6 Foundation Commandments, According to Makeup Artists


When applied correctly, foundation doesn’t look like foundation at all—it looks like skin. With the constant barrage of new makeup brushes, blenders, and tech-y applications methods, foundation can go from simple and skin-like to super perplexing real quick. That’s why we turned to top makeup artists to dish their best tips for mastering the basic beauty skill, ahead.

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1. Skin prep is key

Alex Sanchez, a makeup artist with Lancôme, says hydrated and exfoliated skin is crucial. “Otherwise makeup will adhere to the skin’s surface and add a lot of unflattering texture,” he says, adding that a few drops of Lancôme Absolue Precious Oil added to his moisturizer is a quick way to hydrate.

2. Get base-ic.

“I personally like to work with all water-based products, like a water-based moisturizer, primer, and foundation. I find the adhesion and buildability is better than when I mix in oil-based versions,” says Daniel Martin, who did Meghan Markle’s makeup for the royal wedding. Just take a quick look at the label on your bevy of products to make sure the base of each matches up.

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3. It takes more than one tool.

Martin tells ELLE.com he starts with a makeup buffing brush (like this one from Dior or this one from Artis) in the center of the face and works outwards. IHHO, a buffing brush is ideal as it “blurs imperfections and on-camera it appears radiant and glowy.” He then follows with a damp Beautyblender for more sheer coverage, and goes back in with concealer to even out skin or add more coverage where needed .

4. Less product is more

Sanchez says he “applies makeup only to areas that need correction instead of applying a mask of foundation.” He uses the Lancome #7 Precision Cheek Brush, “buffing and blending like an airbrush.” Circular strokes give a more sheer, natural finish.

5. If you overdo it, misting sprays are your friend.

If you do apply product too heavily, Martin suggests spritzing the face with a misting spray and buffing moisturizer on top. “Then blot,” he instructs, “This breaks up the coverage and weight of the foundation.”

6. Don’t go heavy with setting powder.

Martin says he uses powder “ONLY in the T-Zone.” Keep the rest of the skin glowy.

Shop some of our favorite foundations, ahead.


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