Empowering Every Woman to be Beautiful

How to Apply Foundation

Often when I arrive at a workshop, the client is seeing me for the first time. In this technological age, most of my business correspondence is done through email and cell phone.

Clients have seen photos of me, of course, but that’s not quite the same. My hair has grown out since my promo pictures, and I'm in 3-D.

As I lug my stash of beauty products through the door, someone usually comments, “You have such beautiful skin, even without foundation.”

Me: "Thank you. But I am wearing foundation."

Client: “Oh, it looks so natural. I couldn’t tell.”

That's how foundation is supposed to look. If I can "see" a woman’s foundation (especially along her jawline), she’s either wearing the wrong color or applying it too heavily.

Rachel, in the photo above, is wearing a full face of foundation. I know because I applied it. Honest. And the shot isn’t retouched or changed in any way.

“Yes, but she has great skin,’ you say. “I need to layer on my foundation because I have troubled skin.”

I hear this so often.

I’ll let you in on a secret. Troubled skin draws attention to itself with an inch of caked-on foundation, even if the color is correct. Less is always more. Trust me on this one.

The best foundation tips I can give are these: Make sure the color you choose matches your skin perfectly. There are hundreds of makeup lines. Your color does exist. You may have to search in lines like Becca to find it, but it's out there.

Always purchase the absolute sheerest foundation you can get away with. If that means a light, liquid foundation or, *gasp* none at all, then go for it. If you’ve got a pimple here or there, or even a patch of them multiplying on one cheek, don’t cover your entire face with a thick foundation in hopes of simply plastering over everything. It’s not a good look.

Instead, do a thin, sheer foundation all over to even out blotches and discolorations; then grab a nylon brush and a yellow based concealer that matches your skin almost perfectly. Stroke just over the problem areas – lightly at first, then building as necessary.

You’ll need a good, thick concealer like Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage. I have this product in my makeup kit. And I've assisted Laura Mercier on shoots for Victoria's Secret. This product can cover anything.

Then dust a very light loose powder over top if you need it. I rarely use powder over foundation unless a client has oily skin. I know we’ve been told we must always SET the foundation with powder. That’s marketing speak meant to sell an extra product.

Not every woman needs powder and not every foundation needs “setting”. Experiment and see if you need powder. On older skin, some powders simply settle into every line and deep wrinkle, highlighting them more. I'm guessing that's not what you want.

One more bit of advice. When shopping for foundation at department stores, always look at the sales associate’s makeup. If you see a “demarcation line” near her jaw, changes are you should walk away.

Photography on this post by Jonathan Roth