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If you’re wondering how to find the best body makeup, you already know there are quite a few choices on the market these days! Long gone is the simple choice between two or three options that didn’t always look natural, that catered to only a few skin tones.
Now there are different finishes to choose from, a variety of application methods, hydrating formulas, formulas that blur imperfections but still look natural.
So now, instead of writing them off as cakey, unnatural-looking products that you’ve sworn off forever, the question you’re probably asking yourself is: Which one of the stunning options available in the right body makeup for me? What won’t transfer to everything I touch, look too heavy, turn me orange, make my skin dry, or streak?
Let’s work through the selection process and consider the pros and cons of some of the top body makeup products out there.
Why Body Makeup?
There are plenty of reasons to wear body makeup, whether it’s for a special occasion, in certain types of outfits, or on a daily basis. Reasons you may want to try body makeup:
- Add a healthy tint and glow to your body
- Add a temporary tan to your legs in a skirt
- Blur imperfections so skin looks airbrushed
- Get the smooth, flawless pantyhose effect without the discomfort
- Shimmer for an extra highlighting effect
- To cover acne, tattoos, scars, or a birthmark
How to Find the Best Body Makeup for You
The right body makeup won’t stray too far from your natural skin tone. It should cover what you want it to, give your skin an airbrushed finish, provide the look of a summertime glow, and generally make your skin look especially healthy. Here are some things to keep in mind while you shop for the one for you:
Consider Skin Tone and Undertones
This tip is especially important if you’re not going for a head-to-toe face and body application with the same product. You’ll want to stay close to your own undertones (so don’t go too warm if your undertones are cool, for example).
Try not to “tan” yourself more than a shade or two darker than your natural skin tone. If you do want to look even darker, consider applying sunless tanner a day or two before your event, then choose a body makeup based on the color of your skin once that product has done its job. Bonus: Body makeup can help disguise some sunless tanning streaks.
What Is the Effect You’re Going For?
In most cases, sheer to medium coverage body makeup will be the most believable and comfortable to wear. Some formulas are buildable from sheer to full coverage, which will allow you to add more in areas where you need the coverage while maintaining the color match.
Part of choosing the right body makeup is setting a goal for it. What do you want this product to achieve?
Luminous, Natural Glow
Does your body makeup need to look natural and luminous for an outing or event? Consider sheer shades with light-reflecting properties, whether you’re matching your skin tone or adding a tan.
Do you have a photoshoot coming up where you want your skin to look naturally flawless on the camera, but it doesn’t necessarily need to look natural up close in real life? Buildable coverage from a lightweight product that is close to your skin tone will be best.
Are you trying to tan or just make your own skin look flawless without shifting the shade too much? Match the depth of your skin tone as well as undertones.
Want to look leaner? A bronzing and/or highlighting shade with some shimmer could work if desired, but don’t stray too far from the natural depth of your skin tone. If you’re familiar with face contouring and highlighting techniques, go about this in a similar way.
Apply the “tan” and then use a subtle highlighting product down the center. You could skip the highlighter and still get a slimming effect from a body bronzer.
How Much Coverage Do You Need?
You can get body makeup in anything from sheer to full coverage. Do you plan to wear it all over for the tan? Full coverage may be a bit much—and obvious–during the day if you wear it all over. Do you just want to add a glow to your skin or wear it out during the day? Something sheer that reflects light will be your best bet.
If your goal is to hide flaws or discoloration, you may decide full coverage is for you. Depending on what you’re covering and where it is, you may even prefer a heavy-duty concealer for just that area. This will give you a wider shade range, so you’ll be able to find a perfect match for your skin tone.
If you’re wearing a skirt, dress, or shorts but feel that your skin looks too translucent or you’re not thrilled with the visible veins and cellulite, you might just be able to smooth things out with a full coverage body makeup. Instead of uncomfortable pantyhose (eww), you can get the same flawless finish from a spray or cream.
I recommend using the sheerest coverage that works for what you’re trying to achieve because the closer to full coverage you get, the more likely it is to show streaks and missed spots. This will cut down on the stress of application, too.
What Is Your Skin Type?
Just like makeup for your face, somebody’s makeup is better for dry skin while others are better for normal or oily skin. Just as you would in any skincare or makeup products, check the label for words like “hydrating” or “nourishing” to see if a product is likely to be best for dry skin. Also, look for ingredients you already know work well (or don’t) for your skin.
Do You Want to Wear It on Your Face, Too?
There are somebody makeup products that can be used on your face, too, like MAC’s Studio Radiance Face and Body Foundation.
Choosing a single product to use everywhere is one way to make sure you have a color match from head to toe. However, don’t feel obligated to use the same product on your face that you do on your body, especially if you have sensitive skin. You could purchase a different shade in your current foundation to match your body or even tie it all together with a bronzer.
The Main Differences Between an Illuminizing Body Makeup and Full Coverage
Should you choose an illuminizing body makeup or full coverage option?
- Illuminizing body makeup tends to be on the sheerer side and won’t cover much, whereas full coverage can hide tattoos, scars, and more.
- Illuminizing body makeup tends to be lightweight, whereas full coverage will usually feel a bit heavier.
- Illuminizing body makeup usually has some sort of micro-shimmer aspect to give you that glow, whereas full coverage is more likely to have a satin or matte finish.
- Illuminizing body makeup doesn’t have to exactly match your skin since it’s sheer, whereas full coverage should match as much as possible unless you’re making a conscious decision to use it for a tan.
- Illuminizing body makeup can usually be applied with hands or a brush because it’s more forgiving and won’t show streaks as much, whereas full coverage makeup will apply best with a brush, mitt, or sponge to buff it in.
Advantages of Body Makeup
Applying body makeup can be time-consuming and expensive, so what makes it worth it?
- You can get an instant tan.
- You can make your skin look healthy, glowing, and youthful.
- You can even out your skin tone or cover veins.
- You can accent your muscles and look leaner with a strategically placed glow.
- You can disguise cellulite.
- You can achieve an airbrushed look, which is gorgeous for photoshoots you may want to do for social media or fun or at events where lots of pictures will be taken.
- You can skip the pantyhose.
- It can just be fun to go that extra step sometimes when you can spend the time getting ready for the day or an event.
- They don’t have the same telltale scent that sunless tanners do after they’ve been on your skin for a while.
Disadvantages of Body Makeup
As good as body makeup can look, wearing it is not always a 100 percent positive experience. Some of the disadvantages:
- It takes a long time to apply.
- You may always be worried about streaks while you’re out.
- It can feel heavy on your skin, especially when it’s hot out, which is the most common time to wear it because more skin will be exposed.
- It can rub off on your clothes.
- It can rub off on your furniture or in your car (or someone else’s).
- It could take some scrubbing to get it off in the shower.
- If you wear it often, you could start to feel like you always need to wear it when your skin is exposed.
Safety Tips for Body Makeup
Body makeup is pretty self-explanatory, so there aren’t a whole lot of safety tips for using it. Here are a few things to keep in mind, though:
Give Each Product a Trial Run
Before you commit to a full-body application on an important day or evening, give the product you think you want to wear a test run. Apply it to a small area that will be exposed to clothing, furniture (put a towel down when you sit, just in case). If you will be wearing it on your arms and/or legs, you probably will apply it to the inner elbow or back of the knee to see how it stands up to move throughout the day.
This will not only show you how it’ll perform, but it’ll save you from a full-body rash and/or itching if you happen to be allergic to one or some of the ingredients. This is similar to testing a skincare product on one section of your face before committing to a full application.
Don’t Get It in Your Eyes
As with any beauty product, you don’t want to get body makeup in your eyes. If it does happen, immediately rinse your eyes with water or an eye-wash solution.
Don’t Assume Sun Protection
Most body makeup does not contain sunscreen. Looking down and seeing tan skin (if you’re using your makeup for a tan) and knowing you’re wearing a product all over your exposed skin may make you feel like you have a little sun protection, but you’ll still need a separate sunscreen unless the bottle or tube says otherwise.
Put sunscreen on before you apply the body makeup. You’ll probably want to experiment with sunscreen/makeup pairings to see which ones will stay put as the day goes on. Consider a powder sunscreen for touch-ups if you’re worried about moving the body makeup around on your skin and increasing the risk that it’ll transfer to other surfaces.
My Top Recommendations
So what do I think is the best body makeup? I have a few suggestions. Since the best for you will depend on what you need it for, what kind of effect you want, and where you’ll be wearing it.
This one is perfect for enhancing your skin tone or giving yourself a quick bronzed look.
- The wide shade range for a product like this
- Adds a radiant glow to the skin
- May transfer
- The lightest shade may not be light enough for fair skin if you want to glow, but not “tan” and could even look orange on some skin tones
This tube is meant to make your body look airbrushed, flawless, and maybe even more tan.
- It’s a tan without the commitment to a sunless tanner—just wash it off at the end of the day.
- Gives your skin a glow
- Doesn’t dry your skin out and actually moisturizes it instead
- Could look orange on some skin tones
- May transfer to other surfaces
Tie Between MAC Studio Face and Body Radiant Sheer Foundation and Dior Backstage Face & Body Foundation
These two products can both be built up to your desired coverage and worn on the face and body. They’re lightweight and comfortable to wear and come in wide shade ranges.
- Barely feels like anything is on your skin
- Both brands offer a wide range of shades
- Buildable coverage gives you more control
- Can be worn on the face, too, so there’s no worry about matching face makeup to body makeup in-depth, undertone, and coverage level
- MAC’s maybe a bit too sheer for anyone who wants much more than a glow
- Dior’s may not be the best choice for the face if you have dry skin
This is a water-resistant formula that sprays on. Though it’s recommended for legs, some people use it on other areas of the body and are happy with their results.
- Minimal transfer
- Gives a shimmering glow
- Dries quickly
- The application can be messy since it’s a spray
- Though transfer is minimal, it’s difficult to get out of fabric when it does
- Some people find it too shimmery in the sun
Best at Standing Up to Water and Sweat
Tarte Shape Tape Waterproof Body Makeup
This is new to the body makeup scene, and it’s a best seller for a reason.
- Really does stay put
- Good shade range
- Doesn’t cover everything (not necessarily a con unless you’re looking for full coverage)
- Has a natural finish, so it’s not going to give your skin a radiant, glowing look (again, not necessarily a bad thing, depending on how you want to use it)
- Lighter skin tones may have trouble with orange hues
Question: What is the best body makeup?
Answer: FENTY Beauty Body Sauce Body Luminizing Tint is gorgeous if you just want a glow. Dermablend is one of the top picks if you need serious coverage that still looks natural. Just want to blur imperfections? Look to Vita Liberata Body Blur.
Question: What is the best leg makeup on the market?
Answer: It depends on the effect you’re going for, though Tarte’s Shape Tape Waterproof Body Makeup hits that “best all-around” sweet spot, thanks to its waterproof formula, shade matches, natural finish, and coverage.
Question: How do I get makeup to stay on my body?
Answer: After you apply a body makeup, set it with translucent powder to minimize transfer.
Question: Do celebrities wear body makeup?
Answer: They definitely do, especially for special events and photoshoots.
Question: How do celebrities get shiny legs?
Answer: A good exfoliation, close shave, and application of body oil. You can mix a shimmery product (loose pigment, luminous foundation, or bronzer) with the oil to take it up a notch.
Question: How do I make my legs look tan?
Answer: A body makeup in a slightly deeper tone, a bronzing product (gel, liquid, or cream), or a sunless tanner will make your legs look tan. Try Sally Hansen’s Air Brush Legs for an inexpensive way to try it out.
Question: Can you hide cellulite with makeup?
Answer: Somebody’s makeup and bronzer may help with hiding cellulite by smoothing out the appearance of the skin in general, but it won’t completely disappear.
Question: Can I use face foundation on my legs?
Answer: Yes, you can use foundation on your legs by mixing some in with your moisturizer. However, since it’s not a dedicated body makeup product and you’ll be mixing it with a regular lotion, there’s a risk that it will rub off on your clothes or furniture. Choose your clothing carefully if you decide to go this route, and be careful when you sit down.
Question: How do you stop body makeup from getting on clothes?
Answer: Look for waterproof, sweat-proof formulas, give it time to dry thoroughly before getting dressed, and set it with translucent powder.
Question: How do you make your legs look tan without tanning?
Answer: Sunless tanners are always an option, and there’s no shortage of choices there. If you only want to be tan for a day at a time (for a special event or outfit, for example), you can try a body bronzer or another body makeup foundation product in a shade or two darker than your skin tone.
If you want to go a lot darker than your skin tone and look as natural as possible, you can combine the sunless tanner and bronzer. In a pinch (as long as you’re not wearing light-colored clothing or sitting on light-colored furniture), you could mix foundation or bronzer for your face with your everyday body lotion. Keep in mind that it may transfer quite a bit.
Question: How do you put body makeup on your legs?
Answer: Whatever you do, don’t use your bare hands to apply it unless you’re using a sheer formula because that can lead to streaks. A large brush with densely packed bristles that are cut to a flat or angled top (like kabuki) is ideal. There are brushes designed specifically for buffing in body makeup, and they’re the best way to get an even application. If that won’t work or you can’t find one, a mitt like the ones designed for applying sunless tanners can work.
Question: What is the best waterproof leg makeup?
Answer: I have two waterproof recommendations: Tarte Shape Tape Waterproof Body Makeup, Dermablend Leg, and Body Makeup, which are waterproof. Sally Hansen Air Brush Legs (spray) is water-resistant and another good choice.
Question: Is there body makeup?
Answer: There are lots of body makeup options that offer anywhere from sheer to full coverage. Some are even waterproof.
You can get body makeup in a shade that matches your skin tone if there’s something you want to cover or even out, use one to give a glow to your natural skin tone, or even choose a shade and formula that will give you a radiant summer “tan” that you can wash off at the end of the day. Body makeup can blur or cover imperfections, make your skin look healthier, and boost your confidence.
Conclusion: How to Find the Best Body Makeup
The best body makeup provides just the amount of coverage you need and gives you the finish you want, whether that’s satin and natural or something even more radiant than that. In some cases, body makeup will simply enhance the beauty of your natural skin tone with an airbrushed, flawless effect. In other cases, it may be a temporary tan you’re after.
Make a checklist of all the things you want from body makeup and what makes a body makeup product the best for you. From there, consider your skin tone and undertones to narrow down your choices even further. Also, be sure to check out how waterproof, sweat-proof, and transfer-proof a product is before committing, then give it a fair shot by letting it dry completely and setting it with translucent powder before you get dressed.
Between the stated effects you want, how much transfer you’re willing to deal with, and your skin tone, you should end up with just a few of the best body makeup options for your specific needs. Start there and enjoy experimenting.