4 Steps to a Flawless Face
We’ll admit it: We like beauty products as much as the next girl, but we prefer the less-is-more approach to looking fabulous. So we love that a polished face can now be achieved without a bajillion steps and layers of makeup. Follow this simple step-by-step plan (or pick and choose only what you use!) to get a naturally beautiful glow.
Step 1: Get even with primer
Why bother with primer? This makeup artists’ secret weapon fills in lines, smooths an uneven texture, and holds foundation in place. So when you need your makeup to last all day (and look amazing), apply it over moisturized skin before your base. On time-crunched mornings when you want to keep it simple, you can even wear primer solo (that’s right!). The latest crop also corrects skin issues, so you can control shine, get a glow, hide redness—whatever you need!
Primer product guide
• Oily-skin primer:Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Pore Minimizer and Mattifier ($45; shop.napoleonperdis.com)
• Dullness fix:Becca Radiance Primer Brightening + Illuminating Formula ($40; beccacosmetics.com)
• Moisture boost:CoverGirl & Olay Simply Ageless Serum Primer ($16; drugstores)
• Ruddiness reducer:Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Correcting Primer SPF 15 in Green ($11; drugstores)
Step 2: Smooth skin with foundation
The latest formulas don’t just give great coverage—they disguise fine lines, moisturize, and infuse skin with youth-boosting ingredients, such as retinol, peptides, and antioxidants.
To look fresh-faced, apply base only where you need it—around the eyes, nose, chin, and over redness or dark spots, says Los Angeles makeup artist Joanna Schlip. Find the perfect match by testing colors along your jawline and asking for a sample to try at home. "Department-store lighting can be deceiving," Schlip explains.
Find your foundation
• For a pulled-together, "undone" look, light-coverage foundations work best. Almay Wake Up Hydrating Makeup SPF 13 ($11; drugstores)
• A full-coverage formula conceals acne-scarred or discolored skin.
Wet n Wild Ultimate Match SPF 15 Foundation ($5; drugstores)
• Use a medium- to full-coverage foundation for a glam and finished look.
L’Oréal Paris Studio Secrets Professional Magic Smooth Soufflé Makeup ($16; drugstores)
• Sheer formulas are almost undetectable because of their translucent pigments.
Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Makeup SPF 15 ($45; chanel.com)
Step 3: Hide imperfections with concealer
Use concealer over foundation on circles and spots to perfect everything. (Or, if you’re in a rush, just dab concealer where you need it most). Luckily, today’s concealers work incognito, erasing skin imperfections without heavy coverage.
Your best concealer
• Pen: Best for disguising fine lines Tip: Apply a few short dashes on wrinkles between brows and vertical lines from your nose to mouth. Illuminating the creases makes them look less obvious. Revlon Age Defying Concealer ($10; drugstores)
• Stick: Best for hiding blemishes and redness Tip: Dot onto pimples or shade in larger problem areas. Blend with your ring finger, which uses less pressure than your pointer. Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer ($18; urbandecay.com)
• Pot: Best for concealing dark circles Tip: Use a small concealer brush to dab it on the inner corners of your eyes. Choose a shade just lighter than your foundation for a brightening effect, layering a bit on at a time. MUD Make-Up Designory Blue Corrector 1 ($17; mudshop.com)
Step 4: Get glowing with blush
Perk up your face with blush or bronzer. "Smile and apply color to the apples of your cheeks in circular motions," Schlip suggests. "Make sure it doesn’t sit directly under the eyes—that screams too much." Or, use a fan brush to sweep bronzer where the sun would hit your face (cheekbones, nose, and jawline).
Here, sweet cheeks
• Light skin: Try a peach or pink shade, such as NYC New York Color Blushable Créme Stick in Plaza Pink ($4; drugstores).
• Medium skin: Choose a watermelon hue like Smashbox Cream Cheek Duo in Blushing/Peony ($26; sephora.com).
• Dark skin: Warm up with berry colors; try Maybelline New York Fit Me! Blush in Deep Rose (6; drugstores).