This is perhaps the most important step of the whole process. A poor job here is very obvious, especially in direct lighting conditions, and a 5:00 clock shadow will poke through almost any foundation ever made.
I use a foundation made by Joe Blasco, but Ben Nye and many other theatrical makeup manufacturers have similar products. I use only cream type formulations as I’ve found that they work their way well into the pores and around the shafts of the whiskers and adhere to the whiskers themselves. The water based “beard covers” do not last as long on me perhaps because they do not stick to the whisker as it grows and thus tend to cover well initially but deteriorate much faster than the creams. Just a theory though! Others may find water bases work well especially for those that have very oily complexions. Again experimentation (and some dollars) will tell the tale. Whatever product(s) you chose to try, make sure you buy good quality at a store that is familiar with covering the beard. Very few cosmetic counters can help you here — again I urge you to go to theatrical suppliers as they have the experience. You will also find that if you have a really dark beard, the theatrical products cover much better in strong light such as the sun or store lighting. Tell them you want BEARD COVER, or they will just assume you want a foundation which is NOT the same product!
The colour of beard cover is typically a yellowish almost mustard shade which will neutralise the blue in the beard. Do not get fooled into trying a tan or light brown — these will not cover, only tint the beard! Try the cover in a strong light, preferably a cool white fluorescent as this type of light really brings out the blue in your whiskers. Try it after a few hours of beard growth too, as almost anything will cover a freshly shaved face.
I apply it over the beard area of the face. At first I put it everywhere which turned out to be false economy and led to a “heavy makeup” look. In contrast to the experts, I use my finger tip to apply it by applying a dab and rubbing it in with a circular motion. The experts say to use a miniature palette knife to remove a bit from the “pot” and place it on the back of your hand. Let it warm a few moments and then use a damp sponge to press it into your beard areas. My method works well, BUT, I always make sure my hands are very clean and I NEVER EVER share it with anyone. This stuff can be a real bacterial breeding ground so replace it often if you use my method. I simply find that my method is quicker and works better for ME. Again, experimentation is the key.
Allow your face to warm the cover for a few minutes before proceeding further as it allows the cover to “melt” into your pores.
On the same topic, some folks use pure “‘clown white’’ cream for a beard cover. I have never tried this, but the results are very good, and it has the advantage of allowing you to chose any colour under the rainbow for a foundation. You can get really creative here (do I hear Halloween?) but I would caution the beginner go carefully and expect some lengthy experimentation time.