How to Even Out Your Skin Tone

Common mistakes we tend to make before we apply makeup

Portrait of a radiantly beautiful young woman standing outdoors
Portrait of a radiantly beautiful young woman standing outdoors. PeopleImages.com / Digital Vision / Getty Images

The key to a flawless face is not perfectly applied makeup, it's an even skin tone. Even the most beautiful women in the world need a bit of help now and then.  

Getting your skin tone right is more important than any other part of your makeup routine. The trick is to make it appear as if you aren't wearing any makeup at all. Here are a few mistakes we commonly make and how to fix them. 

Mistake No. 1: We Forget to Exfoliate

Chances are if you don't exfoliate daily or weekly, your skin is covered in dead skin cells that are mucking up the surface of your skin and causing your skin to not only look dull, but older as well.

Without proper exfoliation, foundation won't smooth over your skin cleanly and moisturizer won't properly soak in.

Exfoliate with face scrubs, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, beta alpha hydroxy pads or any Vitamin A product like Retin-A. Pick your favorite. I personally like to use a sugar face scrub made of oil and sugar (my pick: Fresh Sugar Face Polish). When my face is really scaly -- usually in winter -- I'll put a bit of coconut oil on a soft baby washcloth and gently exfoliate my skin. The washcloth exfoliates while the coconut oil moisturizes.

If you don't like abrasive methods, we definitely recommend a gentle glycolic acid peel, which you can buy over-the-counter. These brighten the face without causing redness. Try Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging Night Resurfacing Elixir

See this list of the best facial scrubs and peels.

We Don't Prep our Faces

Always, always moisturize skin before applying foundation or tinted moisturizer.

 These beauty products glide over a moisturized, plumped face so much better than a dry one. Plump up skin with either a primer with SPF (primers have been beloved for years). If you don't have a primer, moisturizers with SPF will do. Make sure the SPF is at least 30.

We Skip the Foundation

Nothing evens out skin better than the right foundation.

Apply foundation or tinted moisturizer (tinted moisturizers tend to be sheerer) over the parts of the face that need it, usually along the nose and on the cheeks and chin.

Make sure the foundation or TM blends perfectly into the skin. If it's too light or too dark, it will be noticeable. See "How to Avoid Cake Face."

We Don't Cover Up Under-Eye Circles, Blemishes, and Red Spots

A few dots of a creamy concealer under the eyes and on any blemishes helps remove the "veiny" or "bluish" appearance under the eyes many women have. Remember to pat, don't rub, concealer in.

We Don't Prep Our Purple-y, Veiny Lids

Even if you aren't going to be applying eyeshadow, you'll want to apply a lid base to lids to even out skin there. Most people's lids have bluish, purple veins. Concealing them with a base or primer created for the lids helps even out your overall skin tone.

We Don't Add Color

Once skin tone is evened out, you may notice your skin lacks color. This especially happens to pale women with brown hair and brown eyes. There's just no color there. Bring it back in with bronzer, a creamy blush or both. Apply bronzing powder with a big fluffy brush on all the spots the sun naturally hits: Forehead, cheeks, and nose.

Follow with a creamy blush on the apple of your cheeks. (Cream blushes create a "dewy" complexion better than powder blushes, and help plump up skin).

We Forget to "Set the Face"

Your last step to a perfect complexion is setting the face with a powder. This is a step I often avoid because I love how dewy my complexion is without powder. However, many makeup artists insist on this step.

Now that your face is "on" you'll notice you don't even have to apply much eye makeup to look fresh and spectacular. Even just a bit of mascara and a hint of gloss is enough for most women to look fantastic.

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