How to Even Out Your Skin Tone and Texture—Without A Full Coverage Foundation

Victoria Moorhouse
Skin Tone


That full coverage foundation is a no-fail way at getting an even and smooth skin tone—unless it’s the wrong hue, eek—but it’s not the only option. In fact, layering up in heavy-duty complexion products like said opaque foundation is likely the LAST thing you want to do when sweat and shine inevitably abound. Getting an even complexion has more to it than just reducing redness, too. It’s the first glaring sign of a blemish, but sometimes you want to diminish the appearance of the raised or uneven texture of a line, wrinkle, or dry patch. Whether it’s the addition of one more step to your morning routine or just a genius product, these tips will help you get to that dream of a complexion—tone and texture—fast.

MORE: What Do Radiance Boosters Do?

Rough, dry skin often collects in patches that are visible, even if you’re using a full coverage foundation. That dry, dead skin that’s collecting at the surface also holds different tonalities—because it’s not receiving the same nourishment anymore—messing up what could be an even complexion. Exfoliate open to gently scrub off dry skin and to keep your skin texture super smooth to the touch. You obviously can expedite the process with an exfoliating cleanser and a wash cloth, depending on how sensitive your skin is.

Skin in need of TLC can be dry, and if it’s irritated by environmental triggers or the sun, inflamed. Practice routine moisturizing–AKA making it habit you do morning and night depending on how much oil you naturally produce—to smooth out your skin and keep redness contained. This is more of a long-term fix, but certain lotions and creams contain anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as tea tree oil and aloe vera oil, to calm the redness in skin soon-thereafter applying. Interestingly enough, hydrating your skin’s natural barrier makes it stronger, allowing it to block free radicals from doing harm at the surface of your skin (any visually irritated reactions) as well as deep down at a cellular level.

Go for a Quick Cooling Fix
Whether it’s a facial spray infused with aloe (Mario Badescu’s Rosewater is a fan fave), placing a cool muslin cold-water-drenched cloth over your face, or reaching for a cooling mask, this is foolproof way to work redness down fairly quickly. The facial sprays and masks (we like the Boscia Cool Blue Calming Mask) are made with ingredients that target blotchy redness, healing inflammation and returning the skin to its natural tone. If you’re feeling flushed and need to apply makeup in a furry, try this step first to get skin as even as possible.

Buy Into the Blurring
Skeptical over product trends? This one is no joke. These products, usually aimed at areas where pores are more visible like your nose and chin, pretty much put a filter to your face. They often create this matte-like canvas that skims the surface of your skin, making any line, scars, imperfections, and pores less noticeable. These types of products are becoming increasingly popular, and because of that, brands are including SPFs or enhancements that protect against pollution, too. While many blurring products are primers, this effect is also being added to moisturizers, giving you that multitasking thrill. Algenist SUBLIME DEFENSE Anti-Aging Blurring Moisturizer SPF 30 is a good choice when you’re looking for more protection, made with yeast extract, which is said to address pollution and UV damage.

Tinted Moisturizers
Providing a natural finish without making your pores feel super clogged and suffocated, a moisturizer with a tinted pigmented complex is the way to go. These can be found with or without an SPF, from designers at at drugstores. Some provide a dewy finish, while others try to mimic something you’d get with a matte foundation. They’re only buildable to a certain point—it’s a moisturizer, remember—but they can be added to your favorite lotion as well to make the coverage less intense. In the heat of the summer, it’s one of our go-tos.

Yes, it’s main purpose is probably targeted under the eyes where those horrible dark circles show up, but you can really blend this stuff in anywhere—just make sure it’s the right fit for your skin tone. When it’s not and you come in contact with the kind flash of a camera, that smear under your eye will most definitely show up on film. Wherever you have any uneven tone, just lightly (but really, lightly) dab on concealer and blend out. It’s also important to know what type of concealer you’re using for quick fixes before you apply it. Sometimes with a matte finish will show up rather distinctly on a complexion that is already really dewy. Full coverage concealer needs more blending, so you’ll have to use this sparingly.

BB Creams and CC Creams
Lighter than foundations, and often touched with more vitamins, SPF, nourishment, and moisturizers, these guys are great in the sweat-soaked summer. Because they’re so lightly tinted and pretty much combine all your other steps, they’re a busy girl’s dream and could be considered the training wheels to products packed with pigment.

MORE: Why You’re Breaking Out in Weird Places