Hey, all! When I sat down and thought about what I wanted to write about, I kept stumbling upon one common denominator with everything I do in my makeup routine- my base. Even when I switch it up from simple to creative eye looks, I always start out with my base routine. I rarely change it because when I find products I love that work for me, I don’t feel the need to experiment. Sure, I’ll buy new products to test out and use, hoping I end up loving them, but sometimes you just don’t and find yourself using your tried and true, ride or die products. To me, I love testing new looks out on my eyes and lips, but my base is just that- my base. It holds everything together and needs to be flawless for my makeup to work. So, I thought I would share my current “Flawless Base Routine” with you in case you’re in the market for new products, need to know the steps, or if you’re just curious! Hopefully, by the end, you’ll know exactly what you need, start to finish, for a perfect face of makeup!
I never skip primer, it is essential to a flawless base. If you want your makeup to go on smooth, sit pretty and last all day, you need to prime. For the past couple of years, I have been using the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water ($38, Ulta.com). I know it sounds silly, a spray bottle filled with what is essentially glorified water, but I swear it works. I have pretty normal skin, and I consider hydration to be amongst my top priorities, so spritzing this all over really hydrates and wakes up my skin for a full face of makeup.Also, it comes in a travel size for $16 if you want to try it, but don’t want to commit (Hashtag savings AF).
After that, I usually go in with the Urban Decay Optical Illusion Primer ($31, Ulta.com) on my T-zone. Before you think I’m crazy, no, it isn’t necessary to use two primers. However, smoothing out my pores is also one of my top priorities. So, if I’m doing my makeup for a night out or an event, I will use this primer as well. Otherwise, I tend to skip it. Identifying your needs is key to finding the right primer. If you’re oily, you probably won’t enjoy the Smashbox primer water as much as I do, and if you’re very dry you might not like the Urban Decay one. It all depends on preference.
This is the most important step, in my opinion, for a flawless base. If you want a perfectly smooth and full coverage base, you need the right foundation. Nothing else matters without the right foundation!! My current go-to for the past year I’d say is mixing the Loreal Pro Glow and Pro Matte foundations ($11.99, Walmart). The Pro Glow on its own can be a little too glowy for me, and the Pro Matte alone can be too dry, so mixing them made perfect sense. When mixed, I get a full coverage foundation that gives my base a skin-like finish. The Pro Glow has more of a medium coverage, whereas the Pro Matte is pretty full coverage, so mixing them together still gives me a full coverage look. I love this combo, more so than all my high-end foundations combined. I use it on my clients all the time as well, it truly works for pretty much everyone I’ve encountered so far. I don’t think it’s fair when people judge drugstore products as “cheap” or “poor quality,” because if I had a gun to my head and had to choose, I’d go for these foundations any time, any day.
If you ever catch me outside of the house without concealer on I’d like to congratulate you for witnessing the impossible. I cannot go without it, which is why it is ESSENTIAL for a flawless base. Finding the right concealer can be tricky, and over the years I’ve gone through MANY, but I’ve never stuck with one as long as I have with Tarte Shape Tape ($25, Ulta.com). It is so full coverage, while not being too thick, creasy, or hard to blend out. It took the beauty world by storm when it launched last year and I have yet to use anything that compares. It has a huge doe-foot applicator which makes it super quicky and easy to apply. My only complaint is that it can be a little dry at times, but that is to be expected in the under eye area because it is a sensitive area with very thin, impressionable skin that tends to dry out easily for a lot of people. On my drier days, I like to mix in a little bit of Maybelline Better Skin Concealer ($8.99, Ulta.com) to balance it out. I’ve found this combination works really well together without disrupting the coverage or blendability of the Shape Tape.
Your base won’t be complete without powder. I’m serious, don’t skip it. Even if you’re dry as a desert, your foundation and concealer will move around freely and smudge right off if you don’t use powder. Powder doesn’t always mean more layers of coverage either. My tried and true favorite powder is the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($38, Sephora). Shocking right? Not like every person in the world that loves makeup uses this powder or anything. It’s just that good. Lately, I’ve been using it to set my under eyes, around the nose, my nasal labial folds (smile lines), and where I apply my contour. I’ve been into glowy skin lately, so I leave the other parts of my face powder free. If you’re really oily or want a fully matte face, you definitely will want to apply this all over.
If I want a little extra color/coverage, let’s say, if my foundation isn’t the best color match or I’m having a bad skin day, I will put on the Maybelline Better Skin Powder ($8.99, Walmart or Ulta). It gives my base a little extra love without feeling heavy or looking caked on. This powder is so smooth, the only downside is the color selection which is such a bummer, but if you can find your shade, I highly recommend it for your “I need fuller than full coverage” days.
Anyone who knows me or follows me on instagram knows I was ride or die for the Kat Von D contour palette. I still am, it’s a holy grail product that I will definitely be re-purchasing, however, I’m on a new kick ever since Benefit dropped a bomb on us pasty white girls. Hoola Lite bronzer ($32, Ulta), is my perfect match. I mix it with the original Hoola bronzer to create my PERFECT contour shade. If you’re tan enough, Hoola Lite can even be used as an all-over face powder. The formula of these bronzers is known for the blendability. I could never wear Hoola on its own without it becoming muddy on my pale skin, but mixing it with Hoola Lite is addicting. I have a feeling I’ll be stuck on these for a long time.
After I contour, I always apply a bronzer. Yes, there is a difference. I bronze afterward in order to avoid muddying up my face and overdoing it. The Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer has been working so well for me. I rarely hit pan on anything, unless I truly love it, and I’ve hit pan on this one, TWICE. The formula is in the name- butter. I can apply a generous amount and not get muddy or uneven. Even if I apply too much, it doesn’t look like too much because it’s very easy to blend out. It comes in two pretty universal shades that will compliment a wide range of skin tones, even the palest of the pale, without looking orange or fake.
Blush is such a touchy subject. Whenever I’m with a client, I ALWAYS ask if they like blush, and if they do, I ask what color. I don’t know why, but it’s a very personal thing, and I totally relate. I have very strict blush preferences. Luckily, it’s not totally essential to a flawless base routine, so feel free to skip it if you’re a blush-hater like I used to be. However, I’ve grown to love and appreciate blush, I even go for the shimmery kind! Blush is definitely one of those items you don’t need a lot of and you don’t need to splurge on.The weird thing about blush is it’s one of the first things to fade off the face. Blush sits on the part of your face that has the most pores, so they tend to soak up the color and make it fade prety quickly. Because of this, I tend to go a little more heavy handed at first and lean toward peachy/bronzey colors to compliment my pale complexion, rather than accentuate it. My go-to’s are Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso and Wet N’ Wild blush in Apri-Cot in the Middle. Both beautiful peach shades with a slight sheen to add glow and warmth to the skin.
Yes, my favorite part- HIGHLIGHTER. As I said earlier, I’m down with a glowy complexion lately, so highlighter is a MUST. If you don’t like it, skip it. It’s definitely not essential. For my girls that love it, the Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kits are incredible ($40, ABH Website). The Nicole Guerriero glow kit is my current favorite at the moment, I hit basically every high point on my face, including my forehead and chin. I definitely recommend skipping those areas if you get oily. You don’t want to pack it on too, too heavy though, cause it will end up looking more laser-beam-ish than glowing goddess. Find a formula that works for you, some people need to use cream products if they’re too dry for powders and some like more glitter than shimmer.
We’re almost there! The last step to my flawless base routine is finishing and setting spray. There is a differece people!! A finishing spray is meant to compliment/change the FINISH of your base. Therefore, whatever finish your base is, matte or dewy, a finishing spray can accentuate and blend it all together. For this, I use MAC Fix+ ($28, MAC or Ulta.com). I DRENCH myself in this stuff. It’s an addiction. This spray pretty much melts together all the products I’ve pretty much piled on and makes my face look beautiful and radiant. However, this is NOT A SETTING SPRAY! It will not make your makeup stay on or last longer. That’s why after this, I go in with the Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray ($31, Ulta.com). I love the mister on this spray. It pumps out such a fine mist of product so I don’t feel like it’s disrupting or messing up my base.
So that’s it! That is how I go from 0 to 100 real quick. Well, actually it takes a good half hour (15 minutes if I really believe in myself). This routine has BARELY changed in pretty much a year, and it probably won’t until some product miraculously changes my mind! If you want to try any of these products, I highly encourage you to. I have found them to be very reliable and never have a bad makeup day when I follow this routine. Of course, I still try new things now and then, things that I do love, but I always come back to these guys. They don’t let me down, I always know what to expect, and always have a full coverage and flawless base. Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this post and what products you’ve tried/are looking forward to trying! Thanks for reading!