How To Wear Full Coverage Foundation Without Looking ‘Made Up’

Michael Brown

Beauty Expert

Foundation has come along way from being quite mask like and almost changing one’s look to as natural as the BB craze a few years ago.

For me, it’s all about balance and what an individual skin may need.

There is no right and wrong and everyone will require a unique prescription of complexion products, depending on what your skin is telling you.

chrissyImage via zimbio 


In the fashion and celebrity scene, fresh, nude skin is still a big hit.

Covering only what is needed and keeping everything light. This also assists in less creasing and better longevity when worn for long periods.

We have learnt in recent years that you should only apply foundation to areas that need it, allowing other areas of the skin to look natural and by starting your foundation application in the central areas of the face. You will cover concerns, but look fresher by not using the same amount of coverage on outer areas.

As a makeup artist, I couldn’t agree more.

With strobing/highlighting being a big part of makeup today, it’s important to add glow to the face as its youthful, fresh and healthy. A very big lifestyle trend in general, not just for the face.

Our complexions should appear effortless, not placed and almost non-existent in a product sense and more about the mystery of how we came to give such great glow.

This is great for perfect skin, but what if we actually need coverage?

How do use heavier textured foundations and still look fresh?


A lot of us see these absolutely perfectly flawless complexions on instagram and assume that’s how these women are everyday, but they too will have concerns and flaws, just like any of us.

A good beauty vlogger actually shows their real skin, and so many at the top of the game, with millions of followers show this. I think its great to see the real person behind the camera.

What they can also show at times is them using very thick, incorrect shades of foundations to gain extreme coverage. At the end of the day, they use makeup as art and have their face as the showpiece for that one photo to gain likes, this is very different to real life with natural light.

In natural light, foundation can look so different to the world of lighting and instagram filters; mainly more noticeable you are wearing a full coverage if not applied and prepped correctly.

It is important to know your surroundings; day or night, natural or artificial light, and the condition of your skin for best results.

Just because your foundation comes up great in a selfie, doesn’t mean it works in natural light and vice versa.


We all think we need more coverage than we actually do, its human nature to nitpick at ourselves, but when it comes to foundation, my advice is not to rush into it.

First thing in the morning, we go to the mirror and point out little negative elements of our skin. Dark circles, blemishes, pigmentation; the list can go on.

What a lot of us do is treat foundation as a magician, it will magically take all my flaws away. Well, it can assist, but not all by itself.

The worst thing you can do for appearing too made up (which in so many cases is ageing, especially when wearing product for long periods), is applying the same consistency of product all over the face.

This is mask like and if you have light hair especially, can be very visible around the hairlines and of course, the good old tell-tale jaw line.

It is better to make sure your skin is prepped very well, with enough hydration and glow factor that when you apply the full coverage foundation, it melts into your skin, looking realistic and not mask like.

Concentrate on the centre of the face first, this is where most coverage is needed, then work outwards lightly to avoid an overly made up look. Keep people guessing and make them comment on your skin, not your foundation!


For a realistic approach to your foundation look, especially when using a full coverage product, follow these steps:

Hydrate your skin! Foundation will only look as good as the skin underneath so hydrate daily and pre-foundation application, plus exfoliate once a week for a smooth finish.

Apply illuminator or a brightening, non-metallic highlighter under foundation on highlight points of the face (the areas you get sunburnt first, or areas you want to bring forward), especially the cheekbones. Creating luminosity first will lift foundation and give it more transparency for a realistic approach.

Next apply foundation, starting from centre of the face and working outwards, in a sweeping movement. This gives a great initial base to the face.

Now use your foundation in a dabbing or press and roll action on areas you feel need more coverage. Usually the centre of face, nose, and front of cheeks, middle of brow. This is layering upon layering to gain coverage but as you are dabbing, it keeps it concentrated and pressed into the skin to look more natural. Avoid eye area if possible. Foundation will more likely crease around this moveable area than concealer.

Coverage is created easily when used in a dabbing application, so skin by now should be flawless. If you have an extra case of redness or pigmentation, a deeper shade (more yellow) of foundation may be needed to be pressed into skin over the coverage already applied. These concerns need a deeper pigment to correct and cover the issue.

Use a small amount of concealer on the under eye area rather than foundation to correct dark circles. Using once again small dabbing motions to layer small amounts on the actual dark circle only, avoiding the outer expression lines of the eye. This shade doesn’t have to match your foundation shade, it is usually slightly deeper to counter-act shadows, then layer with a brighter shade to finish and brighten.

Skin should be flawless, yet radiant. Only powder if necessary and only in T-Zone, not outer areas of the face as we want the under illuminator to glow like real skin.

Add extra illuminator on top cheekbone if you feel your skin has a makeup feel, more light gives a realistic glow.


Lastly, the tools you use can make a difference:

Hands to me are only for lighter, more liquid BB creams, as they act like skincare. But they will absorb too much foundation and can add heat to the face.

For foundation, I love a brush for that everyday sweeping initial layer from centre out. It gives a smoothing effect and is very easy to use when the brush isn’t too thick.

A sponge is best for the dabbing/press and roll action as you can really build coverage and the shape can get into hard to reach areas.

NOTE – If you slightly dampen the sponge, it will weaken the coverage, so know the look you are after for the perfect foundation finish.

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Look below at some of RESCU’s recommended full coverage foundations.


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