Beauty blunder #1: You're using the wrong shadeFix it: Never use base to change your skin's color, which will leave the skin looking unnatural: "Light skin tones may look washed out or exhibit the classic 'tide-mark' if a shade is chosen that is too dark. Darker skin tones may look grey and dull," explains Julia Conway, author of Make-up Artistry.
The right foundation should be your exact skin tone match. "If color is correct, once lightly blended the foundation should become invisible to the eye," says Conway. Visit a makeup counter so a pro can find your shade, based on your skin tone. Test shades along your jawline and look at them under natural light: The one that virtually disappears on your skin is your ideal foundation shade.
Beauty blunder #2: Coverage is uneven and blotchyFix it: Before applying foundation, prep skin with a primer or moisturizer to smooth out skin texture and help ensure even application. "Blend the foundation towards the edges of the face and under the jaw line," says Conway. "Blend gently and carefully, especially around the hairline, eyes, nose and mouth."
Then, slightly moisten a sponge with moisturizer to blend out any spots or lines. Be sure to use a formula designed for your skin type -- a tinted moisturizer or cream for dry skin and an oil-free foundation or powder for oily skin. For combination or normal skin, choose one with SPF, antiaging ingredients, or light-diffusing properties that minimize the appearance of wrinkles.
Beauty blunder #3: Your makeup looks heavy and fakeFix it: Go easy, advises renowned makeup artist Bobbi Brown. "Many women think foundation is all about heavy, mask-like makeup, but it's not."
The trick to achieving a natural look? "Spot-apply foundation just where the skin needs to be evened out," says Brown. "You can use your fingers or a sponge to blend." If you have generally good skin to start with, just apply base on problem areas like the chin and around your nose to even out redness. The natural oils in your skin can break down makeup, so if you have oily skin, set your foundation with powder. If you need a touch-up later in the day, use blotting papers or tissue to remove the excess oils before powdering.