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How to Apply Foundation

Updated on October 2, 2014
Applying liquid foundation with fingers.
Applying liquid foundation with fingers. | Source

For years I thought that using my fingers was the only way to apply foundation to my skin. Then I discovered the world of cosmetic brushes and sponges. Wow, what a change in my makeup life did they make! I still use my fingers from time to time and will go over the benefits that fingers provide when applying your foundation along with the different brushes and sponges you can use. This article will also discuss techniques for different finishes, consistency and more that you can get out of your different options. All of my discussions below are based on using a liquid, mousse or cream foundation.

Tried and True

Using your fingers to apply your foundation has been a method for decades and is most likely the first method you ever learned. One great advantage of this method is being able to warm the product on your fingers to help it blend and melt into your skin more easily. Another benefit is the amount of coverage you can get from using your fingers. When you use fingers to apply foundation you can adjust the coverage by doing several very thin layers of the product; your fingers make it easier to build the product because you can actually feel the consistency. A disadvantage may be acne and clogged pores. If you touch things around you between sanitizing your hands and touching your face, you may be spreading bacteria and oil onto your skin which can cause unsightly break outs. Be sure to keep alcohol wipes and/or hand sanitizer near by anytime you are applying anything to your face with your hands or fingers.

Flat, Classic Foundation Brush
Flat, Classic Foundation Brush | Source

All About Brushes

A newer and more popular way to apply foundation is using brushes. There are numerous types of brushes that can be used for applying foundation and even a few different methods when using brushes. The standard foundation brush is flat and tapered, similar to pictured above. This is the classic foundation brush and is often times still heavily used by professional makeup artists. It can be difficult to work with though, and often leaves too many brush stroke lines. A common complaint of many brushes, but specifically the classic foundation brush is that it can absorb too much of the product and waste it. Many makeup enthusiast these days prefer a flat top kabuki style brush to apply their foundation. It makes it really easy to buff in the product, avoiding the ever dreaded "cake face" and you're able to stipple where you need more coverage. A good starter brush is from Eyes Lips Face, the company calls it a powder brush it has been loved by many for liquid foundation and it only costs $3.00 on the U.S. website. The website lists it as a powder brush but I have found it gives great results when used with liquid foundation. Another, more high end brand of brushes that are raved about in the beauty community are Sigma Brushes and Sedona Lace Brushes. They can be purchased from the Sigma or Sedona Lace websites (not sold in stores) and brushes used to apply foundation range from $14 to $24. The cult favorite is the Sigma F80 which is similar to the powder brush described above. Most use this brush to apply liquid foundation and use a buffing method of application for flawless, airbrush like, results.

Sponges for Liquid and Cream Foundation

Sponges are another great method for applying foundation and work well with cream, mousse and liquid formulas. Classic makeup sponges can be purchased from your local drugstore for a few dollars and come in varying shapes and sizes. These are best used when slightly damp and can give a sheer or full coverage look to most foundations. They also help prevent thicker foundations from drying too quickly and make them easier to blend for a more flawless finish. In recent years The Beauty Blender Sponge was released and makeup guru's and artists around the world have been raving about it. This pink, egg shaped sponge expands to about 3 times its original size when dampened and is said to provide a quick but flawless application. Many companies like Essence and Sonia Kashuk have come out with similar products but most experts agree that they just don't compare to the original. The closest dupe to the original Beauty Blender is by the brand Real Techniques, and can be purchased at Ulta Cosmetics stores. My advice, if you're headed the Beauty Blender route, invest in the real deal for satisfying results. The beauty blenders unique shape also allows you to apply makeup to areas that may be more difficult to reach with a large brush, like the inner corner of the eyes and around the nose and lips. This sponge can also be used to apply other cosmetics like Foundation Primer, and cream blush or bronzer.

Applying foundation with a round, classic cosmetic sponge
Applying foundation with a round, classic cosmetic sponge | Source

How do you typically apply your foundation?

See results

There are several ways to apply your foundation and several techniques, more than are even mentioned in this article. Practice different methods until you are pleased with your results and the way your skin looks and feels. Different foundations will react differently to different methods as well as your skin type, it truly is a testing journey to find what works best for you. To find out more about foundation, check out some of the best Drug Store Foundation options available to you.


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    • diydiva profile image

      Kay Mitchell 4 years ago from California

      Thanks MsDora, you have to play around with different methods and just find one that works for you!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Great presentation! I'm less than a beginner; I haven't begun yet but I learned much from you. Thanks for the lesson.

    • diydiva profile image

      Kay Mitchell 5 years ago from California

      Thanks Monis Mas! I appreciate it!

    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 5 years ago

      Great tutorial! Thanks! Voted up and useful.