No matter how gorgeous a makeup look is, it won’t live up to its full potential without a strong foundation (pun fully intended).
Creating a base that perfects my skin’s appearance while still maintaining that real-skin look is super important to me. I hate looking unnatural or caky, so I’ve never worn a traditional foundation.
Although innovations in the beauty industry have made possible huge improvements in the look and feel of foundation, I just can’t get with it. (But I do have my eyes on NARS’ Matte Foundation Stick…)
Instead, I put skincare first so I don’t need full-coverage makeup, which allows me to focus on lighter, build-able formulas like the ones listed here.
Just like makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes says, as long as your skin and brows look natural, you can have as much fun with the other stuff (i.e., eyes, cheeks and lips) as you want 😉
Primers are necessary for several reasons! First and foremost, they protect your skin from absorbing too much makeup, which has a tendency to clog the pores. They also add to the longevity of your makeup’s wear while smoothing skin’s surface for a more even application.
My skin is on the oily side, so I gravitate towards pore-refining primers. With some product on my fingertips, I gently press it into the skin where my pores are visible (my t-zone). Then, I’ll go in with a moisturizing primer (like Glossier’s!) everywhere else. I love First Aid Beauty’s because it combines the best of both worlds; it minimizes pores *and* moisturizes for a smooth surface.
- Dr. Brandt Skincare Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer, $22-$45, Sephora
- Priming Moisturizer, $22, Glossier
- First Aid Beauty Oil-Free Mattifying Gel Moisturizer, $30, Sephora
Bali Body BB Cream (Natural): This has been my holy grail for over a year, and I am super-reluctant to try anything else! I am obsessed with the glowy, buildable coverage it gives. Certain days, when my skin is really behaving and the darkness under my eyes is minimal, BB Cream is the only product I’ll wear.
The ingredients (hydronic acid, marine collagen and green tea) can’t be beat. They combine to give your face a glow-y, natural finish (think: your skin but better). And it allows any products you put on top (like bronzer or blush) to blend perfectly–no patchiness whatsoever! $29.95, Bali Body
Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint (Medium): Although I do wear this product on its own sometimes, I mostly keep it on-hand to mix with BB Cream when I’m on the pale side.
It works with your skin, not against it! Instead of sitting on top and caking up, Perfecting Skin Tint sinks in. And like pretty much everything else Glossier makes, the formula is silky and moisturizing. It really is the ideal product to mix with darker or heavier makeup when your tan fades or when you just want less coverage. $26, Glossier
I have two go-to concealers: one for fuller coverage when I’m creating an intense eye makeup look, and another for my no-makeup makeup days. Both are important to me!
Tarte Shape Tape Concealer (Light Neutral): After all the hype on YouTube and from fellow bloggers, I invested in this product, and, to be honest, was a little disappointed at first. It looked extremely flakey on me even though it seemed to look flawless on everyone else.
So, I played around with it some more and finally got the hang of it–and started loving it. Now, I can’t imagine not having Shape Tape for all those bold eye looks!
For me, this product works best on well-moisturized skin (otherwise it can look flakey). I definitely recommend going in with an eye cream beforehand.
A little goes a long way with Shape Tape. I put it on my skin with the wand, then tap it out with my fingers. After that, I use ColorPop’s stippling brush in a buffing motion for flawless coverage. This works everywhere–my under-eyes, around my nose, wherever–and has really made all the difference when it comes to this concealer.
For more coverage, I’ll repeat those steps. I love that Shape Tape doesn’t look cake-y, even after two layers! $27, Ulta
Glossier Stretch Concealer (Medium): The best, most user-friendly concealer ever! I couldn’t be happier that I kicked my Erase Paste habit and tried Glossier’s instead. Even though I love almost everything from Benefit, Stretch really outshines their range of concealers.
I apply it with my ring finger, then let it sit for 30 to 60 seconds before blending. This really allows the product to get tacky, and the tackier consistency provides fuller coverage.
Stretch is a brightening concealer with the most gorgeous neutral undertones–not too pink, not too yellow! I’ve mentioned a few times on Haute Mess that it really does “stretch” over blemishes, giving that skin-like finish that I love.
Similar to Shape Tape, I will go in with a second layer of Stretch when and where I need it. $18, Glossier
As someone with normal-to-oily skin, powder is a necessary step for me when wearing makeup! If I skip it, other products (especially my concealer!) tend to slide around. I have two go-to powders that I love equally: one to pair with fuller coverage makeup, and another for lighter coverage makeup.
Both these products are skin-toned, meaning that neither of them give off that annoying and far-from-flattering white cast that other powders do.
Kat Von D Lock-It Blotting Powder (Medium): This powder is like magic. Not only does it provide a little more coverage on top of my BB Cream, Skin Tint and/or concealer, it makes me look completely pore-less! As the name states, Lock-It Blotting Powder also keeps makeup in place and oils at bay for hours on end. $29, Sephora
Glossier Wowder (Light/Medium): I know that I’ve spoken about Wowder a ton on here, but it really is *that* good. Infused with diamond powder and Vitamin E, Wowder gives the skin an oh-so-subtle sheen and a non-flat finish. It reduces shine, sets makeup, then vanishes into the skin without caking or settling into fine lines. Perfect for day and night! $22, Glossier
MAC Prep + Prime Fix+: I bought this cult-favorite setting spray for the first time ever a few months ago and already, I don’t want to use anything else in its place! Setting sprays I’ve used in the past always got the job done, but never like this.
Fix+ enhances the look of makeup, whether you spray it on your face after your look is complete, or spray it on your brushes for bolder color payoff during application.
The vitamin- and mineral-rich formula (which includes green tea, chamomile and cucumber) melts makeup into the skin, making any powdery finishes disappear. Because it is a professional-quality product, I always trust Fix+ to prolong makeup’s wear, too! $26, MAC Cosmetics