Foundation Mapping: The No-Makeup Makeup Secret For Magazine-Worthy Skin

Posted by Ellana Cosmetics on

When it comes to creating a flawless canvas for any desired look, foundation is our best friend. With the right foundation, we can even out our skin tones, banish blemishes, keep grease under control, and even protect our skin from the elements. The catch, however, is that when using foundation, even the most “natural” look will still look a little made up. True “no-makeup makeup” is only for the rare few with naturally perfect skin: no blemishes, no shine, no discoloration.

...or is it?


Here’s a not-so-secret secret that pro-MuAs and their Instagram muses know: no-makeup makeup usually still takes a full set of makeup. And that includes foundation. The difference lies in how you apply that foundation. Enter foundation mapping.

Foundation mapping is your way to skin perfection!

Naturally flawless skin? Nope, it’s just foundation mapping.


What is foundation mapping?


As the name suggests, foundation mapping involves “mapping” your skin, and identifying where to apply concealer, foundation, or nothing at all. This technique is great if you’re looking to save time, since you’re not blending foundation all over your whole face. It also has the added benefit of extending the life of your products, because you won’t be using as much.


How it works


Most of the time, when we use foundation, we sweep it all over our face in order to get an even tone. With everything covered, you get a perfect canvas. However, as anyone who has used a beauty filter can tell you, when skin looks too perfect, it no longer looks real


Instead, the key to “natural flawlessness” is letting just enough of your natural skin to come through, strategically blending foundation and concealer on parts that need a little extra “help” (eyebags, redness, old blemishes) while leaving other places bare. The result is skin that looks like skin--freckles, moles, and a scattering of pores--but better.


Getting the look.


To try this technique, you will need:

  • A skin-perfecting primer.
  • A lightweight, full-coverage concealer.
  • A versatile foundation.

Since the goal of foundation mapping is to show as much of your natural skin as possible, it’s important to make sure your bare face looks good on its own. This means prepping your skin with a base that’ll emphasize its best qualities, while helping neutralize any issues.


For normal to oily skin, our Blur Classic Primer diffuses light across the face. This smoothens the appearance of skin, blurs fine lines, and makes pores look smaller.

For oily skin, our Blur++ with Sebocure Primer helps control shine, while also making pores look smaller and blurring any fine lines.


For dry to combination skin, the Daily Defense + Color Correcting Primer gives lightweight moisture in the form of Japanese Camellia Seed (Tsubaki) Oil. It also has a light peach tint, to help brighten dull skin.


Different skin types have different issues, so it’s important to know what type of skin you have. Dry skin usually experiences dullness and micro-peeling. Oily skin may have enlarged pores and shine. A good face primer can address these concerns, giving you fewer things to conceal.


With a color-correcting salmon undertone, our Cream to Powder Concealer/Foundation in “Cheer” is great for spot-concealing redness and dark under-eyes, especially on fair-to-medium skin tones. 


After skin is prepped, it’s time to spot-correct. Instead of spreading concealer over a large area, concentrate product on the dark circles, redness, and scarring you’re looking to conceal. Once the product is applied, blend the “edges” where you applied the concealer, until you no longer see the outline of where you applied. 


Our Loose Mineral Foundation can be applied dry or with a damp brush for more coverage and control. You can also mix with it your favorite primer or moisturizer to get your desired finish.


Use foundation to lock in the coverage of your concealer, focusing on the areas where you have the most blemishes or discoloration. Instead of packing on product, use a fluffy applicator--or a light hand--to gently tap and diffuse the product over the desired areas. Extend the foundation a little outside the area where you concealed, using it to help “blend” that area in with the bare areas of skin.


Our Kallista Rose Gold 101 Brush is a soft but fluffy powder brush perfect for sweeping off excess foundation.


Once you’re done applying the foundation, dust off any excess product with a clean powder brush. Choose a dense brush with big, fluffy fibers, and move it gently over your face in light upward strokes. Don’t press too hard though; you don’t want to move your foundation or remove too much!


Flawless but natural-looking skin, even when zoomed in.


If you’d like to add a little more glow to your look, you can finish off your face with a hydrating setting spray, or an illuminating facial mist. The result should be skin that looks “real,” but still perfected. Top with a light application of blush, and a juicy lip tint, and voila: the no-makeup makeup look of your Instagram dreams, no beauty filter needed.

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