Back to Basics #1: How & Where to Apply Foundation & Concealer

By Beautie | January 11 2012 | 26 Comments

We promised you a new series of beauty basics tutorials for 2012 before Christmas, to sit alongside Sara’s Friday eye makeup tutorials and here we go. This, girls, is Back to Basics.

It’s all very well having 45 gorgeous shadow shades, umpteen blushers, fantastic brushes and loads of high end beauty splurges you loved the look of, but – well, what if you’re not precisely sure what you should be doing with them?

That’s what Back to Basics is designed to address. Using in-depth and clear photo tutorials, we’re stripping back the most common makeup queries we get to their bare bones. Makeup artist Leonard Daly is showcasing his talents in the series and he’s honestly making it all so easy. For the most part, fingers rule and he’s got lots of tricks and advice along the way. Eva, our model, is a real gal just like all of us who write the blog and you ladies who read, and she’s lending her face to the series.

We really hope you find it useful and it teaches you some new tricks – today we’re kicking off with foundation, concealer and powder.  Enjoy!

foundation tutorial step 1

Step 1: getting your shade right first is vital for a great result. Leonard advises testing on the jawline and down the neck.  “If you don’t see foundation then it’s the best colour for you,” he says. For today’s tutorial, he matched Eva to Tom Ford’s Traceless Foundation SPF15, which was a really good fit for her NC15, porcelain skin. Of course, this is a pricey product so feel very free to substitute your own base in here – all products used are suggestions only, and we have lots of recommendations in our foundation category.

foundation tutorial step 1

Step 2: don’t overdo it. “Most people just need foundation on the small of their face,” Leonard says. That’s basically the middle of the face, concentrating on the area from brows to chin – it’s a rare person who’ll need full coverage towards the sides of their face. The aim is to look natural, not caked.

Leonards’s Tip: “Foundation is about evening your skin tone – not about changing your skin tone.”

foundation tutorial step 3

Step 3: Leonard says in general a pea-sized amount will be enough, or one pump. Apply to the back of the hand first, and use this as your palette.

foundation tutorial step 4

Step 4: now begin applying with the fingers to the centre of the face. Why fingers? He feels that while brushes are fine (though often sold as a necessity in order to shift product) and he does particularly like Shiseido’s newest offering, fingers are your best tool.  “They allow you to gently press on skin – your touch should be like putting cream on a baby’s bum. If you pat harder and you have sensitized skin then it will blotch.” So the mantra is, fingers give a gentle, skin-kind application.

 foundation tutorial step 5

Step 5: keep applying until the face is covered.

foundation step 6


Step 6: now blend to make sure coverage is even all over. “This should only take three minutes,” cautions Leonard. “If you have more than three minutes to put on foundation then you need to be doing something else – like watching Oprah!”

Next, it’s on to concealer. This tutorial covers basic concealing around the eyes, nose and chin, the areas most of us with normal-to-combo/hormonal skin tend to find we need a little extra help with.  For very specific issues like Rosacea coverage, severe redness, scarring and heavy blemishes, we will aim to address these with another model in the future, using specific products.


Step 7: Leonard used another Tom Ford product here, the Traceless Stick, which he used as a concealer. He also highly recommends Mac’s Pro Longwear Concealer too. When applying concealer under the eye apply it a quarter of an inch below the area needing to be concealed and then blend upwards – if you apply directly below the eye, it will crack.

Leonard’s Tip: “The main places to conceal under your eye, around the nose, chin and eyelid.”

foundation step 8

Step 8: Pat and blend gently with your finger.

foundation step 9

Step 9: noses always need concealing as the skin here is always a little red. Pat some concealer around the nose and blend out.

foundation step 10

Step 10: aaaaand blend.

foundation tutorial step 11

Step 11: The chin is an area where you’ll often have blemishes, and Leonard says that if you have blemishes, covering them is the same theory as foundation – just pat on the product with your hand and blend around the spot. If you’re going to use a concealer brush make sure it’s got synthetic fibres, not natural as it will leave little hairs on the face, not to mention soaking up lots of product.

step 12

Step 12: our last step is to set foundation and concealer. Depending on the base you use (you might have chosen a full-coverage longwear product for example) you might not use powder, but for the purposes of the tutorial and the fact that Tom Ford Traceless products are creamy, liquid and light, they do need some setting to keep them in place. Leonard used Shiseido Translucent Loose Powder and a Mac brush. He also recommends Inglot and The Body Shop for great brushes on a budget.

Dust the powder on lightly all over the face to set your base, ensuring that it’ll stay put. Of the Shiseido powder he says, “Don’t be afraid if it appears white, it’ll go transparent on your skin.” Feel free to use your own setting powder of course!

finished look

foundation final

The finished face with foundation, concealer and powder in place.

blotting powder

BONUS TIP:  “If you do your foundation correctly there’s no need to reapply during the night,” Leonard says, adding  “just blot!” “Bring out a blotting powder compact in case you get shiny, or even just bring the puff that comes with it (or buy one in Boots) with some powder on it and roll down onto the skin in circular motions.” Leonard used Mac Blotting powder in light – but it comes in whole range of colours and gives you a super healthy look.


Makeup artist: Leonard Daly,
Model: Eva Lawes
Photographs: Kirstie McDermott

Concealers, Foundation, Tutorials , , ,

26 Replies to "Back to Basics #1: How & Where to Apply Foundation & Concealer"

  • BerG says:

    Wow so grateful for this post. Can’t go wrong now with the concealer. Am guilty of dabbing it right under the eye. Finished face looks fab, the model is very pretty.

  • RiRi says:

    Wow a great post, just realised I have been using way too much foundation on my face, and always used concealer just under my eye. How much is Shiseido translucent powder in Ireland? I use MAC blot powder over my foundation, is that wrong?

  • Kirstie says:

    RiRi – no of course not, don’t worry! Use the products you want and which work for you and your skin, he couldn’t obviously use what every person would use (or we’d be here all day!) so these are just his picks and what he’s liking in his kit. Shiseido powder is about 30ish, I think.

  • MilkyMoo says:

    Dammit this is making me want Tomo’s foundation again, and I had just satisfied myself with a Revlon one before Christmas on account of the penny-pinching.

  • RiRi says:

    Thanks a ton Kirstie, the tutorial is brilliant, can’t wait for more. I will try tomorrow morning!!

  • Twinkletoes says:

    Great post, and gorgeous skin Eva!

  • Banjaxed says:

    This is great, I’m definately guilty of putting concealer just below the eye and will change my ways from now on! I’ve also never used concealer on my nose, but it makes sense now that you bring it up! My skin is so bad now after Christmas that I feel like dipping my whole face in concealer :-(

  • Fiona says:

    Yes, very helpful! Ages ago I’d started applying to just the middle bit of my face (the gick skin) but completely forgot and was slathering all the way to the edges (where my skin is fine). Must revert to new way!

    Going to try the tip about under-eye concealer too. My wrinkles are very unforgiving to even the lightest of concealers, and I need it more than ever. Honestly, look like I’m recovering from two black eyes at the mo.

  • Edelmc says:

    Fantastic post!

  • CiB says:

    Really nice post. I’m going to try use less foundation as I always slap it on my whole face. Unfortunately concealing is a much bigger issue for me. I have yet to find a concealer that comes close to covering the very dark shadows under my eye, the deep line under each one and the milia.

  • LoCo says:

    Brilliant post. love these.

    Ladies you know me so well this is a perfect description of me :) – “It’s all very well having 45 gorgeous shadow shades, umpteen blushers, fantastic brushes and loads of high end beauty splurges you loved the look of, but – well, what if you’re not precisely sure what you should be doing with them? “

  • Bojangles says:

    Ooh can’t wait to try that concealer under the eyes tip. Mine cracks always and shows off my ‘fine’ lines to perfection :-(

    Loving these tutorial posts – including Sarah’s Friday eyes. Can I put in a request for them to be made into a little spiral-bound book that will sit comfortably on my bathroom mirror shelf? – for next Christmas please.

  • Yay!!! Been looking forward to these. Can’t wait for the one where you hide/camouflage/conceal big pigmentation marks.

  • Sabrina says:

    OMG Eva, i have serious skin envy, so perfect. I never wear concealer because i don’t have a clue how to apply it, looking forward to giving it a bash now. Thanks

  • SE says:

    I have a feeling this series will come in handy for me. I’m on a quest to apply makeup better than an average 12 year old.
    How do I know if I need a setting powder?

  • BerG says:

    Bojangles: the spiral book idea is inspired. I want one as well.

  • daiseeboo says:

    So happy you are doing these posts, thanks ladies. Delighted with the tip about cracks in under eye concealer, can’t wait to try it out. Not that I have lines to make it crack. *cough* Also thought that I was on my own with the red nose and applying concealer there, so glad to hear that everyone should do it. :) Can’t wait for the next instalment.

  • Love this series! Eva is a total doll.

  • Aisling says:

    Great stuff – and I see instantly that I’m using too much foundation (I always pump twice)

  • KittyTan says:

    Wow I have serious skin envy Eva! Fabliss post!
    I am a tanorexic (otherwise I am a kind of turkey veiny blue colour), so I choose my foundation according to the tan I am wearing.
    But I do have some scarring on my face from years ago acne etc, so would love a post on how to conceal etc.
    Whenever I get my make up done in MAC the girls are briliant at hiding the marks and blemishes left over.

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