There's A Better Way To Do Your Makeup

I don't consider myself a vain person, but when I think of my #goals, having Cate Blanchett levels of skin perfection is right there at the tippy-top. Well, that and getting handsy with Ryan Reynolds' new superhero abs (how you doin', Deadpool?). But between these two fantasies, a complexion free of blemishes, pigmentation, sallowness, and rough texture is actually less likely than that muscular-man scenario.
The struggle for skin superiority is an ongoing battle, and sadly one most women lose. There is only so much a skin cream can do, after all. Makeup, however, can always lend a helping hand — provided you know how to work with it. Slapping on foundation and hoping for the best won't cut it for those with real skin issues. You need to be strategic — the goal is for your skin to look like skin, not to look like it's covered in haphazard layers of cosmetics.
Since "sisters helping sisters" is high on my list of life mottos (right behind Helen Mirren's "Don't be a pillock"), I've gathered some of the most talented makeup artists around and asked them how they craft the illusion of covet-worthy skin. Read on to get the lowdown, and be prepared to have a total complexion revelation.
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"Beautyblender is a revolutionary tool that’s become the industry standard for makeup artists at all levels. What I love most about it is that its porosity or “sponginess” allows it to lift off any excess product and leave behind an optimal amount of coverage. After I apply foundation to a client, I always run a Beautyblender under warm water and then bounce it over the skin to create a really natural, HD-perfect effect. It mistake-proofs your makeup." — Troy Surratt, makeup artist and founder of Surratt Beauty

Beautyblender Pro Blender Sponge, $20, available at Beautyblender.
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"For clients with combination to oily skin, I use a clean, dry powder puff, fold it over my finger like a taco shell, and roll [it] over the high planes of the face to absorb any excess shine." — Lou Swinden-Payne, Sephora Pro lead artist

Laura Mercier Velour Puff, $14, available at Laura Mercier.
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"I always put foundation on the back of my hand and allow the warmth of my hand to transfer to the foundation. It’s kind of similar to room-temperature butter — if you put butter on toast right out of the refrigerator, it doesn’t spread so well, but if you allow it to warm up a bit, it melts right into the toast.

"Along the same lines, if you allow the foundation to warm up a bit first, it melts right into the skin. Your fingers are a great, sensual, tactile tool for foundation application. They give a beautiful finish and allow you to feel the amount of product between your fingertips and your face, so you don’t use too much or too little product. They’re also the perfect size to blend around the nostril, or down the nasolabial folds or chin." — Surratt

Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Fluid Foundation, $65, available at Neiman Marcus.
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"Using soft, natural-fiber shadow brushes for detailing is a trade secret. Natural-fibered brushes are porous and will absorb the emollience of a cream or liquid foundation or concealer product, while leaving the pigment behind. These brushes are great for minimizing product buildup." — Swinden-Payne

Sephora Collection Pro Allover Shadow Brush #12, $20, available at Sephora.
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"There are two colors that look great on every skin tone — pink and gold. Master Mixer is a rose-gold [cream] that can be mixed in with any beauty product. Mix it into foundation for a rose-gold sheen to the skin. Put a little on your hand, and mix it into the foundation, and it gives a beautiful light-reflective glow.

"A lot of foundations make you look cakey or have a white cast. This makes your skin look like you just came out of the sun or made love." — Rose-Marie Swift, makeup artist and founder of RMS Beauty

RMS Beauty Master Mixer, $38, available at RMS Beauty.
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Instead of swiping a second layer of foundation all over your face to get your desired coverage, try targeting it exactly where you need it. After applying your base, use a flat foundation brush to tap more product onto areas where you want extra coverage, like around your nose or cheeks. This helps you even out your complexion without overdoing it.
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"Avoid touching up with powders during the day. I suggest blotting papers because they remove shine without layering more product, which can build up and cake throughout the day." — Swinden-Payne

Milk Makeup Roll + Blot in Leaf, $10, available at Milk Makeup.
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"For color-correcting, apply a peach-and-caramel color-corrector from the jawline down the midpoint of the neck and blend to extend the look of a tan." — Gilbert Soliz, global makeup artist for Marc Jacobs Beauty

Marc Jacobs Beauty Cover(t) Stick Color Corrector in Getting Warmer, $42, available in late February at Sephora.
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"I use E.L.F.'s Stipple Brush for cream and liquid formulations," Scali says. "The dual fibers buff the product onto the skin, creating a soft, airbrushed effect." — Vanessa Scali, celebrity makeup artist

E.L.F. Small Stipple Brush, $3, available at
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"To make your foundation look less cakey, spray your synthetic foundation brush with a water primer and whisk it across your face in back-and-forth motions to sheer down your makeup and set it in place." — Soliz

Smashbox Photo Finish Water Primer, $32, available at Ulta.
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"I love using a good, dense foundation brush, like this one from Shiseido. It’s dense and angled, so it works like a skin-flaw eraser. It allows one to burnish the foundation onto the face, and gives clarity to the skin. Use in a circular motion to erase redness and discoloration and refine the skin’s texture." — Surratt

Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush, $30, available at Macy's.
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"Always set [foundation] with a translucent, loose powder to ensure makeup stays put. This finish will also diffuse light rather than reflect it, which makes skin appear more natural and subtle." — James Boehmer, makeup artist

NARS Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder, $37, available at NARS.
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"I'm a firm believer of [the idea that] if you use a good oil underneath a mineral-based foundation, it gives you a glow. Skin looks younger when it looks glowy and succulent." — Swift

Vital Glow Wild Carrot Serum Concentrate, $55, available at Beautyhabit.
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"You can...add one or two drops of a face oil to the palms of your hands and press it gently into your skin. This helps your makeup blend or melt into the skin." — Soliz

L'Oréal Age Perfect Glow Renewal Facial Oil, $13.99, available at Target.
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"Mixing oil into foundations to sheer them out a bit is something that makeup artists have done forever. You can mix a bit onto your foundation brush to sheer out the formula. Even with a heavy-coverage foundation, you’ll still get a great amount of pigment and coverage but it will look more realistic." — Surratt

La Mer The Renewal Oil, $240, available at Nordstrom.
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"For color-correcting, mix one part color-corrector with two parts concealer for a subtle correction anywhere on the face or body. This combination is also great for cleaning up after applying eyebrow products or if a bold lip color is moving outside the lip line.

"For more visible hyperpigmentation, use a color-corrector without mixing with your concealer. Once you have an evenly blended cover, lightly apply your foundation on top." — Swinden-Payne

Koh Gen Do
Maifanshi Lavender Pink Makeup Color Base, $48, available at Nordstrom.
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“For a smooth and hydrating foundation finish, mix equal parts of the Kat Von D Lock-It Featherweight Primer with a liquid foundation. This water-based primer adds a boost of hydration, which minimizes any texture in the surface of the skin and also delivers a soft-glow finish.” — Erik Soto, global makeup artist for Kat Von D Beauty

Kat Von D Lock-It Featherweight Primer, $32, available at Sephora.
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"Whether you set your makeup with powder or use more of a powder-formula foundation, one way to make the finish look realistic is by misting it lightly with a good skin spray. Sometimes powder can build up in the tiny downy hairs on the face, and this type of spray eliminates that issue and creates more of a realistic skin effect." — Surratt

Chanel Hydra Beauty Essence Mist, $90, available at Nordstrom.
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