Makeup 101: Skin Coverage Tips and Tricks

Skin Coverage Tips and Tricks

We’ve all had that day/night when we got all dolled up to go out and thought we looked smoking’…until we caught a glimpse of ourselves in the car mirror.  Our foundation color is wrong, our concealer is covering NOTHING, and a “light dusting” of powder really looks like we were involved in a tragic baking accident.

 Now these tips refer mainly to drugstores and places where you can’t try the product before you buy it, like Walmart or Target.  In places like Ulta or Sephora when you’re buying the expensive stuff, they can give you a sample to try, which I definitely recommend. I would not recommend trying drugstore products in the store anyway. I just think it’s not hygienic and gross. Do yourself a favor and NEVER pick up anything at the drugstore unless you can absolutely tell it hasn’t been used. Just don’t take a chance.

So here are a few tips to help you avoid an unfortunate comparison to an Oompa Loompa (or a certain commander in chief with a bad spray tan).

Research Return Policies

When buying makeup of any kind at the drugstore, definitely look into their cosmetic return policies. It sucks when you take home a sealed package and as soon as you open it, you realize you hate it. This is especially true for face makeup. It’s so hard to pick out the right shade and finish because you not only have to take skin tone into account, but also undertone, type and texture. Also, some formulas might not agree with your skin. I’ve mentioned before that my skin tone is super hard to match, but I’m also sensitive to certain brands. So please don’t waste your money, and make sure you can return it. 

Choosing foundation for skin type

If you have oily skin, go for anything that says “mattifying” or “matte finish.”

L’Oréal Pro Matte Foundation

If you have normal to combo skin, go for a traditional liquid foundation.

My fave: Rimmel Match Perfection

If you have dry skin, try a cream formula (just don’t grab one that says “cream to powder.” It will make dry skin more noticeable.)
Revlon ColorStay Whipped Crème Foundation

Choosing foundation for coverage

If you have barely anything to cover, you can get away with something that says light to medium coverage.
Wet n’ Wild PhotoFocus 

If you have a little redness or discoloration, go for a medium coverage.
L’Oréal True Match

If you have a lot of cystic acne or something large to cover, go for a full coverage.
L’Oréal Total Cover

Eyeball it, then pick three

Choosing foundation at the drugstore, but you’re not sure which shade to choose? Eyeball what looks like your general skin tone. Grab that one, and grab the one to the left and the one to the right (just make sure they’re in the right place and that it matches the color label on the shelf). Yeah, it’s a big investment (temporarily, because we researched our return policies RIGHT???) but you might only need one or none at all. Some are just duds!

Eyeball your general skin tone, then choose the next one up and the next one down

Match your skintone, don’t change it!
I know, we all want that summery glow all year round, but that’s what bronzer is for. PLEASE don’t try to make your skin darker with foundation.  When looking for your shade, always match it at your collarbone. Many people say your neck or jawline, but many people still have redness at their jawline (hormonal breakout, anyone?) or discoloration at their necks (especially people who are insulin resistant. We tend to have some hyperpigmentation on our necks that makes it look dirty.) The collarbone is the easiest place to find an overall match to both your face and chest, especially if you don’t plan on wearing a turtleneck very often. Make sure you check it out in natural lighting and not just at home or in the store.  Also, do yourself a favor: if it looks orange or pink in the tube, DON’T get it. No one’s skin has that pink of an undertone.

Concealer types
Picking a concealer tends to be a little easier, as there aren’t as expansive color selections for them. It’s usually just fair, light, medium, and deep. I like a creamier option, because it sets easily with powder or setting spray. I just find that many of the liquid types (the ones that come in what looks like a lip gloss tube) just tend to not have enough buildability to cover. Just test it out when you get home to make sure it isn’t dry.
Revlon PhotoReady Concealer

When it comes to covering dark circles, it might get a little tricky. Not many drugstore brands sell undereye concealers.  Covering that type of discoloration requires something with an orangey or peachy tone to counteract the blue in the circles.

A Mommy’s Best Friend: Nyx Under Eye Concealer
Making it last

For most people, a powder works just fine. For beginners, I would recommend a pressed translucent powder with the fluffiest brush you can find so you don’t use too much (and once you get the product on it, tap off the excess).

Rimmel Stay Matte Translucent Powder
 There are exceptions to this rule, though.

If you have dry skin, go for a setting spray instead. Remember how I said you don’t want a cream to powder foundation? Powder is the devil, especially if you have flaky skin.
Avon True Color Setting Spray
If you are still concerned about some discoloration after foundation AND concealer, it’s ok to use a powder that matches them. Just used pressed. It’s easier to handle than a loose powder if you’re not used to it.
Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation

There they are: my tips and tricks for a flawless base. If there was something specific you want to know, but I didn’t go into it, let me know in the comments.

Coming up in the Makeup 101 series: contouring. Stay tuned!