They don’t call it “foundation” for nothing—it’s the groundwork of your look, the canvas on which you paint, and the best way to fake blemish-free skin. In other words, it’s all about that base. To help you create a flawless foundation, we’ve broken the process down into three essential steps:
It might seem a bit strange, but even foundation needs...well, a great foundation. Skincare (and a little thing called primer) should be your first step in applying makeup. First, cleanse your skin with your preferred cleanser, then follow with light exfoliation to buff away any dry, rough patches. Next, depending on your skin type, choose a moisturizer—if you’re oily, pick something super lightweight, like a serum. Finally, it’s time for a primer.
An oft-overlooked step, primer smoothes everything out so your base glides on without settling into lines, pores, or rough areas. It also helps your foundation perform better and last longer while giving it an airbrushed look. The best part? If you have any specific skincare concerns, a primer can help—there are formulas for redness, wrinkles, dullness, acne, and just about every other skin issue you can think of.
Since a makeup brush will just drag primers around, it’s best to press them into skin with your fingers, or use a slightly damp beautyblender sponge.
Once you have the perfect canvas, it’s time for some coverage! After giving your primer a full minute to dry, squeeze a dime-size amount of foundation or tinted moisturizer on the back of your hand. (Note: to address any discolouration, use a targeted color corrector after primer, but before you apply your base.) Using a brush, beautyblender, or fingers, dot a small amount on your forehead, nose, and chin. Avoid the temptation to go overboard—using too much product makes it difficult to blend, and leads to a cakey, patchy finish. Next, smooth the formula all around, blending the dots from the center of your face outward. Blend blend blend like crazy, making sure you don’t have a telltale “I’m wearing foundation” line along your jaw. Repeat these steps as necessary, building up thin layers until you’ve achieved your desired level of coverage.
Pro tip: if you want a natural look, we recommend skipping the bridge of the nose—this lets freckles show through, if you have them—and the corners of the nostrils, so the liquid doesn’t highlight any dry patches.
After your foundation/tinted moisturizer, apply concealer. For the most natural look, we recommend choosing a formula one shade lighter than your skin. Using a concealer brush, gently brush concealer over the darkest part of the undereye, then blend with your ring finger or a damp beautyblender. Pro tip: use the tip of your brush to dot concealer on any blemishes that weren’t quite covered by your foundation.
Last but not least, you’ll want to lock your look down. There are a few ways of doing this, each with its strong points. First up, loose, translucent powders. These won’t change the color of your foundation, and they won’t add any coverage. They’re great for reducing the appearance of fine lines, concealing pores, and cutting shine. To apply, dip a large, fluffy brush in the powder, tap off the excess, and sweep over skin. Easy!
You can also set you look with a pressed powder, which will add slightly more coverage than loose ones. Since pressed powders tend to be heavier, this method is best suited for a full-coverage, super-matte look.
Finally, you can keep everything in place with a setting spray. Akin to a hairspray for your face, these game-changing mists will fix everything firmly in place without adding any additional coverage. Pro tip: for extra long wear, you can use both a setting powder and a spray.
The #1 thing that separates skilled MUAs from amateurs? The mastery of makeup tools. From brushes to blenders, we have everything you need to buff your way to a beautiful, streak-free finish.