How I Apply Foundation

foundation 1Next up in my series of basic things that absolute baffled me when I first started with make up is how to apply foundation. Foundation is pretty much the base for everything, and it can be weirdly intimidating. There’s so much lingo that I came across when reading about it on the internet that I got kinda overwhelmed. Buffing? Stippling? What does it even mean? I guess I’ll just smear it on my face. Anyways, here’s how I do it now that I’ve figured out what works for me.

DSCN3169I use MAC’s Face and Body foundation in N1 as my go-to foundation. It’s super thin, which I like. I don’t have many blemishes, and mostly just wear foundation to even out my skin tone, so I like using something with light coverage. If you have more troublesome skin, you might prefer something heavier. Either way I definitely recommend going to a make up counter or a store like Sephora to get color-matched if you don’t have a foundation that works for you yet. I guessed terribly when just trying to choose a bottle at the drugstore and having someone with experience look at my skin and give me suggestions (and samples to try out before I buy!) made such a difference. I’ll also include the rest of my basic face make up, Laura Mercier’s Secret Concealer in 1 and MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Light. These are the face productions that I use most days. I apply them with a Real Techniques Buffing Brush, a Sigma F30 Large Powder brush and a Sigma F70 Concealer brush (when I use a brush for concealer. A lot of the time I just use my fingers).

foundation 2First, I start by prepping my skin. For me this just means spritzing it with toner and rubbing in some lotion, but if you have a more involved skin care routine, do it first. Then I squirt about a quarter sized circle of foundation into my palm. If I’m using a thicker foundation with higher coverage, I would use less. I dab the bristles of my brush into the foundation on my palm to lightly cover them. You don’t need to get all the foundation onto the brush at once. I go back and pick up more as I work. Then I very lightly dab the brush all over my face, holding the brush perpendicular to my face. You can see the little dots from the bristles in the close up pictures. This is just to get the foundation spread out evenly-ish, so that I don’t have a ton in one area and nothing somewhere else when I blend.

foundation 3cNow it’s time to blend. Using my brush, which doesn’t have much product left on it, I rub around in circles. I start on my cheeks and circle up and out away from my nose first. Then I work up around my temple, with long strokes to cover the whole area followed by little circles to blend it in. I continue to make small circles across my forehead and down around the other temple. When I get back to the middle of my face, I sweep my brush first up and then down the bridge of my nose. I make some circles around the sides of my nose and then go back and forth up and down the bridge some more. My nose is one of the places where streaks are most prone to showing up, so I spend a lot of time blending here. Then I circle around my chin and mouth, using the same technique I did for my temples and forehead. I bite my lips to the inside of my mouth and go over the edges with the brush. Last, I rub my brush back and forth in semi-circles under my eyes. Most of the time I do my foundation after my eye make up (especially when I’m wearing a lot of eyeshadow), so I have to be careful not to disturb it. After I’ve blended everywhere, I look in the mirror. If there are any streaks (which can happen if I haven’t cleaned my brushes recently), then I just blend them in with my fingers.

foundation 4bNow the foundation is done, but I always have dark circles, so I use concealer to minimize them. I dab my finger very lightly into the pot, because I only need a little bit. I use my finger to smear it beneath my eyes, starting in the middle and sweeping out and down (pretty much following the darkest part of the circles). I use my finger to blend it in. I make sure that I also cover the outer corners of my eyes which tend to be dark as well, and on to the top of my cheeks so there isn’t an abrupt line where the concealer stops. If I have particularly dark circles that day, or if I’m wearing complicated eye make up I don’t want to disturb, then I’ll use a concealer brush. I still apply the concealer with my fingers, I just use the brush to blend it. I use it like a paint brush, stroking down from my lower lashline.

foundation 5cLast, I set everything with powder. I lightly tap my big fluffy powder brush against the powder in the compact. I lightly brush this all over my face. Then pinch the bristles together at the base to make them fan out and brush one side of it against the powder in the compact. I try to pick up any of the dust that has been kicked up. The second time product gets applied more heavily to a smaller part of the brush. I take the fanned out bristles, which I’m still pinching at the base, and pat the powder underneath my eyes where I applied the concealer. I sweep the brush lightly over my face to make sure there’s not extra powder sticking anywhere, and I’m done! I’m ready to apply the rest of my make up.

foundation 6Here’s the before and after. On the left, I’m wearing no make up at all. In the middle, I have on foundation, concealer and powder, just like I showed you in this tutorial. On the right, I’ve added blush, tinted balm, eyeliner, mascara and neutral eyeshadow for a very simple look.

How do you apply your foundation? What other make up basics would you like to see a tutorial on?