Want To Apply Your Foundation Flawlessly? Read This
There is a photo of 6-year-old me and my best friend at the time wearing crop tops, bike shorts, and her sister's foundation, doing the Spice Girl #GirlPower sign (or the peace sign – whichever way you see it). The foundation is so thick and orange you can see it, despite this photo being taken circa 1995 on an old school Kodak camera.
That was the start of my journey with foundation – thickly and aggressively applied all over my face. (My 6-year-old face nonetheless, where my skin was still perfection.) I no longer rock the you-would-have-to-blind-to-not-see-my-foundation style, and there were some trials and tribulations along the way (I went through a phase of thinking I was six shades darker than I am), BUT I've come out the other side, with some lessons to share.
Let's be honest, foundation is easy to stuff up. You pick up the wrong shade, apply it with the wrong tool, your skin is too dry and suddenly it's an orange/tan/beige hot mess. We've all been there (me more than most). But when you get it right, you feel fabulous, confident and glowy all damn day. Let's aim for that shall we?
Here are 5 simple tips and tricks for creating the perfect base (Spice Girl #GirlPower sign optional, but strongly recommended).
1. Prime and Prep Your Skin
You NEED to prep your skin before you apply foundation. Whether your prep with a moisturiser, oil, serum and/or primer, it doesn't matter. Just get your Nike-on and do it. I personally use a tiny amount of oil, followed by primer.
When you're investing in a primer, you need to find one that works for your skin type. I have combination skin where my forehead is oily and my nose and chin are very dry. Once my oil's absorbed, I use a hydrating primer. (I'm currently using the Maybelline Master Prime, pictured.) So if you're dry like me, try a hydrating primer. If your skin is oily, opt for matte primer. If you have large pores, invest in a pore reducing one (I strongly recommend Benefit). You want a primer that works to even out your skin.
If you're not sure about primer, just try moisturising your skin with an oil, cream or serum before you apply your foundation. You'll notice the difference when your foundation goes on to a nourished base.
To recap, the steps are:
Apply your base products (oil, serum, moisturiser, primer)
Wait for them to absorb
Then apply your foundation.
In order to have flawless foundation, you need to have the perfect base and that base starts BEFORE you apply a single drop of foundation.
2. Read the Instructions
This might seem ridiculous, but beauty products have instructions for a reason (and that reason is not pointless/boring reading).
Some foundations are made to be applied a certain way or with a certain tool. For some products it doesn’t matter, but it’s important to read and check first. If it says to apply it a certain, then I’d recommend listening to ‘em. Generally, if you’ve gone to all the trouble to make a foundation, then you wouldn’t lead people astray with poor instructions.
Read the instructions, then follow them.
If it suggests apply it to the back of your hand first, do it (although to be honest I recommend doing that will all foundations and concealers anyway). If it says to use a brush, use a brush. If it says to dab it on, dab it.
The application can make or break foundation, so be sure that you haven’t been applying it with your fingers, when it says to use your toes. (If the instructions do tell you to apply it with your toes, I would question what products you’ve investing it, but you see my point).
3. Try a Beauty Blender
As mentioned above, the application and the tools are just as important as the product. You can be using one of the world's most fabulous foundations but if you’re using it with a crappy brush – when the instructions say sponge – you’ll end up with lines everywhere.
Beauty blenders are honestly the best thing since fake tan. They’re fool-proof, goof-proof, Bel-proof. (Bel-proof means even I can use it.) You get what I’m saying, it's very hard to get it wrong with a beauty blender.
If you are going to start using a beauty blender (firstly, welcome!), remember to dampen it before you start applying. If you’ve been using a dry blender, that’s where you're going wrong. If you don’t start with a damp beauty blender, the blender soaks up all your foundation before you’ve even touched your skin.
If you struggle to apply your foundation evenly, honestly try a beauty blender. Use whatever end works for you (the pointy or the round), just make sure it's damp!
4. Find a Foundation that Works for Your Skin
You MUST use a foundation that works for your skin type, as well as your skin colour. As with primer, if you have oily skin, opt for a matte foundation as you’ll look naturally glowy already if your skin is oily. If you have dry skin, opt for a glow foundation. We want to work with our skin here, people!
When it comes to picking the right colour, don't fall for the back-of-the-hand test. It's a lie. You need to test the colour on your jaw, or ideally, your face. The back of your hand/wrist etc are not the same colour as your face.
Make sure you're using a foundation that matches your colouring, and your skin type.
5. Start From the Middle of Your Face, then Extend
Your foundation – and concealer for that matter – extend. Meaning you don't want to immediately apply it all over your face, as you'll end up with too much.
Pop some foundation on the back of your hand, then with whatever tool you’re using (brush, blender, sponge, fingers) work it on under your eyes, then work your way out. You don’t need (or want) to apply foundation to every inch of your face. You want your foundation to blend in and look flawless.
By starting in the middle and working your way out, you'll avoid jawlines, and your foundation will look natural and even.