How to Apply Every Type of Foundation for a Flawless Finish

Have you ever stared in awe at your favorite celeb and wondered how they get smooth, poreless skin?Well, asides from a regular regimen of peels, exfoliators and enough essences to bathe in, their foundation application has a little something to do with it. And while a few celebrities beat their own faces for the red carpet, many have expert glam squads whose sole job is to make them look camera ready. Unfortunately, we can’t provide you with a team to help you get through the day looking like a movie star, but we can steal a few of their expert foundation application tips so you can DIY.

The key to a flawless base is moisturized skin, so make sure your face is clean and prepped with your favorite moisturizer before applying makeup of any kind. For an otherworldly, ethereal glow, apply a brightening face mask packed with moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid. The concentrated boost of glow will look great under makeup and help you look lit from within.

Now that you’re soaking in moisturizer — onto foundation application.

Liquid Foundation

Coverage Level: Varies
Recommended Skin Type: All skin types
Best Application Method: Varies

Tapered Foundation Brush Using a tapered foundation brush, “paint” the liquid foundation onto your face using short, downward and outward strokes. Move the product from the center of the face outwards. Make sure you blend down to the top of the neck to avoid a line of demarcation along your jaw. Pat and blend to erase any telltale lines or creases.

Stippling Brush A stippling brush will give you sheerer coverage than a foundation brush. Use a stippling motion to blend and press the foundation all over your face for a light, glowy finish. Press gently and lightly all over the face with your brush rather than sweeping it across the skin.

Rounded Foundation Brush Blend the liquid foundation into your face, alternating between swirling and stroking motions. Use a circular motion to blend out seamlessly and prevent any creases or lines.

Flat-Top Kabuki Brush Dot your foundation around your face, taking extra care on the areas that need more coverage. Use the flat top kabuki brush to press the product into your skin, dabbing it all around. Then use light swirling and sweeping motions to blend it in.

Clarisonic Foundation Brush After cleansing your skin, dot your face with your favorite foundation. Key points to hit are your forehead, cheeks, chin, and the bridge of your nose. Next, power up your Clarisonic Foundation Brush, place it on low and blend each dot with a circular motion. Voila! Flawless skin. To clean your Clarisonic Foundation Brush, rinse the head with water and a gentle soap.

Beauty Sponge A beauty sponge will give you a natural finish while still allowing you to build up coverage. Wet your beauty sponge, squeeze out any excess water and gently press the foundation into your skin with the damp sponge. Use a tapping motion to blend foundation into skin.

Fingers Some makeup artists swear that no method gives quite the same flawless finish as using your fingers. Squeeze the foundation onto your wrist and use your fingers to warm it up. Apply to your face using circular motions, taking care to blend and distribute evenly.

One of Our Favorite Liquid Foundations If you want a matte, full-coverage foundation, look no further than Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H Longwear Foundation, an oil-free formula that lasts all day.

Mineral/Loose Powder Foundation

Coverage: Light to Medium
Recommended Skin Type: Oily/combination skin
Best Application Method: Brushes

Rounded Kabuki Brush
The easiest way to apply loose mineral foundation is with a rounded kabuki brush. Use the brush and swirl around to pick up the powder; tap off the excess product. Then, apply all over your face using a buffing, swirling motion. Pay special attention to the nose, forehead and other areas you may need extra shine coverage.

Rounded Foundation Brush
As an alternative to a kabuki brush, some people prefer using a rounded foundation brush to apply loose powder foundation. The coverage will be more sheer and is often used when setting a liquid or cream foundation.

Fluffy Powder Brush
If you want light coverage for a more natural look, use a fluffy powder brush. Tap the brush into the loose powder lightly, and sweep the brush across the face, focusing on the T-zone and then moving outwards.

One of Our Favorite Mineral / Loose Powder Foundations
We are head over heels for L’Oréal Paris True Match Mineral Foundation. This gentle mineral makeup provides coverage without looking overdone. Plus, it has an extra dose of SPF to help protect you from the sun.


Pressed Powder Foundation

Coverage: Medium to Full
Recommended Skin Type: Oily/combination skin
Best Application Method: Varies

Rounded Kabuki Brush
If you are using a pressed powder as your only form of foundation, use a rounded kabuki brush to achieve the same finish as if you were using a loose powder.

Beauty Sponge
For a more opaque finish, wet a beauty sponge and use it to apply the pressed powder to your face in dabbing motion.

Rounded Foundation Brush
The round, domed shape of this brush allows you to distribute powder foundation evenly. Swish the brush back and forth over the powder foundation using short, back-and-forth strokes, then press the powder in a slight rolling motion all over your skin for a smooth finish that doesn’t look caked-on.

Many pressed powders come with their own puff – use this for on-the-go touch ups by patting the powder over any oil-prone section like your nose or forehead.

One of Our Favorite Pressed Powder Foundations
We adore the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Powder Foundation. This compact allows you to easily customize the amount of coverage. Plus, the oil-free formula is perfect for getting that elusive, radiant glow.

Cream Foundation

Coverage: Full
Recommended Skin Type: Mature and acne-prone skin
Best Application Method: Varies

Tapered Foundation Brush
Use a tapered foundation brush to paint the foundation onto your skin, starting from the center of your face and working outwards. Stipple and pat in the foundation afterwards to blend in any streaks.

Beauty Sponge
For a sheerer finish, use a beauty sponge with your cream foundation. Apply as you would a liquid foundation, paying extra care to blend and roll the product into your skin for even coverage.

Warm up cream foundation between your fingers and apply to your skin as you would liquid foundation. One key point – make sure your skin is well- moisturized before applying to avoid any patchy-looking sections.

One of Our Favorite Cream Foundations
No true makeup fan should leave the house without some Dermablend Smooth Liquid Camo Foundation. This formula goes on smooth, with a weightless finish that lasts for an entire day. It’s also perfect for covering acne marks, scars, and anything else you’d rather smooth over.

Gel Foundation

Coverage: Light to Medium
Recommended Skin Type: All skin types(especially dry skin)
Best Application Method: Varies

Tapered Foundation Brush
Start from the center of your face and work outwards. Make sure to pat the foundation afterwards to prevent streaking.

Rounded Foundation Brush
Alternate between swirling and stroking motions. Afterwards, use a circular motion to prevent creases and lines.

Beauty Sponge
Wet the sponge, squeeze out any extra water, and gently press the foundation into your skin. To blend well, make sure to press outwards. If you’re using a round sponge, use a rolling motion for even coverage.

If you’re using a gel foundation stick like Maybelline New York Fit Me Shine-Free Foundation Stick, apply over your forehead, down the nose, and upwards and outwards from the cheeks. Blend everything in with your fingers, then finish with a light dusting of loose powder.

One of Our Favorite Gel Foundations
If you’re dealing with fine lines or wrinkles, we recommend Maybelline New York Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation — it hydrates skin while also smoothing skin texture, leaving a luminous, dewy finish.

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