If you are new to makeup and want to know what to focus on first, the answer is easy: foundation. Like its name implies, foundation is the key to an elegant, easy makeup routine. If you get it wrong, everything else will look wrong too.
Luckily, a good foundation routine is pretty easy to get right, with some trial and error. Here are the tips I found most helpful.
Tip 1: Find the right color match for your skin tone
I wish someone had explained this to me at the very beginning: foundation is not like a coat of paint. You need to match your foundation to your natural skin tone, otherwise you’ll have that overdone, fake look.
Unfortunately, there is no other way to find a matching skin tone than trial and error. I have a fairly neutral to warm skin tone, but when I first started out I went way too light. When the foundation doesn’t match your skin tone, you run the risk of looking blotchy where coverage isn’t 100%.
There are a couple of good tools for finding your skin tone match. I like the Maybelline online tool – simply take a photo and it’ll tell you the matching color to buy.
Once you know your base color, you can use findation.com to translate into any other brand of makeup. It’s worth trying out a few different brands to see which you like best.
Last note: you’ll have to change your foundation throughout the year as your skin gets lighter or darker.
Tip 2: Don’t go too heavy
Nothing makes foundation look wrong than over-application. Too much foundation will give you a cakey look, and counterintuitively, often makes wrinkles and other imperfections stand out. Too much foundation also is a pain to keep up throughout the day – you’ll need to spend a lot more time touching things up.
The key thing to remember about foundation is: use just enough to get the job done. If you hare having problems hiding beard color or other skin imperfections, consider a color corrector or concealer rather than applying more foundation.
I also don’t recommend starting with heavy-duty foundations for this reason; its too easy to over-apply and get a fake look.
Tip 3: Try different application techniques
Everyone’s skin is unique, and what works for some won’t work well for others. There are three main ways to apply foundation:
- Use your fingers. It’s messy, but gets the job done well.
- Use a makeup sponge. A lot of people swear by this. You can even buy swanky makeup sponges.
- Use a brush. Any broad makeup brush will work.
I have big pores on my cheeks and nose, so I never could get sponges to look very good. They smeared the foundation on top of my skin, rather than getting into the pores.
For that reason, I tend to use a brush or my fingers, depending on how much time I have.
Tip 4: Try tinted moisturizers
Recently, I discovered tinted moisturizers. If you don’t need as much coverage, these can be a really great way to get a more natural makeup look without sacrificing coverage.
I really like the BareMinerals tinted moisturizing gel – it is super light weight, but provides a good amount of coverage and needs very little touch up during the day.
The downside of moisturizers is they can look a little too dewey (or wet), so you’ll want to follow the next tip.
Tip 5: Use a powder
I also wish someone had told me this early on: use a fixing powder. Foundations typically dry with a wet look (very popular these days), and a powder on top with take off some of the shine and give you a more normal look.
If you still want that fresh dewey look, you can apply the powder around your face, but leave it light on your cheeks and center of your face. A fixing powder will also help your makeup stay in place throughout the day, and reduce smudges.
What foundation tips have you learned?