Makeup Tips: Neutralizing Beard Shadow


Nikki Rose embraces her country girl look. We followed the steps outlined here to even out her skin tone.

Most of my clients arrive with visible beard shadow even if they have a perfectly smooth shave. Facial hair sits below the surface of the skin, giving it a blue-green cast that foundation alone will not cover. To get a traditionally feminine look, it’s critical to get the closest shave possible and to color correct for the blue-green tint. Today, I describe the step-by-step process of creating a neutral canvas that’s ready for the makeup colors of your choice.

Shave your face and neck: Make sure that you have the closest and freshest shave you can get. Shave both with the grain and against the grain. Sometimes you may need to shave in four or more directions. Use a hand-held mirror to inspect under your chin and on the sides of your face to find any stray hairs. Also rub your face in multiple directions with your hand to determine if any hair texture remains. Open your mouth and make sure you get around all sides of the lips. Under the nose is easy to miss as well. Keep a styptic pencil or powder handy just in case you nick yourself to encourage rapid clotting.

Cleanse and Exfoliate: Cleanse your entire face with a face wash or a lightly exfoliating scrub to help remove dead skin.

Moisturize: Apply moisturizer to your entire face and neck, which will help your face look more radiant and smooth than if you skip this step. Let dry. Apply an eye cream below your eye and into the crow’s feet area if desired.

Prime and Mattify: Next, apply foundation primer all over face and to your neck in areas where you have beard shadow. Like paint primer, foundation primer fills in the little cracks and crevices on your face, smoothing out your skin and helping the foundation apply evenly. If you have oily skin in all or part of your face, then consider using a primer that also mattifies such as the MAC Pore Refiner stick.

Color Correct: Next you need to color correct your beard shadow. Most beard shadow has a blue-green undertone. Peach and orange hues are the opposite blue-green on the color wheel and will typically neutralize the beard shadow color. Apply a color corrector such as LA Girl Peach, Orange, or Reddish Concealer with a makeup sponge and stipple it into the skin to build the coverage. Peach works well for ivory and beige skin. For ivory skin, you’ll need to lighten the Peach with some of your foundation. Orange works well for bronze skin. Reddish works well for ebony skin. I often mix the color corrector with foundation to lighten or darken it to the color corrector mix to the level of lightness/darkness of skin tone.

Apply Foundation: After that, I stipple a medium to full coverage buildable foundation such as MAC Prolongwear Waterproof over the beard shadow area and use a sweeping or stippling motion over the rest of the face to even out skin tone. If you’re using a lighter coverage foundation, you’ll need to stipple with full coverage concealer before adding foundation. Some people also benefit from dusting on a setting powder after foundation.

Prime Eyelids and Lips: You’ll want to prime your eyelids with an eye primer such as the MAC 24-hour Extend Eye Base. You can use your fingers or a concealer brush to apply the primer from your lash line to your eyebrows. It should dry clear. For lips, you can apply a lip primer like the MAC Prep & Prime Lip to smooth out your lip texture and reduce feathering and bleeding from your lipstick. You can apply lipstick directly to the lip primer or use a lip liner first.

After these steps, you’ll be ready to add makeup colors to your face like eye shadow, blush, bronzer, and lipstick.


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