What is underpainting? The TikTok trend explained

For the technically-challenged makeup wearer

BEAUTYcrew Beauty Editor / October 07 2021

TikTok has lent us more knowledge than our pretty little heads care to contain TBH. 

From legitimately helpful advice like the one-step messy bun hack and this magic $20 BB cream, to downright questionable uses of Gorilla Glue and banana peels, we’ve seen it all.

But occasionally TikTok comes through with true gems, catalysed by industry professionals who use the popular platform to spread actually helpful info to regular folks like us, who would be lost without their expertise. 

Case and point? Makeup artist Scott Barnes has introduced a professional makeup technique for creating a perfect, airbrushed base to the masses and it’s surprisingly easy.

The technique in question is called ‘underpainting’ and it’s a trick makeup artists have been using for years to create a softly sculpted look without the hassle of perfect application techniques. 

As the name might suggest, underpainting utilises a layering technique. While most may apply face colour products like blush, contour and bronzer after foundation, when underpainting those steps are switched around. Instead, bold stripes of rouge and cheek-bone sculpting contour are swiped on before blending out any harsh lines with a forgiving top coat of foundation. 

When it comes to mastering the technique, celebrity makeup artist ​​Beau Nelson advised in an interview with Allure: “I generally try to use a very hydrating moisturiser so the foundation lays beautifully on the skin and we get a glow.”

And when it comes to underpainting – brush size does matter. “You want to match the brush size and shape with whatever you are doing," A-list makeup artist Jill Powell explained in the same interview with Allure. “Always ensure the head of the brush is smaller than the area you are working on."

“Underpaint your colours and apply a final layer of foundation over top,” she continued. “Either with a really fluffy brush or a dampened Beautyblender to get a soft, airbrushed finish."

Another ingenious TikTok hack we can’t get enough of? A TikToker cured her acne with these 4 steps.

Main image credit: @jillpowellglam

Briar is the Beauty Editor at BEAUTYcrew. Her 'down for anything' attitude has resulted in more than a handful of hair transformations, and she doesn't mind being used as a guinea pig for the industry's most unusual products and treatments. Her work has also appeared on Refinery29, Girlfriend and beautyheaven.