At its best, foundation can make your skin look more even-toned and smooth. At its worst, it can cause your face to look masklike and dry. To help you get the freshest finish, we’re sharing seven simple rules of wearing foundation for your most flawless application ever.
The 7 Rules of Wearing Foundation in 2022 (So It Looks Like a Second Skin)
1. Prep Your Skin
Always start with clean, well-moisturized skin. Makeup adheres better when your skin isn’t dry or patchy. For everyday wear, take your time massaging in your favorite moisturizer before you apply any makeup, and for special occasions, start off with a hydrating sheet mask.
Shop: Dr. Jart+ Dermask Water Jet Vital Hydra Solution ($6); innisfree Dewy Glow Moisturizer with Cherry Blossom & Niacinamide ($25); Monika Blunder Undercover Face Créme ($95)
2. Prime Sparingly
In general, the fewer layers there are on your face, the better. However, if you have especially oily skin or need your makeup to last longer, apply primer to the hotspots of your face only, like the forehead, nose and chin.
Shop: Sephora Collection Smooth + Blur Primer ($16); Milk Makeup Pore Eclipse Mattifying + Blurring Makeup Primer ($36); Smashbox Photo Finish Smooth & Blur Oil-Free Foundation Primer ($39)
3. Lighten Up Your Base
Another pro tip for getting a more natural-looking base is to mix a little moisturizer into your foundation before applying it to your skin. This will sheer out the coverage a smidge and give your skin a fresher, dewier finish. (You can also use a liquid highlighter instead of moisturizer, if you’re after that glass-skin, glazed doughnut look.)
Shop: The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA Daily Moisturizer ($11); Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer ($39)
4. Start in the Center
Once you have your foundation ready, apply it from the center of your face, moving outwards. This way, you get the most coverage around the nose and mouth (where there tends to be more discoloration) and it gradually sheers out as it reaches the perimeter of your face (near the hairline and jawline).
Shop: Yves Saint Laurent NU BARE LOOK TINT Hydrating Skin Tint Foundation ($38); Shiseido Synchro Skin Radiant Lifting Foundation SPF 30 ($47); RMS "Un" Cover-Up Natural Finish Cream Foundation ($52)
5. Buff to Blend
Whether you prefer using your fingertips, a sponge or a brush, you want to gently tap or bounce your tool of choice over the foundation to blend it into your skin. Doing this will ensure you don’t end up with streaks (like you sometimes get when using painterly strokes).
Shop: Real Techniques Makeup Setting Facial Powder Makeup Brush ($8); BeautyBlender Original Makeup Sponge ($20); Monika Blunder Hybrid Cream Face Brush ($35)
6. Add Highlighter Strategically
A strategic application of highlighter just to the high planes of your face (i.e. your cheekbones and around your temples) will add the subtlest dimension to your features. As for the highlighter itself, most makeup artists we’ve worked with over the years tend to prefer a creamy or balmy highlighter over a liquid or powder formulas because they give off a more natural finish and you’re better able to control the application.
Shop: Merit Day Glow Dewy Highlighting Balm ($30); rms beauty Living Luminizer Highlighter ($38); Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Highlighter Wand ($40)
7. Be Intentional About Setting
Just as you highlight strategically, you want to do the same with setting your makeup. Using a lightweight translucent powder and a small, fluffy brush, dust a little powder over any areas that tend to get oily, like the center of your forehead and around your nose and mouth. The goal here isn’t to get rid of all your shine; it’s just to balance things out so you get a smoother looking complexion overall with just the right amount of glow.
Shop: Rare Beauty Always an Optimist Soft Radiance Setting Powder ($22); Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($40); ONE/SIZE by Patrick Starrr Ultimate Blurring Setting Powder ($30)