Luminous, dewy, bronzy, matte, semi-matte — as much as women love those adjectives, sometimes they really just want their foundation to make their skin look naturally flawless. Here are some tips on applying the most natural-looking foundation possible.
Prep your skin: Start with a soothing toner or mask, then massage in oils, serums, face creams, and eye creams in small, circular motions — waiting a few minutes between each step to allow them to settle. If you don't have proper hydration in the skin and you go to put on foundation that is when your skin freaks out.
Dehydrated skin will suck up any moisture in the product and leave a finish that looks fake and obvious. If you have oily skin, continue with your regular routine, but don't skimp on that massage, which boosts circulation and makes the skin look brighter. A good priming moisturizer will let you layer up on hydration.
Rethink your primer: Most people who have oily skin really have some form of combination skin, and if you put a matte primer over a dry area, it will take away the moisture and make it look cakey. Hence, it is best for you to use cocktailing formulas — smooth on an oil-controlling primer in the T-zone and a silicone-based one for the rest of the face.
Conceal before foundation: If you start slapping on foundation without concealing blemishes or undereye circles first, you are going to overcompensate and end up using way too much product — and it will show. Instead, take care of them with a lightweight concealer first. Then, assess how much foundation you need from there.
Blush first: Applying blush before foundation will give your skin a natural-looking flush. Just be sure to only use cream formulas — layering a powder blush under a liquid foundation is a recipe for disaster.
Go drop by drop: If you can, buy a foundation with a dropper rather than a pump — as one pump typically over-dispenses product. Blend a few small drops from the center of the face outward with a damp beauty blender or a damp foundation brush. And resist the urge to lay down a full foundation. Just apply it in the areas you need it, it is meant to perfect, not act like a mask.
Choose wisely: When it comes to choosing a formula, liquids tend to look the most natural. Choose one that offers medium to light-coverage rather than a full-coverage one which has a tendency to look thick. Be sure to avoid anything that is overly luminous or overly matte.
Take it down: If you overdo it, here is a tip; lightly dip a big powder brush in a plain moisturizer and sweep it over the skin — the same way you would apply powder. This method takes the foundation down a bit and adds a subtle illuminating effect.
Set your work: Now that you are finished, set the areas that are prone to slide (like your T-zone) with a light dusting of translucent powder. And if you're terrified of powders, remember this: The less foundation you have on, the less obvious the powder will look.