6 Ways to Make Your Foundation Look Like a Second Skin

Parisian makeup artist Violette’s top secret for how to apply foundation? Execute it without a trace. “I want people to say, ‘Oh my god, your skin looks amazing!’ not, ‘Your foundation is so great,'” she explains. And while finding the perfect formula is half the battle, once you have it, making like Houdini and ensuring it vanishes into your complexion is just as crucial. Here, three in-demand makeup artists share their fine-tuned tips for how to apply foundation and achieve that ever-elusive, second-skin finish.

Create a Glowing Canvas

Clean and moisturized skin is a no-brainer, but to really supercharge your glow, begin with a hydrating mask and follow it up with a lymphatic facial massage. When makeup artist Nina Park works with clients such as Zoë Kravitz and Bella Hadid, she begins with a sheet mask specifically targeted to their skin type, with ingredients such as rose to combat oiliness, aloe to treat dryness, and green tea to soothe inflammation. After masking, gently massage your moisturizer into the skin to boost circulation and reduce puffiness. “It creates a natural flush that makes the face look more awake,” says makeup artist Kira Nasrat, who helps give Jessica Alba that perpetually luminous complexion.

Prime as Needed

To prime or not to prime? It’s an eternal question for amateurs and pros alike. While Violette typically skips the extra base step in the interest of using as little product as possible, when applied correctly, it can prolong foundation for all-day wear. “I use an anti-shine primer for hotspots like the forehead, hairline, sides of nose, and around the mouth, and then a sheer, illuminating one for the tops of the cheekbones,” explains Park, adding that she applies each with her fingertips.

Apply From the Center and Move Outward

Only apply foundation where it’s really necessary, insists Violette, who counts Estée Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Foundation with SPF 45 among her favorites. “Start in the center of the face, on the apples of the cheeks, and slowly blend out,” she instructs, adding that another key part of the face is the area around the mouth, which is prone to yellow undertones and shadows. To ensure the foundation looks as natural as possible, Violette often skips the bridge of the nose—letting freckles show through for those who have them—and the corners of the nostrils, so the pigment doesn’t cling to dry patches.

Don’t Paint, Buff

No matter what tool you’re using—a foundation brush, a BeautyBlender, or your fingers—buff (or bounce, if you’re using a sponge) the foundation into your skin as opposed to “painting” it on to build coverage smoothly and avoid streakiness, says Park.

Strobe Wherever the Sun Hits

For dimension, blend highlighter into the high planes of the face that catch light naturally, such as the cheekbones, temples, and Cupid’s bow. “I’m not a fan of powder highlighters because it looks a bit fake to me,” says Violette. “Creamy balm textures will give you a dewiness as if you’re not wearing any products.”

Blot, Then Set

First, sop up excess oil with blotting papers. Then, look to a featherweight translucent powder to seal in foundation and prevent unwanted sheen. “Use a brush to apply it very lightly and only to the areas that get the most shiny,” says Nasrat, adding that the leftover luster is what will really drive home that second-skin guise. Silky smooth and even-toned, with just the right amount of lit-from-within dewiness, that’show you execute believably perfect skin.

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How Blush Placement Changes Your Face

Just like contouring, blush placement can drastically change your face shape. I have provided a simple guide for any face shape below and included a video to reference at the bottom of the post.

Whether you’re doing the makeup on yourself or a client, you want to utilize every product to enhance the face shape (duh). Blush placement, along with contouring, is very important for this.

For example, people like Jaclyn Hill or Chrissy Tiegen, who have round face shapes, should apply blush on the apples of the cheeks (front & centre part) to flatter their shape.

On the other end, people with oval face shape would benefit from higher blush placement, from the ear down almost blending into the bronzer and highlight.

I find that the following video provides a great example of both:

5 Beauty Tips That Make A Big Difference

1. Shave your face – removing peach fuzz allows for a smoother application of foundation and other products; it also gets rid of rough texture and dead skin cells, leaving the skin feeling renewed. Hold the skin with your fingers and genly, in short strokes, shave in the same direction as the hair grows. Follow up with a facial oil or a moisturizer for optimal results!

Get facial razors at Sephora or Amazon.

2. Apply concealer before foundation – it helps you avoid applying excessive amount of foundation because you’ve covered your major problem areas with a full coverage concealer; overall it gives a more lightweight result.

3. Moisturizer with foundation? – place some moisturizer on the back of your hand, stipple the brush in it, then apply your foundation with that brush; it sheers out the foundation for a lightweight finish and helps it blend in with your skin.

4. Matching blush tones – use the same product on your eyes, lips and cheeks to create a cohesive look. It’s quick and easy! Apply a cream blush color on your cheeks with a brush or fingers, then do the same on the eyes in the crease and lips. It provides a monotone look, both cream and powder products work for this trick.

Get multitasking plush products from MILK Makeup or Nudestix.

5. Cut your hair every 6 weeks – it provides the perfect timeframe to chop off the dead ends and leave the hair looking strong and healthy.

Do you have any tips and tricks you use regularly? Let me know in the comments below!

BeautyBlender Alternatives

By now we’ve all heard of THE Beauty Blender – the magic sponge for flawless makeup. Since it came out in 2007 (13 years ago) there definitely appeared many alternatives at competitive prices.

Some of my personal favourites are:

EcoTools Total Perfecting Blender $4.99
Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge $5.99
E.L.F. Cosmetics Makeup Sponges $5.00-$10.00
Juno & Co Microfiber Fusion Sponge $6.00

Morphe Sponges (individuals and sets) $6.00-$16.00
Japonesque Kumadori Beauty Sponge $9.00
NYX Cosmetics Flawless Finish Blending Sponge $10.00

L’Oreal Blending Sponges $11.00-$13.00
Sephora Collection Sponges $19.00
Fenty Beauty Precision Makeup Sponge $22.00

Of course there is a myriad of textures, colors, functions, etc. Please consider your personal needs and online reviews if you’re unsure whether it’ll be right for you. And if it’s not – on to the next one! Sponges should be replaced around every 3 months, due to product buildup and bacteria. As well, please wash your sponges after every single use.

What are your favourite makeup sponges? Do you use them or brushes alone? Let me know in the comments below!