IF YOU HAD a makeup artist on hand each morning, applying cosmetics would be easy. But unless you live in the pampered world of celebrities, it's something you have to do yourself - and the results are there for everyone to see. Beauty blunders are common, but can be avoided if you grasp the basics, says US-based freelance makeup artist Natasha Sowry. And one universal rule with makeup is that less is more. 'Subtle makeup enhances the face, and too much is scary, regardless of age or race,' says Sowry. She advises women to choose their best asset and work with it. 'Highlight one feature: the lips or eyes,' she says. 'For example, apply colour and gloss to the lips and just a light coat of mascara to the eyes, or go heavier on the eyes with a light, colourless gloss on the lips.' When it comes to choosing the best shades for your skin, it's good to know your colour grouping - whether it's warm or cool. 'If you're warm, your skin has a lot of yellow and olive tones,' says Australian makeup artist Charlene Hyde. 'If you're cool, you have a rosy complexion and pink suits you.' Choosing the wrong shade of foundation is probably the most common makeup blunder and Asian women tend to go one step further on the faux pas scale, says Chinese celebrity makeup artist Tan Tian. 'Lots of Asian women use a light foundation colour that makes them appear less yellow,' says Beijing-based Tan. 'The colour never matches their neck or arms and makes it look as if they're wearing a mask.' Sowry says Asian women also wrongly apply dark eye shadow, which makes their eyes look smaller. 'Paler eye shadows used with mascara dramatically enhance the eyes,' she says. With so many do's and don'ts, we asked four experts to share their tips on how to achieve the perfect look. Eyeliner Whether pencil or liquid, it's tricky to apply eyeliner correctly, and a steady hand is crucial. Hyde recommends using a pencil eyeliner. 'The easiest and most effective way to apply eyeliner is to use a soft Kohl pencil,' she says. 'Apply to the inner rim of the entire eye and gently smudge into the lash line with a soft brush, using an outward motion. Repeat the procedure for more definition.' Smudging and blending the eyeliner slightly will disguise an uneven line and soften the overall look. Shift from day to night by applying eyeliner on the bottom of the lid, next to the eyelash. Blend with a soft brush or cotton tip and always apply the eyeliner after the eye shadow. Eye shadow Tan says the eyes are a great place to experiment, because the correct use and application of colours can instantly update your look - and the days of matching eye shadow with eye colour are over. Depending on age and personal preference, peach, burnt orange and coral tones will enhance green eyes, whereas apricots, plum, mauve and pale pinks will boost brown eyes. Blue eyes look great with browns, greens and smoky black tones. 'When applying eye shadow, it's best to use a fine, blunt-ended brush,' Tan says. 'Apply a base colour [matched to the skin tone] to the entire lid - from the inside to the outside corner and from the base of the lashes to the eyelid crease.' For extra definition, blend a deep shade into the crease line and for a wide, open look, highlight the brow bone with a lighter hue. To begin, use the eye shadow sparingly, adding colours for intensity. Three to four shades can be used, provided they're blended well. Remember that light tones emphasise, whereas deep tones define. Foundation It's crucial to get foundation right. To achieve a flawless base, start with a clean, moisturised face and be sure to dab away any excess cream with a blotting tissue. Australian makeup artist Geraldine Augustine recommends applying dots of foundation to the forehead, nose, chin and any trouble areas or blemishes. 'Foundation shouldn't be applied over the entire face,' she says. 'It should only be used to even out the skin tone and fix spots.' Using a cosmetic sponge or your fingers, blend the dots together and ensure there are no streaks, in particular along the jaw and hair lines. Augustine prefers to use her fingers to ensure the foundation is absorbed into the face rather than applying it with a sponge. 'Applying with the fingers also adds natural warmth to the foundation,' she says. To finish, set the foundation with a dusting of loose powder. To find the right shade of foundation, swipe several colours along the jaw line, close to the neck. The shade that disappears into the skin is the perfect match. And if you're trying colours at a shop, try to test them outside in the natural light for a more accurate indication. Blusher 'Start from the highest point of your cheekbones, near the upper jaw, and dust the brush toward your nose,' says Sowry. 'Keep in mind this is a light dusting, not a thick application, and should enhance the angles of the face rather than boldly colour the cheeks.' Go for natural colours such as apricots and peaches, which will add warmth to the cheeks, rather than a heavy rose colour which could create a flushed look if it's wrongly applied. Remember that applying too much blusher will add years to your look, and never apply it below the cheek bones because this makes the face look drawn. This is the one place on the face where less really is more.