Depending on your needs and preferences, makeup can be utilized to enhance certain features and cover up areas you may not love. Although it can be a little intimidating at first, once you learn how to create a base look using a few simple tips, you can achieve flawless-looking skin without looking overdone. From there you can experiment a bit more with eyes, lips, contouring and so on. I am not a makeup artist, but I love testing new products to see if they actually live up to their claims. It’s an expensive hobby but I have discovered some true gems and learned some tricks along the way to make my problematic, acne-prone skin look beautiful! Here is a five-step, 15 minute routine of what I personally do to attain flawless-looking skin:
Prep your skin: cleanse, exfoliate, tone and moisturize
The key to healthy looking skin starts with skin care. Cleanse your skin to remove dirt and impurities and exfoliate to remove dead skin cells. This is especially important if you have any dry patches as foundation loves to cling onto dehydrated areas. I use an exfoliator such as The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Microdermabrasion or ProX by Olay Microdermabrasion twice a week or whenever I feel the need to exfoliate. Then use a toner to catch all impurities lodged in your skin and finish off by moisturizing. The secret to beautiful skin is hydration, so use a light moisturizer even if you have oily or combination skin. If you have problem areas, identify what the issue is – whether it’s wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, acne or rosacea – and how different products can help remedy the problem. Most importantly, get to know your skin and understand its needs.
TIP: Test out free samples to see how different products react with your face for the full day or night.
Use a pore minimizer
For a smooth base apply a pore minimizer or balm like Benefit’s POREfessional Face Primer or NYX Cosmetic Pore Filler. Using a product like this will create a smooth canvas, filling in pores and smoothing out wrinkles. Take a minute to brush your hair, comb your eyebrows, or put on chapstick, to allow the pore minimizer to dry so that the makeup adheres to it properly.
TIP: Using a pore minimizer or primer will make your makeup last a longer and prevent oxidization of your foundation.
Choose the right foundation
Choosing a foundation can be tricky, but I’ve learned a few great tips along the way. When selecting a new foundation, look for one that addresses your specific skin concerns. For example, since I have hyperpigmentation and acne, I want a medium to full coverage foundation to cover my imperfections. I’m not a fan of products with a lot of luminosity as they make my skin look too oily, and I tend to prefer foundations that leave a natural-looking finish. Not too much to ask for, right? My number one rule is to never buy the foundation on the first visit, especially if you’ve never tried the product before, so request samples wherever they’re provided (Sephora, MAC, The Bay). Certain beauty store websites (MatchMyMakeup, Findation and Sephora) also allow you to narrow down your search based on your needs by using their filter features. Apply the foundation near a window or where you have access to natural light, which will allow you to match the colour to your skin more accurately – nothing looks worse than having your face and body be two different colours!
TIP: When you receive a foundation sample, apply it in the morning and see how it performs throughout the day. This will show you exactly how the product interacts with your skin and whether you want to invest in a full bottle.
Press the product into the skin
When applying foundation, press it into your skin instead of rubbing it around. This way you’ll get the most coverage, reduce streaking, and use less product. If you have dry patches, pressing the foundation into the skin allows the product to sit on top of the dry patch rather than sneaking its way underneath and lifting up the dry skin. Same thing goes for concealer under the eye. The Beauty Blender sponge works best, but for a cheaper alternative you can also try the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge.
TIP: Let your foundation and concealer dry for a minute before setting it with a powder. When you put dry onto wet you create a cakey finish rather than a natural look.
Add colour and dimension back to the skin
Now that the base is done and your skin tone has been evened out, it’s time to add a little colour and bring your face to life! Dust some bronzer onto your cheekbones and add a few dabs of highlighter to your brow bone and the bridge of your nose. If you have a face powder that is a few shades darker than your current skin colour, use that right under the cheekbones for a little contouring. Add a pop of colour to the apples of your cheeks and a swipe of mascara onto your lashes, and your makeup base is good to go!
TIP: For the best makeup application wash your brushes weekly. For foundation sponges or brushes wash every 2-3 uses to reduce buildup and grit from previous makeup applications.
It takes me about 10-15 minutes to achieve this look but the more you practice the quicker your application will be. Perfect for the daytime, this look is appropriate for work, school or running errands. If planning a night out, add more colour to your face by playing up the eyes or focusing on a bold lip.
Remember: you’re the artist and have control over how little or how much product you use on your face. Makeup should be fun, so play around with products and find what works best for you!
Written by Michelle Whetton.
Products used in tutorial: