Applying Foundation: 9 Tips for a Flawless Face During Chemotherapy

+ CV Skinlabs Team

Bob Hope was once quoted as saying, “I have a wonderful makeup crew. They’re the same people restoring the Statue of Liberty.”

While you’re going through cancer treatment, you may feel the same as Mr. Hope on some days. Skin can look dry, blotchy, red, and sallow, even mottled with acne. Fortunately, we have foundation to even out those flaws.

There’s really no one “right” way to apply foundation, but there are a few things you should be careful of while you’re going through treatment. Here are a few basics to help you get your best face.

1. Make sure your face is clean. A clean face is the best canvas for foundation. Even if you’re in a hurry, splash some lukewarm water and gentle cleanser on your skin to rid it of oils and bacteria.
2. Use moisturizer first. There’s no more important time to use moisturizer than when you’re going through chemotherapy treatments. Your skin is going to be exceptionally dry, which can show up in flakes, dry patches, and tightness under your foundation. Ideally, apply moisturizer, wait a few minutes, then apply again before using foundation.
3. Apply sunscreen. A must for every day of the year, sunscreen should be applied after cleansing, toning and moisturizing, and before you apply your makeup.
4. Apply concealer. Here’s where you cover any acne postules, scars, or dark spots. Dot the concealer on and gently dab around the area until it’s covered. (You can also use concealer after applying foundation for lightening dark areas.)
5. Use a sponge. You may be used to warming foundation on your fingertips and spreading it that way, but to protect yourself from germs while your immune system is compromised, use a clean sponge every day. Several of you may be used to re-using that sponge over and over, but that only places more germs on your fragile skin. Get a new one each time, or wash the old one after every use with warm water and soap.
6. Apply in a bright room-preferably with sunlight. Natural light helps you better see just how your foundation is really going to look out in the daylight. If you don’t have a window, make sure you have good lighting in the room you use for makeup application.
7. Liquid or cream foundation application. Dampen the sponge first, squeezing out any excess moisture. This will make the foundation go on more smoothly and prevent the sponge from soaking it all up. Place a small amount of foundation on the back of your hand, dip the sponge into it, and dot on your forehead, cheeks, chin, and nose. Blend together with the sponge, out to your hairline and jaw line until it all vanishes. Blend extra carefully around the nose and mouth to avoid any lines. Check your jawline as well, as that’s where foundation lines often show up.
8. Powder foundation. If you’re using powder foundation (or mineral powder), follow the same steps, just be sure your moisturizer is dry on your face before starting. Damp skin will increase chances of streaking. (Blot with a tissue if you don’t have time to wait.) Celebrity makeup artist Nathan Johnson recommends you tap a small amount of powder into the lid, dip the brush into the powder, and start at the outside of your face, buffing the powder onto the skin using a small circular motion. After finishing the outer areas, move into the cheeks and nose.
9. Set with powder. This step is optional while you’re going chemotherapy treatment, as dry skin doesn’t like powder-it shows up fine lines and wrinkles. To set your foundation, you may want to just lightly dust a bit of loose powder over your forehead, nose, and chin. You may also want to use a light dusting of bronzer instead for a healthy, sun-kissed look.

Have any tips for foundation application during treatment? Please share with us.

Photo courtesy of TheMeConspiracy via

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