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The genius foundation trick that’ll save you a ton of money (and product)

Foundation Pin It
Photo: Unsplash/Sabrina May

Achieving that natural, lit-from-within glow is foundation’s biggest promise and also its biggest challenge. More often than not, the stuff that’s supposed to be covering blemishes, evening skin tone, and camouflaging pores can actually accentuate the problems more, by looking cakey and thickly layered on.

But there’s a super simple trick that could save you tons of formula (and money), says Roxy Saffaie, a Burt’s Bees celebrity makeup artist, and it’s all in the application technique. No matter the tool you use to apply foundation—be it a sponge, a brush, or with fingertips—the place where you start contributes majorly to your skin’s finished effect.

She suggests that, rather than simply working from the top down (i.e. your forehead to chin), try working, instead, from the center outwards. “I like to start at the center of the face where there are naturally more shadows and discoloration,” she says. That means that the areas around the nose, which tend to have the most pigmentation and under eyes, where dark circles are notoriously a huge problem, get the most formula. Then, as you move towards the cheeks, the amount of foundation thins significantly.

In other words, you’re focusing the concentration of foundation to the places that need it rather than dousing your whole face in the same amount. “As you blend the color outward, you might not need any extra makeup over on cheeks,” she says. “You can sheer it out, and that’s how it will look the most natural.”

After softly blending the formula towards the edges of the face, Saffaie goes back to any spots or scarring that need extra coverage, and adds a bit more if necessary to make the whole complexion look even-toned and natural—all while using significantly less formula, to boot.

Makeup artists know all the hacks. Here’s one about how five super smart ways to use concealer and here’s another about to cover a blemish.