Here's Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Applying Foundation on Facial Hair

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Depending on how you choose to see it, facial hair can be either a blessing or a curse for makeup fans. While lots of makeup artists and beauty editors with beards, mustaches, sideburns, and the like prefer to shave it all off for a clean canvas, plenty choose to fully embrace it. In either scenario, they've got to put in a little additional work when putting on makeup. Those who shave their entire faces don't want stubble peeking through their foundation, and those who don't want to avoid product residue winding up in their 'staches and beards.

Doing makeup with the added challenge of caring for facial hair can seem like a time-consuming task — and a downright intimidating one for makeup novices. So we've asked three beauty experts for their best makeup application tips for those with facial hair. If you shave clean, they'll provide your saving grace for hiding stubble. And for people who don't, they've got all the know-how on avoiding product buildup in your hair.

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Exfoliation will keep your makeup canvas smooth, and makeup artist Anthony Walker says its especially important if you're prone to textured skin. "We need to ensure that skin is at its smoothest, most even state possible," he explains. "It is incredibly crucial to exfoliate as regularly as possible in your routine."

The easiest way to stay exfoliated is to work an acid-based toner into your daily skin-care routineishonest editors are impartial to the Best of Beauty- winning Balancing Force Oil Control Toner by Ole Henriksen. But if you use a physical exfoliant like a face scrub, just be careful not to overdo it.

Exfoliate more than three times per week or use a scrub that's too harsh and you could cause damage to your skin's protective barrier, according to Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Just use something gentle whenever you feel like your skin needs a little extra abrasion.

After exfoliating, hydrating skin is paramount — and that goes for all makeup wearers regardless of facial hair, says makeup artist Michael Brooks. "If you have a full-on beard and mustache or simply just stubble, make sure your skin is well-hydrated before makeup application."

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To do this, reach for a moisturizer with lots of squalane, glycerin, or hyaluronic acid every time you do your skin-care routine.

Walker advises going even further by adding a moisturizing face oil on top. "Many folks have an obscene fear of appearing shiny, but in the age of K-beauty, glass skin, and #highlightgoals, a glow has become something favored," he says. Skin that's too oily or too dry can wreak havoc on makeup in different ways, he says, but keeping the skin barrier moisturized with an oil helps him prevent both.

According to both Walker and Brooks, color-correcting makeup is a must-have if you shave all of your facial hair and don't want it to be visible through makeup. No matter how full-coverage your foundation is, Walker warns, a gray cast caused by growing stubble could always arise. "Five minutes to apply [a color corrector] will save you a ton of time in touch-ups through the day, in real-life or photos," he says.

If you have a lighter skin tone, Walker says to opt for a peach-colored corrector. Those with darker complexions will want to reach for orange and red correctors. These warm hues offset the blue, purple, and green undertones facial hair can create, according to Brooks. But a corrector can't do much if it isn't applied correctly. "Lightly dust some translucent powder over it and then layer foundation on top," Brooks suggests.

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Lots of people have the reflex to buy whatever complexion products are popular with beauty vloggers or other makeup-loving friends, but Walker advises paying little mind to what products work for others — especially in terms of finish and coverage. "It is extremely easy to fall in the trap of consumer marketing when it comes to complexion products," he says. "When you consistently have the fullest, matte-est foundation pushed to you by people with smooth skin, it inclines you to seek that in hope of the result of smooth skin and a flawless finish."

His advice is to research the best types of products for your own skin based on type, texture, shade, and even sensitivity. Or, as he puts it: "When your pores speak, you listen."

Meanwhile, Brooks sticks to foundations with lightweight formulas and thin, fluid textures. "I find that [they] don't disrupt the appearance of any stubble I have," he says. His two favorites are MAC's Face and Body Foundation and Laura Mercier's Flawless Fusion Foundation.

"If you like more coverage, I'd recommend Flawless Fusion — it offers more coverage but still blends well with a thin texture," Brooks says. Regardless of the foundation you choose, he advises applying it in thin layers until you've built up the coverage you want. He also warns against thicker cream and gel formulas because they stick to hair and emphasize its appearance.

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Devin-Norelle takes a drastically different approach to foundation formulas. Ze is prone to oiliness around the cheeks, lips, and forehead but has dry, flaky patches around the nose and eyebrows. So to absorb oil and cover dryness effectively at the same time, ze relies on Fenty's Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Foundation or Cover Fx's Total Cover Cream Foundation. These foundations might be the total opposite of what Brooks and Walker prefer, but once again: It all comes down to personal skin type.

If you have a beard, mustache, or both, there's likely a little bit of skin peeking through. That said, the last thing you want is for your foundation to create a harsh line around your beard because it'll be very visible. Because of that, Brooks advises people with longer facial hair to blend right up to the edge of the beard. For the most part, he presses complexion products into the skin with a makeup sponge but likes dense buffing brushes for applying in more difficult areas, like along the beard line.

Devin-Norelle, on the other hand, takes a more old-school approach. "To avoid getting any makeup into my beard, I apply using my hands to ensure accuracy," ze says. "I usually apply while in a naturally lit space to avoid missing spots and unevenness."

Makeup can obviously get messy at times, and getting it into your beard is all but inevitable. Thankfully, removing stray products from facial hair isn't as difficult as you'd think. "If you get makeup right onto the facial hair, you can clean it off by running a clean mascara wand or spooley through the hair, dry or with a little micellar water," says Brooks.

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If you want an even easier alternative, he sometimes runs a tinted eyebrow gel through the hair. With either option, you'll have the added benefit of fluffing up the facial hair to make it appear fuller, according to Devin-Norelle, who uses the same technique.

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