nothing worse than having "the line"—that telltale sign between your
face and neck that reveals a foundation fail. Your formula may be too
dark, too light or too thickly applied. Whatever the problem, we want
to help eradicate the world of bad foundation applications. So we
enlisted celebrity makeup artist Amy Hollier, cofounder of Luxe Beauty
Team, to school us in the best techniques to achieve an A+ base.
Step 1: Choose the Right Formula
"Foundations come in sheer to full coverage and in finishes that range
from dewy to matte," says Hollier. "Figuring out what you need is the
first step to getting the flawless skin you want." You have three
categories of foundations to choose from and each has a specific
purpose. Choose your weapon wisely.
1. Sheer Coverage (tinted moisturizer, sheer liquids, mineral powders)
Best for: Gals who want their makeup to be
undetectable, letting their own skin shine through. Tinted moisturizers
have a slightly dewy finish that can be reduced with a little
Try: Bare Escentuals bareMinerals SPF 15 Foundation or Maybelline Fit Me Foundation
2. Medium Coverage (liquids, mousse, powders)
Best for: Evening out rosy cheeks and freckles. You
can also build on the coverage by dabbing a little more over spots,
darker areas or under eyes.
Try: Too Faced Amazing Face Oil Free Foundation
3. Full Coverage (creams, liquids, compact powders)
Best for: Hiding blemishes, redness, birthmarks, hypo-
and hyperpigmentation. You should use these hardworking formulas with
care and be sure to blend down the neck well.
Try: Smashbox Healthy FX Foundation
4. Buildable Coverage (liquids, creams, powders and minerals)
Best for: Varying your coverage level based on your skin's mood. Good skin day? Go for a light coverage (aka, one layer). Unexpected blemishes or dark undereye circles? Reapply for heavier coverage without it looking cakey.
Try: ULTA Mineral Liquid Foundation SPF 15.
Step 2: Pick the Perfect Color
find the perfect formula you need to match both the color (warm or
cool) and the shade (from light to dark). Most foundations have either
a warmer (rose, peach) tint or cooler (olive) tint to them. Decide on
your skin tone based on your chest and arms—not your face.
Next, find the right shade. Because our faces are usually a little
uneven in color, Hollier recommends matching your foundation to the
rest of your body. Test foundations on your chest in the area right
under the collarbones: When it matches in color and shade, it will
Some foundations are designed to help you find the perfect match for your skin's color and shade, such as L'Oreal True Match Foundation. Or, try CoverGirl Naturaluxe Foundation, which comes in 14 different shades, from alabaster to brazilnut.
Step 3: Prep and Prime
Once you apply
your foundation, you want to keep it there, right? Always hydrate and
plump your skin first using a moisturizer and follow with a primer.
Hollier swears by primers, saying they have multiple benefits in
smoothing uneven texture, correcting uneven color and keeping
everything in place for long-lasting coverage.
Step 4: Flawless Application
advises starting by lightly applying a thin layer of foundation with
your fingertips or a fluffy foundation brush, then building coverage in
any uneven or red spots. Always follow with a concealer and set with a
light dusting of translucent powder.