Underpainting makeup explainer

What is the underpainting makeup trend all over TikTok?

23rd February 2023 | Author: Katherine O'Shea

The underpainting makeup trend is hugely popular on TikTok at the moment but it’s not new; it’s been a technique used by makeup artists for years. Here’s everything you need to know

The latest trend in the beauty world is underpainting – an old-school makeup trick that’s having a warranted revival.

It’s been used by makeup artists for decades to get a natural-looking glow and underpainting is a firm favourite of celebrities like Kendall Jenner and J Lo.

Essentially it’s the act of applying a base layer of products underneath your foundation. This could include applying your contour and concealer first or applying your blush, bronzer and highlighter before layering it with foundation.

Although this may sound like you’re going to the effort of applying makeup before covering it up, underpainting is actually used to soften the makeup underneath; making it look like your blush and contour are naturally part of your skin. The result is a sculpted, but natural look, that’s perfect for spring/summer.

FURTHER READING: We’ve tested 100+ foundations to find out which is the best foundation makeup in the UK

Why should I try underpainting?

If you are at all intimidated by the idea of contouring, but also love the idea of having a more defined face, then underpainting is a great option for you. It means you can achieve a softer look that blends everything out.

Also, if you find you put on too much blush, put it in the wrong place, or find that you don’t know how to blend properly, the technique of underpainting can help smooth out and hide any issues. Therefore underpainting is great for beginners and experts alike.

Although the underpainting makeup technique has been done for decades, the difference is that now there are so many makeup tutorial videos available to you to copy the look.

There’s not just one way to do underpainting either. Maybe you don’t like contouring and instead, prefer a look that just involves a blusher underneath your foundation. It could be that you’re after a natural-looking sun-kissed flush and prefer the idea of using bronzer on your cheeks, rather than defining by contouring.

Whatever look you’re after, you’ll find an underpainting tutorial video to recreate the result you want.

FURTHER READING: How to contourHow to apply blushHow to get flawless skin: A top makeup artist reveals the secret to a perfect base

How to do underpainting makeup

Make sure your face is well moisturised and hydrated before applying any makeup. This creates a smooth and soft base to work with and gives your makeup something to “stick” to.

If you’re used to contouring your face, apply your bronzer and blusher as you would normally. If you’re a beginner to contouring you can have a look at our beginner’s guide to contouring.

Once you’ve applied your face shaping and face colouring products you’ll want to blend these as seamlessly as possible.

If you’re going to use a foundation for most of your face then we suggest applying a thin layer of light-to-medium coverage foundation on top. When applying this you’ll want to be careful not to drag or move the blush and contour underneath, so being delicate is important. It’s better to bounce the foundation on top of the slightly blended colour you’ve already applied, keeping it light.

If you prefer a no-makeup look, or if you fear your makeup looking too cakey, you may wish to use a concealer instead. By putting a few dots of concealer in select places and blending, instead of completely covering the underpainting, you’re targeting the areas of skin these products haven’t covered e.g. under your eyes and the middle of your forehead.

mamabella tip: To get the best finish, you need to increase the intensity with which you apply your contour, bronzer or blush. This means making it around 20% darker or heavier, otherwise, it may not show through your foundation.

FURTHER READING: How to master makeup for oily skin, according to the experts

What do I need for underpainting?

If you already use a contour set, blusher and foundation you most likely have all the kit you need already. However, there are brushes and particular products that will help make your underpainting result look more natural and effective.

The list below includes the best products we’ve used when attempting the underpainting makeup trend.

Firstly, let’s start with your moisturiser. With underpainting, you’re applying contrasting colours directly to your skin. This means you’re going to want your skin to be well-hydrated to avoid any patchiness.

Underpainting makeup tutorialCharlotte Tilbury

We recommend the Gel Priming Moisturiser (£15.99) from Face & Base. In our best moisturiser group test, it boosted the hydration of our skin by 21.3% and absorbs really easily.

Once you’ve got your makeup base moisturiser sorted, the best contour to use for underpainting is one that has a creamy texture because it’s easier to blend. You’ll also want a blush that’s creamy when it comes to your underpainting base.

Our favourite contouring kit is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Pro Series Contour Kit. It offers lots of shades, but most importantly for underpainting, it’s super creamy.

Sadly it doesn’t come cheap at £42 but we do think it’s worth it. Alternatively, the Sleek Makeup Cream Contour Kit does a similar job but costs just £11.99.

For a creamy blush to use for underpainting you can’t go wrong with a Beauty Light Wand from Charlotte Tilbury (£30).  It gives a glowing highlight-blush and really brightens your cheeks.

The best brush to use for underpainting should also be considered, as it’ll help to give your underpainting a skin-like finish. A contouring brush needs to be smaller for a more defined application and then you need a medium-sized brush for your blusher.

For contouring, our favourite brush is the Illamasqua contouring brush (£28). It’s angled perfectly for sculpting and defining your cheekbones, jawline and neckline. You’ll also want a good blush brush to ensure your underpainting goes on seamlessly, ready for the foundation. Illamasqua also sells a blush brush that does the job really well.

The best brush for applying your foundation over your underpainting base is the Pro Deluxe Buffer Brush from Morphe (£17). It works well with cream, liquid or powder foundation and will give you a streak-free finish, which is vital after putting in all that groundwork with the underpainting.

The best foundation for underpainting is one that offers you light-to-medium coverage like the Chanel No.1 Revitalising foundation (£55). This foundation works for underpainting because it has a dewy, natural-looking finish, which helps add to your natural overall look.

If you’re on a budget, the following products are cheap alternatives of those listed above that offer a similar finish for less money.

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