Find the Perfect Match
When choosing the perfect foundation, be sure to choose the right color and formula for your skin type.
Pros suggest that when looking for the perfect shade, test the consistency on your hand first and then the color on your jawline to match it to your neck. Most of us try the color on our wrist, which is a huge no-no since your body is usually darker than your face and neck.
Oily? Choose an oil-free, mattifying formula like:
- Hourglass – Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation
- Maybelline Fit Me! Oil-Free Stick Foundation
For dry and aging skin, choose a hydrating cream-based foundation like:
- DOLCE & GABBANA The Foundation Perfect Finish Creamy Foundation
Normal skin types should look for a balanced formula that’s neither too drying nor too creamy, such as:
- Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation
Prep Your Canvas
Without properly preparing your skin first, your foundation will do the opposite of even out your skin tone: it will highlight any and all imperfections. First start with a perfect canvas by cleansing and exfoliating. To do both, mix a dime-sized amount of Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant with a gentle cleanser. Treat the skin with a cotton pad and cleansing water like Bioderma Crealine H2O, which can be used as a makeup remover or as part of your skin prep routine. Some makeup artists go so far as to do a facial mask before makeup application (this is done during Fashion Week to prep the models’ skin), then they massage in their oil, serum, face cream, etc. To allow the products to fully sink into your skin, wait a few minutes between each step.
After you’ve prepped your skin, apply your moisturizer, sunscreen, or a mattifying primer if your skin is oily. It’s always best to warm the cream up with your hands then press it onto the skin. If you have oily skin, continue with your regular routine and throw in a daily facial massage to boost circulation and make the skin look brighter and better. We also recommend using a cocktail of products such as an oil-free primer like Cover FX Mattifying Primer on the T-Zone and a silicone-based one like Smashbox Photo Finish Primer for the rest of your face. Applying a matte primer on dry areas of your face will make your makeup look cakey.
Remember: Don’t apply too many layers of product and look for beauty products with SPF in them.
If your skin isn’t properly hydrated, your foundation will look cakey and dry. Be sure to moisturize with toner, a mask, moisturizer, and a serum to make your makeup last longer and look more natural.
Use the Right Tools
When applying foundation, the look you’re trying to achieve is a smooth, flawless application that blends seamlessly into the skin. Some people blend with brushes while others use their fingers. The benefits to using your fingers are that they warm the product up, can blend small amounts of foundation onto the skin to make it look seamless and natural, and saves money. However, with that said, there’s no right way to apply foundation; do what feels best.
If you do opt to use a brush, choose one with soft, synthetic bristles that were made for foundation application. The two brushes we recommend are Real Techniques Foundation Brush 1402 for details and getting into small areas, and Cover FX Liquid Foundation Brush for all-over buffing. A common mistake with foundation is to miss bits because you’re either in a rush or your brush is too large. A smaller brush will allow you to get into those tiny areas around your nose and eyes.
Do what works best for you and your foundation’s formula. If you’re using a water-based foundation, don’t use a sponge as it will soak your product up. Apply the foundation in the center of the face then blend with a rolling motion.
Choose Your Coverage
Since we’re aiming for a natural look, choose the lightest coverage your skin can handle. Young, even-toned skin can get away with sheer formulas while complexions with problem areas will need heavier coverage. Liquids tend to look the most natural and when choosing a formula, avoid anything that’s too luminous or matte.
Tip: If you overdo it (it happens!), lightly dip a big powder brush like Sonia Kashuk Large Powder Brush #1 in your moisturizer and sweep it over the skin the same way you would blend your foundation. This takes the pigmentation down a notch and adds a subtle illuminating effect.