Generally speaking, makeup YouTubers and bloggers have good, if not unusually great, skin, and even though so many are incredibly talented, it’s hard to find videos and articles delving into techniques for foundation, concealer and powder application that will cover up acne and redness without emphasising texture or looking exceptionally heavy.
To start off, I should probably tell you what my skin is like. I have combination skin that is subject to changes in dryness, oiliness and it’s sensitivity to being acne-prone due to medication and my monthly hormonal cycle. I also have minor rosacea and keratosis pilaris, so definitely not the best, but not the worse. However, I wear makeup every single day, and I get compliments even from strangers about how great my skin looks…even though underneath is a different story.
My skin issues are definitely my biggest insecurity, and I know I’m not alone in this, and I really want to help others find makeup products and/or techniques that will help them feel more confident.
1. A GENTLE PHYSICAL EXFOLIATOR
I have mild rosacea, so I have to be exceptionally careful when it comes to what products I do and don’t put on my face. Weirdly, I seem to be fine with most makeup, but skincare is my danger zone. Within seconds, my skin could go from looking fine to being inflamed, bumpy and itchy. And don’t even get me started on cleansers and SPF!
Generally speaking with rosacea, a lot of people don’t recommend using exfoliators, however, I find that I’m perfectly fine with using a physical scrub on my forehead, chin and around my nose once or twice a week. This really helps to leave my skin feeling extra clean, soft and super smooth, allowing my base makeup to look even better. The key for me is to not use it too often, to maintain a light hand at all times and to avoid my cheeks completely.
Historically, most physical exfoliators were constructed out of microbeads, which are little balls of plastic that quickly get washed down the drain and into our water system. Really not good. The physical exfoliator I use and love is the gel-to-milk Scrub from Gladskin. It’s microbiome-friendly, meaning your skin’s physical barrier which protects you from skin problems will remain happy and healthy, and it’s made from cellulose grains, meaning it’s environmentally-friendly too.
2. A SIMPLE MOISTURISER
Choosing the correct moisturiser for your skin type is crucial to creating a base that will allow your foundation to apply well and last throughout the day. Ideally, you don’t want to pick a cream that is too thick or too greasy – this will cause creasing in your foundation and make it look more thick.
I use the GladSkin Daily Care Cream which is formulated with minimal ingredients for sensitive skin. I take a small blob and gently massage a fine and even layer across my face and down my neck. Next, I take a cotton pad and tap it across my forehead and chin to remove any excess cream.
It’s essential to let your moisturiser sink into your skin for at least 5 minutes before applying foundation. This allows the moisturiser to dry a little, giving your skin a ‘tacky’ feel for the foundation to stick too. This also prevents streakiness and looking too shiny.
3. ARMANI LUMINOUS SILK FOUNDATION
Like moisturiser, it’s important to choose the correct foundation for your skin type. I personally don’t like anything too matte, but I don’t like to look too shiny. I’ve used the Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation for years and I can’t see myself swapping.
I place 3-4 pumps of foundation on the back of my hand, and with a clean finger spread it evenly across my entire face, putting less on my nose and chin as these are the areas that are more likely to look cakey. 3-4 pumps sounds like a lot, but it is essential to use plenty of foundation to give your skin a smooth look – too little foundation leads to patchiness and an uneven finish, especially if your skin has rough texture. Spreading the foundation finely with your finger before blending it out with a brush prevents the brush packing up with product – this, in turn, allows your foundation to blend in a fine and more natural-looking layer.
For full-coverage makeup, a big kabuki brush will be your best friend, as it will allow you to quickly blend your foundation smoothly while retaining as much coverage as possible. My favourite is the Fenty 115 Kabuki-Buff Foundation Brush. I always tap, never buff, foundation into my skin – this stops streaking and unevenness while maintaining coverage.
Also, remember to blend it down your neck to prevent THE LINE haha.
4. LAURA MERCIER FLAWLESS FUSION ULTRA-LONGWEAR CONCEALER
Even after foundation, I always need to add a little more coverage, especially on my cheeks, and do a little spot concealing as well. For this I use either the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (Chantilly) or the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Concealer (0.5N). If you require more concealer for coverage, personally I’ve found that a more liquidy concealer is better – it gives a finer and more dewy finish.
Place the concealer where you need the coverage, and with a brush (my favourite being the Fenty 180 Concealer brush), lightly tap over it. Spreading the concealer thinly, just like with the foundation, allows your makeup to blend more smoothly and finely. Building the concealer up in thin layers ensures you’re using just the amount you need. With each layer, tap over the concealer with your foundation brush to blend it in with the rest of your base makeup. Keep going until you’ve got the level of coverage you desire.
5. HOURGLASS VEIL TRANSLUCENT SETTING POWDER
Setting powder can make or break how your makeup looks. Picking the right one will make all the difference in whether your skin looks smooth, too dry, cakey or just right. Day to day, my go-to is the Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder, which has an exceptionally fine shimmer in it – this gives the skin a beautiful and natural glow. Some of my other favourites include the Too Faced Born This Way Translucent Setting Powder and the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder.
It’s essential that you don’t use too much. Contrary to belief, when it comes to powder, less is more and helps to prevent creasing and looking, obviously, powdery. I switch between using my Fenty 170 Powder Puff Setting brush and my Real Techniques Powder brush, and I apply the product in light tapping/pressing motions all over my face.
One final note – acne, rosacea, eczema, texture, scarring… it’s all normal. No one, if they are someone who you’d want in your life, will be fazed or judge you negatively for having it. However, I understand that the issue with skin issues is how we, as the ones suffering with the problem, perceive ourselves to look. It’s stressful, upsetting and can lead to awful feelings of insecurity. Even though this is a ‘full-coverage routine’, I am trying my hardest to embrace my so-called ‘flaws’ to stand for normality and allowing my pimples and redness to come through a little bit – I believe it’s essential to remind one another that, even though how we feel about our exterior is important, beauty comes from within. I wear makeup because I want to – I find it therapeutic, it makes me feel empowered – but I can’t deny the feeling that I want to cover my insecurities, and that is perfectly ok…that’s what makeup was made for. Love, T x