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When it comes to makeup, the one skill that’s most difficult to master is getting your foundation just right. Too much and you look like you’re wearing a mask. Too little and some blotchy patches show through. Here, six things to avoid so you always get the perfect coverage.

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Testing (and buying) it in poor lighting

Most stores have that terrible fluorescent lighting that washes you out. So while that new foundation may have looked alright at Sephora, it looks like a tanning-bed disaster in broad daylight. To find the best match, swatch new shades along your jawline, grab a mirror and head to your nearest window (or step outside) to see which one disappears into your skin.

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Skipping important areas

Like your jawline and hairline. To get the most natural looking coverage, always, always (!) blend along the perimeters of your face so you don’t end up with those telltale lines.

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Not changing with the seasons

Think about it: Your skin does all sorts of wonky things depending on the weather. So that creamy stick you used all winter will probably be a tad too heavy come summer--not to mention you’re probably a shade or two darker by that time. Invest in two formulas and adjust for the different times of the year.

RELATED: How to Choose the Perfect Foundation for Your Skin Tone

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Using the wrong formula

It all depends on your skin type. If you have dry skin, a liquid foundation is your best bet as creamier formulas tend to cake and powder ones settle into fine lines--making you look even drier. And if you’re on the oily side, though you might be tempted to reach for that powder, you’re actually better off using a water-based foundation or gel instead. Both will provide an even finish without making your skin look dull or flat (as powder tends to do). 

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Using dirty tools

Gunky brushes and sponges can cause an uneven application (think: streaks and splotches). You’re also likely spreading bacteria and germs all over your face, so best to keep things clean.

RELATED: How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

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And using those tools incorrectly

Poor application can cause those fine little cheek hairs to stand out (which no one wants). If you’re using a makeup sponge, make sure to wet it first. Then, squeeze out any excess water and lightly tap the foundation into your skin. Prefer a brush? Use downward strokes to go with the grain of said facial hair.

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