I still remember the look on my colleague’s face when I told her she was applying her concealer incorrectly. “What?!” she said, wide eyed. “But I’ve done it this way my whole life! Gosh that makes so much more sense!” A quick office poll revealed more than a few of my workmates were doing their makeup in counterintuitive ways, but by far the most frequent beauty errors were being made while applying a base. And as anyone who builds houses knows, if the foundation is off, the whole thing could collapse.
So I bring you the most common foundation mistakes you’re probably making and how to fix them.
1. MISTAKE: You’re not priming
Napoleon Perdis was right: not to prime is a crime. Not using a primer before applying your face base would kind of like be painting a sponge; your pores will soak all your precious product up before the day is out. Priming gives foundation something to grip too, protects your face from pore clogging nastiness, and ensures your foundation stays on top of your skin, not in it.
2. MISTAKE: You’re putting concealer on before foundation
This was the mistake my coworker had been making: concealer first, then foundation. It was when I said to her “How do you know what still needs concealing once your foundation is on if you’re concealing FIRST? Cue jaw drop moment from her. Applying concealer first is a really great way to waste product. For one, the action of putting on foundation can drag the concealer out of place, wasting all your hard work. Secondly, you’d be surprised what foundation can hide on it’s own. Even out your skin tone with your foundation, then assess for anything you actually need to conceal.
3. MISTAKE: You have one shade of foundation year-round
Same shade for summer and winter? Nice try, buddy. Your skin is usually different colours at different times of the year depending on how much sun you have or haven’t been getting. Like spray tans? Welp, you’ll also need a darker foundation tone for when you’re a golden goddess.
4. MISTAKE: You’re trying to find your colour in the wrong light
Trying to put on makeup in a particularly white or yellow light? You’re not going to know how you look to everyone else in the real world. Say it with me “natural light!”. You need to check what your blending and tone look like in as close to natural light as possible or you’ll get some odd looks while you’re out and about.
5. MISTAKE: You don’t blend all the way down your neck
Your face might technically end at your neck but your foundation certainly shouldn’t. You don’t want to look like you’re wearing a mask, you want to look like your skin is just naturally awesome and that means blending down. Carry that foundation onto your neck and even to your chest if you need. Then buff it the heck out so that you can’t tell where the foundation ends and your skin starts.
6. MISTAKE: You’re putting on too much
Don’t just slap a bunch of foundation on thinking it will cover over all your troubles. This will only lead to pain, heartache and extreme cakeiness. Build up your coverage gradually until what you want covered vanishes and the texture of your skin will look much more smooth. You’ll use LOADS less product too.
7. MISTAKE: You don’t set it properly
Most people have no idea they’re even guilty of this one; I know I didn’t until I became a beauty journalist. Do you find your foundation is gone before the end of the day? Do you find it rubs off easily? Does your eyeliner tend to smudge no matter how “budge-proof” folks claim it is? Then you’re probably not setting your foundation properly. Yep, even if you use primer. Primer stops it from sinking INTO your skin, setting powder or mist stops it from sliding or wiping OFF. You can either dust on a light layer of translucent or coloured powder over freshly applied foundation, ensuring even coverage; or use a setting mist and give your look a light spritz before you go.