When it comes to applying foundation, it’s all too easy to end up with dodgy tide marks, cakey cheeks and a patchy finish aka not what we’re aiming for. Which is why we spoke to the pros to get the expert insight on how to apply foundation the right way.
Guiding you through the process is MAC Global Senior Artist and backstage pro, Dominic Skinner, Instagram’s hottest make-up artist of the moment and queen of glow, Nikita Baffour and Givenchy make-up artist, Neil Young. Safe to say, you’re in good hands.
Read on for your guide to perfecting your foundation application for a totally flawless base…
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How To Find The Right Foundation
First things first, before applying your foundation you need to make sure it’s got the coverage, texture and finish that you’re aiming for.
‘For a foundation to look amazing on the skin it needs to replicate your skin,’ says Young. ‘What I mean by that is the rule of thumb is the more coverage you get with foundation, the more it has to match the skin, if it doesn’t match the skin, you need undertone in the foundation to mimic your skin’s complexion.’
How To Apply Foundation
Foundation Dos And Don’ts
Before you get started, there’s a few key tips to bear in mind for applying your foundation:
- ‘One of my top tips in achieving flawless foundation, is in the application!’, says Baffour. ‘Get your hands on a dense flat top brush! This is a real game changer.’
- ‘A great tip for a super flawless finish is to gradually build up the desired amount of layers with a brush, as this will give you more control over coverage.’
- ‘I always finish off with a damp, (not wet or dry) sponge to set the foundation in place, this also helps to remove any excess shine.’
Nikita’s Top Tip: Always pair your foundation with a primer that is suitable for your skin type, as this gives the foundation something to grip onto and leaves you with a smoother and longer lasting finish.
How to prep your skin before applying foundation
It’s almost time to get that foundation on, but first, you need to prep your base. Bring on the skincare!
‘Skincare is key to a great flawless foundation,’ says Skinner. ‘Serums, moisturisers, facial oils and primers will all support your foundation for a smoother, long-wearing finish.’
With more and more modern foundation formulations available, it’s now an option to incorporate your skincare into your foundation. Or, as Young puts it, ‘If your foundation doesn’t have skin-caring ingredients in it in 2021 then why are you using it?’
Look for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to help care for your skin while you wear your foundation.
How to apply foundation… with your fingers
For those of us who prefer to get to grips (literally) with applying foundation, using your fingertips is a totally legit method for getting that perfect finish.
‘If you are using your fingers to apply foundation I would advise applying the product with your ring finger when applying around the eyes, as this area is usually very delicate and thin,’ suggests Baffour. ‘This allows you to evenly distribute the product with minimal pressure and also prevents creasing.’
How to apply foundation… with a brush
If using your hands to apply make-up isn’t your vibe, then using a brush is your next port of call.
Control how much foundation you apply by pumping a few drops onto the back of your hand and then take it onto your brush from here. Then, sweep onto your face.
Nikita’s top tip? ‘I always advise to stipple the brush in small circular motions when applying, really working the foundation into the skin, for full and seamless coverage.
‘Avoiding dragging or sweeping motions, to prevent streaks or brush lines!’
How to apply foundation… with a blender or sponge
If fingertips or a foundation brush aren’t your choice of applicator then a beauty blender or sponge could be the one for you.
‘I like to use my sponge after using a brush, this really helps to settle the foundation and helps to achieve a flawless finish,’ says Baffour.
‘I find that using a sponge only, soaks up too much product and works best as a perfecting tool. Ultimately, always make sure that your sponge is slightly damp and not wet. If there is too much water in your sponge, this can leave patches in your foundation.’
How to apply foundation… if you have dry skin
For dry skin types some foundation formulas can feel heavy or drying leading to the dreaded forehead flake. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of lightweight, hydrating foundations that give good coverage minus the parched complexion.
‘Dry skin should be tackled from the base; primers and moisturisers are a great start, however, it is best to avoid mattifying foundations and instead, opt for formulas that are hydrating or have hydrating ingredients such as, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E,’ advises Nikita.
‘Water-based, sheer/medium foundations are better suited options for drier skin types and gives a softer, luminous finish. Avoid matte or fragranced foundations as these can leave the skin drier, tight and uncomfortable!’
How to apply foundation… for a dewy finish
In 2020, the elusive glow is what most of us are aiming for when we apply foundation. But how do you keep things dewy and fresh rather than sweaty and shiny? Dominic has the answers.
‘For a dewy finish to your foundation I always recommend applying your foundation with a damp foundation sponge,’ advises Skinner. ‘MAC Fix+ Magic Radiance is perfect for this, spray the Fix+ directly onto the sponge and squeeze the sponge to work the Fix+ through. Magic Radiance contains hyaluronic Acid and essential oils so not only will you foundation go on with added glow it will also fix your foundation for a longer dewy finish.
‘Pump a little foundation onto the sponge and bounce the sponge over the skin. By bouncing the sponge you’ll get a flawless clean finish.’
How to apply foundation… for a matte finish
Not all of us are totally obsessed with achieving a luminous complexion, if a matte finish is what you’re after, here’s how to get it right.
‘My top tip for a matte foundation is to buff the base on with a fluffy brush,’ says Skinner. ‘By applying it in circular brush strokes the foundation will apply smoother and will not leave streaks as it sets. This circular technique is also great to polish the foundation so you can have the matte without the flat!’
How to apply foundation… for a long-lasting finish
If you’re applying your foundation first thing in the morning, then ideally you want it to stay put for the rest of the day. But, between sweat, humidity, oily skin and oxidisation, the foundation slip and slide can mean by the time you leave the office you’re bare-faced all over again.
‘To maintain your look for longer, it’s all about priming. Make sure you’re hydrating your skin beforehand,’ advises Skinner. ‘People don’t believe me but moisture is your foundation’s friend. Foundation stays put longer if it has hydration underneath to hold on to. Use a face cream like MAC Strobe Cream and a hydrating spray like MAC Fix+ before, after and throughout the day to keep you base in place.’
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