Back to Basics

Perfecting the Foundation… Literally


One of my fondest life memories is the moment I applied full coverage foundation to my face for the first time at age 17. Sad, but true. When, I held up and looked in the handheld mirror at the MAC Cosmetics counter in Macy’s, I was mesmerized by the flawless power that is their Studio Fix Fluid foundation. It was one of those “Where has this been my entire life?” moments. Clearly, I was born and raised under a rock in a small town, when my most adventurous cosmetic selection was a shimmery bronze eyeshadow. Slow down, there, Sally!

Needless to write, aside from a quality skincare routine (crucial), my favorite part of any beauty beat is face makeup and all its magic. Primer, foundation, CC cream, BB cream, tinted moisturizer, concealer, pressed powder, loose powder, contour products, bronzer, rouge, highlighter, setting sprays, OH MY. I know. There are many days when I, too, sit back and wonder why in God’s name I insist on putting this much product on my face when I’m highly caffeinated and feeling frisky. All of these products, of course, are *not* required in order to achieve a smooth, flawlessly fresh canvas. But, the right mixture will do a face some good! So, let’s talk basics because mastering this multi-part process is the key to doll-faced success!


Just like painting a wall, a primer is a must to start any face makeup application. In my routine, this step comes after a good moisturizer.

Primer is responsible for smoothing out the skin and minimizing the appearance of pores. Look at the difference below. Check out the magic below.





The choice is obvious. Get a good primer! Here are some of my favorites:

1. Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer
2. Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Mineral Primer
3. Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Primer Water


Behold my favorite step… Foundation! There is nothing like the feeling of applying a beautiful, satin foundation to even out your skin tone. It makes such a big difference, which is why I currently own an asinine number of selections. Totally unnecessary, but not at the same time. It’s an addiction I’ve been battling for years.

Foundation options out in the market vary depending on your skin type. For example, I have dry skin and struggle with a lot of full coverage matte foundations, simply because I need all of the moisture I can get. However, you can drop some argan oil <<link>> in your foundation to fix that issue. Always a workaround and yet another reason to love makeup! Cosmetics brands are working hard to appeal to all skin types these day, which I so appreciate. A few months ago at Ulta, I saw a ‘Dewy’ option on a popular full coverage foundation from Maybelline and let out an audible sigh of relief that instantly made everyone shopping around me feel uncomfortable. They just don’t understand.

As for application, I almost always gravitate towards a damp beauty sponge because it masters the art of a blended, natural look. However, if you’re more of a luxe brush lover, I love this one.

On the other hand, if you fancy lighter coverage and hate the idea of a fuller coverage ‘paint,’ there are so many fab options out there! From tinted moisturizers to CC creams, here are a few of my favorites that provide a minimal, more delicate coverage for those “I need to put makeup on but want nothing to do with it” kind of days. And, hey, if that’s your every day style, hat’s off to you, my friend!

1. IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better™ CC+™ Cream with SPF 50+
2. Erborian Korean Skin Therapy CC Cream
3. Lancôme Bienfait Teinté BB Cream

Now that you’re all evened out, enter the face brightening/highlighting process. I love a good full coverage concealer (shocker, I know) under my eyes to wake them up and bring as much light as possible to them. Lord knows I need it! Additionally, I always put a little bit of concealer on my forehead, nose bridge, cupid’s bow, chin, and jawline. If you’re using a full coverage concealer, trust me… a little goes a long way! Proceed with caution. I’m all about drama and as much coverage as I can muster, but you’ll do yourself a disservice if you add too much; especially on aging skin (ME). Too much concealer will dry out the skin and enhance the appearance of wrinkles. Hard pass. The first pic makes me cringe and is what you should try and avoid when applying concealer. Lots of beauty gurus would disagree however. The latter pic, however, in my eyes and experience (no pun intended!), is just the right amount for an even, naturally-blended, not cakey look. Trust me… With most concealers these days, a little goes a LONG way!


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Once you’re finished applying concealer, it’s important to *quickly* apply a good setting powder. I emphasize *quickly* because 1) you’ll get done sooner ☺ and 2) concealer will settle into those fine lines and wrinkles on the skin if you wait too long… and, a setting powder will only make it look worse. Yikes. Like I wrote, it’s a process, but, once you get the hang of it, you’ll enjoy it and, most importantly, you’ll trust the process. Sixers reference. I had to.

I rotate between loose setting powders and pressed powders on the daily to set my concealer. I either apply with the straight edged end of my beauty sponge or use a fluffy, yet precise, brush, capable of getting into the small crevices to ensure everything is covered.

As for the powders themselves, here are several I use all of the time and love:

1. Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
2. Revlon Colorstay Translucent Pressed Powder
3. Rimmel Stay Matte Transparent Pressed Powder


I know I said foundation was my favorite part of the process, but, now that I’m reflecting on the chiseling power of contouring/bronzing, I’m conflicted. Once you’ve set your concealer with translucent powder, it’s time to enhance the definition of your face through sculpting with a contour powder or bronzer. There are contour sticks out there for a more defined look, but, personally, I have never not used a powder to chisel out the jawline and cheekbones. I love the art of blending some bronzer (or contour powder) of your choice right under the cheekbones, slightly under the jaw line, and on the hair line. This is where makeup “enhancement” truly comes into play. Depending on the shape of your face (round, oval, heart, diamond, etc.), there are different contour options. However, the key with this, as with everything else, is blending. The art of blending can be difficult without the right brushes and tools, so below are the tools I use for application.

Bronzing Brush
Contour Brush

My face gets rounder as the years go on. Remember that show “Bear in the Big Blue House”? Well, I’d say I’m looking more similar to staple character, Luna, every single day. You can decide if that’s a good thing or not. At this point, it’s just a fact. With that in consideration, I always dedicate time to slimming down my face via contouring. It’s simple and way less expensive than plastic surgery.

The first pic is my face prior to contouring, and the one below that is my face after. Subtle and natural (the way I prefer… but if you want to go all out, I fully support it!) and worth it!


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Almost there! These are those final, but necessary touches to give the face some extra life. Add your favorite rouge onto your cheeks. Add a pop of your most coveted highlighter to cheekbones, chin, nose, on your entire face if you want. To each his/her own! I use and love this highlighter brush to get the job done!

After these steps, you can choose to add some mascara, brow filler, and lip gloss (see my lip post HERE) for a fresh look… or you can add some drama with a full-glam look. It’s your face and your call!

As much as I love this process and appreciate the art, may we not forget…

“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”
-Khalil Gibran