Why I'll Never Use Makeup Brushes to Apply Full-Coverage Foundation

My skin-on-skin application method means no caked-up foundation on broken-out skin.

It's a hard life when you want to maintain an aura of "cool girl" but your skin isn't playing cool-girl-ball. I want to be an effortless, French, just-a-swipe-of-BB-cream, buzzword, cliché, cliché, cliché. But since I had a piece of copper inserted up my vagina a few months ago, my chin skin has been grumpy with me. It might be getting back under control (when I'm being very diligent with a peel 'n' masque routine, plus the best hormonal acne treatment in the world: TIME) but if I want to do proper makeup, I'll want to cover some stuff.

HOWEVER. If there's one type of chin skin I dislike more than angry red bumps it's caked-on cake: so cakey. In fact, I genuinely think that sometimes a loud and proud blemish looks less offensive than one attempting to hide beneath tons of dry, peely, separate-y makeup.

In the unwritten (just kidding, definitely written) makeup rules, normally full-coverage makeup is advised to be applied with an instrument (sponge/brush) while tinted moisturizer/BB/etc. products are more commonly used with hands. I think this is Bad Advice.

Think about it: usually the fuller the coverage, the thicker the product. Thus, hand-warmth is paramount in getting it to be all melty and become "one" with the skin. Secondly, hands offer much more targeted application. You can basically apply the coverage only where you need it, and then blend the edges. Allowing the good-ish parts of your skin to show through with minimal foundation tricks the eye of the beholder into thinking there is that same level of low-coverage on your whole face. Not the case: the "problem" (red, angry, pulsating, suppurating, painful) zones are well-covered. But not cakily, because the skin-on-skin, hand-on-face method makes the foundation adhere to the area, not sit weirdly on top of it.

One more bonus: typically, a foundation that's heavy-duty in the coverage department offers staying power too — very useful when you know what lies beneath is extremely distracting from your otherwise flawless beauty.

Here's what I do, although it is a bit self-explanatory. The hardest aspect of this is picking your foundation. Esteé Lauder Double Wear is a good option, because pretty much every country and every shade is catered to. However, I've recently discovered what I think might classify as a "dupe" on the UK high street. It's called Stay Time by Boots brand Seventeen.

It's thick but extremely creamy, and it actually feels nice and emollient on the skin. It even has a nice, shiny, luminous finish when applied with fingers: essential for faking effortless skin.

I take one pump of it onto my fingertips and then smush it around all my fingers. It looks quite weird, but I feel like it warms the product up and also, very importantly, spreads it thinly over a large surface area. This means that when you apply it, it's much easier to avoid the dreaded cake-face.

Start by tapping the majority of the product where you need it (in my case, chin, tip of nose, plus a hint around the nostrils), and then just rub your face so much. Rub it until you think you're done, then rub more. You cannot over-blend: that is your mantra.

After you've rubbed your face for many minutes, have a look in the mirror. If there are any glaringly obvious patches that require more coverage, repeat the process on them. If something is being exceptionally stubborn, you are allowed to tap foundation in that area, but only with your finger, and only a tiny bit of product at a time. You can use this Seventeen foundation instead of concealer, and I promise I'm not lying. (Other good acne-coverage tips include dyeing your hair a very unnatural colour, or wearing a bright lipstick.)

I never set with powder because matte is the enemy, and this foundation has great staying power regardless. I will go in with a face spray (rosewater or something like that) which, in my mind, helps glue the foundation down, sort of like varnish on a table. And that's all I do.

I just wanted to tell you because I haven't heard this advice from anyone, and I also want to talk about this Seventeen foundation, which, I'm afraid, may only be available in the UK. I'm honestly amazed by how good it is: definitely the best cheap foundation I've ever tried, and currently even beating Double Wear in terms of my frequency of use. I really mean it.

  • Anyone else had a copper coil wreak a whole bunch of facial havoc?
  • What are you weird acne covering tips 'n' tricks?