Warning: If you’re that rarest of unicorns who wakes up to luminous, even, spotless skin, stop reading now. For the rest of us humans, you won’t want to tackle one more day of your morning makeup routine without reading these quick, easy tips to looking like you’ve been genetically blessed with an immaculate complexion.
Part one of faking out your own skin: Having the right tools. That means easily blendable concealer (including color-correcting concealer), a foundation that delivers just the right amount of coverage and moisture, and a sponge or brush to blend it all in. “A lot of people don’t realize that they’re using the wrong tone or texture to cover their imperfections, so they end up making skin look worse,” says makeup artist Victoria Hayes. “Then they’ll use their fingers instead of a brush or sponge, and that makes their foundation look streaky and uneven, and doesn’t deliver the accuracy you need to cover pimples or other small spots.” Guilty as charged? Don’t worry, we have everything you need.
The Duo of Tools You Need for “Perfect” Skin
L’Oreal Paris Infallible Total Cover Concealing and Contour Kits. The Concealing and Contouring kit features four full-coverage shades to cover up, well, just about anything (plus effortlessly contour). The Total Cover Color Correcting Kit actually makes it easy to blot out darkness, redness—whatever ails you—with either purple, green, yellow or peach. These are basically the next best thing to having your own makeup artist on speed dial.
L’Oreal Paris Infallible Total Cover Foundation. This full-coverage foundation lasts 24 hours without actually feeling like you’re wearing makeup. Thanks to Alliagel technology, it delivers high-impact pigments, while feeling deceptively lightweight. Pretty cool, right? Even better, it’s designed to be used on the face AND body, which means that spider veins, tats, backne, are officially on notice. Twelve shades means you don’t have to settle for anything other than a perfect match anywhere on your body.
How to cover: Blemishes
You can only camouflage the redness of a pimple, not the bump itself. And to do so, your best bet is starting with a color that cancels out redness—green or yellow. Use a small sponge tip or brush to dot the color-correcting concealer directly on top of the blemish and blend slightly to the slides; then dip a small puff in translucent powder and pat it over the spot to set. Now do the same with a thicker concealer that matches your skin tone but has a bit more yellow in it. One more touch of powder and you’re done.
How to cover: Dark circles
The most important thing to focus on when picking an undereye concealer is to make sure it’s creamy. Dry formulas will settle into every line, so while your dark circles will disappear, you’ll look older. Make sure to hydrate the area first with an emollient eye moisturizer. Let it absorb for five minutes, then begin applying the concealer at the inner corner of the eye, using a small brush or sponge. Blend your way out, patting very, very gently. Pretend you’re drawing a triangle with the base under your eye, and the point toward your cheek. This tricks the eye into thinking the whole face has been lifted, like holding light under the eye and shining it upward.
Consider color-correcting here too. If your dark circles are blueish or greenish, use a concealer with orange or peach tones to warm and neutralize the darkness (either on its own or under regular concealer).
How to cover: Dull, sallow skin
If you have tinges of yellow under your eyes on anywhere on your face (common in winter months), make like it’s spring and pick some lavender—concealer, that is. It counteracts yellow tones and brightens the complexion. Be sure to blend well with a sponge so you can’t actually see purple tones; it’s just enough to blot out the yellow.
How to apply foundation if your skin is: Blemished
To downplay red, bumpy skin—whether a result of acne, broken capillaries, or rosacea--use a foundation with gold or yellow undertones, which visually knock out the redness. Make sure to skip anything super matte (which you may be drawn to if your skin is oily) because it can read too cakey on bumpy skin (and actually make it look even bumpier). Instead, use a creamy, lightweight foundation. Use the large, flat, smooth part of your sponge to get the smoothest application. If you need more coverage, reapply concealer to individual pimples or bumps after foundation.
How to apply foundation if your skin is: Dull
Choose a creamy, dewy foundation to infuse light into skin. Begin by placing the foundation over the middle of the face, including the eyes but avoiding the sides of the face near the hairline, jaw, and chin. Apply small dots all over the nose, eyelids, cheeks, and forehead, but don’t venture outside this area. Then use your sponge to blend out. You want to go softer and softer as you move out toward your hairline. Not only does this look more natural, but skin appears to have a soft, candlelit sheen when the foundation is diffused from the middle out.
How to apply foundation if your skin is: Discolored
Choose a foundation with gold and peach tones, since these soften dark spots and discoloration. If you just have a few spots, apply foundation directly to them using the thin, precise part of your sponge or brush, and pat with your finger to blend into skin. Top with powder foundation over the entire face so everything is well blended and even. This will help set the concealed patches and even out your complexion.
If you’re dealing with overall discoloration, apply a gold or peachy sheer liquid foundation all over the face. Then go back and target the problem areas with a heavier cream foundation in the same exact color. Be sure to blend very well so there are no lines of demarcation.