How to Apply Foundation and Concealer

Here is the first in a series of Makeup How Tos:
Applying Foundation and Concealer
Makeup from the skin up
Clean your skin thoroughly, pat dry and then apply a thin layer of moisturizer or a light facial cream. Wait about twenty minutes to allow the moisturizer to fully absorb into your skin. If you don’t have twenty minutes to wait for the moisturizer to absorb into your skin, try to wash and moisturize the moment you get up, before you get dressed. This way, once you are dressed, the moisturizer has done its job and you are ready to apply makeup. Still don’t have enough time? Apply a very thin layer of moisturizer and then gently pat dry any wet areas before applying foundation.

How your skin reacts to the makeup
It's important to keep in mind, that any and all products you apply to your skin will be absorbed into the skin, to a greater or lesser extent, within the first 20-30 minutes. This means that some of the color you apply to your face with be absorbed within the first half-an-hour and then will continue to fade throughout the time you wear it. Which is the reason why you look great the moment you step away from your makeup mirror, but by the end of the day, you look worn and washed out, as if you never put on makeup that morning.

This also means that you should always apply some kind of facial cream and then foundation to give your face the base on which the eye makeup, blush and lipstick can stick and stay on longer.

The final color of your skin can only be gauged a half an hour after application. It is important to keep this in mind, especially if you are about to be photographed. For wedding or simcha photography your makeup should be about half a tone darker than normal to allow the skin to absorb the makeup, so by the time the event takes place, your makeup is the 'correct shade' and not too light.

A good investment
You don’t need to invest a lot of money in an expensive facial cream, but you should invest in a good foundation (and concealer, if you choose to buy one). A good foundation is characterized as being 'from a good family' (well-known company), having a creamy consistency and keeping its color and consistency throughout its shelf-life. What is the shelf-life of a good foundation? It depends on how often you use it. If you apply makeup on a regular, daily basis, your foundation should last 3-6 months, once you learn to apply the optimal amount with the least amount of waste.

A few words about hypo-allergenic cosmetics: each company sets its own standards in order to call itself hypo-allergenic. There are no hard and fast rules, some companies test their cosmetics on thousands of women and some on hundreds. So long as the cosmetic meets the standards set by the company: little irritation or inflammation in the smallest number of participants in the study, the company can use the label "hypo-allergenic". The hypo-allergenic label may only be important if you have skin contact allergies, if not, there is no reason to 'pay extra' for this label.

Foundation color match
Want to know how to ensure a perfect match (for any everyday look) between your skin tone and the foundation color? Try a liquid foundation shade on your cheek area and a solid foundation shade on your chest just under your collar bone. Apply a bit of foundation to the area and gently pat in, if the foundation is almost indistinguishable from your skin tone, you've found the perfect shade.

A liquid foundation is perfect for older skin, as it is kind to the wrinkles and will not build up or crack around these problem areas. In general, young skin can 'take' either liquid or solid foundation, as the skin is elastic and usually wrinkle-free, so the foundation glides over the skin effortlessly and once it begins to absorb into the skin it does so evenly, without 'dropping in' or 'building up' in the wrinkles.

In general, solid foundation is used for all weddings and simchas, as these are important photo opportunities, where we need makeup that can stand up to the heat of the lights, the environment and the hours of dancing and kissing, without running, melting or disappearing from the skin entirely.

How to Apply Foundation
As with everything else, there are many schools of thought as to how to apply foundation. Some women apply it lightly with their fingers, putting a touch on their forehead, checks and chin and then blending it in. Some use a brush, usually a real hair makeup brush. I prefer to use a triangle-shaped sponge. Wet the sponge thoroughly under cool tap water and then wring it out completely, so that it is moist to the touch, and not dripping with water.

I apply a few dabs of liquid or solid foundation to my left hand just below my thumb (I'm a righty) and then pat a corner of the sponge in the foundation. You can also apply the foundation directly to the sponge, but, as with anything porous, it will be absorbed into the sponge and you'll waste the foundation. (You are right, the skin of my hand is also porous, but I work quickly). At the beginning you will 'waste' a little of the foundation, as you may pour out more than you will apply to your face. With time, you will know how much to pour out and apply.

I dab the foundation-soaked corner of the sponge on to my face. I begin with the eye area; first the upper and then the lower lids and then work on the cheeks, chin and then forehead. I always work in tandem: first the left eye and then the right eye, gently smooth or pat the eye area once you have applied the foundation, then apply to the left cheek and then the right cheek. The order of right or left makes no difference, what is important here is to ensure symmetry and uniformity by working each small area one after the other and not working one half the face and then the other. This work method of symmetry and uniformity is especially critical when working on the eye area.

You can apply either foundation or concealer to your entire eye area. Concealer is usually more oily and creamier and is not recommended for oily skin or older skin. I recommend using foundation around the entire eye area.

Concealer, as its name suggests, is a cream used to conceal something, in most cases it is used to conceal the upper lid and under eye area, or more importantly, the unattractive parts of the eye area. Concealer should either match the exact shade as the skin around the eyes or half a shade lighter.

Dark circles / red patches under the eyes
There is an 'even tone' cream that can cosmetically (NOT permanently) lighten or neutralize the dark circles under the eye, but these creams should be used by a professional makeup artist, as you need to learn how to apply and then mix and blend this cream with regular concealer or foundation. The basic rules of thumb are:

• dark brown circles under the eyes can be lightened by a pink or red shade. The darker the circle under the eye, the darker the red shade needed to neutralize it

• a pinkish pigmentation is neutralized by green color

• a yellowish pigmentation is neutralized by purple color

• a bluish pigmentation is neutralized by a peach/yellow color

Ruddiness on the checks or any other facial area
Just like the eye area, ruddiness on the checks or any other facial area can neutralized using the rules of thumb listed above. I recommend that you leave the use of these colors to a professional makeup artist (like myself) and mix your foundation with a lighter foundation shade to slightly neutralize these areas and leave the true 'magic' for photo opportunities.

Once you have applied foundation to your whole face, don't forget to apply foundation to the area under your chin and slightly down your neck, so there is no obvious demarcation mark between your face and neck areas.

Once you have finished applying foundation on your whole face, and before you apply eye makeup, smooth or pat the eye area again. Reapply a drop more of foundation if needed and then begin to work on your eye makeup.

Taking care of your sponges
A good sponge can be reused, for one person only, quite a number of times. After use, rinse out your sponge and hang it to dry. Do not store your sponge closed in your makeup bag, box or kit. Keep it on your makeup table or hang it up. Every few applications, wash the sponge in light soapy (hand or facial soap) luke-warm water, rinse it out well and then hang it out in the open air to dry. Once the sponge no longer cleans well, it's time to throw it out and use a new one.

Powering your skin
I recommend powdering only wrinkle-free skin, as once again the powder, like the solid foundation will cake, dry and crack around wrinkles. For photo opportunities, you can lightly powder the naturally oily areas of the skin: the 'T' from above your brows and down your nose. You can also lightly powder your chin and the tops of the apples of your cheeks.

Powdering tips
If you do not have face powder, you can apply a thin layer of baby talc (unscented, white).

If you have over-blushed/rouged your checks, you can apply a thin layer of white powder or white talc to tone down some of the blush.

Great Hint: Use baby wipes without alcohol to clean any mistakes/smudges on your face, as well as to clean your hands and surfaces when you are finished applying makeup. Make sure the wipes are packaged as alcohol-free, as the alcohol tends to dry out your skin. Even if you have oily skin, this product is not recommended for use.

See and learn more on Styles by Yochi: Your makeup artist, hairstylist, wig stylist for all your weddings and simchas

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