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  • Madison Dennis

How to Apply Foundation: 5 Ways

I know most of the makeup-wearing world gravitates toward liquid foundation for it’s pigmentation, blendability, & texture-smoothing properties. However, the BEST way to apply liquid foundation has been hotly contested by makeup artists and consumers alike. I wanted to break down the various ways to apply liquid foundation, along with each technique’s pros and cons:

1) Fingertips – Applying liquid foundation with your fingertips can be the quickest and most efficient way to do it. Squirt one to two pumps of your favorite LF (liquid foundation) onto your fingertips and smooth all over the face as you would a moisturizer. Before it has time to settle and dry on the skin, go over it with a damp blender sponge to eliminate streaks and create a smooth appearance.

Coverage Level: Medium

Best For: Women that want a quick makeup routine and don’t need a lot of coverage

Pros: Quick application; No dirty brushes; Ability to cover every crevice of face easily; Requires less product

Cons: Can be unsanitary if hands are not clean; Still needs to be blended with a sponge

2) Flat Brush – When you use a flat foundation brush to apply your liquid foundation, you can achieve a more full coverage look quicker, because this application technique is very similar to painting a wall. Squirt one to two pumps of your LF onto the back of your hand, and dip the flat foundation brush into it to pick up some of the product. Then, taking the face in 4 big sections (cheek 1, cheek 2, forehead, nose/chin), paint the foundation on evenly, and go over it with a damp blender sponge.

Coverage Level: Full

Best For: Women to need a lot of coverage and have a more even skin texture

Pros: Even application; Achieve a full coverage look faster; Sanitary if brush is clean

Cons: Creates a dirty brush; Still needs to be blended with a sponge; Risk applying too much product

3) Round Brush – When you use a dense round brush for foundation application (such as the Morphe M439), you are buffing the foundation onto the skin. This technique will allow for a nice medium coverage look without having to use a sponge at all. Squirt your favorite LF onto the back of your hand, dip the brush into some of the product, and buff onto the skin until well-blended.

Coverage Level: Medium

Best For: Women to have some skin texture issues that have a little more time in the morning and want a nice, even coverage

Pros: Smooth, even finish; No sponge required for blending; Eliminates the opportunity for creasing

Cons: Brush is difficult to keep clean; Not the best with crevices like around the nose and eyes

4) Duo Fibre Brush – This technique is perfect for applying a thinner liquid foundation such as Naked Skin or Makeup For Ever’s HD Foundation. A Duo Fibre Brush (such as this one from Sigma) works in 2 levels – the short bristles buff the foundation onto the skin while the long bristles spread the foundation out and gets it into those crevices around the nose and eyes. Squirt your favorite “runny” liquid foundation onto the back of your hand and dip the Duo Fibre brush in to pick up some of the product. Buff in all over the face.

Coverage Level: Sheer/Medium

Best For: Women who like wearing a lighter liquid foundation

Pros: Requires the least amount of product; Perfect for thinner liquid foundations; Does not require use of a sponge to blend; Gets into crevices

Cons: Not useable with a dirty brush; Requires a little more time to get it right

5) Sponge only – This technique is the simplest, in that it only requires a damp sponge (such as the BeautyBlender). Proponents of this technique say it’s quick and provides nice, even coverage with an airbrushed-looking finish. Squirt a pump or two of your favorite LF onto the back of your hand and dip the “fat end” of the damp blender sponge into the product. Dab it all over your face, making sure to cover every inch for an even result.

Coverage Level: Medium

Best For: Women who are not susceptible to breakouts and like a quick application

Pros: Quick application; Doesn’t require a brush; Airbrushed finish

Cons: Unsanitary if sponge is not washed (with antibacterial soap) every day; Product waste because of absorption into sponge

If you have any other techniques for applying liquid foundation, we’d love to hear from you! Shoot us an email at or leave a comment.

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