How to apply makeup to textured skin, according to an MUA

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Whether it’s wrinkles, acne scars, or enlarged pores, everyone has a little texture to their skin, and (despite what Instagram filters would have you believe) no amount of makeup can make it go away. But with the right application, you can make sure you don’t overdo the texture, explains Emily Amick, a makeup artist in New York City.

“I’m very passionate about having a realistic approach to what makeup can do for you and what you compare yourself to because the images we see in a flat glossy magazine or iPhones are edited beyond belief,” says Amick. In other words, if you were to see the same skin in person, its texture would be much more visible. “It’s important to keep that in mind and have a realistic expectation of what you can achieve at home and what a makeup artist can do for you. People say, ‘How do I keep all this concealer from getting under my eyes? lines?’ I’m like, ‘You can’t. No one can. They’ll do that.'”

While you can’t camouflage your texture (which is fine! because skin texture is totally normal and natural), if it’s something that bothers you, you can make sure not to accentuate it with your makeup. To do that, Amick has three rules of thumb for applying makeup to textured skin.

How to make up textured skin

1) Prioritize preparation

“Preparing your skin is so important, so make sure you wash your face every night, moisturize well, and use actives that are right for you: serums…they’re going to improve your skin over time,” says Amick. Retinoids and exfoliants (such as alpha and beta-hydroxy acids) are the best choice for smoothing the texture of fine lines, wrinkles, and acne scars. When it comes to pores, you can’t really make them smaller (it’s genetics!), but keeping them clean and free of dirt with these active ingredients can make all the difference in how they look.

Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment — $14.00

This gel is a great retinoid to start with, as it’s one of the more powerful OTC options (and, bonus! It’s available at the drug store). Retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A that accelerate cell turnover and stimulate collagen production, which helps smooth pre-existing texture and prevents the formation of new lines and wrinkles.

2. Use a makeup base

“I’m not a big primer person, but if someone has a lot of texture, very visible pores and things like that, there are primers you can use for that that are a short-term fix for daytime only.” Amyck says.

“The primers have a very silky consistency that can blur the appearance of lines and pores,” makeup artist Jenny Patinkin previously told Well+Good. Makeup artists agree that these formulas can help smooth the look of textured skin because they prevent foundation from settling into pores.

Tatcha Silk Canvas Protective Primer

Tatcha The Silk Canvas Primer Protector — $24.00 to $54.00

Amick loves this texture smoothing foundation from Tatcha. “It’s almost like a balm…it’s really good for the pores,” she says. Living up to its name, this primer uses thin layers of silk to keep skin smooth. It also has antioxidants to combat environmental stressors and a complex of three anti-aging nutrients to reveal smooth, mirror-finish skin over time.

Indeed Labs Nanoblur Cream

Indeed Labs Nanoblur Cream — $16.00

If you have very oily skin, a mattifying primer is your best friend. “I love this one,” says Amick. He’s blurring technology minimizes the appearance of pores and helps curb oil production, giving her a smooth, clear canvas on which she can apply the rest of her routine.

3. Remember: less is more

“Using less of anything will look better than putting too much of something on your face which will then move, sag and [texture] noticeable,” Amick says. “If you have a lot of wrinkles or a lot of scars or whatever the case may be, you want to find a product that you can use very little and still get better. If you have a lot of wrinkles under your eyes, you don’t want to use the amount of concealer you see girls on TikTok use. That will only make it better because it will settle.”

Instead of applying layers of concealer, just use a dab. And if you also want to camouflage discoloration, use a bit of color corrector first.

“You just want to use a little bit of color corrector and a little bit of concealer where the problem is and stop there,” she says. “I like a really high coverage foundation that you just have to wear a little. Danessa Myricks Vision Cream Cover ($28) is a good example of that. Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer ($34) is a great example of that, but you have to be in the practice of using very little”.

Exa HiFi Balanced Color Correctors

Exa Hi-Fi Balanced Color Corrector — $27.00

This color corrector comes in six different shades so you can choose the best one for your skin tone and skin problem. Red, peach, pink, and orange work to counteract purple skin tones (think under-eye bags and acne scars), while green and yellow camouflage redness.

Danessa Myricks Vision Cream Coverage

Danessa Myricks Vision Cream Coverage — $28.00

Available in 28 shades, this hybrid of concealer and foundation is excellent for evening out the complexion. Just keep in mind that you need road less than you think: a few quick taps should be enough.

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These products are independently selected by our editors. Making a purchase through our links may generate a commission for Well+Good.

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