How to Apply Liquid Foundation

By on

Seeing as foundation is really the foundation of your base makeup (pardon the cheese), I cannot stress enough how important it is to get it done right. This is how we’ll achieve a flawless base.

The worst thing I see, and I unfortunately see it often, is women wearing a foundation color that does not match their skin. The obvious mistakes are too light or too dark, but some women don’t balance their undertones correctly which makes the foundation visible and noticeable. Generally undertones are pink or violet for lighter skin; yellow, golden, or olive for medium skin; and orange or red for darker skin; and I understand it can be quite difficult to determine them, especially if you have multiple undertones which is common. So if you do have difficulty, I would recommend going to one of the department stores or any of the stores that allow you to try before you buy, and play around with different shades and undertones. And we all know how bad the lighting in those stores can be (and how distorted they can be in the cosmetics section), so borrow a mirror from one of the counters and take it outside in the natural sunlight. That is the best test for seeing if your foundation matches your skin. Once you found a match for your skin, either you can get a good sense of your shade and tone from the name of the foundation (depending on the line you’re trying), or you can simply ask one of the counter reps to tell you about your shade. And of course, once you’re equipped with that knowledge, you can look for your color at any department store or drugstore, for Beauties on a Budget.

Now we need play around with applicators and find our perfect weapon. Personally, I refuse to use any tools besides my brush and my best tools (my hands)- foundation brushes are generally synthetic and the head looks very similar to an artist paintbrush, the bristles are flat and tapered at the top. But, I’ve seen plenty of women apply their foundation with disposable sponges or even entirely with their fingertips. Sponges will absorb a lot of the product, too much if you ask me, so that’s why I stay away from them. There are also sanitary issues if you use them multiple times, as bacteria can grow in the sponge between uses. Using your fingertips alone has its dis- and advantages. Ad: the heat of your fingertips assists in warming up the product, allowing you to blend much easier. Dis: it makes a mess if you’re not careful, and it doesn’t quite give you the almost airbrushed type look that applying with a brush does.

Now let’s begin. And again, we have choices. Most foundations come with a screw top, so how to get it from the bottle to your face? You can either tip the bottle slightly and rub your brush against the product as it slowly comes out, you can pour a bit onto a mini palette and work off of there, or you can pour a bit on the back of your hand and use your hand as your palette (again, receiving the benefits of the warmth of your body making the product easier to blend). My personal choice is tipping the bottle, only because when I’m doing my face I’m usually switching back and forth between my face and my hair and therefore like to keep things clean. Whichever you choose, remember that it is a liquid, and to tip with control and caution.

As with all things being applied to our face, we start with a thin layer and build if necessary. It is always easier to add than it is to take off, and applying a small amount of foundation at a time will allow us to achieve a much more natural and luminous look, rather than it being cakey or too heavy. Start on one side in the middle of the face, where the side of your nose meets your cheek, and work your way out towards your ear (you’ll use less foundation this way). Do the same on the other side, using light handed and quick strokes, blending the product into the skin until it disappears. When you do your chin, a lot of people don’t know when to stop and either bring it too low (which can lead to horrible things in the wrong climate) or too high (which allows the world to see the work you have done very clearly). Continue below the jawline to ensure a smooth transition. And when doing your forehead, start in between the eyes and brush in the direction of your hairline.

Ensure there aren’t any spots that are heavier than other areas, and if there are, don’t panic. Either you can blend with your fingers, removing some of the product as it moves, or you can remove it with a tissue or clean sponge. Just don’t try blending it or removing it with the foundation brush you were using to apply the product because that will simply make matters worse. When we’re all nice and even, we’re ready for the next step!

Natasha Kohli