Underpainting is the new wave taking over TikTok’s beauty world, and much like other trends (re: lip gloss nails and skin flooding), we wanted to see what all the buzz is about. The hashtag #underpainting has received nearly 105 million views on TikTok, where beauty gurus teach their audience step-by-step how to create a natural, subtly radiant finish. The days of harsh contour and streaks of highlight are long gone as this skin-like look prioritizes seamless application.
A tried-and-true makeup technique as seen on Hailey Bieber and J. Lo, the beauty trend can be traced back to Kevyn Aucoin’s makeup artistry in the 90’s. Like its name suggests, underpainting is a technique where contour, concealer, and blush is applied under your foundation. The results are a natural, flushed look that emanates from the inside out.
Follow these steps to achieve this professional, MUA-approved look:
On prepped skin, apply your contour and concealer to a fresh base. Using a liquid or cream formula with a soft finish—like Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Beauty Light Wand, ILIA’s Illuminator, or Nudestix’s Tinted Blur Sculpt Stick, sculpt your canvas. Let the formulas sit for a few minutes and blend into the skin using a damp beautyblender or brush. We recommend Kevyn Aucoin’s Duet Concealer Brush.
Blush is back and there’s no better way to embrace a soft flush than with underpainting. Apply a cream or liquid formula like Surratt Beauty’s Artistique Liquid Blush or Hourglass’ Vanish Blush Stick to imbue a natural pop of color along your cheekbones. Blend using a beautyblender for a smooth finish.
After your concealer, contour, and blush is done setting, apply a sheer foundation or tinted moisturizer. For best results, avoid full-coverage foundations and opt for a lightweight coverage, such as Chantecaille’s Future Skin and Charlotte Tilbury’s Light Wonder. Next and, most importantly, stipple the foundation into your skin using a fluffy brush like Kevyn Aucoin’s Duet Foundation Brush. Lightly stippling the foundation ensures the products underneath aren’t disturbed and blends flawlessly with your foundation. Set with the Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray and voilà! You’ve achieved a naturally radiant look straight from the red carpet.
Underpainting is a great way to achieve a skin-like makeup look with a subtle flush. After lots of experimenting with different products, we recommend using lightweight cream or liquid formulas and letting the concealer, blush, and contour sit for a few minutes before blending. If you’re looking to switch things up in your makeup routine or prefer light makeup, this technique is the way to go.