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I Tried TikTok’s ‘Model Complexion’ Hack — & Tossed Foundation

Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
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When it comes to insider beauty knowledge, TikTok is pretty much unrivalled. Where else would we discover burgeoning hair trends like the 'midi-flick' (dreamt up by stylist and TikToker, Tom Smith) or transformative skincare hack, 'skin cycling', propelled to viral status by dermatologist Dr Whitney Bowe?
This week, however, it's all about makeup thanks to Katie Jane Hughes. The celebrity makeup artist counts Hailey Bieber, Ashley Graham and Lily Allen as clients, but she always makes time to serve up some sort of game-changing beauty hack — and it almost always goes viral. Scroll through her TikTok feed and you'll discover how to do liner on hooded eyes or how to cheat fuller lips. But what we all want to know is: why do celebs and models have such great skin on the catwalk and the red carpet?
Of course, it's not lost on us that having money (and therefore access to luxury facials and products) make the most difference. But Katie let us in on a secret in regard to how makeup artists do complexion on their high-profile clients. Forget full coverage foundation for a moment because the key to natural-looking skin is strategically placed dots of concealer.
@katiejanehughes How makeup artists in Fashion do complextion part one: #makeup #concealer #fashionmakeup ♬ original sound - Katiejanehughes
In a video with 839k views and counting, Katie starts with what it looks like just a touch of rosy blush and a dab of matching pink lipstick. "Want to know how makeup artists do complexion?" she asks. "First of all you don't cover the entire face." Katie told her followers that the majority of makeup artists just use concealer in some areas. She then proceeded to dot concealer down the centre of her nose, in between her brows and in the middle of her forehead, before repeating these steps underneath her cheekbones and around her eyes. "We don't use it in areas that will crease," says Katie, referring to tops of the eyelids and directly under the eyes, "then we blend it in with a smallish brush." In the video, Katie is using Milk Makeup's Future Fluid All Over Cream Concealer, $47.
The benefit of this is to make "skin look like skin" says Katie, "which is why we don't erase all of the shadows around the face at the hairline or the cheekbones." The technique matters, too. "We are quite delicate with our brushes," says Katie, "and what's left on the brush goes around the eyelids and around the nose to prevent creasing."
The final step is simply setting the concealer with powder on the same small brush. "Press in the powder," advises Katie. "We don't fluff in the powder. Fluffing in the powder makes it fly everywhere, but pressing it in creates a blotting effect. Now, I have a 'my skin but better' look," she concluded. The final result is impressive and Katie received plenty of compliments in the comments. She does have great skin, though. So how would a hack like this fare on texture and breakouts? In the name of Beauty In A Tik, I had to give it a go myself...
I'm going through a hormonal breakout. Little red pimples, whiteheads and painful under the skin spots often pepper my skin, so I like to cover up under a heavy layer of foundation followed by concealer. But I feel as though the intense coverage might be making things worse for me right now. Add to the mix lots of odd flaky patches (thanks to using spot treatments) and it's safe to say that my skin is very uneven in tone and texture. I was sceptical that this minimal makeup trick would work on me, but it has racked up numbers for a reason: it's quick, easy and seems to blanket blemishes and redness well.
@jacquelinekilikita Inspired by @katiejanehughes 😍 byeeee, foundation! #beautyinatik #makeuphacks ♬ Lo-Fi analog beat - Gloveity
My favourite concealer is Tarte's Shape Tape Concealer, $47, but I also really rate the new Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Radiant Concealer, $49, or Revolution's Conceal & Define Concealer, $10, if you're after a cheaper option. Like Katie, I dotted on the concealer taking care not to apply too thickly.
I picked up the smallest, fluffiest brush I owned and got blending, taking care not to lift the bristles off of my face too much or else the concealer would dry up and become difficult to meld with my skin. I was surprised that those little dots were all I needed to cover up my spots and other blotchy patches on my cheeks, but the good thing about concealer is that it goes a really long way. That's all down to the texture, which is ever so slightly thicker than something like foundation (and almost triple the consistency of a skin tint).
It does pay to prep your skin with a nourishing moisturiser, though. I used Tatcha's The Dewy Skin Cream, $104 (check out our review of the full Tatcha skincare line to see which ones are worth the price tag). To stop your complexion from ending up patchy throughout the day, make like Katie and bounce just a touch of translucent powder over the concealer to set it. I used the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Brightening Flawless Finish, $69.
When everything had been blended in and I looked in the mirror, I was taken aback by how much better my skin looked. Foundation — no matter how good it is — has a tendency to collect in fine lines and gather around skin texture, accentuating bumps and dry skin. It also has a tendency to take any contours away from the face, making skin appear rather flat, which is why we always tend to follow with blush and bronzer. They add the dimension back in. Because the concealer was thinned out by the ultra-fluffy brush, my skin looked so much more seamless. I know that the phrase 'less is more' exists for a reason, but when it comes to makeup, it hasn't exactly been my vibe. Until now, that is.
Hands down, Katie's complexion hack has changed my approach to simple, everyday makeup, mainly because it looks natural and requires minimum effort. Right now, I'm making it my mission to embrace my skin and all its little flaws — and I think this effortless makeup technique will help me get there comfortably.
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