BeYoutiful Beauty


The Ultimate Pro Guide on How to Do Foundation Perfectly

12 Jan, 2021
By Andie Reeves
Your go-to pro guide and tips on how to best choose and apply your foundation makeup for a perfectly flawless look...

There’s no doubt about it; foundation is one of the more difficult things for anyone to master. It’s something of a dilemma: you need foundation to smooth out your imperfections and hide your flaws, and yet when applied badly it can actually make your skin look worse.

Flawlessly airbrushed skin is not something only professional make up artists with years of experience can achieve, however; you just need to have the right tools and know a few tips and tricks of the trade. Whether you’re a beginner or just want to improve your look, the next time you sit down to put on your face keep this step-by-step cheat sheet handy; you’ll have a complexion that looks selfie-worthy in no time…

1. Always Prep Your Skin Properly

It doesn’t matter how well you wield a kabuki brush, if your skin isn’t doing well to begin with then your foundation will never look right. It will go on unevenly, settle into your pores and cluster around all those dry flaky bits, so the first thing to do is to get your basic skin care right.
  • The most important step in skin care is to moisturise; even if you’ve got oily skin. Your skin will be hydrated and happy, and foundation will glide on easily and seamlessly.
  • Next, remember to never go to bed with makeup on - ever! Falling asleep without cleansing your skin will clog pores and can lead to breakouts.
  • Regular exfoliation is also a must to get rid of all those dead skin cells which can make your skin look flaky; make it part of your routine once a week.
  • Once you have applied moisturiser (and don’t forget the sunscreen!) to your face in the mornings, let it sink into your skin for a few minutes. Applying your foundation before your moisturiser is dry will just cause streaking and uneven application.
  • One of the most often looked-over but necessary steps is applying primer. You might think it unnecessary but once you try it you’ll never go back. Primer makes your foundation glide on smoother and helps it to stay put all day. It also evens out the texture of your skin and can help minimise the appearance of pores.

    If you’re going to apply primer anywhere make sure it’s on your T-zone, where foundation tends to discolour and melt away due to excess oil and sweat.

    Our product picks: Rimmel Fix & Protect Makeup Up Primer or LA Girl Pro-Prep High Definition Smoothing Face Primer.

Read More. Want Glowing Skin? You Need to Exfoliate Like A Pro

2. Using The Right Type and Texture Is Important

The type of foundation you use depends on your lifestyle, your skin type as well as the look you want to achieve.
  • Powder foundation is the hardest formula to get right as it often gives you an uneven look, dries you out and can sit on top of your skin. Plus, that glowing, dewy look is on-trend right now. However, it can be your best friend if you have an oily skin – just focus on lightly dusting it over the oily patches to avoid caking on the drier parts of your face. Our picks: L'Oréal’s Infallible 24 Hour Powder Foundation and Yardley Stayfast Pressed Powder.
Read More. Go-To-Guide on The Best Foundations (And Reviews) For Your Oily/Combination Skin

3. Choosing the Perfect Shade

It sounds obvious but some estimates put the women who are using the wrong colour foundation as high as 65%! Are you maybe one of them? It is shockingly easy to choose the wrong colour even if you have help from a beauty advisor.

Here are some tips to help you find the perfect shade, even without the help of an expert:
  • Firstly, you need to be brave and head to the beauty counter totally bare, with no foundation, powder or any other colour on your face. Once you have decided on the type of foundation you want (light-weight or heavy, liquid or powder, etc.) it’s time to get shade testing.
  • One of the biggest mistakes women make when choosing their foundation is testing the colour on the back of their hand or inside their wrist, as the skin there is a totally different colour to the skin on your face. Test the three shades you think might work best along your jawline and lightly blend them with your finger.
  • Next you need to check the shade out in the light of day, because it’s going to look very different there from under the fluorescent lights of the shop. A good tip is to go outside, or to the window of the shop if there’s daylight coming in, and use either a mirror or your phone’s front camera to inspect the shades on your jaw.
  • The colour that is right for you should just melt into your skintone so you can barely see the product. Don’t be tempted to try a shade darker in an attempt to fake a healthy glow; that’s what bronzer is for.
  • If you think you’ve found THE ONE try covering one half of your face with it and head into the natural light again (don’t worry, the beauty advisors will be used to it, and think you’re a foundation-choosing pro). Compare it to the other half of your face. If it’s right for you it should look very similar in colour, just without all the blemishes!

Pro Tip: Before you get too comfortable about finally having chosen the right shade, you need to remember that in sunny South Africa it’s quite possible that you skin may go a shade darker in summer even if you are wearing a SPF. In this case, you will have to choose different shades for summer and winter wear.

4: Ditch Your Fingers and Sponge and Use a Brush

We’re all guilty of using our fingers when we’re in a rush, but truly a brush is the only way you’re going to get the seamless, smooth and natural-looking application you crave. Brushes are amazing for blending and use less product than sponges and fingers – so are much more budget friendly. While it might seem like a hassle to always use a brush (and clean them regularly) the results will be so worth it.
  • Different types of brushes have different finishes: a synthetic brush picks up more product so gives you fuller coverage while natural bristles hold onto less product so you get a much more sheer look. This means that just by switching your brushes you can get two different looks out of one foundation (we recommend using synthetic for night looks and natural bristles for the day time). Our pick: Cala’s Bamboo Foundation Brush.
  • Always brush on foundation in downward strokes so that you go in the same direction as your hair growth. Keeping your facial hair lying down flat will give you the smoothest finish.
  • A rounded sponge, however, can also get the job done well, if used correctly. Sponges are also often a better choice if you have very oily skin. Always use it when damp to avoid a streaky finish, and bear in mind that they do tend to waste more product due to their absorbent nature. The pointed tip of a sponge is great for touching up around the nose and under your eyes. Try Cala’s Precision Blending Sponge.

Pro Tip: Use a buffing motion when you apply your foundation to avoid the product being too thick and to get a more even look. A Kabuki brush or large fluffy brush are best for buffing.

Read More. An Easy Guide to The Brushes You Need to Use for Perfectly Flawless Makeup

5. Focus Coverage Where You Need It

Just because you’re putting on foundation doesn’t mean you need to cover your whole face in it; you might only need it on your T-Zone, or around your eyes. Foundation is meant to even out the skin where it’s needed, not to cover it up – that’s a concealer’s job. Identify what areas you need to be perfected and focus on those.
  • Think of the redness around your nose or chin, the darkness under your eyes, uneven skin tone and pigmentation marks, and the odd blemish which needs covering up.
  • If you have some skin that is doing just fine without any make up then leave it alone; foundation is there to help smooth out our skin tone and minimise flaws, not to waste on the good skin parts.
  • Buffing and blending so that the product naturally merges with your good-looking skin is the path to achieve the most even but still natural look.

Pro Tip: The key to the best finish is a light touch, layering, and buffing. Apply a really small amount of foundation to your brush and buff, then another little bit and buff - and finally one more layer, and buff some more.

6. Always Apply Concealer Afterwards, Not Before

It’s a mistaken belief that you should apply your concealer first. If you do you’ll just end up blending it away when you put your foundation on afterwards.
  • Always apply your foundation first, and then use your concealer to touch up any stubborn discolouration, darkness under your eyes, or spots and blemishes. The one exception to this rule? Colour correcting concealers, which only work when applied under your foundation.
  • Another myth about concealer is that you should choose one in a shade lighter than your skin tone. You should always pick a concealer that matches your skin perfectly, just like your foundation. Check out the concealer mistakes to avoid for a perfect finish.
  • However, if you want to enhance your eyes, this is where you would choose either an illuminating concealer or one which is one or two shades lighter than your skin tone. The best way to apply under-eye concealer is in a triangle under your eyes so you create the optical illusion of lifting and opening up the entire eye area.

Pro Tip: Your instinct might be to pile on the product when it comes to particularly stubborn blemishes but this could make them stand out even more. Also, never use your fingers, which can transfer germs to your already bacteria-infested blemish.

Instead, use a tiny concealer or pin point brush to apply your products to your pimple. Dab it around and lightly on top of the blemish and then blend well.

Read More. Valuable Tips on How to Use Concealers to Really Conceal

7. Powder Is Your Foundation’s Best Friend

If you notice that your foundation melts off within a few hours, that’s because you haven’t set it properly. The best tools of the trade to keep your face job intact are a colourless translucent powder and a light, airy brush. However, it’s important you use the right type of powder to avoid undoing all your hard foundation work in one swift sweep of the brush.
  • Use translucent powder as it won’t alter the colour of your make up underneath, acting rather as a setting agent to keep everything in place. Translucent powder is colourless so suitable for all skin tones and it mops up excess oil without drying you out. If you use a coloured powder over your foundation, you’ll end up with too much product and it will start to cake.

    Our product picks: Yardley Absolute Translucent Pressed Powder or LA Girl Pro High Definition Setting Powder.
  • Like with foundation, it’s not necessary to apply powder to your whole face. Avoid super dry areas and focus on areas that are prone to oiliness, like your T-zone (the forehead, around the nose and your chin).

    Because you’re not applying powder to your whole face you don’t necessarily need a big fluffy brush, you can even use a small domed eyeshadow brush to lightly tap the powder onto the oily patches. Just make sure that the bristles are loosely packed to avoid layering on too much product. A light and airy touch is the way to ensure you look dewy, not powdery.
  • If you struggle with oiliness throughout the day, rather use blotting papers than apply more powder, as these will absorb excess oil without removing product. Palladio Oil Absorbing Blotting Tissues are our choice – convenient and small enough to easily slip into your makeup bag.
Pro Tip: To avoid makeup meltdowns or slippage during the day, follow this fail-safe three step process to ensure it stays on. First off, always wear a primer under your makeup. Then a light dusting of translucent powder after you applied your foundation and concealer is an absolute must. Finally, fix it all into place with a proper fixing spray (not a setting spray which just gives you a light dewy glow).

Read More. Want to Find Your Perfect Foundation? Here's What NOT to Do

It might sound like a lot to remember but once you get into the habit of perfectly prepping your skin and applying your foundation with the right tools and techniques it’ll start to feel like second nature and take much quicker. Your face is the most important step of the make up routine as it acts as the base canvas for the rest of your look. If it doesn’t look right, nothing else will.

View Video. Foundation Do’s and Don’ts – Stephanie Lange
Visuals. Pinterest.
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