Really rich skin, basically.
Any make-up artist will tell you: Good eye make-up will get you noticed, but good skin will get you work. You can probably envision already the type of ‘good skin’ we’re talking about, as it’s slowly becoming the new Instagram Face – flawless but not cakey, dewy but not oily, radiant and full of health. This kind of make-up application is a real skill not to be sniffed at, but obviously, we’re not all MUAs. Is it possible to DIY great skin? Absolutely!
No matter what your skin type, starting off with a clean and moisturised face is essential. As dry-skinned gals probably know, foundation is magnetically attracted to patches of dry skin, and sadly, that’s not a good look. However, you don’t want to apply your foundation directly on top of your fresh moisturiser – get your skincare done, leave it to sink in for a couple of minutes as you do your bits, then go in with your foundation.
Primer is still a controversial subject in the beauty world. Is it a swizz or a must-have? It’s down to personal preference at this stage, so if you feel like you need an extra layer of hydration or a mattified t-zone that only a primer can provide, go on ahead.
Us Irish women love a FULL face of slap, but if you want to create naturally flawless-looking skin, you need to loosen your grip on the foundation bottle. Iconic make-up artist Lisa Eldridge thinks of foundation as a way to “embellish” skin and even out the tone, and not as a mask that covers everything.
“Most people, even if they’ve only got a few spots or a little bit of pigmentation, say ‘I need 80% coverage’,” she explains.
“I’ll look at their skin and see a little bit of pigmentation here, a spot there… That’s less than 20% of your face and the rest of your skin is beautiful. Why are you masking all this lovely skin just to cover a small percentage?”
Granted, some days you’re going to want more coverage than others, but it’s worth thinking realistically about how much you need. We’re used to seeing heavily made up, filtered and FaceTuned skin on Instagram, but real skin will always have texture, spots, pores, lines… Once you stop thinking of make-up as a way to erase them, you may find yourself getting on with it a little better.
Don’t worry if you can still see spots, redness and dark circles under your foundation – it’s not designed to cover them completely. That’s what concealer is for! While some MUAs would have you believe that you need to apply thick triangles of concealer all over your face, almost like a second layer of foundation, that is absolutely not the case.
Under your eyes, you’re going to want a thinner formula in a shade slightly lighter than your skin tone. Apply it in a small triangle under the eye starting from the inner corner, then blend it out with a sponge or fluffy brush. Like foundation, you’ll want to keep it light – the more you use, the more it will settle into any creases or lines.
For spots, we turn again to the wisdom of Lisa Eldridge and her pinpoint concealing technique. Using a tiny brush, she applies a dot of concealer to the offending area and pats it in gently with
a finger. Then, taking a fluffy brush, she blends the edges into the foundation.
The finish you get all depends on the tools you choose. Dual-fibre stippling brushes are soft and not too dense, great for sheering out heavier bases and giving a light wash of foundation. The traditional flat foundation brush is probably the most full coverage of them all, but pay attention or you’ll be left with a streaky face.
Buffing brushes are lovely for working foundation into the skin, and pretty much foolproof for the beauty novices among us. Beauty sponges will give you a more airbrushed, natural finish (though you can build it up with them quite easily) and are also very nice for gently blending out concealer under the eyes.
For concealer, you’ll want a teeny-tiny brush for pinpoint concealing, a flat brush for applying concealer to larger areas, and a fluffy brush to blend out any hard edges. Eyeshadow brushes are actually perfect for this – everything in your makeup bag is multi-purpose, so there’s no need to buy a ton of tools for specific tasks.
And of course, if you’re not getting the finish you like with brushes or sponges, you can use your hands! The warmth of your fingertips can help makeup melt into the skin, as opposed to sitting on top of it. Lots of makeup artists use a combo of both to get everything just right.
Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to create the perfect canvas on which to add blush, bronzer, and highlighter – and have a good skin day, every day.