by Kate Branum
Like all masterpieces, flawless makeup application requires proper preparation. Think of your face as a blank canvas and your makeup brushes as crucial art tools; before unleashing your inner Michelangelo, there are a few simple steps you should take to ensure a Sistine Chapel-worthy result.
Begin With a Clean Canvas
Before breaking out the powders and creams, you’ll want to ensure a clean complexion. Wash your face with warm water and a gentle cleanser, sans harsh ingredients that could lead to dry patches, redness or irritation. Remember that everyone’s skin type is different, so a facial wash that works for your friend may not work for you; take a trip to your local drug store and check out your options! Opt for a fragrance-free cleanser that doesn’t contain any alcohol or parabens, such as the Yes to Cucumbers Gentle Milk Cleanser or the Aveeno Active Naturals Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser.
After lathering and rinsing, lightly pat your face dry with a clean towel and apply a skin-clearing toner, such as the Alcohol-Free Neutrogena Toner or Thayers Lavender Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera, to catch any excess dirt or oil the facial wash may have missed. Simply squirt a small amount of toner on a soft cotton pad and rub it all over your face.
Apply a Base Coat
Now that your face is fresh, you’ll want to lay down a base for your makeup to make sure it stays magnifique all day. Facial primers have made waves in the world of beauty–and for good reason! Not only do primers fill in pores, but they also allow foundations and shadows to glide on smoothly and evenly. Try an illuminating primer, like the NXY Born to Glow Primer in Illuminating White, for a dewy sheen, or Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Matte Rescue Primer for a matte finish.
Alternatively, you could swap the primer for a silky facial moisturizer. Combat dry skin with a thick, creamy concoction such as Pond’s Crema S Nourishing Moisturizing Cream, balance blotchiness with a skin-calming blend such as the Yes To Tomatoes Daily Balancing Moisturizer or protect your skin from harmful UV rays with a two-in-one sunscreen moisturizer, such as the Boots No7 Beautiful Skin Oil-Free Skin Protector, SPF 25.
Paint Your Background
Many makeup moguls achieve an airbrushed complexion with the use of foundation and concealer. Most cosmetic brands have a vast color spectrum of foundations to choose from, which can be a bit overwhelming for first-time buyers. To select the correct shade, pinpoint the color that most resembles your skin tone and swipe a tiny swatch on the underside of your forearm. The correct foundation shade will blend in completely, without looking cakey or chalky. If your skin contains warm undertones, opt for a yellow-toned foundation, and if your skin shade is on the cooler side, go for a foundation with blue or pink undertones. Apply the foundation with a large, dense brush or cosmetic sponge all over your face and jawline in a thin, even coat; make sure you blend the product down your neck to avoid harsh lines.
As for concealer, you’ll want to select a shade that is one or two shades lighter than your natural skin tone. While foundation is meant to be applied to your entire face, the purpose of concealer is to correct dark under-eye circles, redness and blemishes. Dab the concealer in small dots under your eyes and on any problem spots, blending carefully with your finger or a cosmetic sponge.
Lock It In
Preserve your hard work with translucent powder. A light dusting of face powder will help your foundation stay in place and combat creasing around your mouth and eyes. Try a smooth mineral blend such as the NXY Translucent Studio Finishing Powder or a glowing, summer-ready sheen such as the Cover FX Illuminating Setting Powder.
If you aren’t keen on the feel of face powder, consider misting your face with a light, makeup setting spray, such as the Pixi by Petra Makeup Fixing Mist or the Maybelline Master Fix by Face Studio Setting Spray. This refreshing alternative is a popular summer staple, preventing sweat streaks and excess oil.