Celebrity makeup artists share tips on making foundation look flawless

SINGAPORE – Whether you’re out and about enjoying a Christmas soiree, or just having brunch with your friends, you’ll want your foundation to last all day, without that cakey feeling. We suss out the best tips we can find from today’s best celebrity makeup artists so you’ll won’t go out looking like a hot mess.

You have to prep your skin

Makeup artist Cindy Goh. (PHOTO: Cindy Goh)
Makeup artist Cindy Goh. (PHOTO: Cindy Goh)

“Always prep the skin before foundation. This would include exfoliating the skin, using a moisturising face mask. and giving your face a good facial massage. These steps will help the foundation to stay unto the skin beautifully. Use a suitable primer for your skin before foundation. Be it as a colour corrector, or to hold foundation better.” - Cindy Goh, who’s done makeup for Zhou Xun, Stefanie Sun, Cecilia Chung, Zoe Tay, Fann Wong and Jeanette Aw.

(PHOTO: Sha Shamsi)
(PHOTO: Sha Shamsi)

“Before applying foundation, I would usually spritz the Caudalie Beauty Elixir (a face mist), or Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray before applying a toner or serum.” - Sha Shamsi, who’s worked with local band The Sam Willows, Michael Kors, Lewis Hamilton, and Nikita Willy.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir, Urban Decay all nighter
Caudalie Beauty Elixir, Urban Decay all nighter
(PHOTO: Larry Yeo)
(PHOTO: Larry Yeo)

“The key is to massage your skin as you apply skincare. (After cleansing), spritz hydrating mist about 20cm from the skin, or on your fingers and massage over skin. Follow by a hydrating serum, then tap on lightweight eye cream under the eyes, and press on light moisturiser on areas that feel drier to the least dry. Finish with sunscreen.” - Larry Yeo, Tong Bing Yu’s go-to makeup artist, who has also worked with Jasmine Sim, Joanne Peh and Juliana Evans.

Picking out the right shade

“The skin tones on the face, hands and body are usually different in sunny Singapore. So, I would usually match the foundation colour to the neck and hands. You should test foundation colours on your face, walk around and see how it oxidises, or not, before making your purchase.” - Sha

“On prepped skin, test the foundation shade of your choice by applying it to half of your face, and walk out of the mall to see how it looks like under sunlight. Always make sure you go to the stores with makeup-free skin because the foundation shade has to match your natural skin colour.” - Larry

The tools that matter

“I like using a foundation brush - my personal favourite is the Cle De Peau Beaute foundation brush - followed by a sponge such as the BeautyBlender to blend the foundation. Using brush may leave the brush stroke marks on the skin, and the sponge helps to blend out the marks, as well as take off the excess foundation.” - Cindy

Makeup products
Cle De Peau Beaute foundation brush, BeautyBlender

“With liquid foundations, I use my Universal Do-It-All Face brush that I created with local makeup brush brand, 13rushes. Its shape allows for a smoother application and gives you better control. For tinted moisturisers and sheer foundations, I prefer using my fingers to give skin a translucent, skin-like finish.” - Larry

Makeup products
Universal Do-It-All Face brush

How to brighten complexions

“Use a brightening corrector primer before your foundation.” - Cindy

“Add a little pink corrector to your foundation would help brighten your skin tone.” - Sha

For those with medium-olive to dark complexions: If your foundation or concealer is constantly leaving your skin looking a bit grey or washed-out, using illuminating or lilac primers would not get rid of the greyness. You need a foundation that has a warm undertone. And you don’t have to discard what you’re already using - you just need to add two to three drops of foundation with peachy or reddish tones into your regular foundation. Try the M.A.C Studio WaterWeight Foundation in the NW colour range.” - Larry

Makeup products
M.A.C Studio WaterWeight Foundation

How to make makeup last on oily skin

Don’t set your foundation too quickly. Let it sit on your skin for about 15 minutes; go on to do the rest of your makeup first. I found that this helps minimise excess oil production on the skin,” - Sha

“You can use a mattifying primer before foundation, and set it with a mattifying powder for touch-ups.” - Cindy

“Use a foundation catered to oily skin types. If your skin is slightly oily, I would apply the Tatcha The Silk Canvas Filter Finish Protective Primer or Erborian Matte Cream with my fingers to smooth it over the skin. If your skin is very oily, go for the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Primer. Don’t use a mattifying primer to the whole face - unless your whole face is oily or sweaty.

To keep foundation looking fresh and matte on oily skin, only apply mattifying primer to the oily parts of your face. Applying it over the whole face might make your makeup appear patchy as parts of the skin are drier or oily than the rest. After using the right skincare for your skin, apply primer with your fingers. Press it into the skin for even distribution. Using fingers also gives you a better gauge on the amount of product to use.” - Larry

Makeup products
Tatcha The Silk Canvas Filter Finish Protective Primer, Erborian Matte Cream, IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Primer

How to touch up your makeup

“Use a tissue to blot the face and follow by lightly brushing on loose powder.” - Cindy

“First, blot off excess oil. I find that the best way is to use whatever foundation that’s left on your face and blend it out. If your foundation has completely disappeared, then you should reapply.” - Sha

“If you only need a tiny bit of touching-up, use a translucent powder like COVER FX Perfect Pressed Powder. If you need a bit more coverage, use a pressed powder like Sephora Collection 8hr Mattifying Pressed Powder. For slightly more coverage with the skin looking cakey, try the Bobbi Brown Sheer Pressed Powder.

Makeup products
COVER FX Perfect Pressed Powder, Sephora Collection 8hr Mattifying Pressed Powder, Bobbi Brown Sheer Pressed Powder.

Makeup tends to wear off easily for those with oily skin. First, blot off excess oil, then touch up with the Tarte Clay Stick Foundation on areas where makeup has faded off, then finish up with a pressed powder. If you like something small and lightweight for on-the-go touch-ups, go for the Revlon PhotoReady Candid Antioxidant Concealer, which gives you light to medium coverage.” - Larry

Makeup products
Revlon PhotoReady Candid Antioxidant Concealer, Tarte Clay Stick Foundation