8 Makeup Tips That Let You Fake Flawless, Glowing Skin

You know, while you're waiting for that new skin-care routine to start paying off.

By Karina Hoshikawa, Allure

With dewy highlighters, your-skin-but-better foundations, and blushes that mimic a post-coital glow (you know the one), we're definitely not lacking for makeup that seeks to give us the effect of not wearing any makeup at all. And while you may love to wear a bold lipstick or a feline-like liner, when it comes to complexion makeup, the most natural effect is achieved when your skin still looks like skin. That said, if you're not blessed with a preternaturally flawless complexion (in other words, you're a human being who enjoys the occasional whole milk latte and isn't impervious to hormonal breakouts), creating an even, luminous canvas with the help of foundation, concealer, and powder, is well within your reach with the right tools and products. In the spirit of achieving the "MLBB" equivalent of skin, we've enlisted the help of makeup artists to share their best tips and product recommendations to get you your best skin yet. From prepping your face to a crash course in concealer, keep reading for eight of our best tricks for creating gorgeous-looking skin with the power of makeup.

1. Forget what you know about an "everyday makeup routine."

"Instead of following an everyday ritual or map of the placement of your makeup, really look at your skin and decide where you need help each day,” advises makeup artist Kristofer Buckle. “Our problem areas are always changing — some days we have more redness, other days we may be puffy or have a breakout.” Just as you would switch up your eye shadow or lipstick, try to curate a variety of products with different coverage levels, or look for makeup that can do double-duty.

2. Consider skin care as your makeup primer.

Say it with me: Prep, prep, prep. Virtually every expert we spoke to said that the best way to ensure a gorgeous complexion before a drop of makeup hits your face is to create a healthy base for your foundation and concealer. And while mattifying, oil-blocking primers may seem like a logical option to ensure a flawless finish, more and more artists are looking to their skin-care products to get the job done. “I tend to not use face primers because they can affect the application of the foundation,” says makeup artist Fiona Stiles, who instead preps her clients’ skin with moisturizer to ensure a healthy glow from within.

Another option? “Start with an exfoliating peel pad,” recommends makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes, who swears by Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Pads. “That’s the most important step for a glow because if you don’t, you’re just putting products on dead skin.” (Writer’s note: Make sure to wear sunscreen regularly as peels can make your skin photo-sensitive.) Next, Hughes recommends layering a moisturizer like Augustinus Bader’s The Cream, or taking fifteen minutes to do a sheet mask for optimal glow.

“I also love using a face roller like Jenny Patinkin’s Rose Quartz Roller on the jawline, the orbital, and cheekbones,” says Stiles. “It’s a soft, easy way of depuffing someone’s face.”

3. Get smart about shade-matching.

Forty shades may be the new normal — a very good thing, to be sure — but that said, finding your perfect foundation match in the aisles of Sephora or Ulta can still prove to be a challenge. To determine your exact shade, Hughes recommends you swatch along the lower jawline of your face down to the neck to see which one disappears seamlessly into your skin. However, if you’re willing to make the extra investment, leaving the store with two shades might not be a bad idea, either. “Skin isn’t one color,” makeup artist Molly R. Stern tells Allure. “Having a slight variation in your options will allow for a more natural finish.” And pro tip — having multiple shades in rotation will be a saving grace as you naturally tan in the summer months or get paler in the winter.

Some makeup artist holy grail formulas? Nars Sheer Glow Foundation, Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, and Chantecaille Future Skin. “You’re never the same color year-round,” explains Stiles. “So if you have one shade that’s a little darker and one a little lighter, just mix.”

4. How to glow the natural way.

Instagram will tell you that there’s no such thing as too much glow, but artists will likely say otherwise. “I try to be mindful of where I apply highlighter,” says Stiles, who prefers to keep the rest of her clients’ complexion in the velvety (but not 100 percent matte) zone. “I like a nice, moist highlight on the top of the bridge of the nose right where the eyebrows meet, a little bit on the cheeks, and then sometimes I’ll do a little on the jawline for a really fresh look.” For a glow boost, follow Hughes’ trick and use a face mist like Tatcha’s Luminous Dewy Skin Mist to instantly get gleaming. “I like to mist the face everywhere but pay the most attention to areas of the face where I want the most shine,” she says.

5. Get the most mileage out of your concealer.

When it comes to splurge-vs-save makeup, consider a good concealer (or two) a seriously worthwhile investment. Not only can it double as foundation if applied sparingly, but the right concealers can be used to cover up everything from acne to dark circles. “My favorite way [to conceal] is to use a BB or CC cream everywhere, and then just go in with a full-coverage concealer in certain areas,” says Hughes, who name-checks Laura Mercier Secret Concealer, Innisfree Matte Full Cover Concealer, and Glossier Stretch Concealer as some of her favorites. “If you’re trying to cover a spot, I like to use a little bit of an eye primer on top of it, and once it dries, I’ll put concealer on top and it has a little more staying power.”

When it comes for masking those pesky dark circles, you may be used to adding a brighter shade of concealer to counteract any purple-looking areas. However, using a brighter shade of concealer on its own can sometimes draw attention to the discoloration. “You want to make the undereye area blends with the skin, and then you can brighten,” says Hughes, who looks at undertones in her cheeks to color-match a concealer for her eye area. And if you're confident in your color-correcting skills, look to Stiles’ tips for finding the right shade of rainbow concealer for your skin. “I usually use something more peachy on my clients who are more pale,” she says. For olive to deep skin tones, Stiles recommends a golden or orange shade to counteract any purple or blue zones. “One concealer isn’t really going to do it for your whole face.”

Her pick? “I love the new Surratt Perfecionniste Concealer Palettes — they sink invisibly into the skin.” For an instant eye-brightening effect, Stiles also recommends Tatcha's The Pearl Tinted Eye Illuminating Treatment for a quick fix.

6. A little contouring goes a long way.

A dramatic contour might work if you’re playing Maleficent in an onstage adaptation of Snow White. However, IRL, less is almost certainly more. Follow Stiles’ trick and look for a liquid bronzer (we like Giorgio Armani Beauty Neo Nude A-Contour and Make Beauty’s Bronze Pot)) for subtly sculpted effect. “Look for something creamy so that it becomes part of the skin,” she recommends, citing Beauty Pie’s Quick Colour Contour Supergel as one of her go-to’s. “It has a tiny bit of sheen to it and is really beautiful for building under powder but over foundation. I tend to use colors that are more on the taupe side rather than orangey.”

7. Switch up your makeup tools.

“Fingers will sometimes help blend things quicker, but a brush will cover the surface faster,” says Hughes. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to look outside the realm of traditional foundation brushes for something that will give you a more airbrushed and even application. “I don’t use foundation brushes ever,” says Hughes, who instead, opts for eye, cheek, and powder brushes on the regular to apply liquid foundation and concealer. Two of her kit mainstays are Real Techniques' Setting Brush and M.A.C. Cosmetics' 133S Small Cheek Brush. “It’s fluffy and mimics what your hands would do, whereas a flat brush can create streaks.”

8. Set your makeup strategically.

When it comes to ensuring a longwear result, nothing will do the job quite like a setting powder — and trust us, the new wave of loose and pressed options won’t leave you the least bit chalky-looking. “I set foundation lightly with a weightless, pigment-free powder, says Buckle, who names the Casting Call Finishing Powder from his eponymous brand as a universal option. “It sets makeup without making your face too matte, and it doesn’t change the color of foundation.”

If you’re looking for a tinted option, artists were quick to name Revlon’s new PhotoReady Candid Anti-Pollution Setting Powder, Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder Glow and M.A.C.’s Blot Powder as standouts.

Went a little heavy-handed? Spritz a bit of face mist — Hughes recommends Pixi’s Glow Mist or M.A.C. Fix+ — to instantly bring some dew back into your complexion. Another trick is to use some well-placed moisturizer, instead. “I sometimes take a little moisturizer and rub my hands together and in the divers of my palms, press into my client’s cheekbones,” Stiles explains. “It gets the moisture right where you want it without taking any of the makeup off."


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Women's Magazine: 8 Makeup Tips That Let You Fake Flawless, Glowing Skin
8 Makeup Tips That Let You Fake Flawless, Glowing Skin
You know, while you're waiting for that new skin-care routine to start paying off.
Women's Magazine
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