We Tried It: Actually Giving Foundation a Fair Shot

12/05/2013 at 05:00 PM ET

Foundation trial, testCourtesy Andrea Lavinthal

What is it: The building block of any makeup look, which many of us still skip

Who tried it: Andrea Lavinthal, Style Director

Why she did it: If I didn’t master this before the end of 2013, I was worried they’d take away my beauty editor card

How crazy is it on a scale from one to Kim Kardashian’s blood facial?: 1. Crazy? No. Challenging? A little. And tedious? Well, I thought so, which is why I’ve been skipping it.

Here’s a fun fact about beauty editors: Nine out of ten of us don’t wear foundation. Sure, we write 1000-word articles on formulas and techniques, but we rarely practice what we preach. I’d guess most of us are getting by with our BB creams, which do a totally decent job. But decent doesn’t always cut it, especially in real life when there’s no Valencia filter to blur away redness, dark spots, uneven skin tone and zits. I recently caught a glimpse of myself in the office bathroom mirror wearing just tinted moisturizer and I’ll be honest, it wasn’t cute (damn you, fluorescent lights!).

I decided it was time to start wearing foundation, so I enlisted the expertise of Tim Quinn, Armani’s celebrity makeup artist. Insider beauty scoop: Armani foundations are so beloved by makeup artists, that even those who have contracts with other brands sneak the stuff into their kits, so I figured, why not start at the top?

RELATED: See other “We Tried It”s — from clip-in bangs to rubber corsets!

As a foundation novice, I started with the brand’s new Maestro formula. The liquid is so, well, liquid-y (it’s actually a pigment suspended in oil) that Tim jokes it’s a “baby foundation.” I squirted a pool onto my hand before finding out three drops is plenty for my whole face. Since it’s sheer, Tim had me blend it with my fingers, starting at the reddest part of my face (the center) and working outward — blending as I went.

My skin looked glowy, but I wanted more. Tim whipped out Armani’s beloved Luminous Silk, which offers serious coverage and is best applied with a flat brush using a feathery sweeping motion (I had to practice this technique several times since my instinct was to plop the brush on my skin and kind of rub it around). Yes, it takes a bit more time than slapping on a BB cream, but the results are well worth it. My skin looked flawless. After I stopped admiring myself in the mirror, I asked Tim to share some of his best foundation tips and tricks.

*You must apply moisturizer first or your skin will absorb the foundation and look cakey.
*Need it to really last? Mix a drop of primer into your foundation. A drop of liquid luminizer will give it a glowy finish.
*Apply your foundation before your concealer because you may not need the latter after the former. “People think their under-eye area is worse than it is. You can usually get away with covering dark circles with foundation instead of concealer.”
*If you have fair skin, stick to a foundation that is an exact match for your complexion. If you have medium skin you can go a little warmer with the color.
*Apply a bit of foundation your brow bones to brighten up your entire eye area. (This makes a huge difference.)

Are you a foundation fan? What are your best tips to make it look great? Share them below!

FILED UNDER: Beauty , Cosmetics , We Tried It

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