How To: Sheer Foundation With A Sultry Bronze Cat Eye

The Info—Stylist: Shana Astrachan of Fox & Doll Hair and Makeup/ Photography: Hart & Sol West / Venue: The Box SF / Flowers: Green Snapdragon Floral Design /Dress: Little Borrowed Dress / Jewelry: BrideBlu Vintage + Handmade Jewelry

I don’t know about you, but every time I think of trying to master the art of foundation, a little piece of my soul dies. It’s the one aspect of makeup that has literally taken me a lifetime to figure out. There’s such a fine line between not getting enough coverage and putting on so much that I end up looking like a mime. (Editors note: Maddie has this problem, Meg loves sheer foundation so much she wears it while home alone, truth. But now she’s excited to upgrade her one makeup obsession with skillz.)

Which is why I wasn’t surprised when we polled the APW community asking what you hoped to get out of the P&G Beauty Tutorials, and one of the first things you asked for was how to do sheer foundation that lets the natural texture of your skin show through. And this look totally hits that nail on the head. Our lovely model, Chloe, has a gorgeous face full of freckles and we didn’t want to ruin it by covering up what makes her look like, well, herself. So Shana gave us all the tips and tricks for achieving wedding makeup that is both sheer and sultry. And now we’re passing them on to you:

For Face: The secret to sheer foundation (you know, the kind that lets your freckles stand proud) is first to choose a foundation that is already a bit more on the sheer side, and then to cut it with moisturizer. So we mixed equal parts CoverGirl NatureLuxe Silk Foundation and Olay Regenerist Wrinkle Revolution until we had a mixture that would offer a bit of coverage, but wouldn’t cover up Chloe’s naturally beautiful skin tone and freckles. Shana’s other secret, of course, is to then blend your foundation into your skin using the Beauty Blender we showed you last week (that’s that crazy thing that looks like a pink foam egg, and which you can totally pick up at a place like Target), which will ensure that the mixture gets blended into your skin evenly.

Another tip for keeping this look natural: you’ll notice that the steps above call for bronzer. Well, if we learned anything during our P&G Twitter chat a few weeks back, it’s that not all bronzers are created the same (and um, that you shouldn’t put bronzer all over your face, MEG). Shana specifically suggests using a matte bronzer to keep your skin’s natural texture and tone (for Chloe, we opted for CoverGirl’s Queen Collection Natural Hue Bronzer, which is specially formulated for darker skin tones), but if you do decide that you want to go with little more shimmer, just be sure to avoid anything with actual glitter in it (really, this goes for all makeup when you plan to be photographed, unless you’re headed to a rave in 1998). This is because anything with glitter is going to reflect light in a weird way and make you look unnatural in the shots.

For Eyes: In addition to foundation, dark eye makeup has been my nemesis ever since I got my first Wet ‘n Wild eyeliner in middle school. I love the way dramatic eye makeup looks when I put it on, but it always seems like 10 minutes later I end up with dark circles under my eyes. Shana says that one of the best ways to avoid dark eye circles is to apply mascara to your top lashes only (don’t bother with the bottom lashes). But if you’re really sold on wanting a little more definition on the bottom of your eyes, then you can take your eyeliner (the same pencil that you used to create the cat eye) and apply a little bit to a small flat eye brush. Then smudge that brush into your lower lashes to make them appear thicker.

Another tip: this look requires a fair amount of precision with your eye pencil. If you don’t always have a steady hand when applying a straight line (guilty as charged), just apply a small amount of your Olay Regenerist Wrinkle Revolution to the tip of a Q-Tip and keep it handy to clean up any errant lines or smudges that creep up during application. It acts as a magic eraser (seriously, just swipe it over the mistake and it literally disappears) and allows for you to fix small areas without undoing the rest of your look.

Lastly, if you’re worried that the cat eye look is going to be difficult, fret not. Just line your eye like you normally would (starting at the inner corner and working your way to the outer corner), but instead of following the line all the way to the corner of your eye, turn it up slightly just before you hit the outside corner. For extra drama, make your line a little thicker than you normally would and place it just above your lash line. And practice a little, it’s as easy as that. For this look we brought back our CoverGirl LiquilineBlast eyeliner (this time in Dark Brown), which is the awesome product we told you about a few weeks ago (it’s liquid liner, but it looks and feels like a pencil thus eliminating any chances for that moment when you accidentally get liquid eyeliner all in your eyeballs). The CoverGirl LiquilineBlast liner naturally wants to draw a thicker, more opaque line on your eyes, so most of the work is going to be done for you (not that I tried this at home the other night and discovered these things on my own or anything. That would be super lame).

And as always, if you have questions about how to modify this look, or which products would be best for your skin tone? Shana is usually standing by to answer them in the comments (because she’s awesome like that), but you can always direct your questions at @PGBeauty for their expert advice (or if you’re not on Twitter, post your questions on their Facebook page for more info).

Download a PDF of the shopping list for this look here.

**This post was sponsored by P&G Beauty. Thanks P&G for helping make the APW mission possible!**

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  • Laura

    So, curious–is there a BIG benefit to a foundation brush, versus using your fingers? I’ve heard that it looks better in photos if you’ve applied with a brush, so I’ve been debating whether I should buy one or not.

    • Ambi

      I will defer to the experts, but I love sheer foundation and have used it for most of my adulthood, and although I’ve tried foundation brushes and sponges and blending tools, I always go back to using my fingers. It is just what works for me. (As a side note, I use a foundation that has a pump bottle, so I minimize the contamination factor of repeatedly putting your fingers in/on the open foundation). If there is a trick to using a brush, I’d love to hear it. I’ve never been able to get it to really look natural.

    • meg

      Yeah, I’m not sure. I use it everyday, and I really like using my fingers, because it gives me a lot of control. If I were blending two things together (foundation and moisturizer, say), I’d use the egg sponge, but no brush for me. Personal taste should definitely weigh in here.

  • Lilz

    Do you have a suggestion for moisturizers to use that aren’t anti-wrinkle? I’m in my early 20s and am just looking for an all-purpose face lotion to cut foundation with. I’ve had trouble finding ones that don’t make me look oily after a long day.

    • Ambi

      I use prescription acne products, so my moisturizer has to be plain and mild. I use standard old Olay, which they do sell as just a straight moisturizer without anything else. I have also used cetaphil, which is also good. As far as oiliness, I’m not sure. I have heard that using a serum in the summer rather than a moisturizer is better as it won’t give you that oil-slick look later in the day. Finally, I have been trying to spread the gospel about Olay Definity Color Recapture, which is a foundation swirled with moisturizer and serum all together in a tall pump bottle. When my skin isn’t acting dry, I use this product as my foundation and moisturizer in one, and I don’t bother with additional moisturizer underneath.

      • Granola

        I really like Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. My mom also uses it and my sister uses the gel version. But I tend to switch around depending on the season.

        • Seconding the Clinique. It’s the only moisturizer that I’ve ever purchased that I can flat out say I LOVE.

  • Ambi

    Oh my, I love this makeup tutorial so much I can’t put it into words. The look is amazing. The directions are perfect. And the commentary just pushes everything to another level. I think this is my favorite How-To post of all time.

    Regarding sheer foundation, I absolutely swear by Olay Regenerist Color Recapture – it is in the skin care aisle, in the tall clear bottle with foundation swirled with both moisturizer and serum. It is both incredibly sheer and super-effective at giving you even beautiful skin. It is my all-time favorite, and that is coming from a girl who has used everything from Chanel to the cult-favorite Armani foundation. The Olay stuff is amazing, and it includes skincare ingredients to even skintone while you wear it. I have recommended this to so many friends and to my mom, and they are all converts. If you like sheer foundation or tinted moisturizer, try it! You won’t be dissapointed.

    As for the AMAZING eye makeup – is that eyeliner gray? I love it. It may be black, but it looks a bit softer than pure black, which totally works with the cat eye.

    It helps that Chloe is so phenomenally gorgeous to begin with, but I think your team has really outdone itself with this one. I really wish we could all print these photos out and mail them to the mainstream bridal magazines with a letter asking that they feature more real-looking brides with natural, gorgeous skin and hair like this.

    • Ambi

      I can’t believe I got the name of my favorite product wrong! It is Olay Definity Color Recapture. Oops!

    • Ambi

      oh, DUH, the title of the post says it is a bronze cat eye, and the downloadable shopping list has the exact shade. Thanks! Sorry I posted before I really read everything!

  • Melissa H

    LOVE LOVE LOVE Chloe’s freckles! Gorgeous! Thanks for another great tutorial!

  • brittney

    I use the LiquilineBlast eyeliner and still I have the hardest time getting my liner to look even and applied in one smooth line. One eye always looks thicker than the other. I’ll try the Q-tip and Olay Regenerist Wrinkle Revolution tip, but I’m wondering if there is anything else I can do to get better at the nice even line. The eyeliner in the tutorials looks *perfect* and yes I know it’s being applied by a professional, but still. :)

    • Lynn

      As a long time liquid eyeliner user, I do not generally draw one long line. I most often do 2 lines and make them meet in the middle–starting at the outer edge and working in, and then starting at the inner corner and coming out.

      Sometimes, though, when I get a little full of myself and I feel like the make-up gods are smiling on me, I try to do a long straight line. And then I’m quickly reminded why two lines are generally a good idea for me.

    • Ambi

      Forgive me if these tips are too basic, but that’s just how I roll:

      1. Rest your elbow on something to stablize your arm (I have a little glass shelf right under my bathroom mirror that is perfect for this purpose).
      2. First make either dots or short dashes right along the lash line, basically in your lashes or as close as you can get.
      3. Then trace over that in one continuous line (or two lines, like LYNN mentions). The dots/dashes help keep me on track and keep things straight.
      4. Clean up any obvious problems with the q-tip trick, but don’t worry about making it absolutely perfect.
      5. If possible, walk away for a minute. Do something else. Stop looking at your eyeliner. Then come back and, standing a normal distance from the mirror instead of sticking your nose right up to the glass, look at yourself -if there is a difference that is immediately noticeable to you upon first glance, then either use the q-tip to take off some liner or what I tend to do is just add more liner to the other side to balance it out (warning: I have ended up with major eyeliner overload due to this method, though).
      6. Once it is somewhat balanced (but it doesn’t have to be perfect), go over it with a narrow shaddow brush dipped in eyeshadow of a similar shade, and lightly smudge that shaddow up beyond the liner to blur the harsh liner line. This will help disguise any edges that aren’t perfectly straight.
      7. Throw on loads of mascara and maybe even a few false lashes (those individual little ones, not the whole strips). The thicker and longer and darker your lashes are, the less harsh your liner will look. Black liquid liner on bare eyelids with bare lashes can be jolting, but when you add mascara and blend the dark line out with shaddow, the whole thing works together.

      I can’t stress enough how much you have to just accept the fact that the lines will never be perfectly identical. Most people’s eyes are not perfectly identical and symmetrical anyway, so even if you have a super steady and and trace one continuous line along your lashes, they can still end up looking different. You just have to step back and look at the overall impression rather than focusing on the teeny tiny imperfections.

      Good luck!

      • Alexandra

        I just wanted to exactly the part about taking a few steps back from the mirror and looking again. Whenever I’m applying eye liner, I always forget for a few minutes that no one else is going to be staring at it from 2 inches away. But in the end, you’re your own worst critic about how precise your make up is.

  • This freckley girl wants to throw out a big THANK YOU and glittery puffy hearts for this tutorial!

  • Chloe has a nose stud! And so do I! So, the question is, how do I avoid covering up the stud with makeup and making it dull instead of sparkly? So far I’ve been using a wet q-tip to sort of clean it off afterward, but it’s a teeny little stud, and usually I sort of end up botching it. Is there a magical secret there, or do I just need to improve my q-tip skillz?

    • Can you take it out easily? I usually pop mine out and then put it back in again after I apply my own makeup. I totally forgot to do this on my wedding day though; my makeup lady wiped it off when she was done. No idea what she used unfortunately.

  • Class of 1980

    I love those freckles. They remind me of a cute little fawn.

  • Class of 1980

    Also, I like the dark taupe eyeliner I currently use, but I am going right out to buy the one Chloe is wearing here. The color and intensity is perfect.

  • Wonderful tutorial. Style and soft makeup. I liked it and very beautiful model

  • Jay

    Products! If you just buy All. The. Products!! You will look great on your wedding day!!

    eye roll.

    • Ambi

      Hey, I don’t think this is a completely fair assessment – APW has run so many posts talking about the fact that you don’t have to wear any makeup at all on your wedding, that guys look just fine in photos without it so don’t let anyone tel you that you need it, and that it is very possible to do your own makeup with stuff you already have. On the other hand, we’ve also discussed the fact that some people want to pay someone to do their hair and makeup, and that is just fine too. This post is part of a very specific discussion about “What if I want to wear makeup on my wedding day and I think I want to do my own makeup, but I don’t know how?” and it offers affordable products and really practical instructions for someone in that situation. If you really think that APW is telling readers that they have to wear makeup or buy products, I encourage you to go back and read some of the older posts on the subject. And maybe a little less sarcasm when you comment? Not that I don’t appreciate the fact that it is a useful tool for getting a point across, but we have all put a lot of work into keep this community friendly, civil, and supportive. So, by all means, make your point that brides really don’t need makeup or products or hairstyles or whatever – but please try to do it in a way that facilitates discussion instead of shutting it down.

      And scene. (My brief stint acting like an APW moderator is now over). :)

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