‘Underpainting’ is Exploding on BeautyTok, and You Don’t Need to Be an Artist to Do It

Once again, TikTok made us try it! We explore the trending new makeup technique used on Jennifer Lopez.

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Everyone knows the BeautyTok community loves a good makeup hack — and this one is trending for good reason. ‘Underpainting’ is a makeup technique “in which you layer your concealer, contour, blush, and highlighter underneath your foundation, in order to achieve an extremely natural final look,” explains celebrity makeup artist Monika Blunder, who has worked with Jennifer Lawrence, Rosie Huntington Whiteley, and Jessica Alba.

This is instead of the usual method for applying these items, which would entail using a foundation first as the “base” layer, and then putting the other items on top of it, which can sometimes lead to a “cakey” appearance. Essentially, the concealer, contour, blush and highlighter are all one layer, with the foundation then becoming the top layer.

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The technique has reportedly been used on Jennifer Lopez by her makeup artist Scott Barnes. And if J-Lo’s doing it, we’re trying it. She always looks flawless.

While it may sound complicated, experts say, you don’t have to be Picasso (or professional) to do it. Blunder takes us through the process, in three steps, using products from her own line:

  • First, pinpoint any blemishes or dark spots with a concealer and blend outwards with a small blending brush.
  • Second, apply bronzer, blush, and highlighter to the face as usual while blending each product with a different brush.
  • Finally, apply a thin layer of foundation in a dabbing motion with a brush in order to not smear the products underneath.



TikTok users like @KennedyChivers tried it out, and put their own spin on it. Kennedy says she uses the ‘basic rule’ of contouring.

She says you want to use a dark shade of bronzer, and apply in an ‘E’ and a ‘3’ shape on your face, hitting points like your forehead, apples of cheeks and jawbone. Next, you’ll apply your concealer to areas you normally would, like under your eyes, but be sure to go around the contour, and not on top of it.

She skips the blush and instead, opts to apply the final layer of the foundation using a brush, so it all blends together.

@AskEllenBeauty agrees, this application technique (which admittedly, looks a little crazy in the beginning), creates a “luminous, 3D, gorgeous complexion.” She uses two different shades of liquid foundation, one that matches your face, and one that matches your body. As she takes you through the steps, she explains you can use the darker shade on the points where you want the contouring effect, such as the jawline and down the bridge of the nose, and the lighter shade on the other parts of the face, tapping it in with a brush. You continue to tap all around the face, until it’s nicely blended.

Whichever technique you opt to try, it seems fairly easy to achieve, once you get the hang of it. Try it out, and let us know what you think!



Jené Luciani Sena
Jené Luciani Sena is an accredited journalist and internationally-renowned bestselling author, regularly seen on national TV outlets such as Access Daily, Today and Dr Oz. Touted as one of Woman’s World Magazine’s “Ultimate Experts,” she’s a TEDTalk speaker and a busy Mom of 4. Read more