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How to Nail TikTok’s Underpainting Makeup Trend in 5 Simple Steps

We’re switching up your makeup application for very good reason.
abril 07, 2023

Viral TikTok beauty hacks
that make your routine easier while leveling up your entire makeup look are the best kind. Underpainting is one of those hacks — it enhances your makeup routine with expert-level blending and subtle skin sculpting. 

It’s the practice of applying your cream contour and highlighter before foundation and the results are a gorgeous, sculpted complexion, free of harsh lines and shadows. If you steer clear of contour because it’s too difficult or you have a hard time blending it in, underpainting may just be the perfect solution for you.

Underpainting is not a new phenomenon, it’s a makeup technique that has been practiced by makeup artists for years and there’s a good chance many of your favorite celebrities, models and influencers are already doing it. It has made its way back into trends thanks to social media, so if you’re hoping to partake in the viral moment, read on as we share how to underpaint. Plus, all the products you’ll need to achieve this makeup technique and how to perfect the look at home. 

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What Is Underpainting?

When you underpaint, you apply contour, concealer (and sometimes cream blush) first and layer your foundation on top. The reason why this works is because it helps to create a seamless blend of makeup that is free of harsh lines and unwanted shadows. The nice thing about underpainting is that less foundation is needed because the contour and highlighter that you apply pre-foundation add coverage. As a result, your makeup looks fresh, perfectly blended and your face appears naturally sculpted.
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How to Underpaint in 5 Steps

While underpainting may be different than the way you typically apply your makeup, it’s fairly easy to grasp. Here’s how to underpaint your contour like a pro in five simple steps. 

1. Contour and Highlight Your Face

A vital part of underpainting is your cream contour and highlighter. Since these things go under your foundation, they must be cream formulas, not powders (those will come later). A great hack when it comes to finding the right cream contour is to grab a concealer that is two to three shades darker than your skin tone. We love the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer Up to 24H Full Coverage because it has a long-wearing, matte finish that provides flawless coverage. 

Contour your cheekbones, forehead, nose, lips and jawline. Next, highlight the areas you contoured. To do that, take your Infallible concealer, in two shades lighter than your skin tone and use it to highlight your under-eye area, forehead and chin. Take a stippling brush or a clean makeup sponge and lightly blend the cream contour and highlighter to slightly blur the harsh edges. Remember, you still have to apply foundation on top so don’t blend the creams in completely.

Editor’s tip: Some like to apply blush with their contour and highlighter before foundation. If you want to try this, use a cream or liquid blush formula, like the L’Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Lip and Cheek Tint

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2. Apply a Lightweight Foundation

The foundation makeup that you choose for underpainting is very important. You want to stay away from full-coverage formulas because they will mask all the contour and highlighting that you just did. Instead, opt for a skin tint or a light-coverage liquid foundation, like the L’Oréal Paris True Match Hyaluronic Tinted Serum or the L’Oréal Paris True Match Blendable Foundation

When you underpaint, you will notice that the amount of foundation that you need is significantly less than when you contour and highlight after the fact. The reason is that concealer or cream contour and highlighter add coverage, which means you’ll need less foundation to even out your skin tone. Use a makeup sponge to lightly dab the foundation on your skin, blending it with the contour and highlighter to create a flawless finish.

3. Continue With Powder Products

Once you’ve applied your foundation, now is the time when you can apply your powder contour or bronzer and blush. While you may not feel like you need to, doing so can help to set the layer of cream contour and highlighter under your foundation. Use a neutral bronzing powder, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Soft Matte Bronzer, which melts into the skin and has a flattering, soft matte finish. For blush, try the L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Blush, a matte formula that blends with skin texture and helps to conceal blemishes.

4. Finish the Rest of Your Makeup

Once your foundation is applied, you can continue with the rest of your makeup. Whether that be a neutral eyeshadow and winged eyeliner or just some lengthening mascara and brow gel, it’s going to look stunning with your sculpted base.

5. Spritz on Setting Spray

To set your makeup look, spritz on the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray and Set Make-Up Oil-Free Setting Spray. Shake the bottle, hold it eight inches away from your face, close your eyes and spray four to six times in vertical and horizontal motions, making sure to evenly coat your face.

Next: 9 Sweatproof Makeup Products That Won’t Melt Off Your Face

Photo Credit: IG/@makeupbykathleenlacey, Photo Design: Sarah Duvivier

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