As the beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, the concept of an ideal complexion may have countless meanings–it entirely depends on your preferences and beauty standards. While asking for the “perfect complexion”, you may accurately be referring to natural-looking skin as well as to a full coverage makeup work. When it comes to the final result, the foundation plays a big part–but the application method is key. The same foundation may present opposing results depending on the application tool and technique. Is it wrong to apply makeup using your hands? Should you use a sponge or a brush? We gathered the most frequently asked questions about foundation application so you can finally discover how to apply foundation in order to achieve your perfect complexion–according to your terms.
On this post:
- The best foundation application tools
- Foundation application techniques
The best foundation application tools
There are lots of different tools that you can use to apply your foundation. In this post, we’re going to talk about brushes, sponges (like the hyper-famous beautyblender), silicone sponges, and, of course, your very own fingertips!
What is the best tool for applying foundation?
There isn’t one “best tool” you can use to apply foundation. Your choice will depend on your personal preference, level of expertise, and desired goal. Let’s look through a few options:
Foundation brushes come in various shapes and sizes, but they all serve pretty much the same purpose. While brushes can provide a more polished finish than other tools, they may require more time and dedication to learn how to use effectively. (If you’ve ever found that your foundation brush leaves your foundation looking streaky and uneven, that’s why.) Brushes are also “high maintenance” in the sense that you have to keep them clean at all times.
Makeup sponges, like the popular beautyblender, are a favorite among many makeup enthusiasts. They provide a polished finish and they can be quite practical and intuitive to use: all you have to do is gently bounce, bounce, bounce the sponge against your skin to achieve a flawless look. Like brushes, sponges are also high maintenance from a hygiene perspective: you can’t forget to wash them!
Silicone sponges–also known as silicone blenders–are not as popular as the previous two options, but they’ve got their advantages. They don’t absorb any product, so you waste less foundation as you use them, and they are easily washable due to their silicone surface. Some people just can’t get the hang of them though, and that’s okay!
Finally, you’re got your trusty fingertips. Applying foundation with your fingertips is a quick and easy way to get the job done–and it provides a pretty natural finish! Using your hands can also save you time and money you would otherwise spending cleansing and replacing brushes and sponges. Just make sure you wash your hands very very well before you begin.
What tools do you need to apply foundation?
To apply foundation, you can use your fingertips, your favorite tool, or a combination of two tools (such as a brush and a sponge).
Combingin a brush to apply your foundation and a sponge to blend it in can be pretty effective. This combination allows you to benefit from the precision of a brush and the blending abilities of a sponge, all in one go.
Is it really ok to apply foundation with fingers?
Yes, there’s nothing wrong with using your fingers to apply foundation! Just make sure your hands are very, very clean before application, and you’ll be good to go. Further down this post, we’ll help you perfect your technique if you want to become a pro at applying your foundation with your fingertips.
Foundation application techniques
To help you use each of these tools in the best way possible, we’ll share some of our favorite foundation application techniques. Let’s take each tool, one by one, and explore the techniques you can use to achieve different looks: from the most natural look to the full-coverage look.
How to apply foundation with a brush
There are countless foundation brushes to choose from, with different shapes and densities. You can find some simple, classic and intuitive shapes, such as the NYX Pro Makeup Pro Flat Foundation Brush or some new approaches to this tool such as the NYX Pro Makeup Total Control Drop Foundation Brush. Generally speaking, denser brushes promote high coverage results while softer brushes allow a more natural, sheer result. These “rules” apply not only to liquid but also to powder foundations.
For a natural result:
Apply a small amount of foundation onto the face – if liquid, or directly onto the brush – if powder. Concentrate the product mainly onto the center of the face – where usually we have discoloration and imperfections. Work the brush with long movements and light pressure, and blend it into the skin, fading the product as you move outwards. The secret for this technique is to use little foundation, stretch/extend it as much as you can, using the brush to repeatedly swipe back and forth, with medium to long-range gestures while applying light pressure onto the brush.
For a high-coverage result:
Apply a generous amount of foundation and work it from the center of the face outwards. Use patting motions to work the foundation over the skin, blending with short to medium ranged movements. If you drag the product too much, you might lose some coverage potential. So, from the top: start by applying the foundation and distribute it roughly over the skin; then, use your brush to pat the foundation – a flat and dense foundation brush like Shiseido Hasu Fude Foundation Brush would be ideal. As you press the brush onto the skin, you begin to notice that all the traces of application magically disappear!
How to apply foundation with a sponge
Sponges are synonyms of a quick and even foundation application. As its popularity rose, more and more brands began to deliver their own interpretation of the perfect sponge. There are lots of colors and shapes to choose from. Ideal to apply liquid foundations, the iconic beautyblender and the unmistakable Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge are excellent examples of the perfect sponge. Bounce your way to an even complexion!
For a natural result:
Again, the amount of product you use is key. Start with a small amount of product, and work it from the center of the face and move outwards. Damp the sponge before usage, and apply the foundation alternating between dragging and bouncing motions.
For a high-coverage result:
Damp the sponge slightly before using, and apply one to two pumps of liquid foundation onto the face or directly onto the sponge. Use mostly bouncing motions, with occasional dragging movements if needed – particularly helpful when fading the foundation from the jawline to the neck.
How to apply foundation with a silicone sponge
Silicone sponges are a recent trend that is here to stay. Easy to use, this accessory not only allows a strike-free liquid foundation application but also makes sure that not even one drop of product is absorbed or wasted. An official foundation economizer that stretches your foundation like no other! In addition to that, it doubles as a concealer blender – actually, it is perfect to blend all of your liquid products. If you’re still not convinced, it is incredibly easy to wash and lasts longer than a conventional sponge. As for the application, follow the recommendations above, and use it as you would use a sponge. Instead of bouncing, pat your way to perfect skin!
How to apply foundation with your fingers
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to makeup techniques and preferences. Therefore, we are not trying to stop you if you love applying makeup with your fingers. We get you, it feels intuitive and easy! Use a small amount of foundation and work it from your nose, thinning off the product as you move outwards. Using your fingers as a tool, the foundation tends to look more natural and sheer. This happens because the foundation formula tends to soften as it interacts with the temperature of our hands. Our advice is only one: thoroughly cleanse your hands before and after the application!
Professional Makeup Artist & Beauty Writer