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A Lesson In The Art Of Applying Liquid Foundation

Good skin or great makeup? No one will ever be able to tell.

Remember makeup?

How do you know when you’ve nailed foundation application? When someone comments on how great your skin looks. Of course, some love a full-coverage look, and a little more makeup can work wonders in photos, but it’s actually much harder to nail the everyday no-makeup makeup look. Trust us, we hear it time and again from the world’s biggest makeup artists. And the secret isn’t just in the colour-matching; oh no, there’s a bit more to it than that.

Luckily we’ve called on the experts to break it down for you. Whether you wake up flawless and fresh-faced or you need a little help faking it on occasion, nailing your foundation is as vital to your everyday no-makeup makeup look as it is to you fuller-coverage face. Here's how the world’s biggest makeup artists go about building a second-skin base. 

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Let's start at the very beginning. Colour-matching your foundation to the back of your hand or a tiny swatch on your jawline just won't cut it when it comes to perfectly matching your shade. 

Blend a decent amount of the foundation from your cheek right down to your neck and get yourself out into the natural light. This will help give you an accurate sense of how it’s going to look in real life, but better still, if you’re shopping at a counter with an experienced artist to hand, get them to colour match you. They'll know exactly how to handle crypt-keeper complexions and self-tanner enthusiasts. 

Estée Lauder counters are offering a super slick colour match service currently, done with a Foundation Finder gadget. 

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A bad workman can always blame his tools, but after reading the below, you won't be able to get away with that excuse again. 

Liquid Foundations - Ideal for drier skins, liquid foundation goes on best using a buffing brush, or one with short, dense bristles. Use it in circular movements for a light-to-medium coverage, dabbing over areas that need a little more camouflaging.

Cream Foundations - Those with normal-ish skin types are probably the few that can work creamier foundations, as their natural oils help to make the finish more natural and less cakey. Use a damp Beauty Blender to press in this type of base. 

Powder Foundation - Perfect for those who have to contend with makeup melting/slippage throughout the day, instead smoothening out open pores and mattifying excess radiance. Use a big fluffy brush, tap off excess powder and brushed lightly over the centre of the skin to keep the result natural as possible. 

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Even on our worst skin days, it's rare that we need full coverage foundation all over our faces. The best way to avoid looking like you were shot with a makeup gun is to apply your foundation where necessary, and then zero in on blemishes with a concealer. And if you're using foundation to warm up or tan your face, again apply a light layer and go back in with a bronzer. 

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Once you have your base done, step back and allow it to ft for a couple of minutes. It can take some time for the makeup to adjust to our skin; i.e. it's natural oils, acidity level and the humidity in the air. All of these factors can play a part in how real your foundation will look, so give it all time to settle and then see if you need to add more or take some away. 

If the application feels cakey, gently patting your skin with clean and warm fingertips to help melt the makeup into the skin making it look more natural. Or if you've overdone the powder, try misting the face with a little water spray - this will bring back some much-needed life. 

Main image by @jourdandunn on Instagram

READ: Experts Warn These Beauty Mistakes Could Be Making Your Skin Age Prematurely

READ MORE: Every Question You've Ever Had About Pores, Answered.