The Secret to Flawless Makeup (Part II)
Alright! So I've covered skin care in Part I of this blog post...the next thing to master is the actual makeup itself! Obviously multiple things may factor in to achieving a really flawless look: the actual products themselves, personal technique, the tools you choose to use...but there are just 3 things that I believe will make the BIGGEST difference in the outcome of your makeup. If nothing else, pay attention to these 3 tips, and your makeup will look 100% better than it does right now.
1. Choose the Correct Foundation Colour
Ladies!...Match your foundation colour to your neck, NOT your face. When you have finished applying your foundation, you should feel like a flat, non-dimensional, slightly paler version of yourself. Haha! I know how that sounds but trust the process! The shape, dimension, and colour all come from layering the rest of the makeup on your face. If you are having a hard time choosing between 2 shades when buying, definitely err on the lighter side! You can always add colour (through bronzer, tint, powder etc) but can never take it away. Even when unintentional, just by adding the rest of your face makeup on, you will be adding more colour than you think. Starting with a foundation that's too dark is the first thing that will take you to "cake-face" status. And I think we can agree that we don't want that!
- Never buy foundation at the store first time around. Ask for a sample and use it for a week.
- Make sure the foundation matches your neck in direct sunlight. Go outside and check with a mirror.
- Once you’re confident you’ve chosen the right shade in all lighting, go back and buy the foundation.
2. Use the Right Makeup Tools
Using your fingers will “get the job done” but you won’t be left with a flawless, natural and airbrushed look. Your fingers are dense and sort of act as "paddles". They pick up a lot of product and aren’t able to evenly distribute it in small amounts around your face. Flat foundation brushes (kind of look like paint brushes) aren’t great either. Use a synthetic fibre foundation brush, kabuki brush, duo fibre brush, or a damp beauty sponge. These tools are what allow you to layer working with small amounts of product at a time until you build up the right coverage. They give you an even and airbrushed feel. And they don't have to be expensive! One of my favourite brands for foundation and powder brushes (which I've recommend to ALL my girlfriends) is Real Techniques, and can be found at any London Drugs.
3. Always Work in Layers
Applying makeup is like applying nail polish. More layering with less product on the brush will turn out 100x better than 1 layer heavily applied. Use this rule for your makeup too. If you want heavier coverage, build up to it by blending a ton in between layers! When you're applying blush, contour or bronzer, tap off excess product from your brush before you apply it to your face. Repeat this until you have the amount of colour you want.
Following those tips is what really gives you flawless and more natural looking makeup. I'll also take you through each step of my basic makeup routine and give you some extra tips along the way!
My Makeup Application Process:
Primer: There are primers for everything: correct redness, even skin tone, lock in hydration, create a matte surface, add a sheen, you name it! Originally the purpose of them was to smooth out your skin, fill in your pores, and keep your makeup lasting longer. I don't personally believe they are an essential step, but if you have one that works for you, use it!
Foundation: Use a stippling brush or a damp beauty sponge to apply your foundation layer by layer. Blend it out compelelty before moving on to another layer. BLEND PAST YOUR JAWLINE, into your hairline, and even lightly over your ears . Some days I use a shear or lightweight foundation to just correct skin tone. Other days I'll use a heavier coverage product but still apply it layer by layer so that it never looks cakey. You can always shear out a heavier coverage foundation by applying a lesser amount with a damp beauty sponge or by mixing it with some moisturizer before you use it.
Concealer: Apply and blend in only where you need the extra coverage. I use it under my eyes, around the corners of my nose, and wherever a blemish may lie. The best tip I have is to not overdo it with the foundation. Let your skin show through and then just go in an spot conceal where you need slightly more coverage. This gives you that flawless but still natural looking makeup look. Over the years, as any makeup junkie does, I have changed up tons of products I use...EXCEPT for this one: MAC Pro Longwear Concealer. Absolutely nothing has ever compared!
Set: Set everything in place with a powder. If you're going for full coverage, use a heavier powder and/or a denser brush. If you don't want to add any coverage, use a duo fibre or fluffy brush and either a light or translucent powder. Some people don't like this step because it temporarily takes the glow away. But trust me, this step is crucial in preventing your makeup from moving. The glow will be brought back by using the last step listed here!
Bronze/Contour: I usually dust a light bronzer over my face with a duo fibre brush concentrating on the hollows of my cheekbones, my cheeks, and around the edges of my face. Bronzing brings back life and dimension to your face - which looks flat with only foundation on. I contour very minimally either when I'm going out or when it's evening time. For day makeup, I stick to bronzer.
Blush: Sometimes I use my bronzer as blush and apply it to the apples of my cheeks. It gives your face warmth and dimension without necessarily using colour. This look is absolutely perfect for when you're wearing a super colourful lip or eyeshadow. Other times I will pick a cute peach or pink blush and just dust it over the apples of my cheeks for a little pop. A cream blush is a beautiful choice for a more natural look because it just melts into your skin and the colour looks like it's coming from within.
Tip: Apply cream products with your fingers! The warmth from your fingers helps to blend the edges of the product seamlessly into your skin. Keep dabbing until you're happy with the outcome. Don't rub or use a brush because you'll move the foundation and concealer around.
Highlight: I love neutrally coloured cream highlighters. They look the most natural and give you the most beautiful dewy glow. I also use powdered highlighters though and the best thing to apply them with is a fan brush! Fan brushes are narrow so they sweep over your cheekbones and fit on the bridge of your nose perfectly. Highlight is a strong product, so placement is key.
Finishing Spray: My favourite step!!! This is what truly pulls the look together. When you work with powders, your face can either look "powdery" or look like the makeup is sort of "sitting on top" of your skin. Spritz some MAC Fix + or another finishing spray on your face and your glow will come right back! The makeup will melt together, settle into your skin, and become natural and seamless.
I'll highlight (see what I did there ;) ) some extra tips if you're really wanting to get that glow. It can be tricky, especially when you have dry skin and live in Calgary. That's a double whammy and a recipe for dull looking makeup!
How To Get That GLOW:
Consider applying a highlighting cream before you apply your foundation. Something like Strobe cream by MAC. You can also mix strobe cream or another liquid highlighter right into your foundation before you apply it.
My secret makeup weapon that literally creates magic is Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light. This is technically a face powder and not a highlighter. Apply a small dusting of this over your entire face, concentrating on your cheeks, with a fluffy brush or fan brush for that perfect "glow from within" look. I use this product after I'm finished with bronzer and blush.
Additionally, if you want the stronger more reflective glow on your cheekbones, upper lip, and perhaps a small area on the nose, use a highlighter on top of the hourglass product. I like cream highlighters because they melt into the skin with seamless edges (for these, like I mentioned under the blush step, using the warmth of your fingers is the best way to apply the product). I also love Soft & Gentle Highlighter by MAC, which is most beautifully applied with a fan brush to perfectly slice over the tops of your cheekbones.
Most importantly, use a finishing spray! Again, they will “melt” all of the powders into your face for a seamless look, and bring back that glow! There are finishing sprays that are specifically made to add more dewiness, or even make your skin more matte. Choose one that will work for you. This last step really ties all the work you’ve done together in the most beautiful and glowing way!
There you have it! My basic beauty routine for flawless skin and makeup - with some extra tips for getting that glow. I hope you guys enjoyed. Please comment below if you've found this helpful! If you have any questions about anything else, comment or DM me! I would love hear from you!