Blush adds color to your cheeks, which can help make you look healthier if you don’t have natural redness there. Also, if you’re wearing foundation, blush will help keep you from looking washed out. Blush comes in cream and powder formulas.
- Cream blush – can be applied with fingers and blended out with a stippling brush or fingers. Cream blush is especially good for dry skin. Also, you can layer powder blush on top of cream blush to increase wear time if that’s a concern for you. Note that cream blush should never be used on top of powder foundation, as it won’t blend out well over powder.
- Powder blush – applied and blended out with a blush brush. If you use liquid foundation, particularly if you have oily skin, be sure to powder your face before applying powder blush; it’ll blend out more easily that way.
Some drugstore blush recommendations:
- Wet n Wild
- Black Radiance
Concealer is used to cover up blemishes and under-eye circles. You can use it on a bare face, or if you use foundation, you can supplement it with concealer in only the areas where you need it. If you use powder foundation, you’d apply concealer first, then foundation; if you use liquid foundation, you could do that as well, but then you might move around your concealer as you apply/blend out your foundation. Plus, if you apply foundation first, you might find that it provides enough coverage of at least some places that you won’t need to use concealer.
Foundation goes over your whole face and is intended to even out your complexion so it’s all the same color, rather than having darker or redder spots here and there. It also serves as a base that helps other products such as blush adhere better. Foundation is not really intended to cover up blemishes (though full-coverage foundation can do that to an extent) – that’s what concealer is for.
There are numerous different kinds of foundation:
- Liquid foundation – Most liquid foundations are water-based (these are typically good for warm weather, as they are water-resistant) or silicone-based (these glide on the skin very smoothly). There are liquid foundation formulas and coverage levels to suit any skin type.
- Powder foundation – Powder foundation may be loose or pressed in a compact; it is typically quick and easy to apply, but is not great for dry skin.
- Cream foundation – These tend to be full coverage and feel heavy/thick, but you can sheer them out with a sponge. They are generally better for normal to dry skin.
- Stick foundation – These tend to be fuller-coverage, are convenient, portable, and good for spot coverage, so they can double as concealer.
There are also lighter-coverage alternatives to foundation:
- Tinted moisturizer – Moisturizer that has light pigmentation to provide sheer skin coverage; best for normal to dry skin not in need of heavy coverage. You can also take liquid foundation and mix it with a little moisturizer to create your own tinted moisturizer.
- BB cream (“beauty balm” or “blemish balm”) – Originally a Korean product, BB creams are multi-functional – a combination between a light foundation/tinted moisturizer, sunscreen, and skincare such as whitening for hyperpigmentation. American BB creams tend to just be like tinted moisturizer, with no additional skincare benefits. BB creams tend to come in a very limited shade range and are meant to oxidize after application to match your skin tone. They are best for people who aren’t very pale or very dark, who are looking for light to medium coverage.
- CC cream (“color correcting” cream) – This was an attempt to jump on the wave of BB cream’s popularity; CC creams are meant to do the same things as BB creams, with additional lessening of discoloration (redness, hyperpigmentation). In actuality, there’s not a huge difference between the two products. There’s also DD cream (“dynamic do-all”/”daily defense”) which is basically the same thing with a new name.
Choosing the right foundation is highly dependent on your individual needs — what your skin type is (normal, dry, oily, combination), what level of coverage you want (light, medium, full), what finish you want (matte, satin, dewy), and of course you need a match to your skintone – not just lightness/darkness but also matching undertones.