Learning how to apply liquid foundation is an essential tool to add to your arsenal of beauty basics. Regardless of your skin type, applying liquid foundation to achieve that flawlessly glowing base is a must-know for every makeup maven.
But there’s more to liquid foundation application than just technique — read on to learn more about prepping skin for makeup, selecting the right tools, shades, and foundation finishes, and some beauty tips and tricks to make sure your liquid foundation helps you create that flawless complexion you crave.
Selecting The Right Liquid Foundation For Your Skin Type
Why choose liquid foundation? Compared to powder foundation, it can be easier to work with — especially if you’re still learning the ropes. You can easily control how much foundation to use or apply, saving you from wasting any product (and looking cakey or dry).1
If you’re in the market for a liquid foundation product, it can be pretty overwhelming once you see all the options available. Aside from obviously selecting the correct foundation shade (something the store associate or an online shade finder tool can help you with), there are two basic things to consider: the formula and the coverage. Both affect the overall foundation finish.
Find The Right Foundation Formula And Type Of Coverage
Read the foundation product label or reviews, and be on the lookout for these terms:
- Oil-Based: Often thicker and more substantial, this type may suit normal and dry skin types.
- Water-Based: This lighter texture foundation might be less likely to aggravate breakout-prone or oily skin.
- Sheer or Light Coverage: This foundation is less pigmented and more suitable for those trying to perfect the “no-makeup” look. It helps let the natural finish or texture of your complexion shine through.
- Medium Coverage: This type of coverage is slightly more pigmented. It’s good for evening skin tone and creating a blank canvas for more makeup.
- Full Coverage: This very pigmented foundation may help perfect your skin tone and help conceal discoloration.2
Making The Most Out Of Mature Skin: Choosing Foundation For Your Unique Needs
Mature skin presents its own set of unique skincare concerns beyond the right shade or finish — so you’ll want to choose your liquid foundation carefully. Whether you’re dealing with discoloration from hyperpigmentation or worrying about foundation settling into fine lines and wrinkles, you can definitely still achieve a flawless finish that still looks like you.
The secret is choosing a lightweight, buildable, foundation with sheer coverage. Look for a water-based foundation or one specifically labeled as “hydrating” with special moisture-boosting ingredients, like hyaluronic acid. This way, you can have a fresh-looking, dewy foundation base that won’t cake and end up accentuating fine lines.3
The Best Tools You Can Use For Perfect Foundation Application
Once you’ve taken both your skin type and needs in mind when selecting your makeup product, you’re well on your way to mastering flawless foundation.
Now, it’s a matter of selecting your method of application. When it comes to liquid bases, you can opt to use either your fingers, a large brush, or a sponge. Each method has its own pros and cons, and there’s no right or wrong choice — it’s best for you to try them all out and find what works best with your technique and foundation formula.
- Hands: Using your fingers to apply foundation helps “warm up” the product, allowing it to blend into your skin more naturally. But, you’ll need a very light hand and a lot of patience — you should give yourself a few extra minutes to let your foundation “sit” and melt into your skin. Also, make sure you always have clean hands.
- Foundation Brush: Avoid porous natural brushes with bristles that may absorb the excess product and result in streaky application. A brush with synthetic bristles helps pick up and distribute your makeup product more evenly across your skin. Experiment with different sizes and styles of brushes, too. Some people prefer a flat foundation brush and a stippling motion, while others may like the more diffused effect of a fluffy powder brush to apply foundation in circulation motions.
- Makeup Sponges: A damp sponge really absorbs your foundation product, and gently dabbing it on your skin may give you the control you need to build the additional coverage you’re after.4
Follow These Steps To Apply Foundation Like A Pro
Once you’ve chosen your liquid foundation and application method, here are the simple steps you need to follow to apply it.
Step 1: Start With A Clean Canvas
Making sure your face is freshly cleansed is important, but it’s also a good idea to start off with well-prepped skin before applying foundation. Massage some of your favorite moisturizer on to help boost your natural glow and keep skin supple — and to help foundation glide on more easily. Remember, beautiful makeup always starts with healthy skin.5
Step 2: Time To Prime
Many people swear by this step. Gently dab on some foundation primer. This product helps combat shine and improve the wear of your foundation, making it particularly useful for those who prefer wearing a full-coverage makeup look and want it to last all day. Primer also helps prevent cakey makeup or foundation from settling into distinct lines of the face. Some primers can also add light-reflecting or illuminating effects to your foundation, helping enhance the overall appearance of the skin.6
Step 3: Apply Foundation With A Light Hand
Regardless of your application method, it’s best to put a dime-sized amount of foundation on the back of your non-dominant hand — sort of how you’d use a paint palette. This helps control how much product you use and it warms the foundation up for application.
Using your fingers, a makeup brush, or a makeup blender sponge, pick up the foundation from the back of your hand, then dab a bit of foundation directly on your face, starting at the places you need it most. Don’t try to apply a full mask of foundation on; rather, stipple and buff it on certain areas to achieve a natural look.7
Step 4: Set Foundation Well
Use a translucent powder and a fluffy brush to help set your foundation in place.
This locks in your makeup base and lets you proceed with the rest of your makeup routine.8
Don’t Fear Foundation
When done right, foundation can really help even out your skin and help you present a flawless-looking visage — even if you’re going for a natural look. With a little practice and the right tools and product, applying foundation can be an effortless — yet essential — part of your beauty routine.