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Make up tips for perfect skin: expert foundation advice
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We've all been the victim of buying a new foundation only to get it home, apply it, take a look in the mirror and gasp at the blotchy, mismatched toned skin reflected back at us. Well, no more. We spoke to the experts and asked them to divulge their hard-earned secrets so you never have to suffer the shame of tide marks again.

Your skin

Your foundation shouldn't be a mask over your skin it should be used to complement rather than cover. As such you want your skin to be in the best condition possible. No foundation is going to look good over dry, flaky skin no matter how much it costs you or whatever magic ingredient it's supposed to contain. Work at creating the best natural base by moisturising, exfoliating and treating your skin to appropriate masks and treatments as and when it needs it. This way you'll only need foundation to enhance your already great skin. As Melissa Evans, celebrity make-up artist for ClickMakeover says: "Foundation can be built up slowly and should only be used in areas that need it. It's meant to be a product to even out the skin, not to create a whole new layer!" So leave the Goth look to experimental teens.

To prime or not to prime

The use of a primer often depends on your choice of foundation texture. Primers are great used on the skin before applying mineral foundations as they create a silky smooth base for the powder particles to be worked into. They're also good if you use a liquid foundation but don't like to use powders over the top as they smooth the skin and leave skin feeling fresh rather than powdery.

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Take the advice of Eric Jimenez, international make-up artist and worldwide retail director for Urban Decay who told us: "Prep the skin with a primer as this ensures your make-up stays in place all day and can help to smooth open pores and small wrinkles". And anything that might diminish wrinkles is worth doing.

However, if you're a fan of that radiant dewy glow favoured by many an A-lister you might not want to use a primer as they tend to mattify the skin - great if you are prone to excessive oiliness, not if you're looking to recreate smooth, fresh looking skin, and aren't we all?

Skin type

The majority of us will have heard the advice about choosing a foundation shade in natural light but how many of you choose a foundation to suit your skin type as well as tone? Fiona Jolly, Maybelline New York's celebrity make-up artist says: "The best way to test a foundation is to rub it onto your hand, and then pinch the skin. If the foundation sits in the creases, it is unlikely to wear well on your skin. Different skin types require different foundations to achieve the best results. If you have oily skin, use a matte foundation that will help reduce shine on the skin at the same time. For dry skin, use a liquid foundation that contains moisturising properties."

Choosing the right shade

There is nothing more noticeable than a woman wearing the wrong shade of foundation. There is just no excuse for nasty old tide marks either from a foundation that is five shades too dark lending you the glow of a native Sicilian when really you were born in West Sussex, or one that gives you the eerie light of a ghostly apparition. Instead, Fiona Jolly says: "When buying foundation don't just test the shade on your wrist, test it on your cheek and nose. Make sure you go outside to check the shade match, as the artificial lighting in shops can often be misleading. Look at your skin with no make-up to see if you have a yellow or rose tone, and then choose a foundation to match your base".


Women often don't realise that different foundation application techniques result in different finishes on the skin. Melissa Evans, celebrity make-up artist for ClickMakeover suggests, "Use a natural bristle brush; MAC, Bobbi Brown and Laura Mercier all do fabulous ones. This will give you that professional, flawless look." The beauty team get right behind this advice as since changing to brush application our skin looks airbrushed and make-up seems to stay put for much longer. Brilliant.

International make-up artist and worldwide retail director for Urban Decay, Eric Jimenez's top tip when applying foundation is, "Go down and out with the brush or fingers, as this ensures that fine downy hairs are less noticeable."

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If you do prefer to use your fingers take Fiona Jolly's advice: "Use your fingers to pat the colour in, don't smudge it. Patting it in will give you more control. Make sure your hands are clean and cold; if your fingers are hot and sweaty the foundation won't stay in place. Also always use two slightly different shades and use the second shade for contouring."

Age is an issue

Just like you would change a moisturiser to suit skin as it changes through the years you should remember to do the same with your foundation. Lisa Eldridge, make-up artist for No7 recognises the problems present in more mature skin and told us: "Skin and features soften as women get older and hormonal changes can make skin drier and many women don't realise that flat, matte make-up and heavy foundation absorbs light and makes skin look more dull."

There is no point slapping on expensive anti-ageing creams if you then go on to mask all their hard work with lots of bronzer, dark lip liner and heavy, matte foundation. You might as well stop dying your hair and start wearing a twin set and pearls! Instead it's about choosing the right textured products; sheer foundations and light reflective particles are your friends and will enhance your best features while deflecting attention from wrinkles and uneven skin tone. The new No7 Lift & Luminate Foundation contains moisturisers and a firming and brightening complex, designed with mature skin in mind to give firmer, even skin with a youthful glow.

Finishing touches

If you still feel that your skin stays put longer with powder set it with loose powder as it is lighter than pressed and only apply down the T-zone.

If skin is looking tired and dull choose a lightweight shimmery foundation; lots of new foundations contain light-reflecting pigments which help to even out skin tone and give skin a real boost.

If you have oily skin or find that your skin slides very quickly it may be that your moisturiser is too oily. Always allow time for your moisturiser to sink in otherwise you may find that they separate and rub off meaning starting all over again.


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