Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Beauty Discovered

Makeup & Beauty Tips on How to Apply Liquid Foundation

Share your best tips and tricks for flawless application of liquid foundation!  Feel free to share your experiences, how you mastered techniques, or what you struggle with.

Temptalia’s Tips

  1. Moisture your skin well; the better the real base, the better everything applies on top of that.  Give your moisturizer some time to absorb and sink in before applying anything on top of it.
  2. I like spritzing either my face or my foundation brush with a bit of water, which helps to sheer out the liquid foundation and give it added slip.  I find that we don’t need nearly as much foundation as we think, so it helps make any foundation sheerer and then enables me to go back over areas that need more coverage with without putting too much on everywhere.
  3. I like to give my foundation a few minutes to set before applying a finishing or setting powder on top, because this helps to keep the powder from sticking too much in any area (in the event that an area is slightly wet still) and minimizes any powderiness from application of setting/finishing powders later on.

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33 thoughts on “How to Apply Liquid Foundation – Tips & Tricks

  1. ElKay

    I have dry skin and find that a damp beauty blender works best for me. I put a few dots of foundation on my well moisturized skin and dab it around with the beauty blender.

  2. Laura

    For medium to full coverage foundations, I basically use the same technique. I prefer to use my fingers for foundations with lighter coverage, buffing away streaks or uneven areas with a soft, fluffy brush.

  3. SheDaisy

    I use all my foundations with my beauty blender. I moisturize soon before and realize a primer works wonders for me (combo skin). I can use even the trickiest foundations with the blender sponge. I’ve really likes how photos have turned out since I started fiddling with my foundation routine. I used to think it was all about eyes and never did foundation for years, eek!

  4. Mariella

    I have a question…powder before applying blush or after? And does this differ for cream blushes vs powder ones? I generally apply powder blush after foundation, mostly because I’m just on auto-pilot more than anything else and also because I don’t always use powder but I wonder what the consensus is among readers here.

    • Lydia

      I apply foundation, then setting powder, then powder blush/bronzer. I find that having a light layer of powder over my foundation helps the blush go on smoother. With cream blush, I set with powder at the very end.

    • xamyx

      For me, it depends on the blush. With heavily pigmented/brighter blushes, I powder first; if it’s a product that applies more sheerly, I’ll apply over foundation. Also, if I need more “staying power”, I’ll apply blush over foundation, powder, then go over lightly with what remains on the brush.

      With contour colors, I tend to apply over foundation, then powder over to blend/diffuse product. Then, highlight over powder.

      Again, this is what works for me, and as long as the powder blush doesn’t get streaky or cakey over the foundation, I don’t think it matters, and is more of a preference.

    • Gina

      I like to apply setting powder before powder blush. I do this because if there’s a spot where my foundation is still a bit tacky, it can make the blush apply unevenly. But if it’s cream blush, I apply setting powder after.

    • The general rule is liquid/cream before powder – applying liquid/cream over powder tends to not work. The main thing to go by, though, is what works best for you! One time, try blush before powder on one cheek, and blush after powder on the other. See which works out better!

  5. Mariella

    Christine, this is totally off-topic and I keep meaning to ask but forgetting to do so. Has the capability for readers of the site to add “dupes” in the “Dupe List” section been removed? I can’t see it anywhere and I’m wondering if you’re maybe thinking of phasing out the Dupe List (a few dupes I suggested more than a year ago still aren’t there).

    • Hi Mariella,

      It’s in the process of being revamped – in order for anything to be added, I have to go through it manually line by line to format, verify names, and the like – and I just haven’t had the time to go through any recent additions.

      • Mariella

        Thanks for your reply. It’s good to know that it’s going to be revamped. I’m at the point where I have so many eye shadows (and the desire to add more never seems to stay away for very long), to say nothing of blushes and lipsticks, that having the Dupe List really helps me sort through whether I need a certain product or can live without it.

  6. A couple of tips I’ve received from different makeup artists that have served me well:

    – Different foundations apply better with different methods. Some are more easily smoothed out with a brush whereas others react better to being warmed up on the hands. It’s always a good idea to play around with any formulation to figure out what works best.

    – Using a brush to buff any product into the skin a little makes it look more natural, smoother and makes it less prone to transfer. I absolutely love UD’s Optical Blending Brush for this purpose.

  7. Use the right application tools! Once I started doing this, it made a huge difference. Instead of using a flat foundation brush, I now use a stippling brush which works wonders.

  8. Omta

    I mix MAC’s strobe liquid or a light moisturizer to keep it sheer and glowing.

  9. Erin

    I love mixing my urban decay naked foundation with laura mercier tinted moisturizer. IT imparts a lovely glow, sheers it out a little, and makes it creamier and easier to spread around. It also keeps you more hydrated throughout the day.

  10. xamyx

    I apply with a paddle brush or sponge, and then blend with my fingers. I also tend to use sheer, light-coverage foundations, so this is what I find works best.

    When I use a stick foundation, or something like Revlon ColorStay, I apply in smaller areas at a time, and blend with a damp sponge, or fingers.

    Regardless of formula, I *always* moisturize & apply sunscreen first, do other things for a solid 15-20 minutes, then apply foundation. Even if it’s simply choosing what clothes or other makeup to wear, getting dressed, or eating, I always make sure that time is used doing something, and I’m not losing out on 20 minutes of sleep.

    Regularly exfoliating is important as well, even if you have oily skin. Just find a product that is compatible with your skin type.

  11. I personally think a wet sponge gives the most natural-looking effect. I always use my beauty blender. I make sure that it’s damp, then put some foundation on the back of my hand, get a few dots on the sponge and start bouncing away on my face :-) I never directly apply the product on my face, always on the sponge first.

  12. kari

    i would say that i have normal-dry skin, where it’s most dry on my cheeks, nose, and middle of my forehead. i’ve tried different ways to apply liquid foundation but it still always appears cakey in those areas. i use a moisturizer, then one of tarte’s primers before applying. i either apply it with my fingers or a flat paddle foundation brush, then i go back and use a flat topped brush [not a stippling brush] to try to buff it in but nothing works. so i’ve all but given up on liquid foundation which is sad because i love the way it looks. does anyone have any more tips? :\

    • Laura

      Are you exfoliating regularly? I also have dry skin, so I make sure I exfoliate every weekend. I also moisturize very well before any make up. You can also put the foundation on the back of your hand, and then spritz it with water, swirl it around, and then apply.

      • xamyx

        Are you using a primer? That can help, as well. Sometimes, instead of plain water, I’ll spritz my brush (or directly on my face) with a bit of Rosewater & Glycerin. You may also consider trying different foundations by picking up several different samples (if you haven’t already); what may work for the masses may not be right for you. There may also be some key ingredients that are excerbating the dry patches. HTH

        • kari

          i use one of tarte’s primers if/when i wear liquid! i’ve gotten samples of high end foundations from sephora [i.e kat von d, ud, etc] and then i have drugstore ones like revlon and rimmel that i thought would work. sadly, they all do the same in the same areas :\ the rosewater and gylcerin idea sounds [hopefully] promising so i’ll give that and normal water a go. thanks!

      • kari

        what kind of exfoliator did you use? just any kind of face exfoliator? i never thought about trying that, so thanks!

        • monica

          I used to have the same problem but I got a Mario Badescu face scrub I loooove. The Kiwi gives your skin a nice glow, the Strawberry is stronger. I like chemical exfoliants more than face scrubs.

    • Veronica

      I have similar problems with very dry skin in the winter months, and I really recommend Clinique’s Dramatically Different moisturizer for anybody with the same problem. I use it at night before I go to bed, along with Bare Escentuals SPF formulation during the day. It’s really helped to clear up the dry patches I get on cheeks occasionally. :)

  13. Grizzabella

    I always apply liquid foundations with a brush and I prime the brush with, well, face primer. That way, the brush doesn’t absorb all the foundation and it ensures smooth (and never overdone) application.

  14. I like to apply my foundation to each section of my face one at a time… because the foundation I’m currently using dries quickly, I make sure to do small sections to properly blend it.

  15. Audrey

    I really struggle with getting foundation to look right on me. I usually just use powder because it looks more natural to me, but right now my skin is just too dry for that.

    I’ve tried moisturizing my skin first, applying primer, mixing in moisturizer, spraying UD setting spray or MAC Fix+ after I’m done, using hands/brushes/sponges/beautyblender and all sorts of foundations from Maybelline to Chanel. No matter what I try, liquid foundation just seems to sit on my skin…like it never really meshes together into “one” skin (and, yes, I blend well!). I just hate the look of liquid foundation on me, and I wish I could get it right.

  16. monica

    First I make sure my face is moisturized and everything has sunk in. Then depending on how much coverage i need, i mix in some korres vitamin E primer to sheer it out. Then I use a buffing brush to really work it into my skin. I find that less is really more when my skin is clear.

  17. I moisturise well, give it time to sink in then use my fingers to apply foundation. I find I get the best finish and use the least product doing it that way. I used brushes for ages but switched to fingers recently as it suits my skin better.

  18. I exfoliate on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and try to remember to put on moisturizer whenever I can. I usually put on primer, concealer, cover stick, foundation, powder, a little more cover stick if need be, and some cream blush.

  19. Sandra JT

    For any foundation to apply well, you’ve got to be really looking after your skin. I’ve got oily/breakout prone skin. I regularly exfoliate using Noevir Quick Recovery Mask (twice a week; this is an exfoliating scrub/mask that gets rid of everything like dead skin buildup/clogged pores/flakiness/breakouts & allows all other skin care products to go as deep as possible). I also use a glycolic acid & lactic acid moisturizer, as well as Isomers Retiniacin retinol serum (amazing stuff), and at least once a week use a HEAVY moisturizer all over my face – Monave’s Rose Daily Moisture Cream. I also alternate between using a creamy, oil based cleanser & Noevir’s 99 Gentle Foaming Cleanser. This is what keeps my skin in its best condition year round. Without this effort, liquid foundation especially looks terrible on my skin.

    I never EVER use silicone based primers. Because I moisturize my skin properly, using oil based moisturizers, my skin usually doesn’t get extremely oily anymore. Except around that time of the month. Then I use Nurturing Force Blot Out Offensive ‘primer’, which seriously controls oil under any type of foundation. An incredible product for those with oily skin. It can be found at Camera Ready Cosmetics for around $25.

    On ‘normal’ liquid foundation days: I cleanse/moisturize at least 30 minutes before applying foundation. I use an OIL BASED moisturizer (Monave’s, as above). This keeps my oily skin from going into overdrive producing oil all day. Right before foundation application, I lightly mist my entire face with a hyaluronic acid mist (Isomers), which for me keeps my skin balanced all day & helps everything apply smoothly & evenly to my skin.

    I then pump out my liquid foundation onto my stainless steel mixing palette, dab my synthetic, densely packed, round foundation brush into my product lightly & use my palette to distribute it more evenly throughout the bristles.

    I start by stippling it on the center of my face, then buffing/blending it out towards the edges of my face. I load my brush again – lightly – and continue. This is just one thin layer. Once I’m done blending it all out past my jaw line, I go back over any larger areas that might need a bit of extra coverage, and ONLY those areas. If my foundation alone isn’t enough to cover some smaller areas without caking it on, I instead take a small, flat brush & dab a tiny bit of extremely pigmented concealer over those very small areas (Kryolan Dermacolor).

    I let this sit for about 10 minutes while I get dressed, then lightly mist my face again, then use a round, non latex sponge to press 100% pure silk powder – or Kett’s setting powder (which is primarily calcium carbonate & soaks up stupid amounts of oil & is completely invisible) – into my skin, over my entire damp face. Then lightly mist again to kill any chance of a powdery looking face.

    I then very lightly powder only the areas I’ll be applying powder blush, bronzer or contouring powder so it goes on as smoothly as possible. If I’m using cream products for blush/bronzer/etc, I apply my powder after the cream products. I usually end with one last light misting.

    I find that this process keeps my foundation in place all day, despite the fact that my skin is oily, and the few extra minutes it takes to apply results in me never having to touch my foundation up through the day. I might just have to blot once. I never use silicone primers because firstly, they break me out; secondly, my foundation winds up sliding around my face all day; lastly, it causes my skin to not only produce more oil, but to get flaky & bumpy. Which totally negates all the time & effort I put into looking after my skin.

    I’ve also found that 100% pure silk powder to be the best ever setting powder for all types of skin. It balances oily, normal, dry & combination skind. Find a wholesaler that sells to soap makers or natural skin care product makers to buy that. It’s very cheap in comparison to commercially manufactured face powders (about $2/ounce), it’s free of chemicals & preservatives and is actually good for your skin as it contains amino acids & absorbs/reflects the sun’s rays.

    Will be using mostly my mineral foundation that I’ve mixed silk powder into once it actually warms up outside.

  20. Mayesha

    Just tried this today.. Makes such a huge difference. Hated liquid foundation but i think now i have to add it to my face routine. thanks love!