Sometimes I need Jesus to, literally, take the wheel, you all. Like when I’m driving the girls to coop and Lola asks for help with some especially challenging passages in her book and I am also trying to apply liquid foundation, with a brush, all while balancing a tall glass of hot tea between my legs.
I advise leaving shenanigans like this to a professional like me. Don’t try this at home.
Which is why makeup tutorials just kill me. The other day, I came across an adorable glowy 20-year-old with dimples talking us through a 40-minute makeup tutorial after a bajillion requests from other adorable glowy 20-year-olds who wanted to duplicate her look. Five minutes in I found myself getting a little agitated and yelling, “For the love of God just put the lipstick on and be done with it!” at my cracked Samsung Galaxy screen. I mean, who has the time? Seriously. Who has the time for multiple rounds and applications of highlighter and contour and concealer and powder and stuff. Who? Not me, now, racing to coop with lukewarm tea and a prized old Lilly Pulitzer makeup bag stuffed with basics.
When I was a glowy 20-something, though, I would have been all over it. Before kids. When applying makeup was all about fun and and experimentation and the only thing I had to hide on my face was an occasional blemish.
Today, makeup is equal parts maintenance and magic. I wear makeup to help me look fresh and alive and awake, to minimize dark circles and puffiness, to make me feel ready to face the day. Which is magical, really. I am a shortcut queen and a multitasking maven. And that’s why, when I suggest that you consider adding another product (primer) and another tool (a foundation applicator) to your arsenal, it’s not just because I like to buy stuff.
Although I do like to buy stuff. A lot.
But mostly, it’s because this stuff really really works, and when you do your makeup, once and fast, the right way in the morning, you can pretty much forget about your face until it’s time to wash it off at night. (You do wash it off, don’t you? Do it for me. Pretty please At the very least, keep a stash of cleansing wipes by your bed and just do your best to get most of it off before you pass out.)
Anyway, these products and tools were picked because they work, and although in some cases they present an additional step, I promise that it will be time and money well spent. Think of this as the equivalent of those Fix it and Forget It cookbooks. But for your face. So here we go.
(As always, photos are linked, so just click on one for details).
1. Prime Time:
As I mentioned above, I’m a corner-cutter, but not when it comes to the important things, like makeup. After all, what’s the point of putting on your face only to have it fade in a few minutes. Ain’t nobody got time for that. (Sorry!) The latest crop of primers have a slew of benefits and even double as skincare, and they all keep makeup looking fresh and fabulous for hours. They also have the miraculous effect of filling in fine lines and pores and other imperfections. Amazing. Plus, they range from $8 to $98, so choose the one that fits your needs and budget.
2. Top Tools (Low Tech)
So I am not going to lie to you. I have smeared foundation on my face with my fingers many, many times. And then, when I remember to use my brush, I’m like – wow, I should totally do this more often. So much easier. So there you go. I am not saying your fingers don’t work (and they can be just the thing when you want a very natural look with minimal coverage), but if you have anything to hide, at all, a tool will help. Here are some of my favorites, from low-priced low-tech options to some seriously advanced applicators.
3. Top Tools (High Tech)
The latest crop of high tech applicators, scanners and apps are truly revolutionary. From home airbrush foundations systems to a foundation “printer” that reads your exact skin tone and dispenses the perfect shade, these devices are making those old foundation wedges seem almost archaic.
The ColorMe sonic foundation applicator will do for your foundation application what a sonic toothbrush does for your teeth. It makes the process faster, smoother, and better. The applicator pulses 250 times a minute for even, flawless application.
Luminess Epic 2 Airbrush System
Yes, it’s expensive, but the Luminess Epic 2 Airbrush System with Built In Display comes with its own makeup artist. Seriously. The display features makeup tutorials from makeup artist Heather Boswell that talk you through the application process step by step, and then the applicator dispenses airbrushed color onto your skin. So cool!
Not exactly a tool, but still so worth a mention. Oxygenetix is a breathable foundation that safely provides coverage to skin healing from dermatologic or plastic surgery procedures.
Orange is the new olive, apparently, because, for years, pros took one look at my face and tried to sell me an orange base. Never mind that my olive skin is neutral and verging on cool. Fortunately, technology has come a long way, and finding the perfect shade has never been easier. These resources can help!
Sephora + Pantone Color IQ
Pop into a Sephora, if you are lucky enough to live near one, and they will use this nifty little device to accurately read your skintone, and then assign you your own Pantone number. That number then goes into a database, and out comes a list of the best foundation matches for your skin tone. I just tried it myself and it’s amazing. It’s a free service and only takes a couple of minutes. After I got my unique color, 3Y07, I was able to choose from over 40 foundations matched to my skin tone. Plus, it recommends lip, cheek and eye color to flatter your skin. A real game-changer, this makes it much more foolproof to shop online in the future! If you can’t make it to the store, you can use an existing foundation to find your Pantone shade and then match it to other shades on the site.
This website features a simple little Foundation Matrix that lets you enter in your undertone (pink, olive, yellow) and your skintone (light, medium tan) from a fairly broad range of choices, and then makes some recommendations. Cool, simple and free!
While it’s a little tricky to use (it took me many, many tries to get a selfie it could read) this app overdelivers in other areas. It scans and reads your skintone, eye, lip and hair color, and then it picks the perfect shades of foundation, eye color, lip color and cheek color for you. And it’s free! So far, the choices have been pretty spot on, but I will update this as I continue to use it.
This iOS app is similar to Plum Perfect, but in my opinion, the results were more limited and a little disappointing. The makeup recommendations came from a very small range of lines, but it’s still worth checking out for it’s ability to read your skintone and recommend colors.
The right tools are important, of course, but so is the right technique. The amazing makeup artist at Sephora in St. John Town Center in Jacksonville, Sulay, used a stippling brush to apply a pea sized amount of my new favorite base, Hourglass Illusion in Golden, to my face, just where I need it. Lori Taylor-Davis, Smashbox Pro Lead Makeup Artist, uses a similar technique. “Always start in the center of the face and blend up/down and out, really only applying product where you need it so skin still shines through.”
Finding the right shade of foundation has always been one of the biggest makeup hurdles, but the latest technology has simplified the process! I hope you find something here that will help you find the perfect base for your face.