3 Rules for Faking Great Skin

Whether you're riding out a breakout or looking to cover up spots left from your days without sunscreen, faking great skin is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

1. The Right Foundation is Key

Shocker, we know. With all the new options out there, finding the perfect match for your skin type can be a tad tricky. The absolute easiest way to do it? Head to your local makeup counter and chat with a pro. If you go it alone, start here: No one formula can do everything, so pick your biggest skin issue -- dark spots, say, or shine -- and find one specializing in just that. Then look for the right shade. Pick three you think are close, then test on your face (not your hand). "Choose a spot where skin looks the nicest," says Andrew Sotomayor, a celebrity makeup artist in New York City. "When the product completely disappears, you've got a winner."

2. Prep Your Canvas

Your foundation will look its best if you put it on skin that's as smooth and supple as possible. That means exfoliating and moisturizing first. Use a gentle scrub or skin brush to remove dead cells at least once a week, or right before applying makeup if you see flakes. Then smooth on your daytime moisturizer. You can hit a snag here, too: "Pick a moisturizer that's too thick, and your color can actually ball up or pill," Sotomayor says. A good rule of thumb: If cream still feels sticky or tacky three minutes after you apply it, it's time to testdrive lighter formulas.

3. Hands Off!

Putting on foundation with your fingers can cause streaks, and you'll end up using twice as much. "The skin on your fingers will absorb some of the moisture from your makeup, so you'll end up having to layer on more," Sotomayor says. Instead, use a brush, and you'll have a smoother, more airbrushed-looking finish. Start in the middle of your face and blend outward, so the color is more sheer around your hairline, ears, jawline, and neck.

Learn how to make your makeup look more natural.

See the best concealers for every skin concern.

Fake Great Skin with Contouring

Contouring may seem difficult -- but it can be an easy way to transform your makeup routine. Learn how to contour the easy way with these simple steps.

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