You may have seen these TikTok videos of people applying contours, highlights, and blushes before foundation. You might have thought this was just another in a long line of viral makeup hacks imagined by Gen Z. But you’d be wrong. This technique, known as undercoat, has been a staple of makeup artists for decades.
Los Angeles-based makeup artist Jill Powell, who counts Demi Lovato and Sabrina Carpenter among her clients, describes the underlay as a fuzzy filter for your makeup. “All the color comes on first, then you apply that sheer layer of complexion that softens and blurs everything,” she explains. “I highly suggest you try this technique if you don’t know how to outline or are intimidated by it. You will get a soft shadow that will appear, but it won’t be very strong due to the covering veil on the top. above. “
Think of it as a way to create dimension on the face before layering it with extra coverage. You start with your contour, highlight, and blush colors, then work your foundation routine on top of it. “You get a much more natural effect using this method,” says Los Angeles-based Jamie Greenberg, who works with Kaley Cuoco, Chelsea Handler and Rashida Jones for the red carpet.
What you need for underlaying
Underpainting requires many of the same tools you already have in your makeup stash. Basically, if you’re already doing contouring and highlighting – or wearing makeup for that matter – there’s a good chance you’re already well equipped to do it.
Since contrasting colors must first be applied directly to the skin, it is important to be well prepared and hydrated to avoid blemishes. “Depending on the client’s skin, I usually try to use a very moisturizing moisturizer so that the foundation settles beautifully on the skin and we get a glow,” says Beau Nelson, a makeup artist based in Los Angeles, who works with Kristen Stewart and Ashley Graham. If you’re in the market for a new moisturizer, try the Best of Beauty award-winning Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve moisturizer.
After preparing your skin, you will need one product for the contour, another for illuminating and also a blush. Greenberg, Powell, and Nelson all recommend using makeup products with creamy textures when underpainting because they are easier to blend and provide a second-skin-like finish.