I love makeup. Always have. Back when I was a kid growing up in suburbia, my mom sold Avon products and nothing made me happier than using her adorable little makeup samples. While most other girls were having slumber parties, I was hosting makeover parties—and they weren’t just for kids.
By the fifth grade, I had successfully convinced my mother to let me wear makeup to school. It was just a little eyeshadow, blush and lip gloss, but it was enough to make me feel that I needed to have “my face on” before leaving the house.
Discovering the Natural Makeup Look
It wasn’t until I was an actual adult and well into my twenties that I understood the appeal of a natural look. And thanks to the ever-expanding universe of YouTube, I came across vlogger Ingrid Nilsen, who has basically perfected it.
As an avid subscriber to her YouTube channel, I love watching Ingrid’s makeup tutorials. In fact, it was one of her vlogs that first introduced me to bareMinerals and the benefits of mineral makeup. So, when bareMinerals announced the #SleepInTheBare campaign, with events hosted by Ingrid, I was going. Period.
I attended the event at the Grove in LA and discovered firsthand that Ingrid is as lovely and bubbly as she is in her videos—not to mention totally radiant. She encouraged me to get shade matched, so I signed up for my first ever “make-under.”
It turns out, like many women (makeup addicts included!), I was wearing the wrong foundation shade. I was used to wearing one that I could see, with a cool undertone. The Original Foundation with SPF shade suggested by Kim, the makeup artist, had a neutral undertone. It literally disappeared onto my face, while providing the luminous coverage I wanted for my freckled, combination skin (and being natural enough to sleep in).
The Science Behind Swirl, Tap, Buff
Not only did I learn something new about my own skin tone—I discovered that I was applying my foundation wrong, too. As a fan of Ingrid, I’d heard her talk about the bareMinerals “Swirl, Tap, Buff” technique. It’s where you swirl the mineral foundation into the lid, tap off the excess, and then buff the minerals onto your face using circular motions. Kim did the swirl part for longer than I was used to doing, around 10-15 seconds. She explained that doing so essentially warms up the minerals and activates the makeup.
Using the Beautiful Finish Brush, specially designed for powder foundation, Kim was able to capture all of the product from the lid, avoiding waste or a mess. After she tapped off the little bit of excess, she buffed the rest onto my face in circular motions, which, she explained, further oxidizes the minerals to create that luminous finish. Crazy.
Kim finished my look with neutral eyeshadow, a light coral blush and a slightly stained lip. I’ll be honest: while I’m a longtime makeup devotee, seeing my finished look and learning how to improve my own routine reminded me of the magic I felt playing with makeup as a kid. Except now, instead of putting my face on, I opt for a little extra radiance, a bit of SPF, and some natural color—just the best version of the face I already have.
Karen is a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles. Besides her lifelong love for makeup, she loves cooking and baking for friends as well as traveling to extraordinary places.