Whether it's powder on the eyes, cream on the cheeks, or liquid on the skin, blending is a skill that many struggle to perfect. We buff, wipe, tap, and rub to our heart's content, but poor technique can turn an inspired idea into an enormous disaster very quickly. "I cannot stress enough how important blending is," says celebrity makeup artist Stephen Sollitto (clients include Amy Adams, Hailee Steinfeld, and Emily Deschanel). "No matter what the technique—stippling, buffing, or feathering—the point is to make sure you're doing it correctly,” says Stephen. So how do you meld the seams of your makeup? Stephen reveals his tips below for easy, no-brainer blending.
"The most important blending brush is a clean one," stresses Stephen. “I always use a fresh brush to soften any harsh eye shadow lines.” And he's correct—who wants color leftover from last week's look? Too lazy to give your brush a full wipe down every time you shadow up? Buy an extra (or two!) of your favorite blending brush so you constantly have a pristine tool on hand.
To diffuse blush and bronzer, take a big, fluffy brush, dip it into a dot of loose powder, then soften the edges of the pigment. "You still get that pop of color without any visible lines," assures Stephen.
Fingers sometimes work better than brushes for blending. "I usually apply cream blush with my hands," says Stephen. "First, I use my middle finger to apply the pigment. Then, I soften any edges with my ring finger and gradually feather the pigment out." Since the ring finger applies the least amount of pressure on the skin, it's the ideal digit for blending. Don't wipe the blush, otherwise you'll just remove the product from your face.
"Please stop applying foundation that stops at your jawline—it's so important to blend your makeup into your neck!” urges Stephen. Use a dampened sponge to work in liquid or cream foundation in a circular, stippling motion (tapping up and down). Since your neck is naturally a shade or two lighter than your face, use the excess product left on the sponge to blend the face, jaw, and neck area together. Once you've blended the pigment into the skin, dip a smaller powder brush into a dot of loose powder and feather out your whole face.
After moving to Los Angeles in February 2000, makeup artist Stephen Sollitto got his start working with Christina Aguilera on her first and second tours. Since then, he’s built a stable roster of celebrity clients that include Amy Adams, Hailee Steinfeld, Emily Deschanel, Idina Menzel and Alyson Hannigan, who seek Stephen out for his refreshingly light-handed red carpet and editorial makeup looks. For more beauty tips, follow Stephen on Twitter at @Sollittomakeup.