There's nothing worse than looking into the mirror and seeing your full face of makeup that you worked so hard to apply look cakey, creased, and patchy - especially if you're not in a position to fix it! I find that properly applied foundation is the key to full-face glam success and luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to keep it looking fresh and flawless all day.
1) Don't skip the moisturizer.
No matter what skin type you have - oily, dry, combination - you should be incorporating a moisturizer into your skin care routine. One common misconception is that if you have oily skin you don't need moisturizer, but as a matter of fact, if you don't moisturize your skin could end up producing even more oil to compensate. Moisturizing is an important step in creating a smooth canvas for makeup, and you may be surprised at how the right formula for your skin type can work wonders on its texture and overall appearance.
Current fav moisturizer for dry/combo skin: Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel
2) Give skin care products enough time to absorb into your skin.
Before you apply your makeup you probably (and SHOULD be) completing your normal skin care routine. Whether you just wash your face and apply moisturizer, or you get a little more in-depth with it by adding a toner, serum or spot treatment, you should give the products at least 5 minutes to absorb into your skin before you apply your foundation. If you don't wait long enough, your skin never quite dries down and you may find that your foundation looks cakey and transfers a lot when you touch your skin or when it touches something like a cell phone.
3) Use the correct primer.
There are SO many different kinds of primers out there for oily skin, dry skin, combination skin, large pores, color correction, you name it. I know this is a "duh" statement but make sure if you have oily skin you're using an oil-controlling primer and if you have dry skin, you use a hydrating primer. If you have combination skin, you may benefit from using an oil-controlling primer in the spots that get oily and a hydrating primer on the spots that get dry throughout the day.
There are two main types of formulas for foundation and primer: silicone based and water based. If you use a silicone-based primer, it will perform the best with a silicone-based foundation and if you use a water-based primer you should pair it with a water-based foundation.
Current fave matte primer: Too Faced Primed & Peachy Cooling Matte Perfecting Primer
Current fave hydrating primer: Laura Geller Spackle Treatment Hydrating Make-up Primer
4) Build up coverage in light layers.
I know, I know - we are all in a hurry all the time, and no one wants to have to apply more than one layer of foundation. I GET IT. The same time aspect comes into play with all of the tips in this article but if you want flawless makeup, it takes time. When you apply your foundation, it's important to build it up to achieve the coverage you're looking for instead of just throwing it all on at once. I usually go for a medium-to-full coverage. I'll start with less than a pea-sized amount of product (just enough to cover my face) and apply that, then go back after a few seconds and apply up to another pea-sized amount.
Current fav foundation: Too Faced Born This Way foundation in shade Warm Nude
5) Use the right application method.
If I'm using a runny liquid foundation, I prefer using a damp blending sponge. This helps me spread the product further over my face evenly so that achieving those light layers is quick and easy. If I'm using a thicker, mousse-like foundation, I'll typically use a flat-top, densely-bristled brush because a sponge just won't distribute the product even enough.
Current fav beauty sponge: Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge
Current fav foundation brush: Tarte Foundation Brush & Spatula
6) Don't layer cream/liquid products over powders.
This is a big one when avoiding the doomed cakeface. When applying your makeup, apply all your liquid and cream products (e.g. foundation, concealer) first, followed by powders (e.g. blush, bronzer). Adding cream/liquid over powder will result in a clumpy, patchy, mess.
7) Set your face with powder, but not too much.
Once you apply your foundation and any other liquid/cream products, you should set them with a small amount of translucent powder. Note, when I say "small" I mean SMALL - like less than the size of a pea. If you apply too much your face will look cakey and chalky - not pleasant. I like to take a little bit of translucent powder on a big fluffy brush and lightly dust my face. Just barely graze your skin - if you press too hard with the brush it will disturb the foundation underneath. If my skin is feeling more oily I'll go back in with a puff and gently press a teeny tiny bit of powder into the problem areas (mostly my t-zone). I'll also avoid areas that tend to be on the dry side - like the sides of my mouth. Setting your face with powder will create a barrier between your foundation/other cream products and the rest of your makeup. It will also help to blur any imperfections, like pores.
Current fav setting powder: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder in Natural
8) Set your face with setting spray more than once.
You can mist your face with a setting spray after you finish applying foundation and other liquid/cream products, both before you apply powder and after. A quick spritz before powder helps to lock down liquid/cream products, and another quick spritz after you powder helps to take away any chalky or powdery look to your face.
Current fav setting spray: Too Faced Hangover 3-in-1 Setting Spray
And there you have it. I hope these tips and tricks will help you apply foundation and the rest of your glam more flawlessly!