The best way to apply foundation for your most flawless skin yet

Selena Gomez

The expert tricks you needed ages ago

Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / July 26 2019

You know the annoying thing about foundation? If you apply it correctly it can turn your skin into a perfectly-even, smooth, dewy little gem; but if you apply it incorrectly, it can be like that annoying kid in school who dobs on everyone, highlighting all your biggest skin concerns. We’re talking settling into fine lines, clinging onto dry skin, slipping off oily skin, caking up blemishes…what fun!

To simplify the whole process and make sure none of us have to deal with a patchy, shiny, heavy mess of a face ever again, we’ve hit up one of Sydney’s top makeup artists Ann Hassarati to find out her tips and tricks on how to apply foundation. 

Check out these makeup steps below:


Prep your skin

Guys, ALWAYS do this. Making sure you start with clean, smooth and hydrated skin will ensure your foundation glides on and blends into the skin for the most natural-looking finish.  

After washing your face with a cleanser that suits your skin type, Hassarati says to exfoliate your skin to help get rid of dead skin and keep it smooth, before reaching for a toner to remove any remaining impurities from the surface of your skin. “Apply an alcohol-free toner to remove excess dirt, traces of oil and makeup, and correct and balance the pH of your skin,” recommends Hassarati. We like Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner.

Next, pat a hydrating eye cream underneath your eyes to prevent caking and plump the eye area, and massage a serum and a lightweight moisturiser over your face to boost your skin’s hydration and smooth the texture of your skin. The key to avoiding that dreaded piling of your foundation? Don’t dive straight into applying your makeup. “Wait a full 15 minutes for everything to sink in before proceeding with your makeup.”


Swipe on some primer

Primers can effectively target different concerns on the face, like minimising pores and mattifying oily skin. “Use a suitable primer to fill in small imperfections, pores, small lines and wrinkles. Primer also helps create a smooth base and can diminish the appearance of an oily T-zone and uneven skin tone,” says Hassarati. “Depending on the type of primer used, this can be applied all over the face to allow the application of foundation to go on more smoothly.”

For a great all-rounder, try Peter Thomas Roth Skin To Die For Mattifying Primer & Complexion Perfector.


Choose the right tools for the look you want

So, is it best to apply foundation with a brush, with a sponge or with your fingers? “It comes down to personal preferences, the level of coverage, and type of finish you desire. I am a brush lover when applying foundation regardless of the type of coverage you wish to achieve,” says Hassarati. “In general, a brush or sponge is a more effective choice as these tools help to blend the product into the skin, producing a flawless overall finish. Sometimes using your fingers to apply foundation can result in the product just sitting on top of the skin and not blending in for even and smooth coverage; not to mention using more product,” she says.

Try: AH Cosmetics F04 Traditional Foundation Brush


Start in the centre and move outwards

According to Hassarati, the best way to apply foundation is to start in the centre of the face and focus on one half of your complexion at a time. “Dab the foundation on the centre of the face, as this is where the most coverage is wanted and needed,” says Hassarati. “Blend foundation on half of the face outwards and upwards, letting the coverage become more sheer towards the outside of the face. Repeat the steps on the other half of the face.” This technique also allows you to build up the coverage evenly: “the foundation would have absorbed nicely on the skin for the second coat,” says Hassarati.

PRO TIP: For the most natural-looking finish, Hassarati says to ditch your powder foundation, cream and stick formulas. “Opt for a liquid foundation, which generally creates a more natural look and lightweight finish. Use a flat-head synthetic brush, as you will find that you use much less product than when you apply [it] with your fingers or sponge. This type of brush creates an airbrushed-like finish with light to medium coverage.”

GOOD TO KNOW: Got the wrong foundation shade? If you need to make foundation lighter, use a wet sponge to apply it (a more-thorough blend helps sheer out the colour) or mix it with moisturiser. To make foundation darker, smooth it on with your fingers (often the shade will seem darker) or blend it with a bronzing liquid before applying.


Set it with a loose powder

“Firstly, make sure you choose the best [setting powder] formula that suits your skin and needs. Meaning, if you want just a sheer dusting of buildable coverage, you would opt for loose powder, which is suitable for all skin types; whereas, pressed powders tend to give skin a fuller and more matte coverage, suitable for oily skin types,” says Hassarati.

“Make sure to tap off the excess first, [and] gently swirl the powder over just the areas that tend to get extra shiny and oily, like your T-zone.”

Try: Charlotte Tilbury Genius Magic Loose Setting Powder


Finish with a makeup setting spray

Ever wondered if you *really* need a makeup finishing spray? Well, it turns out these guys could be just the thing for a flawless finish. “I love a face mist or fixing spray to finish the entire makeup look,” says Hassarati. “Usually these types of sprays are overlooked, but there are so many benefits in using a finishing spray,” she says.  

Many makeup finishing sprays are made with purified water, botanical extracts and oils that work together to emulsify your makeup base products and keep them from looking powdery and cakey. 

Try: Becca Skin Love Glow Shield Prime & Set Mist

Now you know how to apply foundation flawlessly, want to know how to choose a foundation colour? This strange trick will help you find your correct shade.

Do you have any more tips on how to put on foundation? Share with us below.

Main image credit: @hungvanngo

Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.