How to: apply foundation flawlessly

How to: apply foundation flawlesslyYou want to look polished and flawless (if at all possible!), not like an ageing groupie with too much make-up. Follow our steps to applying foundation like a pro and you will to get a near-perfect finish.

Step 1: Cleanse

Clean your hands and your face. You want clean hands so that you don’t touch your face with dirty hands which could cause blemishes and pimples. And you want to clean your face so that you have a clear canvas to start with!

Step 2: Prepare

Apply moisturiser, sunscreen and/or a primer suited to your skin type. Foundations go on to well-hydrated skin more smoothly and so your look will be more natural. Most make-up artists prefer to use a primer as well as a moisturiser as the primer creates an utterly smooth surface for the foundation. This, as you can imagine, makes blending a cinch!

Wait a moment or two before applying the foundation though, giving the moisturiser and primer (and sunscreen!) time to set.

Step 3: Cover up

Cover up any spots or redness with a touch of concealer (rather than simply using masses of foundation). If your eyes are looking less than bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, a couple of dots of concealer underneath and on the corner of each eye should do the trick. Always PAT the concealer to blend it in – don’t rub it. Rubbing will damage your skin, not to mention the fact that you will end up rubbing all the concealer away, entirely defeating the purpose of the exercise.

Helpful hint
Use a concealer with a peach or yellowish undertone to brighten dark circles under your eyes.
Use a green concealer to cover up the red of blemishes or broken capillaries on your face. Green cancels out red as they are opposites on the colour wheel.

Step 4: Apply your foundation

Now apply the foundation by dotting it around the areas of your face that need evening out – probably your cheeks, chin, forehead and nose. Use as little as possible – the idea is to make it look like your skin is NATURALLY this perfect, not offer a cakey giveaway!

Blend well, in the direction of the hairs on your face (that would be downwards). Don’t cover the neck as well, but do go slightly below the jawline to prevent that tell-tale demarcation of colour. Pay special attention to your hairline as well.

Now check in a magnifying mirror for any spots that have escaped your blending.


Which is best to use? A sponge, brush or my fingers?

Make-up artists swear by brushes as they soak up less foundation and blend really well.
A sponge gives a sheer, even cover – although it soaks up a lot of your foundation.
Your fingers are easiest and the warmth from your fingers heats up the pigment and makes it easier to blend.
Our advice is to use whichever method you find easiest.
But which ever method you choose, make sure your tool of choice is CLEAN!

Helpful hint
Remember that your skin probably changes colour with the seasons so you might need a different shade of foundation to the one you’re used to, as winter starts closing in.

Step 5: Powder

Dust your face lightly (LIGHTLY) with a translucent powder to give it a matte finish and to set your look. Or skip this step if you want a more natural, dewy look (our own preference).

Now you can apply the other make-up you are using (eyes, lips) and go out into the world with confidence knowing your skin looks effortlessly flawless and natural.


Other articles you may be interested in:
Choose the perfect mascara
Pink pout
Foundation types explained: Creams
Foundation types explained: Powders
Foundation types explained: Liquids

67 Responses

  1. Great tips, I use my fingertips and blend in with a sponge. Easiest for me.

  2. I have never used foundation in my entire life. seems like this will be the firsy step. T5hanks

  3. thank you for the article, i do most of these steps but as soon as i get warm it looks as if i never applied foundation

  4. Thanks for the tips, catrice primer is a great cheap primer. I prefer fingers or a brush.

  5. A great primer is Stila’s Hydrating Primer. It has an SPF and works well wth dry/combination skin:)

  6. Applying with your fingers is much faster but you might tug on your skin more than necessary. A brush is best if you can afford to spend an extra few minutes smoothing it out and use very little product.

  7. I have always wondered why the same foundation doesn’t always look as good on me in winter so this definitely helps and makes sense as my complexions tends to be fairer during colder periods.

  8. I juggle between the Smashbox and Inglot primers. Both are well priced and work so well. It makes your skin super smooth and applying foundation with a brush is a breeze, no streaks!

  9. I’m currently using a mouse so a finger works best. I also skip the powder,and blot my face with an open facial tissue to remove access shine during the day

  10. I use a brush sometimes but in all honesty your fingers work the best. I use my fingers to blend everything . Including eyeshadow and cream blush. Great advice!!!!!!

  11. I follow this routine and one very often forgets to clean your “brush”.

  12. Good tips. I think I might use my fingers to apply my foundation now. The sponges soak up far too much.

  13. Thank you. Very good tips. Going to get myself some concealer. Wasn’t using that.

  14. i also use my fingers , but i find that i dont blend it that much so next time im going to use my foundation brush for a flawless skin.

  15. This article is so helpful, I don’t wear make-up everyday but when I do I would like to do a proper job.

  16. Thank you so much for these helpfull hints!! I find using my fingertips works best for me.

  17. Going to get myself a Primer,i always use my fingertips to apply
    my Foundation..Very Interesting Article,thanks for the hints..

  18. I use a sponge and it has been soaking up my foundation :( will try using my fingers now

  19. Great tips. Some foundations work best with a brush, others work great with the fingers. I usually try both until I find the right technique.

  20. great tips, i find using the beauty blender gives the face a flawless finish.

  21. I do not do the cleanser and moisturiser thing at all….I am blessed with good skin but age is catching up and I need to take better care of my skin what with all the make-p I lather on my face…..

  22. Very good tips, this is one of the most important but also rushed jobs sometimes.

  23. This should be a step by step print on the mirror where you do your make up

  24. Mmm, perhaps now would be the time to start using my foundation brush that’s been lurking in my makeup kit for ages!

  25. Fabulous helpful hints-I find that a lot of people wear the wrong concealer and end up looking silly.

  26. Thank you so much for the info. I’ve got to agree with the hygienic aspect most. I’ve found that making a sponge slightly damp and then using it to apply my foundation works wonders…The trick is that it should be damp, not wet… a combination of all three should also do the trick…:)

  27. Thank you once again for great tips (I’ve never used a brush when applying foundation)

  28. I just bought my first foundation by Stila! It comes with an application brush and a concealer in the lid. I’m hoping this will make my first time applying it easier.

  29. Definitely important to cleanse and moisturize before applying make-up! Dry skin and foundation do not blend well.

  30. I use the makeup sponge and work wonders. I agree the best is to put a moisturizer on prior to the foundation.

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