The perfect makeup look begins with flawless foundation — when your skin looks good, your makeup looks even better. Today we’re sharing everything you need to know about foundation and how to apply it from start to finish. Read on to see how to get the perfect canvas for your makeup in six easy steps!
If you’re new to makeup, figuring out all the steps to properly apply your foundation can seem a little intimidating. We’re here to walk you through all the details and products so you can be confident in knowing exactly how to get beautiful looking foundation to build the rest of your makeup on.
1. Prep Your Skin
The first step in flawless foundation is a clean and moisturized face. If you’re due for exfoliation, use some olive oil and brown sugar to gently remove dead skin. You can then use your favorite face cleanser to remove any excess dirt or oils from your face before beginning your makeup application. The HyMed Gentle Cleanser is a great cleansing option; it’s gentle but deep cleansing without stripping the natural oils off your face. Apply proper hydration for your face and neck. Tarte’s Rainforest of the Sea Drink of H20 is the perfect way to add moisture to your skin without making it too slick. It’s like a drink of water for your skin and will plump and prep your skin before adding your makeup.
2. Prime Your Skin
Now that your face is clean and moisturized, it’s time to use a primer to fill in pores and fine lines. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer is a great option, giving a beautifully smooth complexion before applying foundation. You can also try Nivea’s Aftershave Balm. Yes. Men’s aftershave balm! It’s a budget friendly option that contains a high amount of glycerin — the ingredient that allows foundation to grab and hold onto your skin, making it a long lasting option. If you want a more sheer foundation, you can even mix your primer with your foundation.
Foundation will give your skin an all-over even color and help cover up blemishes. To figure out what foundation will work for you, start by thinking about your skin. Are you oily? Try using a matte primer like the Rimmel Stay Matte Primer or use a powder foundation like Jane Iredale Pressed Powder to keep your face oil free. Do you have dry skin? Try a hydrating primer like Marc Jacobs Coconut Primer and a foundation with a dewy, hydrating finish like Josie Maran Vibrancy Foundation. Keep in mind you can also mix your foundations to get the perfect shade or finish — use a plate or glass tray to swirl your foundations together before applying. Apply powder foundations with a kabuki brush and liquid foundation with a Beauty Blender or a foundation brush like the Morphe M439 and you’ll have a flawless finish no matter what.
Now it’s time to highlight your face and cover up any imperfections with concealer. Choose a shade 2-3 shades lighter than your natural skin tone; this will add brightness and make you look more awake. Apply under your eyes in an upside down triangle, bringing it to the outer corners of your eyes for a lifting effect. Tarte’s Shape Tape is a popular favorite, or try NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer — both will give you a flawless, full coverage finish without drying out your under eyes or creasing. You can also shape your nose by adding a line down the center of your nose to make it look perfectly straight. Stop short of the end if you want to make your nose look shorter.
After you’ve applied all your cream and liquid foundations, it’s time to set your face with powder. If you have a cream or stick contour product, be sure to apply that BEFORE you apply powder — remember that powder always goes last. Try a powder like RCMA No Color Powder or the Laura Mercier Translucent Powder, applied with a big, fluffy brush to lock it all into place. Using a fluffy brush will ensure that it’s not applied too densely, but rather a loose dusting to make your foundation look more natural and less cakey.
Add dimension to your face by applying a bronzing powder to the parts of your face you want to look “sunken in” or “further away” to the eye. Common places to apply a contour product are in the hollows of the cheeks and on the perimeter of the face. This will give the face more structure and make it look thinner. If you want to shape your nose you can add some bronzer on either side of the bridge of your nose to make it appear thinner or straighter. You can also swipe a bit to the end of your nose to make it look shorter. You can use a contour powder like Too Faced Chocolate Soleil or even a darker shade of foundation powder. Remember to choose a shade that is 2-3 shades darker than your natural skin tone.
That sums up how to create flawless foundation, and now you are ready to add some color to your perfectly prepped “canvas.” This may seem like a lot of steps, but once you get in the habit of applying these products it will become second nature to you and it will soon be a breeze. Play around with different products, formulas, and brands until you find the winning combination — makeup should be about having fun and experimenting!
Photo credits: Kristen Love