already large, to begin with, they can overwhelm the rest of your face and detract from the slimming makeup effect you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

That’s why you want to make both lips about equally sized. How do you do this? It’s easy! All you have to do is apply lip liner to your bottom lip. Then you can follow your normal lip routine, which might be plain lips that are moisturized with lip balm. Perhaps you like lip gloss or a pretty coat of lipstick. No matter what makeup you add next since you lined your lower lip, your mouth will stand out, but not too much. 

Black Eyeliner Is Always Reliable 

Plus-sized queen Tess Holliday swears by black eyeliner, and we think you will too once you get the hang of it. Not only is black eyeliner a woman’s makeup go-to for everything from everyday looks to formal dress-ups, but it too can be slimming if you use it the right way. Yes, seriously!

Holliday herself recommends doing this. Trace eyeliner around your eye so the lines are nearer your lids’ outer corners. This makes your eyes look longer, which creates a slimming effect. You can still draw an eyeliner wing if that’s something you like to do, but the wing shouldn’t be super over-pronounced. 

Use Attention-Grabbing Eye Shadow Colors 

The last plus-size makeup tip we have is how to do your eye shadow. Tess Holliday is a huge fan of darker, metallic eye shadows, but you can use any color in your palette. Make sure that you’re shopping for eye shadow that works for your skin type. For instance, eye shadow that’s formulated for oily skin will typically be bleed-proof and smudge-proof. 

Dramatic eyes will guide someone’s attention straight to that area of your face. Thus, if there’s one part of your whole makeup look that you want to put the most time into, it would be your eyes. Even if you overslept this morning and you couldn’t contour, eye makeup will pull someone’s gaze away from your double-chin. 


Makeup is fun and something that plus-size women should wear. You can make your face look slimmer mostly through contouring as well as sizing down certain features such as your eyes and lips. These tips though are just suggestions. At the end of the day, makeup is a personal thing. It’s also a means of self-expression, so experiment, have fun, and find a makeup style that works for you!

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