Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
Every so often, a divisive beauty technique is propelled to viral status on the app and this week it's about how to achieve flawless foundation. If you're a makeup wearer, chances are you use a brush of some kind, a makeup sponge or even your fingers to blend your foundation and concealer. But TikTokers are making a case for applying both products with a jade roller.
The crystal tool has become popular among skincare experts and enthusiasts as we continue to see our beauty routines through a self-care lens. What exactly are the main benefits of jade rollers? Whole body facialist Fiona Harlowe tells R29: "Jade has been used for thousands of years in Chinese skincare. Crystal facial rollers are super simple to use and have an immediate impact on the fluid tissues of the face, including blood and lymph. They open pathways and improve lymphatic flow, which reduces puffiness and inflammation." Fiona adds that jade rollers can also relieve tired eyes and release superficial facial tensions, especially around the neck, jaw, mouth and eyes.
If you've used a jade or crystal roller before, you'll know that it gives skin a light pummelling and makes your face feel incredible. The tool is often used alongside serums, moisturisers and facial oils, helping to aid absorption. So where does foundation come in? TikToker, artist and educator @avonnasunshine recently went viral for showing followers that it's just as easy to blend makeup with the tool, which prompted beauty TikToker @rachelrigler to stitch the video (she also hit hundreds of thousands of views). Applying foundation directly onto their face, each TikToker gets to blending using jade and quartz rollers — and the results are impressive to say the least.
"I know you guys are using this to massage your face, but have you ever tried blending your foundation?" asks Avonna. "Not only does it evenly distribute your foundation, but the coolness of it helps to shrink your pores, so it's gonna give a very smooth application and you're gonna get fuller coverage this way, too." Rachel claims that the foundation isn't absorbing into her roller (unlike a brush or sponge), which means a little product goes a long way, though she does smooth over her base with a damp makeup brush to finish. The comments prove that hundreds of TikTokers are willing to give this hack a go, and a handful are doing it already. But how easy and useful is it IRL?
I usually use the Clé de Peau Beauté High Coverage Foundation Brush, £60, to blend my makeup. It's pricy but the thick, dense yet malleable bristles make it the best brush I've tried for achieving an almost airbrushed finish. It can even be used to apply blush and bronzer. It would usually take a real innovation to convince me to try something different but in the name of Beauty In A Tik, I dusted off my jade roller.
I like my base to be light and undetectable so instead of slathering my skin with foundation like the TikTokers, I applied a couple of pumps (my usual amount) to the back of my hand, dipped in the tool and got rolling. This was not the way to go: it felt a bit like painting a wall. I expected the foundation to blend seamlessly over my skin like it did for the TikTokers but it felt like a chore — and it was incredibly patchy. Still, I persisted, applying more and more foundation as I rolled. It's fair to say that the roller didn't absorb any product like a brush or sponge would but I ended up using so much more makeup just to reach a passable result. Thinking I'd got it entirely wrong, the next day I applied foundation directly to my skin instead and got rolling again. But it still took me a good while to accomplish anything that resembled my normal look.
After a whole minute of blending foundation onto one cheek (it would usually take around 10 seconds), I have to admit that the finish was perfect. But I really struggled to blend around my eyes, nose and lips without stretching my skin (and catching my eyelashes!) so the rest of my face ended up disappointingly patchy. The only consolation? It felt like I'd had a professional facial. The continued rolling had a noticeable effect on any puffiness and gave my tight jaw muscles a workout. Just like Avonna mentioned, my pores looked less noticeable, too. That said, it's not a makeup technique I'd keep up, especially as I often rush to get ready in the morning.
If a jade roller gets a no from you, too, Naomi Maximen, founder of Naomi Sadé London, extols the virtues of three types of foundation brush in particular for achieving a smooth, photo finish. First up, a stippling brush, which Naomi says will give you a more natural look. A stippling brush usually boasts long, pliable bristles. It's the most sparse of makeup brushes but this allows for delicate blending so that your makeup looks convincing, not thick and heavy (if that's what you're after). "A flat foundation brush or a dense flat top brush will give you fuller coverage," says Naomi, "which is great for covering pigmentation." How you apply foundation matters, too. "When applying foundation, start at the centre of your face and blend outward," Naomi advises. "Doing so will give you the coverage you need without looking cakey."
Lastly, when it comes to products, Naomi recommends cream and liquid foundation above all else. "These will glide across the skin rather than settle in any lines. Liquid and cream foundation can be applied with your fingers or a brush, too." Avonna used Maybelline's Fit Me Matte and Poreless Liquid Foundation, £5.99. Also try Fenty Beauty's Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, £27, for coverage that doesn't slip. If you want more of a dewy, natural finish, I rate Monika Blunder Beauty's Blunder Cover, £45, which can be built up easily, or UOMA Beauty's Say What Foundation, £29.50, available in 51 shades.
Refinery29's selection is purely editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items we love! As part of our business model we do work with affiliates; if you directly purchase something from a link on this article, we may earn a small amount of commission. Transparency is important to us at Refinery29, if you have any questions please reach out to us.