Hair & Makeup

How To Make Your Foundation Look Like Skin, Not Makeup

If we want to be complimented on great skin rather than clever makeup, how do we get that naturally seamless finish? NEWBY HANDS asks four top makeup artists to share their real-skin foundation secrets, including a where-to-leave-bare hack and the benefits of tech-friendly prep

A fresh, flawless face showcases the power of well-applied foundation

VIOLETTE: keep some skin bare

“Focus your application on the center of your face first, patting foundation into the sides of your nose, then out onto the tops of your cheeks and under the eyes. Stop applying more once you reach your cheeks – from there, just blend out what’s already on your skin. I never put foundation down the front of the nose, only the sides – if your nose is bare, it makes it look like you’re not wearing foundation at all, but your skin still looks great.”

DANIEL MARTIN: use a sponge to finish – not to apply

“Foundation should look like seamless skin, not makeup. I never use a sponge to apply foundation, just my fingers, but I do use a damp sponge as a finisher, as it kind of pulls everything together. Start in the center of the face and work out, as sometimes when using your fingers you get those little streaks of makeup – that’s natural, but the sponge will blend and buff them out and ‘settle’ the product. If you feel you’ve used too much blush or contour, just go over it with a little foundation and finish with the damp sponge. I love how it makes that [blush] color look as though it is coming through the skin rather than sitting on top of it.”

PATI DUBROFF: prep skin with a device

“Before applying makeup, the best thing you can do is go in with tools. It’s something women think is too much work, but every time I use tools on my clients and see how fast their skin changes, I’m blown away. Spending five minutes with a face roller or microcurrent device – NuFace and Ziip Beauty are great for microcurrent, and I love Angela Caglia’s face roller – means you start from a place where the skin’s already looking vibrant and alive, which makes a really big difference. With foundation, make sure you have a thoughtful amount of coverage while still letting the skin breathe, which means being more minimal with your powders and blending in your foundation. With powder, I use a tiny brush and apply it specifically where I want it – I’ll also blot with a clean puff to take off extra shine without weighing the skin down with too many products. If you use too much powder, it’s difficult to bring the skin back to life, so go gently and build up gradually.”

GUCCI WESTMAN: be strategic with your application

“With the right application, you can fool others into thinking you’re not wearing much makeup – people often say to me, ‘You don’t wear much’, when I’m actually wearing the most makeup in the room. Initially, apply your foundation to areas that need it most – on any redness, texture, blemishes – and from there, you can build your coverage as needed. The general rule is to begin in the center of your face and work out, allowing the natural shade at the side of your face to remain bare, as uniform skin gives the appearance of too much makeup; if your complexion is just one color, you look like you have makeup on.”


The models featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown