15 Foundation Hacks Every Woman Needs to Know

Life-changing ways to create an even complexion, conceal dark circles, hide spots, and more.




1. Apply your base makeup in this order: color correctors, foundation, concealer. If you're getting fine lines just sitting there trying to figure out the order in which to apply your base makeup, here's a little tip I've heard from every makeup artist I've ever interviewed: First, applycolour correctors where needed, then your foundation all over (this helps take away most of the redness from an uneven complexion and breakouts), followed by concealer so it acts as just a finishing touch rather than doing all the covering up.

Heeseung's before-and-after shot, after using all three steps (plus a little blush and a light lip colour just because):

​Not sure what shade of colour corrector to use for your skin tone? Click here and refer to the handy chart below:

2. If you deal with dark circles on a daily basis, double up on concealer coverage. If you don't tend to need any other colour correcting but need some extra help in the dark under-eye department, pat some concealer under your eyes before applying your base makeup. If you need additional coverage after your base makeup is applied, then apply as necessary. Here, Brooke used a yellow-based concealer, since she has an olive skin tone. Not sure which colour-correcting base cover-up you should use? Refer to the chart above.

3. Use primer on your T-zone to keep oily skin matte and to prevent your foundation from breaking down. If your skin tends to get oily around 2 p.m., like mine does, then this tip is for you. 

4. Choose the right foundation consistency for your desired finish. There are three general types of coverage: sheer, medium, and full. If you want some coverage because you have redness or a few blemishes, then medium is your best bet. And if you want to wear a full face of makeup, then an opaque coverage is what you should use. 

5. Figure out your perfect foundation shade with the three-swipe test. If you're between a few shades, swipe them all along your cheek/jawline to see which one melds perfectly into your skin tone. Voilà, you just found the right foundation shade for you.

6. When applying foundation, start from the center of your face and work outward.This leaves you with the most natural finish, like Maya's, and prevents mask-like edges of foundation to be visible around the perimeter of your face.

7. Blend foundation seamlessly over your ears and neck. Imagine seeing yourself in a picture with a flawlessly even face, but your ears look a touch red and your neck is a slightly different colour. This tip prevents all of that. One last note: If you're wearing a low-cut top, pat the formula over your chest too, so there aren't any weird lines of demarcation there either.

8. You also need to think about the color of your neck when searching for your perfect foundation shade. If your neck is much lighter than your face and chest (it might happen when your chin shades it), split the difference and go for a foundation in between the colour of your face and neck. This way, everything looks like it blends together seamlessly. And remember, your face stops at your chest, especially if you're wearing a strappy, strapless, or low-cut top. The last thing you want is for your face and neck to look even and your décolletage to be red and splotchy.

9. Don't forget to apply foundation over your eyelids to reduce redness. Doing so instantly conceals any redness from superficial capillaries that are visible through thinner eyelid skin. Plus, it makes you look like you actually slept eight hours; skip covering them up and you'll look like you were out all night.

10. If you don't have a window (or good natural light) in your bathroom, smooth foundation on at your sink, and then check it in natural light. This helps ensure you walk out of the house with the right foundation shade, as well as zero telltale signs (like unblended areas) that you just fully made up your face.

11. If you tend to break out, always use an oil-free foundation; if you have drier skin that doesn't break out, try an oil-based formula. While it's good to hydrate acne-prone skin, dermatologists will tell you that using oil-based products isn't the best way to do it, since the heavier formula can clog your pores. That's why opting for water-based foundations are better for sensitive and oily skin types, while drier skin types — and those who don't often break out — can handle the heavier formula.

To figure out whether a foundation is water- or oil-based, look to the ingredients list. If it's water-based, it will list water as the first ingredient and most likely be labeled oil-free. If it's oil-based, an oil — like argan oil, for example — will be included in the list of ingredients. 

12. If you find yourself without concealer, place a small dot of liquid foundation on the area, wait a few minutes for the formula to set, and then lightly blend it out.

The trick is to wait until the foundation dries and thickens a bit (it will eventually reach the consistency of concealer) before trying to blend it. If you blend it too soon, the foundation will be sheer and rub off, leaving you with very little coverage. 

13. Contour your face with foundation. Don't have a separate contouring palette handy? Use a foundation that's one shade darker to create depth, and one that's one shade lighter to highlight the centre of your face and underneath your cheekbones. 

14. If you want to turn your matte finish into a dewy one, apply a drop or two of a facial oil onto a sponge, then smooth on your foundation. 

​15. Use a foundation shade with the right undertones for your skin. There are three classifications for undertones: warm, cool, and neutral. If you have warm undertones, your skin will appear peachy, yellow, or golden. If you have cool undertones, your skin will have a pink, red, or bluish cast to it. If your skin is neutral, then you have a mix of warm and cool tones. Figuring out which undertone you have is crucial because the right foundation undertone complements your skin, while the wrong one can make you look washed out or ashy.