We've Got You Covered

Skin under siege calls for stealth makeup maneuvers. Some of beauty's top brass divulge winning strategies


TACTICS: "Go with a foundation slightly lighter than your complexion, as most formulas darken a bit on oily skin," says New York City makeup artist Laura Geller. "And skip formulas with all the bells and whistles, like sunscreen and antiaging ingredients, as these can trigger breakouts." Valerie Sarnelle, an L.A.-based makeup artist, agrees that less is more: "Wear the sheerest layer of foundation you can pull off. Heavy makeup sinks into and accentuates large pores. A pearl-size drop applied with a foundation brush will do."

"Dust loose powder on only your oiliest spots, and if the powder leaves your skin looking too matte, lightly spritz your face with water," says Carol Shaw, creator of Lorac Cosmetics. According to Tim Quinn, celebrity makeup artist for Giorgio Armani Cosmetics, your makeup, like everything else, needs maintenance. Store your foundation in a cool, dry place: Oil-free formulas separate easily and can become rancid in heat -- i.e., they can literally "cook," in places like the glove compartment of your car, he says.

Greg Delves


TACTICS: "Slough off any dead, dry skin with a gentle daily scrub -- or monthly microdermabrasion treatments -- to enable foundation to go on smoothly," says Shaw. "Avoid tinted moisturizers," says celebrity makeup artist Napoleon Perdis. "They can obscure the natural glow of pretty, normal skin, leaving it looking dull and oily. If you're trying to enhance your complexion, a regular moisturizer, concealer, and shimmery bronzer is all you need." Perdis recommends spreading on a hydrating primer after applying moisturizer (and before foundation) to plump up the skin and fill in fine lines. "Drier skin can benefit from a foundation brush when applying makeup," says Quinn. "Using your fingers can cause streakiness -- especially on sensitive skin."

"Apply only the thinnest layer of foundation on your forehead -- or none at all," says Perdis. "Chances are you have fine lines and dry patches there, and makeup may exaggerate them."

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