Let's say you're in your mid-thirties, and you've worn makeup since you were 15. You’d think after literally two decades wearing foundation and concealer, you'd have it down pat. Actually, from caking, melting, creasing—and, of course, color-matching—many people struggle with face makeup more than any other kind.

That's why we rounded up our favorite tricks for making your foundation and concealer look like real skin…. And actually stay on. Because that shouldn’t be too much to ask, no?

Squeeze onto the back of your hand.
You've probably seen lots of influencers squeezing foundation directly onto their faces. Save that technique for I.G. and squeeze or pump your product on the back of your hand instead. It'll warm up the formula for more seamless application, and you'll be able to more accurately assess how much foundation you need as you go. (FYI, too much foundation equals that dreaded cakey look.)

Check the directions on your tools.
Remember a few years back when we were all mind-blown that our beauty blender sponges were meant to be used slightly damp? And then we tried it and realized just how much more natural our foundation looked? Lesson learned: Whether it's brushes or sponges, always read the directions before applying for the most skin-like finish.

Use your hands.
One of the world's top makeup artists, Pat McGrath, is infamous for her foundation application technique: Backstage at fashion shows, she literally massages foundation into models' skin with her hands, almost like moisturizer. That's because body heat really helps foundation "melt" into the complexion—giving it a fresh, skin-like look. So if you're stumped about why your foundation looks kind of... well, fake... try this trick out.

Apply powder strategically.
Sometimes our foundation looks flawless—until we try to lock it in with setting powder, and things start to look overly matte and cakey. Next time you're applying, try using a smaller, more precise powder brush, and imagine there's a vertical, two-inch stripe down the center of your face. Strategically apply powder here, which will take care of most oily, T-zone spots, and leave the rest of your face powder-free. You'll look dewy and fresh, but not greasy.

Brush on with downward strokes.
Your foundation and concealer application may be lifting your facial peach fuzz, which encourages caking and unevenness. Instead, use a tightly-packed brush (like our Perfecting Buffer Brush) to apply in smooth, downward strokes.

Check new products in natural light.
Before you head out into the world—or better yet, before you even purchase a new foundation or concealer—wear it around for an hour or so and look in a mirror outside. Some formulas can oxidize and shift tones with wear, so you'll want to ensure any new products match your skin tone from morning to night.

Mix your concealer with eye cream and highlighter.
Like an instant eight hours of sleep! Swipe a creamy concealer, like Conceal + Correct, onto the back of your hand, then add a few drops of liquid highlighter and a dab of your favorite eye cream. Blend them all together and tap onto your entire eye area for wide-awake, fresh-faced vibes.

Use an angled brush to remove concealer from lines.
If your concealer loves to settle into fine lines underneath your eyes, here's how to eliminate the issue: After you apply concealer, simply run a clean, angled liner brush over the fine lines. Can't crease if there's no concealer there at all!

Use powder as blemish concealer.
If you struggle with acne, you know how frustrating it is to put on concealer, only to accidentally rub it off a few minutes later. But topping your concealer with setting powder takes so long. Instead, apply full-coverage powder (such as Pressed Mineral Foundation) as concealer. It makes for great coverage that truly stays put.

Tap on concealer, then blend the edges.
We're not sure how this never occurred to us, but you can blend out the edges of your concealer (i.e. the area around a blemish) without blending out the concealer on the blemish itself too much. This way, you get full coverage on pimples or spots, but without it looking unnatural.

Grab two concealer shades.
You never want to use the same concealer on blemishes as under-eye circles. Use a shade lighter under your eyes to brighten and highlight the area, but opt for the tone that best matches your skin tone on spots. Trying to conceal them with a shade lighter or darker will only draw attention to them.

Do your eye makeup first.
Always apply eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara before concealer. If there are any fallout or mistakes you need to correct, the concealer will disguise the evidence.

Use concealer on your lids.
We tend to focus on discoloration underneath our eyes most, as it's the most dramatic. But blend your concealer up onto your lids and you'll notice a big difference—many people have blue, green, or red tones lurking there as well. Plus, concealer makes an awesome eyeshadow primer.

Try a color-matching quiz.
Not confident about your own ability to shade match? Snag your shade from the comfort of your couch with a simple quiz. (Try ours here!)

If all else fails, use a glowy setting spray.
Always, always, always keep a dewy setting spray on hand. Even if you're horrified by how cakey or patchy your foundation and concealer look, a few spritzes of a mist like Lock + Rock Makeup Mist will help your face makeup disperse and meld into the skin more evenly. Plus, subtle shimmer particles will make your complexion look fresh and natural rather than made-up.

October 21, 2020

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