These are the products I use and steps I take on a daily basis to apply my foundation, contour and highlight my face. All these products are incredibly inexpensive and accessible, but I would recommend any of them!
Rimmel London Renew & Lift Foundation - 103 True Ivory
ELF Tone-Correcting Concealer - Honey (Light)
CoverGirl Clean Pressed Powder - Translucent Light
OR NYC Smooth Skin Pressed Powder - Translucent
ELF All-Over Cover Stick - Ivory
Revlon Colorstay Pressed Powder - Medium
ELF Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder - Matte Bronze, Luminance
Milani Mosaic Powder Blush - Sweet Cheeks
ELF Studio Line Powder Brush
Studio Tools Crease Brush
ELF Studio Line Complexion Brush
ELF Blushing, Bronzing & Blending Brush
ELF Studio Line Blush Brush
MAC 182 Kabuki Brush
1) Begin with a clean, moisturized face.
2) Apply about 1.5 pumps foundation to the back of your palm and cover the tip of the ELF Studio Line Powder Brush (any flat-tipped buffer brush will likely work) by dipping it lightly into the foundation.
2) "Stipple" the foundation onto your face, blending into the neckline, until desired coverage is achieved. Once basic color has been laid down, gently swirl the brush across your entire face to remove any streaks and to blend for a flawless, airbrushed finish.
3) Apply concealer of choice to under-eye circles (I used ELF Tone-Correcting Concealer in Honey). A shade with coral or subtle orange undertones will help to cancel out any blueness from veins/under-eye circles. Dot concealer on and blend gently with fingers. Set concealer using a fluffy blending brush and translucent powder.
4) Use a creamy concealer (I used ELF All-Over Cover Stick in Ivory) to mask blemishes or any other imperfections.
5) Set foundation using a pressed or loose powder. Use a translucent powder if you are satisfied with your coverage, or use a colored powder for a little bit of extra coverage. I applied Revlon Colorstay pressed powder in Medium with my ELF Studio Line Complexion Brush.
6) Take a matte bronzer (shimmery bronzer will only amplify the areas your are trying to contour) and an angled blush brush of your choice. I used ELF Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder in Matte Bronze and their $1 Blushing, Bronzing & Blending Brush. Sweep color gently beneath cheekbone, starting with more pressure than you begin with to have the color fade gradually into your skin. Once desired color intensity is achieved, swirl brush gently over area to blend out any harsh lines.
7) Optional: Contour sides of nose and forehead, and beneath the chin, with a small amount of bronzer, making sure to blend out harsh lines for a natural look.
8) Using ELF Studio Line Blush Brush, gently sweep their Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder in Luminance from the top of the cheekbones to the temples and blend for a natural, sunkissed highlight.
9) Optional: Highlight center of nose using the same products mentioned above.
10) Tap a duo-fiber stippling brush into blush of choice to pick up a small amount of color and pat onto apples of cheeks. Then swirl brush over area and blend slightly back towards ears. If desired, add more color to apples of cheeks.
I do this on a daily basis - when I am in a hurry, I apply the foundation using my fingers. This is faster, but does not give me optimal coverage. For touch-ups throughout the day, I use a blotting sheet in oily areas and follow with a sheer application of translucent powder. Translucent powder will mattify the face without making the skin look too powdery or cakey.