Introduction: 5 Different Foundation Finishes-- 1 Foundation!

About: Professional MUA, educator, and Benefit Beauty Artist working in Sacramento & the Bay Area. I specialize in film, print, editorial, glamour, & special FX. FB: In…

Did you know that you don't need several different foundations to achieve many different finishes? From supermatte to dewy and radiant, I'll show you how to utilize products you most likely already have (or can buy at the drugstore) to achieve whatever look your heart desires!

Step 1: Sheer

If your skin is lookin' fab and you only need a little bit of coverage, or just don't feel like wearing a ton of makeup, then a sheer finish is what you're after. Achieve this by mixing your foundation 50/50 with your daily moisturizer. Spritz a bit of water, MAC Fix +, or Elf Makeup Mist & Set onto a powder brush (pictured above) and swirl over your face for sheer, blended coverage. Alternately, dampen a makeup sponge such as a Beauty Blender, or even just a white makeup wedge, and either dip into your foundation/moisturizer mix and stipple all over your face or apply with your fingers and use the sponge to blend. Skip powder altogether, or just apply a thin layer all over the face with a powder brush or only to the areas where you get oily-- usually the T-zone and chin.

Step 2: Dewy

Want a soft, youthful glow without looking like a disco ball? Then a dewy finish is for you. Begin with any non-mattifying primer (after cleansing, toning, and moisturizing, of course), then dampen a small stippling brush (pictured above) with MAC Fix + or Elf Makeup Mist & Set. Swirl your brush in your foundation and stipple all over the face, dampening brush again each time you pick up more product. Skip powder altogether if you can, or apply lightly to only the areas where you get oily-- usually the T-zone and chin. (I like to use the RealTechniques setting brush for this purpose.) You can finish your application by spritzing your face with a dewy setting spray like the ones available from Urban Decay or NYX.

Step 3: Radiant

A radiant finish is like a dewy finish, but kicked up several notches. Begin the same way, by prepping, then priming with any non-mattifying primer, but then mix a liquid illuminator (like MAC Strobe Cream, Stila All-Over Shimmer Liquid Luminizer, Benefit High Beam or Sun Beam, or NYX Liquid Illuminator) right in to your foundation before applying. The amount you add depends on just how radiant you want to be! Spray your stippling brush, foundation brush (pictured above), or makeup sponge with MAC Fix + or Elf Makeup Mist & Set, then pick up some foundation and blend all over your face. Set by buffing a thin layer of powder all over the face, or only in the areas needed (usually in the T-zone and chin), and then add additional glow with a powder illuminator. Try ELF's Baked Highlighter, The Balm's Lou-Manizer, or NARS Highlighter in Albatross on the bow of your lips, the center of your nose, and the tops of your cheekbones. You can top off your makeup application with a dewy setting spray, available from NYX and Urban Decay.

Step 4: Natural Matte

A natural matte finish is what healthy skin looks like naturally-- not shiny and not dull. This is probably the finish that most people already know how to accomplish. Prep and prime your skin with your favorite primer, then apply your foundation with whatever method you prefer-- Beauty Blender, foundation brush, buffing brush (pictured above), fingers, whatever works for you. Set with a translucent powder on a powder brush all over the face.

Step 5: Ultra Matte

This finish is best if you're going to be on television or on a photoshoot where you want nothing reflecting off of your skin and perhaps a bit more coverage than normal. Prep your skin and then apply a mattifying primer, like Becca Ever Matte, Benefit Porefessional, or Boots No. 7's Beautifully Matte. Apply foundation with a dry buffing brush, or with a flat foundation brush and then blend with a Beauty Blender or other dampened sponge, for best coverage. Apply brightening concealer underneath the eyes, beneath the nose, and to any other spots that need it. If you are using loose powder like Ben Nye Banana or Topaz to highlight, apply by slightly dampening a white makeup sponge, picking up the product, and then stippling it onto the face. Once the powder has cooked and set (usually about 5-10 minutes), you can dust off the excess with a fluffy powder brush. After your makeup application (blush, bronzer, etc) is complete, top it off by applying an HD finishing powder like Make Up For Ever or ELF. Either dip your fluffy powder brush into the powder, tap off the excess, and use a pressing or rolling motion to work the powder into the skin, or shake a bit of powder into a powder puff and "beat" the powder in. This ensures full coverage that will last. You can also use a mattifying setting spray-- try ones from NYX and Urban Decay.

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