by Ashley Santoyo

Let’s Smooth Things Out

As a makeup lover and *ahem* self-proclaimed guru, I’m always looking out for new products and tricks that can improve my makeup. Specifically, finding out new ways to make my foundation smoother and pore-less. As someone who doesn’t have supermodel skin and very oily skin, I struggle with making my foundation look natural and flawless. When I first started doing my makeup, I didn’t even know what setting powder was, much less primer. I would literally paint my face with foundation using my hands and a very small brush that left stray hair everywhere. Since then, I’ve tried different techniques and new products that make my foundation look much better with less texture. Below I will describe a few of the tips that I used and were helpful in getting my foundation to where it is now. 

1. Primer is Very, Very Important

Using a face primer changed the game for me. As an oily-skinned girl, I found that using a primer before applying anything to my face helped my foundation look better and last longer. Although I’m pretty set on these, which I know get the job done, I’m always open to finding one that works even better than my staples. I’ve used many over the years, but my favorites are:

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Face Primer

Fenty Beauty


E.L.F. Cosmetics Poreless Face Primer

Elf Cosmetics

Wet N’ Wild PhotoFocus Matte Face Primer

2.  Don’t be Scared to Switch It Up


As I said before, I am always open to finding new products to love. Even though you’ve found a foundation and primer that you love and are very happy with, it’s good to try new combinations of primers and foundations to give you more options. For example, although I loved my Wet N’ Wild PhotoFocus foundation with my Maybelline BabySkin primer, I swapped out my primer in exchange for the E.L.F Poreless Face Primer with the same foundation. It looked even better than the previous combination, and I never looked back. Every foundation and primer has a different formula, which means it’s going to take a bit of experimenting to find the best combination. Here are some of my favorite foundations:

Wet N’ Wild PhotoFocus Foundation

Wet n Wild

Maybelline Super Stay Foundation


Milani Cosmetics 2-in-1 Foundation and Concealer


Too Faced Born This Way Foundation

Too Faced



3. Not Every Setting Powder Is The Same


There’s a reason that I own more than one setting powder. Each one is for different occasions. Setting powder plays a huge role in the texture and lasting effect of your foundation. It shouldn’t make your pores look huge, but rather soften up your foundation as well as set it for the day. Choosing the right setting powder for you and your skin is very important. Just like the foundation and primer, setting powder performs differently with different foundation/concealer formulas. Just because it worked for someone else who uses the same foundation as you doesn’t mean it’ll work in the same way on your skin. Everyone recommended the Laura Mercier powder to me, but I was unfortunately part of the small (but still real) group of people that it didn’t work for. I’m very oily, so I had to touch up several times a day, and needed something a bit stronger. Here are my favorite setting powders and the occasions I save them for:

Coty Airspun Translucent Extra Coverage Loose Powder

To set your every day face and for a long night out


Maybelline FIT Me! Loose Finishing Powder

To set the light concealer under the eye on “no makeup” makeup days


Too Faced Born This Way Translucent Setting Powder

When I'm OK with my skin looking a bit dewy, and want to feel more glamorous (this is my winter powder during the dry months so I don’t dry out the foundation or skin with thick powder)


4. Setting Spray: Before, During, and After

I used to exclusively set my face after everything was done. It was the way that I saw everyone do it. Recently, I’ve been spraying before foundation, during the concealer process, and after I’ve set and let parts of my face bake. Spraying my face with a priming mist after primer but before foundation has made my skin look smoother as soon as I put on my foundation. It feels good on my skin and helps make my foundation feel light, almost as if it’s not even there. Then, I spray my face with the same priming mist while I let my concealer dry a bit before blending it out. My concealer blends out smoother, while not drying out my under eye. Lastly, I spray my face a final time while I’m baking. Spraying while I set is helpful in letting the powder to sink into the cream products rather than sit on top of them, giving your skin a smooth appearance. After spraying, I use a microfiber sponge to press the powder into the skin and not across the top of it. Here are the sprays I use and when I use them:

NYX Cosmetics Bare With Me 8HR Prime, Set, and Refresh Multitasking Spray

  • I use this to prime my skin and after applying my concealer
  • Also works great if you want to re-touch the face

Mario Badescu Rosewater Facial Spray

I use this after applying setting powder and before pressing the powder into the skin