Hey there everybody! Welcome back. This week I’m continuing my series on The Basics with face products. If you missed last week’s post, I explained that throughout the month of May I will be focusing all of my main blog posts on the fundamentals, so be sure to check out last week’s installment on eyes and keep reading to find out about anything you need about face makeup! (Ps: This post just covers base makeup and not cheek makeup such as blush, bronzer, and contouring which will be covered in the second installment of this series, so stay tuned.) So, without further ado, here are all the steps to creating the perfect flawless base for you!
Note: Pictures are not mine and copyright is credited to original photographers, however the edits are my original designs.
Step 1: Foundation Brushes & Tools
As I said in last week’s post, brushes are the tools you need to create any makeup look, so I have compiled a guide below to give a simple breakdown of the brushes that are available on the market, however I am not endorsing that you need every single type of these brushes in your collection, especially for a beginner. The guide is simply to inform you of what is available to purchase. Below the guide, you’ll find descriptions of the brushes, what each can be specifically used for, and popular brushes in that specific category, so keep reading to master Face Makeup Brushes 101.
- Popular Affordable Brands:
- Real Techniques
- Makeup Geek
- Eco Tools
- Popular High End Brands:
- The most essential brushes for any beginner collection:
- Round Buffing Brush- This is my favorite model for applying foundation, as the shape is the most ergonomic and fits around the nooks and crannies of the face best, in my opinion, and it buffs product into the skin, giving a natural and blended application.
- Blending Sponge- The original Beauty Blender or a quality knockoff can be a superior multitasking product that can apply foundation, concealer, powder, blush, and bronzer. It is also amazing for blending out edges of foundation and creating a natural looking application.
- Powder Brush- This can be used to apply any sort of powder product including foundation, pressed setting powder, blush and bronzer.
- Flat Oval Concealer Brush- This is such a precise brush and can be used to apply concealer with precision.
- Flat Oval Foundation Brush
- Description- A flat brush with a rounded oval edge and long, thin bristles.
- Primary Use- This brush is used for spreading foundation or other liquid products to the face. It isn’t my favorite way to apply foundation since it primarily spreads and does not blend and can leave streaks if the bristles are too thin and not of good quality. It is best used with cream foundation, since the thick formulation is the least likely to leave streaks or to create sharp, clean lines around the lips or edges.
- Popular Makes- Ecotools Cosmetic Brush (pictured)
- Flat Top Buffing Brush
- Description- A densely bristled conical shaped brush which tapers out from the base and ends with a flat edge.
- Primary Use- This is best used to buff liquid foundation into the skin in a circular fashion. The flat top covers a large surface area and blends foundation nicely. The downside, is that the crisp edge is difficult to fit around the nose and under the eyes.
- Popular Makes- Sonia Kashuk Synthetic Flat Top Brush no. 4 (pictured), Makeup Geek Foundation Stippling Brush
- Round Buffing Brush
- Description- A spherical/dome shaped, dense brush with a rounded off edge.
- Primary Use- Similar to the flat top buffing brush, this brush buffs liquid foundation into the skin using a circular technique. This fits better around the nose and under the eyes.
- Popular Makes- Real Techniques Expert Face Brush (pictured), Makeup Geek Face Buffer Brush
- Stippling Brush
- Description- A conical shaped fluffy brush with light duofibers that is not dense.
- Primary Use- The duofibers keep the product at the top of the brush so that it does not get trapped at the bottom of the brush and the light unfinished edge of the brush allows it to be swirled around to blend into the skin. It can be used with both liquid foundations and various powders.
- Popular Makes- Sephora Pro Stippling Brush no. 44 (pictured)
- Classic Powder Brush
- Buffing Powder Brush
- Description- A densely packed conical shaped brush similar to the flat top buffing brush, but with a slightly rounded edge instead of flat.
- Primary Use- This is best used to set the face with powder or blend in a powder foundation using a circular blending motion.
- Popular Makes- Real Techniques Buffing Brush (pictured)
- Fan Brush
- Description- A flat fan shaped brush.
- Primary Use- Best used with highlighter to apply to the top of the temples, but can be used with powders, especially loose ones, to set the face using a twirling motion.
- Popular Makes- Makeup Forever Medium Powder Fan Brush no. 120 (pictured)
- Blending Sponge
- Description- A reusable teardrop shaped sponge that can be used to blend apply foundation. Good quality sponges will be bouncy and expand when it is dampened and will not absorb a lot of product.
- Primary Use- This most popularly applies liquid foundation and most knockoffs of the original Beauty Blender can probably only perform this task. However, the Beauty Blender is meant to be a multifunctional tool that can apply liquid, cream, or powder products including foundation, blush, concealer, powder, and bronzer.
- Popular Makes- Beauty Blender Original (pictured)
- Flat Oval Concealer Brush
- Description- A mini version of the flat foundation brush, packed maybe slightly denser and can sometimes have a more pointed edge.
- Primary Use- To apply cream concealer or blend out liquid concealer, and clean up and sharpen edges around lips and eyes.
- Popular Makes: Makeup Forever Precision Concealer Brush no. 144 (pictured)
- Fluffy Concealer Brush
- Description- A small, dense fluffy blending brush similar to an eyeshadow blending brush, but a bit shorter and wider.
- Primary Use- To blend out concealer, especially under the eyes using a sweeping motion. Can also be substituted for an eyeshadow blending brush or clean finger.
- Popular Makes: Sephora Pro Airbrush Concealer Brush no. 57 (pictured)
Step 2: Primer Formulas
Face primers are a skincare product, usually in a cream form, that apply to the face before foundation. Face primers are essential to creating a flawless base and can help your makeup stay all day. They are not necessary for everyone, especially for beginners who have great skin, (If you are young, with mostly clear skin, first off, you probably shouldn’t be wearing foundation every day and you would only need a primer if you have an event in which you need your makeup to last a long time, such as a dance or a play.) but if you have troubled skin a primer will help create the perfect base for your foundation. Primers are best suited for those who wear foundation everyday, and have an uneven skin texture, such as enlarged pores or dry patches made visible by foundation wear, or oily skin which breaks down foundation throughout the day.
These different formulas of primer usually are designated to help correct a certain skin ailment that corresponds to your skin type. For example, those with oily and combination skin would need a mattifying primer to counteract the oil in the skin. Formula in this case does not necessarily refer to the varying forms that primers are available in, as primers pretty much come in the same kind of creamy or gel formula, but rather the nuisances in the consistency of the product which will ultimately correct the flaws in your skin according to your skin type.
- Mattifying Primer- This primer is used to balance and counteract excess oil in oily and combination skin types. Typically these primers have oil absorbing ingredients to reduce skin and prevent foundation from breaking down and transferring off of the skin.
- Popular Makes- Makeup Forever Step 1 Equalizer (pictured)
- Smoothing Primer- A primer for smoothing over rough patches and imperfections and usually has a silicone-y texture. Can be used with every skin type, but will not be the best for oily skin. It is good for photography and creating a uniform complexion.
- Pore Filling Primer- This primer also has a slight silicone texture as well to smooth over large pores, but the formula tends to be a bit drier rather than gel-like. Can be used with any skin type as well, but will not mattify oily skin.
- Popular Makes- Benefit Porefessional Primer (pictured)
- Color Correcting Primer- These types of primers work using color theory. The green counteracts redness in the skin while the orange counteracts darkness and blue tones. You can get individual colored primers or ones that combine all the colors such as the pictured one. Can be used with all skin types, but once again, will not mattify.
- Popular Makes- Stila One Step Correct (pictured)
- Hydrating Primer- A primer formulated for dry skin to eliminate dry patches in the skin and hydrate and quench dehydrated skin. It usually contains moisturizers to keep the skin hydrated throughout the day.
- Popular Makes- Smashbox Photofinish Hydrating Primer (pictured)
- Luminizing Primer- These primers add a radiance to the face and an all over glow under foundation. This is best for dull skin and almost all skin types as well.
- Popular Makes- L’Oreal Magic Lumi Primer (pictured)
- Spray Primer- These primer waters are designed to be a quick way to apply primer. These usually have nourishing properties and nutrients that are beneficial for the skin. Sometimes, they even have slight moisturizing properties as well. Spray primers work best for dry or aging skin, but it is beneficial for all skin types.
- Popular Makes- Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water (pictured), Urban Decay B6 Vitamin-Infused Complexion Prep Spray
- Blemish Controling Primer (not pictured)- Sorry, I forgot to include this in the graphic, I realize now, but these primers are designed for sensitive, acne prone skin. They are usually oil free and contain acne fighting treatment ingredients such as salicylic acid.
- Popular Makes- Smashbox Photofinish Blemish Control
Step 3: Foundation 101
Foundation is a makeup product used to even out complexion. It comes in several different formulas (the physical consistency that the product comes in), with different amounts of coverage, and finishes. Finding your perfect foundation fit is no easy task as there are many different factors to consider. Hopefully this next graphic will help you find your perfect fit!
Coverage- Refers to the amount of concealing power that the foundation has. This factor needs to be considered when taking into account how thick you are comfortable wearing your foundation on an everyday basis, or the appropriate amount for the event you are attending.
- Light- These foundations have a sheer amount of coverage and simply even out skin tone and do not necessarily provide enough concealing power to cover blemishes. It has a natural amount of coverage and is good for everyday use for those with minimal blemishes. Light coverage foundations can come in light liquid foundations, BB creams, CC creams, and tinted moisturizers.
- Popular Makes- Nars Sheer Glow Foundation (pictured)
- Medium- These foundations even out skin tone and provide minimal to light coverage. Dark spots, redness, and heavy blemishes will probably need to be covered with concealer. This has an enhanced sort of natural look to it and can be used for everyday for those with a medium amount of blemishes or for a heavier amount of coverage for those with nicer skin. Medium coverage is available in mostly liquid and powder foundations.
- Popular Makes- Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation (pictured)
- Full- Full coverage foundations are very heavy and meant to provide a high amount of concealing power. Little to no flaws should be visible. These foundations are not particularly meant for everyday use, but those who are comfortable enough to sport it, props to you. Usually full coverage is meant for long-wear events or photography. Liquid and cream foundations tend to be full coverage. Use with caution, as it can look “cakey” when applied too heavily.
Finishes- Refers to final texture that the foundation dries to after it is applied. It is an important factor to keep in mind when considering compatibility with your skin type (similar to primers) and the overall look you would like to achieve.
- Matte- These foundations have no luminosity or dewiness to them. They tend to look dry and can look “cakey” if overdone. These are best for oily skin types as it conceals shininess.
- Satin- This is the perfect inbetween of matte and luminous. Satin finishes are mostly matte with a tiny bit of healthy sheen to them. Combination and normal skin types would suit this best.
- Luminous- Luminous foundations have a radiance quality to them much like a luminizing primer, it contains ingredients which provide an all over glow. Dry, dull, and aging skin would benefit the most of this finish.
- Natural- These foundations have a dewy quality to them and give the skin a healthy and dimensional quality. It is not usually suited for oily skin, but is great for normal and dry skin.
Formulas- Refers to the physical texture that the product comes in and applies as on the face. It is also important to take this into consideration when choosing a foundation compatible with skin type and the amount of longevity you would prefer.
- Liquid Foundation- Liquid foundation usually comes in a glass container with a pump or pour or plastic container which squeezes or pours. Liquid foundation is a fluid consistency and comes in various amounts of coverages and finishes. It is probably the most popular formula of foundation.
- Popular Makes- Makeup Forever HD Invisible Cover Foundation (pictured), Maybelline Fit Me, Urban Decay Naked Weightless Ultra Definition Foundation
- BB Cream- BB creams stands for beauty balm or blemish balm. They are primarily an Asian beauty product that has become popular in the states. Western versions tend to be more like a tinted moisturizer, however. These products are supposed to be an all in one product, combining the efforts of moisturizer, primer, sunscreen, skin treatment, concealer, and foundation. They provide light coverage with other skin benefits and treatments.
- CC Cream- This formula is a Western extension on the BB cream. To be honest, it’s a bit gimmicky and kind of milks off the popularity of BB creams. CC stands for color correcting cream. These also have light coverage and are filled with some treatments for the skin.
- Popular Makes- Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream (pictured)
- Tinted Moisturizer- This formula focuses mainly on hydrating the skin while providing weightless and light coverage. Basically, it is like a moisturizer with coverage benefits.
- Popular Makes- Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (pictured)
- Pressed Powder- Pressed powder formulas are essentially a colored solid powder that provides full coverage. They are pretty thick and tend to mattify the skin. Adding too much can result in a cakey look. They are meant to provide both coverage and set makeup in place and are different from colored setting powders (see below).
- Popular Makes- MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation (pictured)
- Loose Powder- This formula is a finely milled colored powder that is light on the skin. It is also sometimes known as mineral makeup.
- Popular Makes- Bare Minerals Original Foundation (pictured), Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation
- Cushion Foundation- This formula is also pioneered by the Asian beauty community. Basically, this is a way to make BB or CC creams portable by having a liquid soaked cushion that deposits product onto a puff when pressed down on.
- Mousse Foundation- A mousse foundation is a whipped creamy/liquidy formula. It is thicker than a liquid foundation but not quite a solid cream foundation.
- Popular Makes- Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse Foundation (pictured)
- Airbrush Foundation- This is an aerosol foundation in which the pigment is sprayed out in a light liquid form. It is meant to synthesize an actual airbrush system that professionals use, and give a super flawless finish.
- Stick Foundation- This is a solid cream foundation that comes in a stick form. Cream foundations can also be found in a pot or compact. These tend to be high coverage and quite thick.
- Popular Makes- Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Skin (pictured)
Step 4: Concealer 101
Concealer has two main purposes: it can either be used to spot cover any blemishes or hide dark circles under the eyes. It can be used on its own, for those of you who have little imperfections, or can be used to supplement blemishes that peek through foundation.
Concealer Purposes- There are two main concerns which require the extra coverage that concealer provides.
- Blemish- Extra coverage for acne, blemishes, hyper-pigmentation spots, and redness. These concealers are a thick and creamy consistency and are usually a fleshy color to blend in with foundation. They come in various formulas including liquid and cream.
- Undereye- Extra coverage for dark circles and blueness under the eyes. These concealers are a lighter consistency and have color correcting and/or luminizing properties to counteract the darkness. These come in liquid and powder forms.
- Liquid- Similar consistency to liquid foundation, this is a fluid like formula. It comes in several types of packaging including squeeze tubes (like the Makeup Forever pictured above), tubes with doe foot applicators, pens, and twist tubes (like the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind pictured above). These concealers are more specfically aimed to add extra coverage to blemishes and some of the thicker ones (MUFE or MAC Pro Longwear) can even be used on their own on an everyday basis to spot cover blemishes if you have pretty good skin.
- Cream- This formula is a solid consistency just like cream foundation, and can be found in a pot or a stick. They are thick, creamy and waxy and provide high coverage. This is perfect for spot covering blemishes on a day to day basis. The pictured Bobbi Brown product is a duo that has a corrector as well that is peach toned and meant to be worn under the eyes. I’m not aware of many cream correctors except for this one, but if you know of any please feel free to leave me a comment below.
- Stick- This is a solid cream concealer that is just like cream concealer, but in a stick form. It is also high coverage and perfect for spot concealing.
- Popular Makes- MAC Matchmaster Concealer (pictured)
- Pen- This concealer is usually a light liquid formula that is primarily aimed to illuminate and the under eye area and highlight as opposed to covering blemishes. There is a brush tip at the end of a liquid filled tube and it applies concealer upon pressure being applied.
- Popular Makes- Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat (pictured), Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer, MAC Prep and Prime Pen
- Powder- This is not a popular form of concealer, but it is available. Mostly, this is an under eye illuminating product, but Bare Minerals does have a blemish powder concealer. Under eye powder concealers are basically banana powders, or yellow tinted powders that counteract the dark purple and blue coloring in dark circles.
- Popular Makes- Bare Minerals Well Rested (pictured)
Step 5: Finishing Products
To set your entire makeup look in place, there are two main finishing products: powders and sprays. They are usually applied after all of your makeup is completed including eye makeup to lock your makeup in place and keep it lasting all day long.
- Pressed Colored- This is a solid powder meant to set makeup in place and add an extra layer of coverage on top of a light foundation, not necessarily meant to be a powder foundation. These are great to set sheer or medium foundations to make up for the lack of coverage from those formulas, or to go along with spot concealing. I don’t recommend using this to set a heavy foundation, as this would be too heavy and create a “cakey” effect.
- Popular Makes- Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Pressed Finishing Powder (pictured)
- Pressed Translucent- This is a solid, colorless powder. It is perfect for setting full coverage foundation, as it simply locks the makeup in place and doesn’t add another layer of coverage. It is perfect for blotting on the go as it is nice an compact.
- Loose Colored- A finely milled powder that is meant to add a sheer amount of coverage and fill any fine lines or pores. Unlike a mineral foundation, this isn’t meant to provide a full face of coverage. It pairs well with just spot concealing as well.
- Popular Makes- Bare Minerals Mineral Veil (pictured)
- Loose Translucent- Finely milled colorless powder that smooths the face and fills in any imperfections and locks makeup into place. This is my personal favorite powder to set makeup, as it doesn’t detract from any cheek color I have placed, it smooths out my skin and has mattifying and blotting properties.
- Popular Makes- Tarte Smooth operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder (pictured), Makeup Forever HD Microfinish Powder
- Mattifying- Keeps the skin matte and all makeup locked into place.
- Hydrating- Adds moisture to the skin and prevents skin from drying out throughout the day while also insuring makeup stays in place.
- Popular Makes- Urban Decay Chill Makeup Setting Spray (pictured)
- Multipurpose- These sprays are not abundant, but they are great for multitasking. They can set makeup, rehydrate cream products, “foil” out pressed shadows, and much more!
- Popular Makes- MAC Fix+ Finishing Mist (pictured)
Alrighty, well I know that this was a lengthy post and if you stuck with me through the whole thing, thank you so much! I hope that this post has been informative and helped anyone who is trying to learn the basics. If this was mostly review for you, leave me a comment below sharing your favorite makeup tip and then share this with a friend who you think might find this helpful! Thanks for reading and catch you next week!
All my love,