Face Makeup

Face makeup for priming, blending, bronzing, brightening and beyond.

The ultimate prep step for your face —these vegan makeup primers make all the difference.
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e.l.f.'s Best Face Makeup

What are the different kinds of face makeup?

There are many different types of face makeup to explore. Depending upon what you choose, you can achieve full coverage or sheer coverage; a dewy, shimmering or matte finish; highlighted and sculpted features; naturally flushed cheeks or deliberately-placed cheek color. Here is a rundown of the most commonly reached-for face makeup:

  • Foundation: Face Foundation comes in cream, liquid and powder formulas and offers coverage that ranges from sheer to light to medium to complete. It can provide a matte finish, a dewy finish or an iridescent finish. Whatever coverage or finish you need, there is something for you.

  • Primer: Face primer or foundation primer is used under your foundation to smooth and refine the skin, fill pores, prevent creasing, even out imperfections, adjust skin tone, absorb oil and eliminate unwanted shine. It creates a smooth, even canvas for the rest of your makeup. You can choose between a liquid primer or a cream primer.

  • Concealer: Concealers are used to brighten the dark areas of the face including under eye circles and recessions around the mouth or nose. They also cover up blemishes, discoloration, redness or scars.

  • Bronzer: Bronzers give your skin a warm, luminous glow—as if you’ve spent time in the sun. They can also lightly sculpt your face. Bronzers come in cream/putty and powder form, and may be matte or shimmery.

  • Contour: Contouring is done using a darker shade than your foundation or concealer to create the effect of shadow and define your facial features.

  • Highlighter: Highlighter is placed on the high points of the face that naturally reflect light, including the crests of the cheekbones, the bridge and tip of the nose, the forehead, the cupid’s bow of the lips, the top of the chin and even the center of the eyelids. They give your face a radiant glow coming in many forms including a powder, liquid, cream and a stick highlighter.

  • Powder: Face powder helps even your skin tone, absorb oil, set your makeup and achieve flawless-looking skin. It comes in a variety of formulas, such as e.l.f. Camo Powder Foundation for buildable coverage; e.l.f. Halo Glow Setting Powder that veils the skin for a luminous finish and e.l.f. Prime and Stay Finishing Powder which sets makeup and keeps skin free of shine. You can also use face powder for touch-ups throughout the day.

  • Blush: Blush adds color to the cheeks where a natural flush would occur. It normally comes in natural-colored tones like pink, peach, rose and plum. Blush is available in many forms, including powder, a cream like e.l.f. Putty Blush, liquid or in a versatile blush stick like our Monochromatic Multi-Use Makeup Stick.

  • Setting Powders and Mists: Finishing powders, mists, and setting sprays are applied once all of your makeup is applied to help your skin look smooth and polished. They also help your makeup last longer.

How can you prep your skin for face makeup?

Face makeup looks its best on skin that is clean, hydrated and healthy. To that end, always apply your makeup after cleansing, toning and moisturizing with formulas that are suited to your skin type—whether it’s oily, dry or combination. Moisturizer is particularly important because it plumps up your skin and provides a receptive surface for your face makeup. And don’t forget your eyes—a good eye cream will soften fine lines and hydrate the delicate skin in the eye area.

What are the steps for applying face makeup?

  1. Cleanse and moisturize your skin.

  2. Apply a face primer and let it set.

  3. Next apply your concealer.

  4. Follow with your foundation, liquid or cream.

  5. Apply your highlighter and contour.

  6. Next comes your blush and/or bronzer.

  7. Set your makeup with a setting powder and/or setting spray or mist.

How do you apply face makeup?

Application often depends on personal preference. You may use your fingers, a makeup blending sponge or a brush, depending on the product formula. Creams and liquids can be applied with any of the above; if you’re applying a powder, you must use a sponge or a brush. For example, if you’re applying a powder foundation use a sponge for full coverage or a fluffy brush for light coverage. A cream like e.l.f.’s Cream Contour or Putty Bronzer can be applied using a sponge or brush.

How long does face makeup usually last and can I make it last longer?

Depending on your skin type and the products you use, your makeup should remain fresh looking anywhere between 12 and 16 hours. If you have oily skin, your makeup may not last as long, but you can extend the wear by using an oil-absorbing face primer and setting your makeup with an oil control mist.

If your skin is dry, using a hydrating face primer and setting your makeup with hydrating primer mist will help keep your makeup looking dewy and fresh.