How to apply foundation? Step-by-step guide + which foundation is right for you
Table of Contents
How to apply foundation?
Foundation is without a doubt one of the most important steps in your facial makeup. But don’t forget that every skin has its own needs.
It is therefore important to know which foundation to choose and which undertone is most suitable for your face. Don’t know what you need yet? No problem at all! We’ll be happy to help you on your way:
Foundation is an essential part of your makeup routine. It helps you even out the tone of your face and covers imperfections and blemishes.
There are many types and brands of foundations, tailored to the needs of each skin. Which foundation is right for you? When choosing your foundation, you should consider two factors: skin tone and skin type.
There are also different textures of foundation to choose from mousse, cream (liquid), and powder. We will break down each of these factors so that it is clear which is the perfect foundation for your skin type.
Foundation for your skin type
Don’t know what your skin type is? Do the test first: determine your skin type.
Dry skin: This skin type is characterized by dull, tight skin and a lack of hydration. Often you also have more flaky skin. Therefore, we need a foundation to have moisturized and not too dry skin.
Mixed or oily skin: has a lot of shine, accompanied by acne and pimples. This type of skin is very sensitive and tends to suffer from redness, so good care is needed. It is best to use a foundation that mattifies and has good coverage to cover this type of problem.
Normal skin: this type can happily choose more freely, although liquid and satin foundations are recommended.
What color foundation suits you?
The general recommendation is always to choose the tone that most closely matches your natural skin tone.
Test foundation on your jawline
To find out what that tone is, you can try this trick: try three intermediate base tones that resemble your skin in the jaw area.
Choose the one that best matches your skin: there will always be one of the three that most closely resembles your own skin tone. It is also important to conduct these verification tests in natural daylight.
And although there is a general recommendation to try foundation on the inside of your wrist or on the back of your hand to verify that the pre-selected shade is correct, makeup artists Noemí Nohales and Teresa Martín recommend doing it directly on your face, as this is the most reliable.
Try it out on your jawline or, if at all possible, other areas such as your forehead.
The right undertone
When choosing a foundation, it’s also important to consider the pigmentation of your skin. It’s not just a matter of whether it’s light or dark, but also whether it’s sallow, pink or golden.
All of this has to do with your undertone. To find out what your undertone is – especially if you’re going to buy foundation online – you can use this trick: stand in front of the mirror next to a white sheet and see what color the skin shows: If your skin looks more yellow, then it has a warm undertone and you should choose a more golden or beige base.
If your skin looks pinkish in comparison to the white sheet, then it has a cold undertone and therefore the base should be more pink. If the skin does not stand out with a yellowish or pinkish tone, then this is a neutral undertone and the foundation should be as neutral as possible.
And how do you choose the right foundation color if you don’t have an even skin tone? It may happen – in fact, it is quite normal – that the skin tone is not uniform (for example, if you suffer a bit from rosacea like me). In this case, it is recommended to choose even two basic shades: one adapted for the lighter areas and the other for the darker areas. Use them per area if you want a more natural result. You can also mix both together for a quicker solution.
Your face is the reflection of your emotions and your most powerful communication weapon. So, you want to give it the attention it deserves.
With simple techniques and the best products, you can master the art of applying foundation to create the perfect but above all natural coverage.
Step by step
Step 1: Cleanse and moisturize Start by cleansing with a facial cleanser. The light and creamy texture helps your skin feel more hydrated. The next step is to apply a good moisturizer and let it absorb for 10 minutes. A good day cream restores hydration and intensifies your brightness. Now your skin will be soft and clean, perfect for applying foundation.
Step 2: Use a primer Makeup artists’ secret to achieving smooth and natural coverage is the primer, as it helps even out the skin, allowing the foundation to spread easily and last longer. A primer applies easily, is light and gives a more even appearance, firm and makes your skin flawless. If you have oily skin, it mattifies your skin and reduces the appearance of pores. Apply with your fingers, skin looks silky smooth. No clue which primer to choose? Read also: which primer suits my skin?
Step 3: Apply the foundation Now you apply the foundation. Dab on the foundation with your fingers, then bring your professional side forward and use a makeup brush (or a beauty blender) to gently blend in a circular motion from the center outward. Always keep this rule in mind: you should apply more foundation in the middle than on the sides of your face. Are you using a beautyblender to apply your foundation? Then wet the beautyblender first and ‘bounce’ it around your face with some foundation. Using a beautyblender or sponge gives you a less opaque, but more natural result.
Step 4: The finishing touch The final step is to set your foundation. All you need is a facial powder and a good brush for the finishing touches to create a beautiful, even face. Using a brush, gently apply the powder to your neck and face, giving special attention to the areas where the skin is oilier. The powders even out your skin tone, creating a very natural velvety finish that lasts all day. Depending on the finish you want, you can choose a matte powder, a more glowy powder….
What do you apply foundation with?
There are a thousand ways to apply foundation, which one you choose depends on you. Fingers are of course practical, but make sure they are very clean. Apply the foundation subtly, using strokes or circular motions.
This will help you achieve a smoother and more even coverage. It is better to build up the foundation in layers than to apply a big blob of foundation in one go.
If you want to do your makeup like a professional, you can use a makeup brush to achieve a beautifully fine and natural coverage.
For an extremely natural finish, try a sponge that you must first moisten and then let bounce on your face. You are guaranteed to get a beautiful natural look, worthy of any professional makeup artist.
Let’s recap the different tools you can use to apply foundation:
The sponge or beautyblender
Always use a damp make-up sponge. Run some water, hold the sponge under it and then wring it out, which doubles the volume and reduces product loss by keeping the sponge from swallowing the foundation. Many love the versatility and very natural effect it gives to foundation.
For me, it is my favorite way to apply foundation. Don’t forget to clean your sponge very regularly because it is a breeding ground for bacteria. Thanks to the tapping motions you can make with the sponge, you can literally push the product into the pores instead of letting it “float” on the surface of the skin.
An honorable mention for its softness, making it a good ally for sensitive or irritated skin. The sponge is more complex and more difficult to clean, though. You never know if it is 100% clean and it sometimes stains.
It also needs to be allowed to air dry after each use, which makes the sponge a poor travel partner. To ensure that the sponge is always impeccable, it is helpful to have a cleaning agent on hand that is specifically designed to get the sponge clean again.
The great thing about the foundation brush is that there are multiple versions. Whether you like brushes with dense, long or flat bristles, there is always one that suits you.
In addition to making application easier, the different hair types and densities also have an effect on the makeup finish.
For example, the more glued the bristles are and the more numerous they are, the more of an opaque effect you will have.
Brushes do tend to deposit more product on the skin and work streaky. So you need to spend a little more time blending the foundation to remove and erase all the lines and marks on the face.
You can also just use your own fingers when you apply your foundation. Thanks to your fingers, you have good control over the pressure and friction on the skin.
The result is very natural. Are you left with a streaky result? Then gently pat the foundation into your skin! However, it should not surprise anyone that using your hands is not the most hygienic technique. Indeed, our hands are carriers of bacteria.
To overcome this problem, just wash them very thoroughly before you start your makeup session. Also after!
What types of foundations are there for which skin types?
Your skin type also determines the type of foundation to choose. It will not surprise you that there are different forms: liquid, compact, stick …
For oily skin, it is better to choose a foundation with a velvety finish (preferably oil-free and non-comedogenic). They do not necessarily have to be a compact base, but it is recommended that they have a slightly powdery and matte finish. A Stick foundation can be a good option.
If you have normal and dry skin, then you can opt for more liquid foundations. Choose the texture depending on the finish you are looking for.
Choosing the texture of your foundation is not only determined by the skin type you have, but also by the result you are looking for. The rule seems simple: full coverage for those who want a more opaque effect. Light and natural for those who want their skin to feel like it is.
Which moisturizer goes under foundation?
Moisturiser remains an essential part of the beauty routine. It is still necessary to know how to use it properly so that it retains its full potential.
Again, know your skin type. Dry, oily, combined, with imperfections, sensitive or even mature skin, depending on its nature deserves an appropriate cream.
Dry skin is less common than oily skin and causes a feeling of tightness. With age, skin that produces less sebum tends to dry out, this is the case with mature skin.
Oily skin however produces excess sebum, but still needs hydration to regulate and mattify. For combination skin, there are now specific treatments.
Not just for your face
Don’t just apply the cream to your face. Daily hydration doesn’t stop at the chin! When you apply your day cream, also go to the neck and neckline.
Indeed, in these areas your skin is also sensitive and is also subjected to the same aggressions such as pollution, sun or air conditioning.
Be wary of UV rays, they have a negative impact on your skin. A day cream with integrated UV filter helps to counteract UV rays all year round. But again, keep applying it during the day!
Which powder to wear over foundation?
Use an oil-absorbing powder that does not dry out your skin. Would you rather not feel the weight of powder on your face?
Then choose a formula that is super light and completely transparent. Once you apply it, you won’t even know it’s there. Also for very dry skin, there are setting powders that mattify your makeup, often with glycerin and vitamin E to hydrate and soften dry and flaky skin.
Prefer not to use a powder? You don’t have to, unless you really suffer from shiny skin. But even then you don’t always have to powder your foundation: blotting powder is your best friend.