How To Apply Foundation? Step by Step Guide!

How do you apply foundation?

Always start by applying your foundation in the middle of your face and work your way out. Find the right makeup tool that will give you the results you want from a foundation. A foundation can be applied exactly as you want with your fingers, makeup sponge and makeup brushes in all its forms.

Apply foundation in the best way – Step by step

It can be a little tricky sometimes to get the perfect base with a foundation. Start by choosing the foundation that meets your needs and desires for the result you want, it is also important that it suits your skin type.

Below I will go through how to apply your foundation in the best way.

1. The reason

As with everything else, it is important that you do a good preparation before applying your foundation.

By doing a good preparatory work, I mean that you have a good skin care routine, it will make your foundation sit well and look better.

Always have a moisturized skin before you start putting on make-up. Let your skin cream sink properly into the skin for a few minutes before you start applying makeup.

Then apply a primer or setting spray all over your face, it will smooth the skin and make your pores smaller.

A primer also makes your makeup adhere better. There are primers for different skin types, let the primer sink in a bit before continuing.

2. Choose the right makeup tool

Choose the make-up brush / make-up tool that suits the result you want, is it a comprehensive result or a more light and natural result you want?

The fingers are also excellent to use and I use what I use the most. There is no right or wrong.

Apply foundation with your fingers

The advantage of using your fingers is that less foundation is used and this means that your foundation blends in nicely with the face because the hands are warm.

The downside is that you get sticky on your hands. Remember to always wash your hands thoroughly – and feel free to spray them before applying foundation with your fingers on your face.

Apply foundation with makeup brush

The advantage of using a make-up brush / make-up sponge is that you do not have to touch your face and you do not get sticky.

The disadvantage is that a lot of foundation disappears into the make-up sponge or into the make-up brush.

Always make sure to have clean make-up brushes / sponges so you do not add any bacteria to the skin, it can cause you to get a bad skin with pimples and rashes. Also make sure to use a good foundation brush.

Therefore, you should preferably wash your makeup brushes after using them to apply foundation.

Light coverage

If you use your fingers, beauty blender or a make-up brush that does not have such dense straws, you will get a more natural result.

Fully comprehensive

Use make-up brushes that are denser and have shorter straws, it gives a more opaque result.

3. Choose the right amount of foundation

Usually you need less foundation than you think. I usually either dab small dots directly on the face or put a small click on the top of the hand and dip the makeup brush there before I start applying.

4. Work from the inside out

Once you have chosen which makeup brush you want to work with, you start by applying your foundation in the middle of your face and work your way out.

Why you should start in the middle is because it is the parts of the face you want the most coverage on.

5. Buff in – do not paint

Never paint with a foundation brush, it will give you an uneven and spotty result – buff / pat foundation into the skin instead.

Always work from the top down with a foundation brush, it will make your little facial hair less clear.

6. Tone

To get a nice and even result, work with your foundation from the center of your face and tone out towards the ears, hairline and neck.

Always tone your foundation a little down the neck to avoid the classic edge you can get.

7. Fix with pads

When you have finished applying the foundation, you want it to sit there all day. To get it to sit in place and not smear itself, it is good to use a fixing powder.

Take up some powder on a fluffy makeup brush and buff it into the skin or just in the places where you have a tendency to get shiny during the day.

Where you usually get glossy is at the T-zone, the T-zone is the forehead, nose and chin.

8. Avoid looking “cakey” with foundation

To avoid looking “cakey”, you can use a moisture mist or setting spray over the make-up. It makes it blend together nicely and into the skin, it will also make the makeup fit better.

9. Done!

Now you are done with your application of foundation and can continue with the rest of the makeup.

The most common mistakes everyone makes when applying foundation!

1. Selects the wrong TYPE of foundation:

Remember to try to find a foundation that suits your skin. If you are dry, I do not recommend everything for matte products, as there is a risk that you look drier.

Feel free to choose someone who gives a little extra moisture and nutrition and maybe a little more luster.

If you have oily skin, try to find a foundation that is water-based and not oil-based.

Try to think about how you want your foundation to provide for finish and opacity in the end.

2. Application in low light:

When you stand and put on make-up in poor lighting, it is sometimes difficult to see if you have missed certain parts, or maybe even choose the completely wrong color for your foundation (see next point).

Maybe you have a strip with foundation right by the jaw that you have not seen .. And it is very clear when you come out in daylight (Woops!), Been there, done that!

Everyday tip: Do you have poor lighting in the bathroom or the room you put on make-up in?

Take a small mirror and go to a window, if it is still daylight, then you can check the makeup.

Another tip is to buy a lamp with daylight (type 5500 Kelvin).

3. Wrong COLOR on your foundation:

This is a common problem. For which color should you really choose? You first need to locate if your skin goes more to a pink, yellow or a more neutral tone.

After that, choose the degree of darkness foundation. In the summer, it may be that you need a slightly darker foundation as you may get a little browner in the skin.

While in the winter, you may need to use a lighter variant. When I choose foundation, I always test the color of the front of the jaw (but next to the chin) to achieve a good tone.

Many can be a little red on the chin, so you should not test there. Let the foundation sit for a few minutes to see how it goes in – sometimes it can shift slightly from how it first looks as it can react to the skin.

Do you have several tones to choose from? Then draw a few lines with the different shades next to each other and the one that becomes most invisible is the one you should choose!

If you find it difficult, do not hesitate to get help from the stores’ makeup artists!

4. Apply to old make-up:

ALWAYS apply to clean skin if you want a nice result.

Old makeup that has not been properly cleaned tends to make your makeup dull and flammable.

And not only that, your skin can become clogged again and get blemishes. Big NoNo!

5. Choose a foundation to get a tan:

Never use a foundation because you want to look browner!

It just looks dirty. Choose the right tone for your skin, and then use bronzer to get a sun-kissed look!

6. Uses too much product:

Rather use a small amount of foundation when applying and see how much it covers. If you want a little more coverage on certain parts, you can go over with a little more, or use concealer.

It is very easy for it to look too cakey and dirty if you use too much product at one and the same time. The risk of streaks and flaming makeup increases!

7. Product in the hairline and eyebrows:

This is common when Evelina looks at other people’s make-up. Be careful to apply foundation to the hairline and eyebrows.

Especially if you have lighter hair. It is immediately visible if you have used too much product. The same applies if you have dark hair with lighter skin.

Then it can easily look like you get grayish hairline or eyebrows.

If you happen to get a little in the eyebrows or hairline, take a slightly damp towel and bathe as much as possible.

How to apply makeup with your fingers

Applying makeup with your fingers is rather an emergency option. A lot of makeup will stick to your fingers.

Not to mention that we all have a tendency to smear makeup.

But it does not work, but only means that the make-up does not remain and that you also destroy the actual layers on the base of the make-up.

The only correct procedure is to hit / shoot!


There is no right or wrong way to apply your foundation, the most important thing is that you have a good foundation to apply it to and the right color and foundation for your skin type.

So a good skin care and a good primer are essential to make your foundation look good.

Apply your foundation with your fingers for a natural look or with a makeup brush with denser straws for a more opaque look.


M Kajita. (2021). Basic Research on How to Apply Foundation Makeup Evenly on Your Own Face

D Guo. (2009). Digital face makeup by example

J Park. (2018). An automatic virtual makeup scheme based on personal color analysis

N Bhatia. (2020). A split-face, controlled study to assess the compatibility of tretinoin 0.05% acne lotion with facial foundation makeup


This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policies.

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