While each of us has our favorite looks and approaches to makeup, there’s one fact on which we can probably all agree: Having a flawless-looking complexion is the first step to a great look. While it seems there are just as many ways to apply foundation as there are formulations, there is one technique we find ourselves turning to again and again: stippling.

what is stippling

What's stippling? Well, when we have a range of issues we’re working to disguise, rather than using an airbrush (literal or digital), we just stipple on our liquid foundation and forget about those red bumps or whatever is bugging us.

To “stipple,” in painting, means to mark a surface with small dots of paint, often to disguise flaws in a wall. Similarly, stippling on your makeup means applying liquid foundation by dotting it on your face. The result is an airbrushed effect that seems to diffuse any imperfections.

Why stipple? The benefits of stippling go on and on. This application technique does an amazing job of disguising discolorations, bumps and scars. But it’s also relatively easy to achieve. It doesn’t require many steps or tools, and uses less product than you might expect.

It blends in well, so if you’re only doing it on one spot or along the jawline, it won’t create an obvious line. Stippling makes it easy to layer foundation over skincare or cover-up, and can be used as a spot treatment when hiding just one blemish or a few spots. Convinced yet?

How to stipple: To get started, you’ll want to get a stippling brush — something with a flat top. (Usually they are white on top and black on the bottom.) Try something like Lancôme Paris Highlighting Brush #3 or YSL Polishing Brush. Then, find a liquid foundation that matches your skin tone, like NYX Cosmetics HD Studio Photogenic Foundation or L’Oréal Paris True Match Super Blendable Makeup.

Put a little foundation on the back of your hand or on a flat surface. Gently dot the brush tips into the foundation, evenly applying the makeup on the surface of the brush. Then, apply the foundation by dotting the brush on your face, whether you’re stippling your entire face or just covering up a specific area.

You can easily build up coverage by going over one area more than once, but after you’ve stippled on your makeup, avoid the temptation to swirl, because that will undo the tiny dots that create the incredible stipple effect.

Have you tried stippling to see the difference it makes? Tell us in the comments below!

Photo: Shutterstock

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