Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Foundation Routine - Creating a Matte Canvas

Today I thought I'd share my foundation routine- the products I use and how I apply them.  When it comes to makeup application, I probably spend the most time on my foundation, because I want to create a perfect 'canvas' before any colour is applied. Essentially, I want to erase any unevenness in skintone and hide any blemishes and discolouration. 

Opting for a matte complexion, here are the products I use:

- NARS Pore Refining Primer (http://tinyurl.com/nsrlmp2)
- MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 (http://tinyurl.com/c45scjy)
- MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer (http://tinyurl.com/9djxrxy)
- MAC Blow Powder Pressed (http://tinyurl.com/mep5rap)

NARS Pore Refining Primer

NARS Pore Refining Primer retails $38 for 1 oz.  NARS claims it "instantly refines the look of pores, regulates shine and mattifies the skin" It has vitamins A, C, and E, and is supposed to "diminish the appearance of dilated pores over time".  Out of the tube, the primer looks and applies like a light lotion.  With this primer, less is definitely more. Only a thin veil is needed, and if any more if used, it won't create a matte finish like it is supposed to.  Therefore, one tube will last a fairly long time.  I apply this with my fingertips, and immediately after application, it looks almost dewy.  However, once it settles into the skin, it does mattify and smooth our minor imperfections.  

My only complaint is the waiting time needed after putting it on.  If not settled in properly, it could skew the finish of a matte foundation.  Personally, if I am looking to achieve a completely matte finish, I would opt for something else like bareMinerals Prime Time Foundation Primer, as the thicker consistency does a better job of mattifying.  However, I do love the feeling of this primer as it is lightweight and has an almost cooling effect when applied.


Described as "a modern foundation that combines a natural matte finish and a medium, buildable buildable coverage", MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 retails $32 for 1 oz.  It originally came with a screw-on lid, but MAC does sell the pump individually.  It wasn't until I was onto my second bottle of this did I get the pump, and I am glad I did.  Not only does it save me time from opening the lid each time, it extended the life of the foundation as it gave me better control of the amount I used.  I am a NC25 in this foundation, and I reach for my MAC #190 Foundation Brush for application.  Using short, quick strokes, I am able to achieve a smooth application with one to 1.5 pumps.

The foundation lives up its description in terms of coverage.  It does not feel heavy, and once dried, feels velvet to the touch.  Even with the sun protection, it does not feel oily or slippery.  This foundation truly provides a matte coverage, and lasts a good 8-10 hours on me if I am careful not to touch my face throughout the day.

MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer

MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer retails $22 for 0.24 oz. and "provides a smooth, long-wearing invisible coverage".  It also claims to be water-resistant and contains silica to absorb the skin's oils.  I pair this concealer in NC30 with the Studio Fix foundation.  Unfortunately, the two closest shades to the foundation for this concealer is NC20 and NC30, and I went with the darker shade because I feel like a lighter concealer would highlight, not conceal my blemishes.  I usually pat this to blemishes and under the eyes with my fingers, and sometimes with the MAC #195 Concealer Brush for smaller places.  

The texture of this concealer is creamy, and applies very matte.  It has a full coverage, and does not smudge off easily.  Blemishes tends to produce more oil than normal skin, and this concealer truly does absorb oils from it.  I don't find myself having to touch up on this throughout the day.

MAC Blot Powder Pressed

MAC Blot Powder Pressed retails $30 for 0.42 oz. and is "designed primarily to provide shine control without adding any noticeable colour or texture."  The compact includes a mirror and puff.  I don't use this every time, but this would be the final step of my foundation routine if I do.  It is only on longer days or if I have an important event to attend that I use this, as the foundation and concealer usually provides enough coverage for daily use.  I use the MAC #150 Large Powder Brush to apply this in the Medium shade, focusing on my T-zone, especially the tip of my nose, on the forehead between my brows and the cheek area just around the bridge of my nose.  The result is a smoothed out, airbrushed finish.  If I look up close after application, the results reminds me of having applied a smoothing filter to pictures.  

I use a very light hand and only apply this with the brush, as overuse of this would look too powdery.  I wouldn't recommend using this if you have patches, as this will cling to any dry skin and emphasize it.  MAC's claim of this powder not adding any noticeable colour would only be true if this powder completely matched your skintone, and I find that it is not the case for me.  The foundations have a much wider range of shades than these powders.  Therefore, I find that if I applied too much of this, it slightly lightens the shade of my foundation.  Overall, I do like having the Blot Powder for days when I need it, but it is not something I feel is essential for normal skin.

Bare skin
With primer, foundation, concealer, and powder
As you can see, the foundation and powder evened out my skintone, and the concealer hid imperfections and lightened the bags under my eyes.  Once I'm at this point, I usually go on to my eyes, lips, and cheeks.

Et voilà, there you have it!

With love,




  1. o0o0oh a mac girl I see ;) I'm intrigued by that concealer with SPF... I'll definitely go pick it up! Wish you posted a photo of your result, I'll be anticipating it! (´▽`ʃƪ)♡

  2. Haha I do love MAC complexion products! Oh you'll love it. Will do when I'm actually putting on makeup! Was just at home studying all day today for finals ):