Style

Foundation 101

Makeup artist Joy Randall of Charlotte shows step-by-step what you need to know about choosing and applying foundation. She uses hairstylist Sparkles Hill to model the transformtion.
Makeup artist Joy Randall of Charlotte shows step-by-step what you need to know about choosing and applying foundation. She uses hairstylist Sparkles Hill to model the transformtion. mhames@charlotteobserver.com

Stop worrying about which foundation you use, and start worrying about how you use it.

Professional makeup artist Joy Randall said application is much more important than the brand of product you use: “Once you know the purposes for the products, then you can choose anything ... high end, low end, you can apply it better and make it look more professional.”

Randall has been doing makeup for 10 years. In 2009, she founded Flawless Makeup Art so she could apply makeup without the pressure to sell a certain brand or product.

After earning a journalism degree from N.C. A&T, then adding a cosmetology degree, she began working for brands like MAC, Urban Decay and L’Oréal. “You have to sell it. You have to sell the product. And I loved explaining to people ... but I did not care to sell, especially if somebody couldn’t afford it,” she said.

Choosing a foundation

▪ Liquid or powder? Randall prefers liquid. It’s easier to blend and melts onto the skin like butter, she said. There are ways to make powder look better, like using a moisturizing spray, she said. Whichever the product, Randall’s application technique is the same.

▪ Matte or dewy finish? A dewy finish, with sheen, makes skin look moisturized and “alive,” said Randall, but a matte finish smooths texture like wrinkles, bumps and large pores.

▪ Always use two different shades. “It sounds expensive, but no one is the same color all the way through,” said Randall. Choose a lighter shade that matches your undertones and a darker shade that blends with the outer areas of your face. Be sure to consider the color of your chest and arms. “When you’re matching, it should flow right into (the) neckline,” Randall said. “There should be no lines.”

▪ Concealer or foundation? Concealer is just a more concentrated form of foundation. “Less is more,” Randall said. You can always add more foundation or concealer on areas that need more coverage, but using concealer on your whole face can lead to a heavy look, she said.

Randall’s favorite products: ▪ MAC Matchmaster Foundation ▪ Stila Stay All Day Foundation and Concealer ▪ MAC Mineralize Skinfinish

▪ Use the right brush. Use a synthetic brush to apply liquid and cream, and a natural hair brush to apply powder, since liquid will clump in natural hair brushes. Randall emphasizes the slightly pointed shape of her mid-size foundation brush – it allows her to apply foundation to delicate spots like the bottom eyelid and small hollows between the eyes and nose.

▪ For setting powder, anything goes. Compact and loose powders are similar, but compact powder is more convenient for quick touch-ups throughout the day. Powders come in different finishes and shades, but colored powder doesn’t run the risk of leaving white marks like some translucent ones do. Randall prefers using two shades in this step, as well.

Applying the foundation

▪ Begin by applying the lighter shade between the brows in the middle of the face. Work outward and apply to the T-zone, underneath the eyes, on the cheekbones and a small dab on the chin.

▪ Next, apply the darker shade to the rest of the face. Randall begins on the outside and moves in, blending where the two shades meet. Don’t be afraid to apply the darker color over the edges of the lighter to ensure the two blend, she said.

▪ Use two different motions: stroking helps blend, and patting creates coverage. Once you have the whole face done, you can add layers of foundation or concealer to areas that need more coverage.

▪ To finish, Randall applies powder. Why? “It’s just a proper ending. I think of like pollen on a car ... it encases the car. That’s basically what you’re doing to your face. You’re encasing your makeup. It keeps it from breaking down throughout the day.”

And don’t forget ...

▪ Always do your eye makeup first, said Randall. If eyeliner or mascara smudges, you can wipe it clean without worrying about ruining your blended foundation.

▪ Foundation isn’t the only way to improve your look. “Skincare is its own beast ... it’s almost more important than your makeup,” Randall said.

▪ Focus on getting to know the products and how to use them, not their brands, Randall said. “You can use anything you want!”

Capwell: 704-358-6194; Twitter: @jessicacapwell

Randall’s favorite products

▪ MAC Matchmaster Foundation

▪ Stila Stay All Day Foundation and Concealer

▪ MAC Mineralize Skinfinish

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