How to apply foundation like a pro

How to apply foundation like a pro: The best way to apply foundation according to an MUA

18th February 2020 | Author: Victoria Howe

If you’re unsure how to apply foundation flawlessly, you’re certainly not alone. It’s one of the most fundamental parts of a makeup look, yet is notoriously the most difficult to get right.

From choosing the correct colour and amount to knowing what type of foundation suits your skin and whether to apply with a blender, a brush or your fingers, getting a flawless base seems much daunting than it needs to be.

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In the first in our Ask the MUA series, we’ve partnered with Victoria Howe, owner and Chief Makeup Artist at Victoria Howe Make Up, to discover how to apply foundation like a pro.

You can also read more about our best foundation recommendations, and learn which foundation best suits your skin best in our science of foundation article.


How to apply foundation

1. Warm it up

You’ve likely seen makeup artists using the back of their hands like a canvas or paint palette. Not only does the skin on the back of your hand closely (although not exactly) mimic the tone and texture of the skin on your face, by applying foundation – or any liquid or gel-based makeup – onto your skin, it warms the product up. This makes it easier to work with and means it will sit better on the skin.

What’s more, working from a bead of foundation on the back of your hand, rather than pumping it directly onto a brush or sponge, helps you to control how much product you use; allowing you to build it more gradually for a smoother, more even finish.

2. Try before you buy with foundation samples

When selecting a shade of foundation, always test in natural light on the jawline – your face and neck should match! The lighting in shops, and even in your home, can often be too yellow to show you an accurate shade result and testing on the back of your hand isn’t an exact match to the skin on your face.

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A number of online brands, high-street stores and beauty counters offer small sample pots meaning you can try a foundation before buying. This allows you time to make sure the shade is correct and the foundation suits your skin. Never be afraid to ask for samples and don’t feel pressured into buying makeup from counters. The assistants are there to help. Take your time – it’s your money and your face!

3. Apply sparingly

Foundation should be used sparingly and only where needed. Don’t feel like you have to cake your face in product to get the desired look. In fact, if find that you need to apply it to your whole face to get an even base then you’re using the wrong shade.

4. “Bounce” foundation with a wet beauty blender

There are pros and cons to using brushes and your fingers to apply foundation, but if you’re after an air-brushed, consistent and natural-looking finish, a beauty blender or cosmetic sponge is the most professional way to go.

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Make sure you dampen the blender or sponge first. This is absolutely key. The water causes the sponge to swell making it less “thirsty”. This means it not only absorbs less product from the back of your hand – helping you control how much you use and ultimately saving you money – the water helps the foundation melt into the skin as you bounce the sponge across your face.

This improves coverage and stops excess product sitting on top of the skin.  Never drag or rub the sponge on your skin as this will leave streaks. Remember to clean your beauty blender at least once a week to avoid germs and bacteria forming.

5. Don’t be afraid to mix your foundation

As your skin changes with the seasons, you may find your favourite foundation no longer looks its best at certain times of the year, or when it’s your time of the month, and mixing your foundation is a simple way to freshen your look and tackle temporary problem areas.

Mixing foundation with facial oils or moisturisers suited to your skin will hydrate and brighten the skin as well as provide coverage, for example. Mixing with liquid highlighters will provide a dewy look.

By combining foundation with some of your other favourite skincare products, it can also make the foundation go further, saving money in the long run.

When looking how to apply foundation, it’s all about experimenting and knowing the look you want. If it looks good and you feel confident, you’ve done the job.


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