Foundation – Expert Q&A

By Amy Lawrenson

MOST POPULAR

Whether you’re still searching for the right shade or don’t know how to apply your perfect match, ELLE asked our expert friends to answer those FAQs once and for all. So now you’ve got a solid foundation to build your look on…

What is primer and do I need it?

“A primer is a fairly misunderstood product – most women skip using it because they don’t know what it is or what it does. A serum-like gel, primer seals in your moisturiser and provides a smooth surface for foundation. Primer will keep your make-up from being absorbed into the skin, so it will last much longer.”

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Laura Mercier, Celebrity Make-up Artist.

Any tips for finding the right shade?

“Using natural daylight gives you the best chance of matching the correct shade.”

Max Factor Make-up Artist Caroline Barnes

“To find the best match, remove any make-up from your jawline and apply two to three possible foundation shades along the edge. The shade that is invisible or blends in with your skin is the best shade.”

Jannine Nicholas, Selfridges Clinique Consultant

“If your neck and chest are a little darker than your face, use a light bronzer to match them up, not a darker foundation.”

Cassie Lomas, Bourjois Celebrity Make-up Artist

How should I apply my foundation?

“Foundation should enhance your skin rather than acting as a mask, so use sparingly and only where needed, usually around the T-zone. Leave your skin naked where it’s clear. This gives an overall natural look.”

Caroline Barnes, Max Factor Make-up Artist

“The key to foundation is that you should look like you but better. You shouldn’t change your skin colour and you don’t need a mask of foundation.”

Liz Pugh, Rimmel Make-up Artist

“Apply foundation with a brush to avoid excess oils and heat from your fingers smearing your base. This also helps the product go further.”

Cassie Lomas, Bourjois Celebrity Make-up Artist

“Some people like to apply with a flat foundation brush, but I prefer to buff into the skin with a buffing brush. Use upward oval motions to ensure a more polished finish.”

Rachel Wood, Benefit Celebrity Make-up Artist.

Should I apply concealer before, or after, foundation?

"Always conceal after applying your foundation, it you conceal first you risk moving it around your face when you start the application process."

Kirtsin Pigott, UK make-up artist and spokesperson for Rimmel

Do I need to apply powder afterwards?

“Just powder the T-Zone to avoid looking greasy. Translucent powder is best.”

Liz Pugh, Rimmel Make-up Artist

Should I stick with the same foundation and shade all year round?

“Change your foundation between summer and winter and/or holiday tan skin and when you are paler. If you go between shades try out a tinted moisturiser and top with a heavier concealer where needed.”

Rachel Wood, Benefit Celebrity Make-up Artist.

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