Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

Very few, fortunate people wake up with perfect skin in the morning. Most of us need to enlist the help of a few trusty products to get the job done. This includes an easily blendable concealer (as well as a color-correcting concealer), a foundation that delivers just the right amount of coverage and hydration, and a sponge or brush to blend it all together for a natural look.

“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.”

How to Cover Blemishes With Concealer

First, know that you can only camouflage the redness of a pimple, not the bump itself. To do so, your best bet is to start with a color correcting concealer that cancels out redness, like the green or yellow shade of the NYX Color Correcting Palette. 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. One more touch of powder and you’re done.

How to Cover Under-Eye Circles With Concealer

The most important thing to focus on when picking an under-eye concealer is to make sure it’s creamy like Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer. Dry formulas will settle into fine lines, causing your dark circles to disappear but at the cost of making you look older. Make sure to hydrate the area first with an emollient eye moisturizer and let it absorb for at least five minutes. Then, begin applying the concealer at the inner corner of the eye, using a small brush or sponge in a dabbing motion. Blend your way out, patting very, very gently. Pretend you’re drawing a triangle with the base under your eye and the point toward the bottom of 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 have a bluish or greenish hue, use an orange- or peach-toned color to warm and neutralize the darkness.

How to Cover Dull, Sallow Skin With Concealer

If you have tinges of yellow under your eyes or 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 to visually knock out the redness. Make sure to skip anything super matte because it can read too cakey on bumpy skin and actually make it look worse. Instead, reach for a creamy, lightweight foundation like IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Foundation, and use the large flat side 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 dabbing the product over the middle of the face in small dots to the nose, eyelids, cheeks and forehead. Then, use your sponge to blend out to the edges of your face. You want to go softer and softer as you move out toward your hairline to buff the color in. 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 to Cover Tattoos

Before you even attempt this task, you need to make sure you have an ultra-pigmented foundation like Dermablend Leg and Body Makeup. Gently blot on a layer of the foundation using a sponge but be sure not to blend it in too much — you want the product to sit on top of the tattoo to effectively cover it. Let it dry for a few minutes and apply a layer of translucent powder to set it. Follow up with another coating of foundation if needed to get the job done and then dust a final sweep of translucent powder over the area.

How to Apply Foundation If Your Skin Is Discolored

Choose a foundation with gold and peach tones to 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. Follow up with powder foundation over the entire face to even everything out.

If you’re dealing with overall discoloration, apply a gold or peachy sheer liquid foundation all over the face and go back and target the problem areas with a heavier cream foundation in the same exact color. Be sure to blend well so there are no lines of demarcation.

Read More:

How to Find the Right Foundation for Your Skin Tone

Should You Set Your Concealer? A Makeup Artist Weighs In

The Best Concealers for Every Budget

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