The Best Pro Tips for Faking a Flawless Face

By |2017-09-11T15:58:54+00:00August 31st, 2017|The Beauty Edit|

Plus, the latest skin-perfecting makeup to try now.  

Image by Lauren Kerbel

Barely-there makeup sounds great, in theory, but what if your skin needs more than a light wash of product to look pristine? From finding the right foundation shade to concealing with subtlety, we asked the experts for their top tips on using makeup to score perfect-looking skin.

Start with skincare

You’ve probably heard it before, but we’ll let Jessica Jara, lead artist and educator for Stila Cosmetics Canada, say it again: “The first step to a flawless face is a consistent, daily skin care regime that addresses your personal skin care needs.” Dehydrated skin that doesn’t get a steady dose of moisture will crack under foundation, for instance. Likewise, oil-controlling cleansers, masks and creams go a long way toward to keeping your skin shine-free.

Clinique Pep-Start Double Bubble Purifying Mask, $34 at Sephora.

Use sunscreen, always

UV damage is never a good look, so don’t forget to wear sunscreen every day, year-round. “Apply sunscreen after you moisturize and before your makeup,” advises Shannon Kotsopoulos, national education manager at Laura Mercier. “This will allow for the SPF to function as designed and not ruin the finish on the foundation.”

Prep with primer

“On full makeup application days, use an oil-free primer in order to prep, condition, and smooth skin,” says Jara. Primer also happens to help your makeup last longer and gives you an extra shot at addressing any skin-care concerns. Feeling lackluster? Add an illuminating primer to give your skin a radiant boost. Worried about shine? Use a mattying primer to stop oil slicks before they start.

Stila One Step Prime, $47 at Nordstrom.

Find your shade

“A tip for finding the right shade of foundation is to match it to your chest — especially if you’re diligent in protecting your face and neck with SPF,” says Jara. Test up to three shades on the back of your hand to see how the product looks once it’s absorbed into your skin, she adds. “Personally, I use two different foundation colours: one for summer and another for winter, depending how much sun I’ve gotten,” says Jara. “There are times that I mix them together in between seasons, too.”

Apply accordingly

Use your fingers to apply foundation for full coverage, layering additional product on areas that need more coverage, like the forehead, chin and around the nose, says Kotsopoulos. “Apply your foundation with a dry sponge for medium coverage, and a wet sponge for a more sheer application,” she adds.

Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation, $59 at Sephora.

Get crafty with coverage

More times than not, full-coverage concealers are very dense and thick, so the objective is to make it apply more like a smooth mousse, says Maddox Lu, national brow and trend artist for Benefit Cosmetics Canada. “In order to do this, I always mix the smallest amount of skin-smoothing primer into the concealer before I apply the concoction as one.” The tool you use is equally important, says Lu. “For full coverage concealers, sponges work best as they are porous, which allows for a controlled distribution of the concealer itself,” he says, adding, “Brushes and fingers can sometimes spread and slide product around.”

Benefit Boi-ing Industrial Concealer, $27 at Shoppers Drug Mart. 

Layer concealer like a pro

Tackle multiple dilemmas by using different formulas on top of one another, suggests Lu. “The trick is to identify your key concern and apply a formula to address that first. Then, layer an additional formula on top to seal the deal — bonus points if it’s a smoothing concealer, as you want to control the look of too many layers.” Avoid setting each layer with a powder before moving on, adds Lu. “That’s when things start to look heavy and more detectable.”

Speaking of powder…

Powders are the key to setting your foundation and helping to keep your skin looking shine-free. Choosing the right product is important, of course, but just as crucial is using the right technique. According to Derek Selby, global ambassador for Cover FX, the secret is to work the powder into a brush or puff, give the tool a light tap, and then press and roll the powder into the skin. Unlike dusting, which leaves only a fraction of powder on the surface of your skin, working the product in means you’ll not only lock in your coverage, but keep shine under control for longer, too.

Cover FX Perfect Setting Powder, $42 at