Get It Right: Makeup Blending 101

Janell M. Hickman


Nothing screams “beauty beginner” like the telltale signs of streaky, uneven, unnatural-looking foundation. But unlike many makeup faux pas, the solution is simple. Blend baby, blend! Not only can you fake magazine-perfect skin (sans Photoshop), but you’ll leave people guessing where your skin ends and your makeup begins. Sound like a fantasy? It’s not! In fact, two savvy celebrity makeup artists gave us the step-by-step breakdown on blending like a pro. Get your brushes ready ladies and read below for a quick crash course.

Use Your iPhone to Your Advantage
“A few telltale signs of improperly blending making includes harsh lines, lines of demarcation and noticeable edges,” shares makeup artist Joanna Simkin. “Taking a selfie at home with [a] flash will always help ensure everything looks right. You want to avoid overly bright patches, noticeable edges, and differences in skin tone,” she shares.

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Stock Up on The Right Tools
“A beautyblender is the best thing for ensuring a flawless application,” explains celebrity makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff. “It really buffs makeup out and leaves it streak-free and smooth. Foundation brushes are the next best thing to get a great natural application.”

Put in Some Elbow Grease
“Some long-wear products may not blend as easily if you’re not a pro—mainly gel liners, lip stains, and matte foundations,” explains Simkin who’s clients include Estelle, Teyana Taylor and Keri Hilson. “Since they’re designed to not budge this is a good thing, but only if you know how to work with them quickly.”

Select the Right Shade
“If a makeup is too light, you will look ashy or as if you have a grey tone, and if it’s too dark you will look muddy,” shares Sheriff who’s clients include Zoe Kravitz, Molly Sims and Taraji P. Henson. “Of course, you can correct both problems with simple steps, but it’s best to try to get as close as possible to your skin tone. Shade is important—you want to be matched properly.”

Contouring Can Be Easy
“Contouring is super easy if you go light,” says Simkin. “Contrary to what YouTube tells you, you don’t need a complicated contouring and highlighting palette— just a nice matte bronzer and a concealer that is 1 to 2 shades lighter than your foundation. The secret to blending the two together is [to] use a damp beautyblender to blur the edges, and a secret weapon: a shimmery highlight powder over the cheekbones. The shimmer will reflect light from the area and blur it all.”

Skip Using Your Finger Tips
“It’s much better to use a beautyblender, sponge or brush because finger tips have oils which can contaminate the ingredients and break the formulation down over time,” shares Sheriff. “Plus it’s much more sanitary to use tools over fingers.”

Effectively Cover Up Acne and Dark Spots
“Use a strong pigment concealer (I like Cover FX Custom Cover Drops or Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer) and a small, pointy brush,” advises Simkin. “The key is to go only over the spot and use the small brush strokes to feather out the edges into the skin. The concealer should match your foundation, but as not be as light as the shade used to highlight under the eye.”

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Prep According to Your Skin Type
“Oily skin needs a mattifying primer to tone down oils and make applying makeup easier,” explains Sheriff. “Dry skin needs a hydrating primer and maybe a few drops of a serum to add moisturize after makeup is applied for a healthy-looking glow.”

Know When to Use Shimmer
“Always remember that shimmer reflects light,” Simkin reminds us. “So anywhere you use it can help blur edges you’re unsure of a proper blend—think highlight/contour at the cheekbone and tip of nose. Just be careful not to use shimmery products all over or you’ll look shiny and even sweaty!”

Take Care of  Your Skin Inside and Out
“Great skin is genetic but can be created with 8-10 glasses of water daily, and dark leafy vegetables all help with skin hydration and elasticity,” adds Sheriff. She adds, “A good exfoliation once a week to remove the dead skin and let the new healthy skin appear. This is especially important if you’re a daily makeup user—you need to deep clean skin so it continues to look great.”