Being a beauty editor comes with certain expectations. You must love makeup, obviously. You should probably be able to convey your passion for beauty via the written word (and hopefully with a sprinkle of some witty panache). Possessing product junkie tendencies is a plus. You do not, however, need to be skilled with the makeup brush—we’re writers, not artists, after all. And yet, we’ve found that our very average makeup skills have indeed increased exponentially as the years go by. Call it a side effect of the job, or perhaps just a natural result of researching beauty tips from dusk until dawn, but we’re now quite the pros at handling a foundation brush (or beauty sponge, depending which #team you're on).
With that in mind, we thought it was time to share some of our secrets with the general public—starting with foundation. Ever wonder why beauty editors always have good skin? Because we know how to fake it—and fake it well. (Just don’t tell.)
Keep scrolling for eight foundation secrets beauty editors swear by!
Beauty editor, mixologist—the two words are interchangeable(ish). We’re not afraid to mix and match our makeup products, cocktailing and combining to our heart’s content. This is especially true when it comes to foundation. Want a sheerer tint? Just mix some moisturizer in. Want a glowy visage without the shine? Here’s a beauty-editor secret: Mix a primer, like Make’s Moonlight Primer ($55) with a radiance-boosting product, like Charlotte Tilbury's Wonderglow ($55) and apply to your skin before foundation. Your skin will look candlelit and glowing—never greasy.
Yes, we realize we’re in the throes of the no-makeup makeup craze—but that doesn’t always mean less is more. Sometimes, the key to a flawless complexion is to layer your products—and the more hydrating, the better. Consider a cushion compact, for example. This beauty-editor favorite hails from Korea and gives light-as-air coverage and a dewy radiance. On days you want your skin to look just a bit more refined (curse you, breakout), just add a hydrating primer underneath to smooth things out. Or, if your skin is looking particularly dull, try a tightening formula, like Clarins’s much-loved Beauty Flash Balm ($46). Your face is a canvas, and primers, moisturizers, and foundations are paints; experiment and find the best formula for your unique skin type.
This tip is as good for your wallet as it is for your skin: Use less foundation. Unless you have severe acne or rosacea, most women only really need foundation near their T-zone. Distribute most of the product on your forehead, nose, and center of your cheeks, then buff the rest outward. (This will also help you avoid the dreaded foundation line around the jawline.)
Most beauty editors learn their favorite makeup tips through makeup artists—and “warming up” our foundation brush happens to be one of those. Want to know how to really blend your foundation into your skin and get that airbrushed finish? A makeup artist told us his secret is to glide and swirl the foundation brush in his (clean) palm first to “warm it up.” The warmer and more flexible the bristles, the more they’ll be able to distribute the foundation evenly and smoothly. You’re welcome!
Another makeup-artist secret we love? Using a beauty sponge to smooth out any dry areas. If you’ve finished applying foundation and discover any flakiness, simply dab a dampened beauty sponge in a light face oil or moisturizer, then press over the area. Your foundation will bond with any flakes and leave you with a smooth, fresh finish.
We have Kylie Jenner to thank for this trick—or at least for introducing us to our new favorite makeup brushes. Jenner revealed that she applies moisturizer with a round, fluffy makeup brush from Artis, and we’ve since followed suit. Another thing you can do with a giant brush? Buff in your foundation. Even if you prefer to use your fingers or a sponge to apply, buffing it in with a face brush will give you an airbrushed, natural-looking finish.
We know, we know—the debate is forever raging about whether you should apply concealer before or after foundation. Though we see the merits of both arguments, we have to go with the latter, simply because you end up using less. Just remember to blend, blend, blend.
If you prefer a more matte finish, feel free to finish off your foundation with a dusting of powder—just make sure to use the right kind. Beauty editors know that HD powders will give your skin a silken effect but should be avoided if you’re getting photographed. Trust us—the powder will show up in pictures. Instead, sweep a super-fine brightening powder across the high points of your face to add some luminescence, or even a subtle highlighter (we’re keen on Hourglass’s Ambient Lighting Powder, $45).
Did you know these tricks? Click here to find out the seven most photogenic foundations according to makeup artists!