As much as we wish our skin would cooperate with us 100% of the time, the sad truth is that it tends to do as it pleases – never mind the fact that we have a big meeting tomorrow and would not like to be sporting a giant spot in the center of our forehead as we give this presentation, please. No, our skin often acts with a mind of its own, with no regard to our feelings or preferences whatsoever. Sigh.
Thankfully, we have quite an arsenal of disciplinary tools to make it behave: our favorite one being foundation. Armed with magical powers that conceal, brighten, cover and smooth, we reach for it whenever our skin starts acting up or getting rebellious. To make sure you’re making the most of this skin savior, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to applying foundation – so whether you’re a liquid, cream, powder or gel gal, you’ll always be prepared for whatever curveball your skin throws your way.
Ready? Let’s start with…
Good for: All skin types
What brush to use for liquid foundation?
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 getting the dreaded demarcation line 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. That’s when you press gently and lightly all over the face with your brush.
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 extra 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.
Beauty sponge: A beauty sponge will give you a natural finish but also allow 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. Press in and outwards to blend well.
If you are using a round beauty sponge, use a rolling motion to blend the foundation into your 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.
*Confused what each brush looks like? Our ultimate guide to face makeup brushes has got your covered.
Coverage: Light to Medium
Good for: Oily/combination skin
What brush to use for mineral or loose powder foundation?:
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 sheerer and is often used on top of 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.
Coverage: Medium to Full
Good for: Oily/combination skin, on-the-go touch ups
How to apply pressed powder:
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.
Puff: 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.
Good for: Mature skin, special occasions, covering birthmarks, pigmentation and acne scars
How to apply cream:
Tapered foundation brush: Since cream foundations are emollient-based, they are perfect for filling in wrinkles and covering hyper-pigmentation.
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.
Fingers: 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.
Coverage: Light to Medium
Good for: All skin types (especially dry skin)
How to apply cream:
Tapered foundation brush, rounded foundation brush, stippling brush, beauty sponge or fingers:
The difference between gel foundations and liquid foundations are in the ingredients: gel foundations are usually oil-free and water-based, which makes them great for dry-skinned ladies.Apply in the same way as you would your favorite liquid foundation. If using a gel foundation stick like Maybelline Fit Me Shine-Free Foundation Stick, apply over your forehead, down the nose, upwards and outwards from the cheeks and on your chin – then, just blend everything in with your fingers and finish with a light dusting of loose powder.
What type of foundation do you use and how do you apply it? Any tips and tricks to share? Tell us in the comments! photos: Giorgio Armani Beauty, Yves Saint Lauren Beauty, Dermablend, Bare Essentials, Maybelline
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