(Last Updated On: January 24, 2018)

Unless you’re under oath to go makeup free for ever, the worst you can do for your face is to apply a good layer of foundation to smoothen it up.

Anyone that’s used it before knows; foundation can make the difference between a blemish filled face and a smooth one. And, you can’t hide poorly applied foundation.

Celebrities like Selena Gomez and Angelina Jolie are the perfect examples of that statement. Because they’ve got makeup artists that understand the power of foundation, they always appear on red carpets looking perfect and glamorous despite not having the best skins. That only goes to show how important foundation is.

Unfortunately, despite their love for makeup, many women cannot apply foundation on their own. Others try to apply it but the results are always disastrous. (ghost faces, anyone?😱). If you ask these women, they will say that applying makeup is tedious and impossible.

We say otherwise.

That’s why we came up with a set of tips you can use to learn how to apply makeup like the pros do.

How To Apply Foundation

Applying foundation is not as simple as it sounds. A little art is involved, but that shouldn’t terrify you.

If you are looking to get the perfect skin with foundation without going to a makeup parlour, we have a set of steps you can follow in order to apply foundation flawlessly.

Clean Up And Prepare Your Face

Simply put, it doesn’t make sense to add new makeup to a dirty face. It’s better to start with fresh skin, if only to prevent clogging of pores by accumulating dirt from unwashed makeup, sweat and excess oils.

Scrub your face lightly to unclog the pores and remove any traces of oil, diet and makeup. You can use cleansing water if possible, especially if you’re in a hurry.

The next step is to exfoliate gently. You can always use a cleanser or a natural remedy like lemon juice for the task. Exfoliation does away with all the dead cells on the skin, which would have otherwise caused your foundation to appear flaky after application.

Next, hydrate your skin with moisturizer to ease the application of foundation later. You should use a moisturizer of SPF 40+ to guarantee some form of protection from the sun’s rays. Cleansing balms with emollients are also applicable for this purpose.

Next, apply a primer that will smoothen out the rough parts of your face by minimizing large pores and hiding pigmentation patches. The ideal primer to use is a colour corrector primer, which is effective at hiding blemishes while evening out your skin tone too.

Note: You can apply concealer on some of the darker spots at this stage if you wish, but it’s not a must to.

Choose Your Tools

Preparation is key before any makeup routine, and that includes getting your preferred tools of application together.

In addition to the foundation, you will need a foundation brush or a sponge for your application exercise. Both are recommended options for spreading the product all over the face and tapping it into the skin gently.

Of course you can use your hands too, and they might work particularly well for liquid foundation, but that should be the last resort. (and you don’t want messy fingers after its all over!)

When choosing a brush, look for one with duo fibre synthetic bristles and a flat finish.

As for sponges, any can do. They may usually come with the foundation packaging itself in some cases. We recommend that you go for those made of antimicrobial foam.

Get The Right Foundation For Your Face

There’s more to the foundation you need to use than just colour, brand or price. Your choice of foundation needs to be right for your skin first, and that’s what matters the most. You will need a foundation that;

Feels weightless on your face

Doesn’t cake up after application

Doesn’t clog your pores

Doesn’t trigger allergies on your skin

Matches well with your skin tone

Has an SPF 15 or better

Choosing the ideal foundation isn’t an easy task though. There are lots of brands to choose from and they all seem to offer similar products.

You need to know what the right foundation for your skin should be like as regards shade and nature, and here’s a few factors to consider.



Is your skin the oily, acne prone type?

You need to use different foundation from people with dry skin, sensitive skin and old skin. Our skin types directly determine the foundation we can use, usually for health reasons.

For those with oily skin, an oil free foundation (or water based) is the best choice. If you’ve got dry skin, an oil based foundation should do your skin’s suppleness enough justice. Sensitive skin calls for water based foundation to avoid any reactions.



Your skin tone also comes into play here.

Fair skinned people will require foundations of lighter shades that dark skinned individuals.

Using light foundation on dark skin will leave you looking like a ghost; doing the opposite is no better.



Foundations are categorised into types, depending on their physical nature.

Their nature also determines who they work for best, which is why it’s quite important to understand.


You’ll find foundation categorised as;

Liquid Foundation

The liquid nature of this foundation makes it very lightweight, which in turn makes it easy to apply on the face. Liquid foundation comes with both oil and water based formulas, which makes it fit for use by anybody regardless of skin condition.

Powder Foundation

These foundations are quite popular, and come either as loose or pressed powder foundations. Pressed foundations are usually sold in compact form and perfect for touching up the skin.

 Loose powder foundation is usually applied to settle already applied foundation in place. Because of its nature, powder foundation is perfect for women with oily skin.

Stick Foundation

Sometimes known as cake foundations, this type is particularly known for its heaviness. They are sold in solid form and rolled onto the skin from a bottle to provide a quick drying matte finish.

If you’ve got oily skin, this one is good for you. If you have dry or normal skin, consider other alternatives.

Cream Foundation

This one is quite thick in composition, and its oil content makes it ideal for keeping skin moisturized. Naturally, people with oily skin should steer clear of this foundation. If you’ve got dry or extra dry skin, this is a good choice.

Tinted Moisturizer

Like the name suggests, this is actually a moisturizer that also works as a foundation alternative. Being tinted and all, this foundation works well at evening the skin tone. If you’ve got dry skin, you can consider using tinted moisturizer.

Mousse Foundation

In nature, this foundation lies between liquid and cream state. It can be used on all skin types, but happens to be most effective for dry skin and old skin.

Waterproof Foundation

Because other foundation types tend to melt down during hot temperatures, waterproof foundation easily becomes the next best alternative. It also happens to be good for use on wet days and for activities such as swimming.

 They come with both oil based and water based variations, which makes them ideal for use by anyone.

Natural/Mineral Foundation

If you are troubled by sensitive skin, natural foundation, or mineral foundation as it is commonly called, is the perfect option. It is made from natural minerals that are finely ground into a powder to be applied on the skin.

When faced with shelves of beautiful looking foundations in a Sephora store or at your neighbourhood drug store, you might feel tempted to grab the first bottle you see.

Don’t. Instead, test the foundations available to see which would match your skin tone best.

Get at least three shades you think might work and apply a dab of each to your cheek. The idea of foundation is to look flawless but natural, and the only way you can achieve that is by using the right shade.

You should also read up some product reviews before making a purchase decision. Of course, just because it works for others doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Still, reading reviews will help you identify poorly designed foundation brands and help you steer clear of them in time.

Consider The Foundation Consistency You Need

You don’t have to apply layers and layers of foundation if your skin is nearly smooth enough. On the other hand, you might need thicker layers of foundation if your skin is quite rough in many places. This is where foundation consistency comes in.

You can either go light (sheer), medium or full consistency. Light consistency is for those that need only a thin layer of foundation to even out the skin tone. Go for medium consistency if you only want to cover up a few blemishes and apply makeup.

If it is complete cover up you’re looking for, full consistency is the way to go. Always check up the consistency level of a foundation before you buy; it is usually displayed on the packaging.

Apply The Foundation

Start with just a little amount of foundation. The idea is to help you achieve a simple look without applying too much product.

The least you have on, the better. Click To Tweet

To start the exercise, apply dabs of foundation starting with areas where blemishes are most prominent.

For many of us, those areas include the nose, cheeks, chin and forehead, which also happen to make up the center of the face.

Just apply a dab of foundation on each side of the nose, on the forehead, on the nose itself and on the chin first. Then start spreading it to the outer areas of your face with your brush, hands or sponge.

Tip: When applying your foundation, don’t just rub it across the skin like a topical cream. Press it gently into the skin instead using circular motions with your hands, sponge or brush while spreading it outward.

Cover The Whole Face

One common mistake many women make during makeup is to apply foundation to the face only. Click To Tweet

The ears, neck and hairline tend to be left out a lot, which makes you look like you wore a mask on your face.

All you have do is to ensure that there are no boundary marks for the foundation between these parts and the face, and that the skin doesn’t look different on the neck or ears.

Apply Concealer

Even after applying foundation, some parts of the face may still appear even tone wise. That is why you need to apply concealer too.

Dark circles under eyes, dark spot, red spots and the like are some of the facial blemishes you can apply a little concealer on to cover them up flawlessly.

Note: Remember to choose the concealer shade that matches your skin tone the best. I recommend that you use liquid concealer for the circles around the eyes and powder concealers for other forms of blemishes.

When to apply concealer

You can always apply concealer before or after applying foundation. With proper application, the right concealer will match up with the skin tone quickly, leaving no trace.

The actual deciding factor is how much you need to conceal and what condition the skin is in. Either way, we recommend that you apply your concealer after applying foundation.

 Set The Foundation With Loose Setting Powder

You’re never done until the foundation is set. It’s no use working so hard on a good layer of foundation only to leave it exposed to cracking and melting when the oils get released.

One proven way you can prevent that is by applying loose setting powder on the face and sweeping it gently till it is spread out. You should also sprinkle a little on the areas that get shiny during the day such as the chin and the T zone. The setting powder keeps the foundation in place for longer.

 Add Any Other Makeup You Want

Foundation is just the starting point for any other makeup idea you may have. Whether it’s a layer of bright red lipstick or a lining of eyeliner, you can apply it at this stage and complete the look.

Tip: Use your foundation to contour your face and make it brighter.

You can easily achieve this by applying a darker shade of foundation to the outer parts of the face and using a lighter shade to the centre of the face and underneath the cheekbones.

The contrast between the two shades makes for a brighter face that is contoured and thinner.

How To Apply Liquid Foundation

As mentioned above, foundation comes in many forms today. Liquid foundation is quite popular for its thin, weightless layers, and works just fine for many women today.

If you want to try it, here’s a series of simple steps you should follow when applying liquid foundation.

Clean and prepare your face. That includes washing it thoroughly to clear away any accumulated dirt and excess oil. You must also moisturize the face immediately after.

Add a primer of your choice, most preferably a colour corrector to work out all the pigmentation issues.

Pour some foundation (a little amount) onto the pallet of choice. It could be your hand or a piece of plastic.

If you’re using a sponge for application, dip one edge in some water and then use it to scoop a piece of the foundation. If you’re using a brush or your hands, dip it into the foundation and make a scoop.

Dab a little foundation in the centre areas of the face, starting with a dab on the cheeks, the nose, the chin and the forehead.

Blend it into the skin using circular motions and start from the centre going outward until the whole face is covered. Manage the edges of the face to remove any boundaries that may become visible between foundation and skin.

Apply concealer on all those dark spots and under eye circles that won’t go away.

Set the foundation with a loose setting powder to complete the look. You can also apply additional makeup.

Clean your tools. That includes washing your hands, brush or sponge completely.

Tip: If you can, use a sponge to apply liquid foundation because it’s more effective.

How To Apply Powder Foundation

Powder foundation comes in many forms, including pressed and light foundations.

It’s popular among women that want to apply only a little foundation rather than the complete layer. If you intend to use powder foundation, here’s a few tips to guide you through the process.

Prepare your face by cleaning, exfoliating and moisturizing it, after which you should apply a primer.

Use your sponge or foundation brush to get some powder and then dab a little on the cheeks, the nose, the forehead and the chin. Remember to dust the brush against the bottle a little in case you pick up a lot of product.

Use your brush to spread the powder evenly across the face and the neck area too. Add a little concealer on the visible blemishes too.

Throw on your loose setting powder, and you’re good to go!

How To Apply Foundation With A Brush

If you’re going to use a brush for your foundation application, how you handle your brush matters a lot. Here are a few tips you can use for flawless application every day.

  • Make sure your foundation brush is clean before use. Use it to scoop some foundation, but not too much at once.
  • When using the brush, make gentle downward strokes to spread the foundation all over the face.
  • Tilt your brush and use the pointed edge of the bristles to apply foundation in hard to reach areas such as crevices.
  • Blend any small bristle line marks that may be left after foundation application with a cloth before they dry.

If you don’t want to apply your foundation with a brush, (or cannot access it), you can always apply foundation with fingers or a sponge. Either tool is effective for use.

Frequently Asked Questions about Foundation

 If we missed something out, let us know via the comments section and we will keep updating this list.

How does foundation last on the skin?
6 to 7 hours at least. How long foundation may last depends on a few factors including application style, whether or not you used a primer and the brand in question. With proper application, foundation should work for a whole day.
Does foundation clog pores?
That depends on the type of foundation you are using. Water based foundation is less likely to clog your pores than oil based foundation. Your hygiene is also to consider here. If you don’t wash your foundation off before bed, your pores will get clogged by the day’s residue on your skin. (and that includes any type of foundation)
How do I know if a foundation is oil free?
Take a look at its ingredients first. If it has water as an ingredient, it is usually oil free. Sometimes, the term ‘oil free’ is displayed too on the packaging.
How to apply foundation without a brush?
You can always use a sponge or your fingers to apply your foundation if you don’t want to use a brush. Any soft, spongy material can do, but you can always use the ones specially designed for the purpose.

Before You Go

You can never skip foundation as part of your make up routine, so it’s important to know how to apply it like a pro.

Lots of women cannot apply foundation correctly on their own, which limits how far they can go with makeup.

We hope this article and its information can change that for you.

To beauty!

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