10 Foundation tips and secrets for long lasting coverage
It’s 2:00 in the afternoon and you’re making a post-lunch bathroom trip to touch up your lipstick, when you look in the mirror and an involuntary shudder runs through your body. When you applied your foundation this morning it was glowing, fresh, and flawless. Now, it somehow looks like your face has turned into a papier-mâché art project. So, what happened? Oily, dehydrated skin is a symptom that many of us experience in the cooler months, and it can certainly harm your foundation coverage – but even those of us without skin issues still have a hard time keeping our skin looking fresh all day. Here, we’ve outlined some steps, tips, and tricks to keep things in place from dawn until dusk, and into the evening.
This is the first step, and it’s an important one. With a full face of foundation on, your skin will dry out throughout the day. The first step to avoid a mess is to exfoliate well. Physical exfoliation (using a washcloth, or a cleanser with beads) is not so great – it can create micro-tears in your skin, which lead to acne and premature aging, i.e. wrinkles. Instead, opt for a chemical exfoliation. This method is easy – find an AHA product (alpha-hydroxyl-acid) and use several times a week – or more often, if your skin is less sensitive.
This step is crucial! Well, okay, they’re all crucial. Moisturizing is important not only for long-lasting foundation, but also for healthy-looking skin through the years. Without moisturizer, your skin can become dehydrated, which can lead to flaking and excess oil. Both of these are common culprits for less-than-perfect foundation coverage. Apply a moisturizer that works the best for your skin needs, and let it sink in for a few minutes before moving on to primer or makeup.
This is the last ‘preparatory’ step before the actual foundation, and it is the secret holy grail of many makeup gurus. Primer comes in the form of a cream, gel, or powder, and is usually applied over moisturizer. It helps to smooth over imperfections, and also creates a base that your makeup can adhere to. Primer also combats oil, which is often a reason that foundation seems to end up everywhere except where it’s supposed to be.
Use the right applicator
There are many ways to apply foundation, and there is no “wrong” method. Let’s start with the most basic: applying with your hands. This method is great because you don’t waste foundation, but coverage is often not very smooth or even. Some people prefer brushes for application, and these can be hit or miss in terms of how even things look – your mileage may vary. The most popular application method these days is the beauty blender: a small sponge that applies coverage evenly, and soaks up the excess foundation (which is a good thing – extra foundation leads to oil and “cakiness”).
Less is best
Here, you can refer back to step 4 – excess foundation is not ideal. Having too much product on your skin will cause your glands to produce more oil, and the coverage will become patchy and uneven. If your skin is drier, it will end up looking ‘caked on’. Either way, not what you want to see when you look in the mirror, right? Experts suggest applying foundation to the center of your face, which is typically where the most coverage is needed – and blending outwards. This will ensure that your skin still looks natural in the areas that require less makeup, and your face will look fresher.
Now that you’re satisfied with your foundation application – this is where the real work starts! First, you need to set your makeup. Adding a loose or pressed setting powder with a soft brush is a great way to ensure that your foundation stays exactly where it’s supposed to. Setting powder is especially good for oily skin, because it’s mattifying. Applying it in the T-zone of the face (on your forehead, nose, inner cheeks, and chin) is a great way to ensure that only the areas of the face that are prone to oil are powdered. The rest of your face can keep that dewy glow!
Layering is not a necessary step for everyone, because we all know that less is often more. However, if you’ve been dealing with blemishes, layering may just be the answer to your foundation prayers. Essentially, layering involves repeating steps 5 and 6, until full coverage is achieved. Easy, right? Add a little more foundation to trouble areas, set with powder, and repeat until you look and feel flawless.
Okay – you’ve exfoliated, moisturized, primed, applied, powder set, and layered – you officially have that gorgeous foundation for as many hours as your heart desires. Now, just in the off chance that you plan on dancing into the wee hours of the morning, it probably couldn’t hurt to use a little precautionary setting spray. This will cement all of your hard work in place, and will give you a little extra glow. Our personal favorite is Urban Decay All Nighter – a few spritzes, and you’re ready for anything.
We know, you think you won’t. But you might, because it’s so easy to forget throughout the day. Wear and tear is an easy way to mess up your hard work, and noses get so itchy at the most inopportune moments. Most importantly though, try to avoid resting your face on your hands – this avoids spreading bacteria on your skin, prevents wrinkles, and won’t smudge the hard work you put into your foundation.
Choose the right foundation for you
Everyone has different skin types – dry, oily, combination, etc. There are many different foundations that focus on different issues, but it’s the most important to make sure that you have the right tone, shade, and formula for your skin tone. The best way to find out is to visit a local makeup boutique or department store, and have a professional match your skin. You’ll know that your match is perfect, and your skin will look fantastic.