A clean, moisturized face is the key to successful blending. Primer doesn't hurt, either, especially if you have very oily skin or heavy scarring. After your moisturizer, you'll want to apply concealer under your eyes and on any blemishes you might have. All of this will even out your skin tone and make a smoother surface.
Foundation is what's going to make or break the rest of your blending efforts. Your skin type and coverage needs will dictate your foundation choice, and it also has to match your skin tone perfectly -- no amount of blending can fix things if you start off with the wrong color.
It's important to apply your foundation correctly so the rest of your makeup can blend into it smoothly. Start in the middle and blend out, and apply it in thin layers so you don't end up with that caked-on effect. You can always add more if you need to. The method of application depends on which kind of foundation you're using and how much coverage you want.
When you're blending eye shadows, always work in one direction only: outward. And don't sweep the brush over the entire lid -- that'll just make things murky. You want the colors to intermingle but also have their own defined areas, so confine your blending to the line between the two colors.
If you're using a lip liner, do the world a favor and make sure the liner matches either your lipstick or the color of your lips. Avoid dark lip liner at all costs. Don't worry too much about blending if you're just using a gloss.
When you're all finished blending, don't forget to set everything with a light dusting of translucent powder or a mist of setting spray.
On the next page we'll reveal all the tools you need to blend away.