What's in a blend? According to iVillage makeup expert Deborah Grayson, everything! "Blending is what gives makeup a polished, uniform appearance," she says. If you are simply following the directions to "apply and go" on that bronzing gel, blush, eye shadow or foundationyou're in trouble. "Blend, blend, then blend again," says Grayson. To achieve the best blend, all you have to do is make sure you are using the right tool for the product. Here are eight tips for blending your makeup perfectly.
The Tools Must Match the Job
There are precise, ingenious tools to blend various products:
For an even application of lip color
Use a lip brush. A lip brush is great for matte or semimatte lipstick, when you'll want a really consistent, balanced distribution (unlike with lip glosses, which, because of their shiny, reflective nature, will serve you well if you apply them just with your fingers). Grayson likes extremely flat, oval-shaped lip brushes the best. The trick is to get an even amount of lip color distributed on the brush before application by gently swiping the brush three or four times against the lipstick, and then painting over your lips.
For the most transparent application of foundation
Use a makeup sponge. A sponge is a soft, porous tool that blends as it absorbs excess liquid or cream foundation or concealer during application. For a sheerer, more transparent look, you can moisten the sponge; this will enhance its porosity so it will absorb more of the makeup.
To blend thick or dense cream foundations
Use your fingers. Fingers are brilliant for blending denser cream foundation, concealer, sheer cream eye shadow and lip gloss. That's because your fingers radiate heat and can reach tiny places with ease. "The heat from your fingers essentially melts the heavier consistencies, so they spread nicely, fusing with your skin," says Grayson.
For a natural-looking finish when working with powder
Use brushes. Powder brushes are meant to be used dry for powder blush, powder eye shadow and face powder. In fact, the key to their blending well is that they diffuse powder as you use them — essentially dry-whisking the powder across your face. When you're working with powder and powder brushes, dust a translucent colorless powder over a layer of colored powder to further unify and distribute the color.
For a more made-up, matte look when working with powder
Use velvet puffs. Velvet puffs help powder adhere to skin with more opacity than a powder brush. Use a puff to set foundation, or dust the powder over bare skin to keep it matte. Just layer a fine coat of loose powder over the puff and press it onto your skin.
To smudge pencil eyeliner
Dry cotton swabs are great for smudging out pencil liner. Just drag the soft cotton over your liner (in the same direction you applied it) to diffuse and blend the color.
To apply concealer to cover an imperfection
Use a concealer brush. A concealer brush is flat-headed, soft but not porous, and meant to fuse liquid concealers and foundations to skin — rather than to blend them — by applying an even coating of the cream or liquid. After you apply concealer, pat it lightly with clean fingertips or a dry sponge to blend completely. Remember, using a concealer brush alone will not blend the makeup but prep it for a more opaque application.
Always, always, always apply makeup in good light
Blending is visual and requires deft skill, and to do it right, you've got to have a mirror and good, clear, even light. If you can't see the makeup on your face, how are you going to blend it? And it doesn't matter if you've done it a hundred times — you've got to see it to blend it!