What's your go-to tool & technique for applying foundation?

I tend to reach for a brush over a sponge (like the beautyblender),
and the ones I like the most are Real Techniques Expert Face (but the quality is lower of them currently, compared to my original one), Hourglass Vanish Foundation Brush, and IT LBD Foundation Brush. I use my fingertips to pat dots of foundation all over my face, and then I take my brush and tap into those dots, then tap across my face to further spread out the product. Then I start buffing gently and patting the foundation into place.

— Christine


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Priscilla Pegg Avatar

I used to love my Artis Oval 8, but it snapped in half after just a year of occasional use. ?. Beware the narrow area just under the brush…. I enjoy the beautyblender and my Clarisonic foundation attachment, too!

Priscilla Avatar

I have the Artis Cleanser spray and microfiber thingy, but honestly I prefer to wash it like I do all my other brushes. BTW, I have the set of Artis brushes and the oval 8 was my favorite. I have the oval 7, too. I like them a lot– I would just recommend being very careful with the handled ones. The palm brush may be just great! IDK.

Daniela Avatar

Thank you! That’s what I wanted to know actually if I could wash them with my regular water and soap method. I don’t doubt they’re amazing cause they look like it but the handles worry me. I think I’ll try the palm brush even if it takes days to dry lol!

Mariella Avatar

No question – Shiseido Foundation Brush. The short handle is a real plus for me as is the smaller size (I can get far better and more even results with a smaller brush surface). I use this wonderful brush for foundation, BB/CC creams, very liquidy “dropper” type foundations – everything!

Macy Avatar

I always use a sponge! I love the beautyBlenders, but if I don’t have one of those on hand, I usually always keep one of the L’Oreal sponges lying around! It really helps to blend the foundation into the skin and pick up any excess product. I find that when I use brushes, it can look really cakey and almost like the foundation isn’t soaking into my skin!

Joan Avatar

I actually have quite a bit of variety on this depending on foundation. I am a big sponge use, but while I love beauty blenders I never use them exclusively. I love the ulta sponge a lot. When I am using a brush I love the it cosmetics heart/love brush or the Marc Jacobs foundation 2. I tend to mix foundation on a palette and then load my brush and do downward strikes to blend in. I don’t tend to buff due to the dryness of my skin, not that I have dry patches always, but I’m weary to take the chance.

Erica Avatar

It depends on the foundation. For my bare minerals loose pigment foundation, I use an elf blurring brush. For most liquids, I use a blender. I don’t care for the Original Beauty Blender or the Real Techniques and have been loving the Loreal Infallible Pro Matte Foundation blender and most recently, the Maybelline Face Studio Blender. When and if I buy the MAC Nourishing Foundation, I only applied that w the real techniques stippling brush. If I’m using a BB Cream, I use my fingers.

Alecto Avatar

I dot the foundation on my face with my fingers and then use a sponge to dab-dab-dab it out. I’ve never been able to use a foundation brush without lifting the inevitable flakes and making them more obvious. Even when my skin seems miraculously flake-free, brushes either create flakes with their rubbing action, or highlight ones I didn’t know I had. Foundation creates a decent barrier between my skin and brushes that I use to apply powder products, so a light hand with brushes after applying foundation is generally no problem, it’s just that initial application to bare skin that’s an issue.

I’m slowly figuring out my skin texture and fragility, and honestly believe that I might be in a position to try brushes again in a few months, but I probably won’t switch back entirely. I’ll likely use some combination of brush to apply and sponge to blend, as I feel like I can get a lighter, thinner layer of foundation with sponges since brushes seem to need more product to work well (IMO).

Lulle Avatar

For the best result I find that I have to adapt my technique to each foundation. My favorite tool is MAC 187 but I find that it doesn’t work great with very runny or thicker foundations. When I use one in these textures I will use a sponge (Real Techniques), or a denser brush (Real Techniques Expert Face, and I agree that they’ve completely changed it!).
I have foundations that look good whatever tool I us, others only look their best if I apply them in a particular way.

CeeBee Avatar

The Spectrum B01 flat top buffing brush for overall application and then a light go over with a damp beautyblender to smooth and blend out under my eyes and around my nose and jawline.

I am trying out that “hack” of a very light dusting of powder over primer before applying foundation to help prevent oiliness and foundation breakdown and so far it seems to be working!

Seraphine Avatar

I have three brushes that I use, depending on which one is clean. My first favorite is Sephora PRO Flawless Airbrush #56. My second favorite is Cover FX Cream Foundation Brush. I especially like the shorter handle. The third brush is MAC #170. This one is extremely dense and harder to clean, so I use it less often.

I dot foundation all over my cheek with my fingers, then “stipple” it out over half of my face using one of the above mentioned brushes, then I buff it into my skin with the same brush. Then I do the other half of my face. I do my nose and forehead third.

I also have used Real Techniques orange sponges, but not very often anymore. Brushes are easier to get really clean.

zeezee Avatar

i use different brushes depending on the density/viscosity of the foundation used.

my bobbi brown cream compact is paired with tom ford foundation brush as it needs something denser to spread it out.

more liquidy foundations like the nars allday luminous are paired with zoeva buffing brush or face shape brush.

Deborah S. Avatar

I almost exclusively use my Artis Oval 8 brush. I dab the foundation around my face and blend in with the brush. I don’t have many foundations that don’t work well with the brush but I will occasionally use a dampened beauty blender that has been sprayed with a primer spray before blending. I use to exclusively use my fingers regardless of the foundation, except powder foundation of course, and I do still like the feeling and control of spreading foundation that way. It is easy to get into the little nooks and crannies!! This question prompted me to think about why I changed from fingers to brushes/beauty blender and I realized it had to do with no longer applying my makeup in front of my bathroom mirror. When my vision got to the point where I needed magnification to see I started putting my makeup on using either a hand held magnifying mirror or my vanity mirror. I didn’t like getting up to wash my hands after applying foundation with my hands and so I switched. Talk about the height of laziness, LOL.

Monica Avatar

I thought it was just me! The RT brush I bought a month or two ago is not as good as the one I previously had. It’s still a good brush, but doesn’t perform as well.

My technique: I pump the foundation onto the back of an old CD (so I don’t have to put it on the back of my hand). Then I dab my brush into it and dot the foundation onto one side of my face. I use patting motions to blend it all in, then I repeat on the other side of my face. Once I’ve done my entire face, I buff in the foundation around my nose, the outside of my face, and down my neck so that everything has been blending in evenly.

Silvia Avatar

Small slanted retangular sponges do it for me. I like a light touch of foundation only to even out redness & little imperfections. I been using instead of primers which I won’t use anymore they all break me out into a few melea. Cera Vé with same sponge under my foundation and they all flow so smoothly. I’m really liking it this way. Need to try using my fingers have never tried it but have thought about it. Simple!

MacKenzie G. Avatar

I use roughly the same methods for spot concealing now that I used to use for foundation, so here we go. I first dot the product on my face (when I used foundation I’d put some on the back of my hand and dab it on with my fingers, now I just dot concealer on with the wand), then blend it out using a beauty sponge. I used to use the Beauty Blender exclusively, but I picked up a Flower Beauty sponge this summer and I’ve been liking it. I’m going to try a B.B. again to see if I notice a difference. I’ve never been able to make my makeup look good using my fingers or a brush. I see nothing but streaks on me. When I (very rarely) use powder foundation, I take my Wet N’ Wild large powder brush, swirl it in the pan, and buff into my face. However, I don’t set my whole face anymore, so I really only do this if I’ve applied too much blush or if I’m trying to set a place where I spot concealed a more noticeable blemish.

Tracey E. Avatar

I use Bobbi Brown Full Face Coverage brush to distribute foundation that I have placed around my face, working from the middle outward. I apply additional foundation to areas that need attention, often blending with my fingers. (I have a separate BB brush for liquid and cream blush and highlighters.) When I travel, I take my Shiseido foundation brush, which is particularly good at applying coverage in precise places (e.g. around the nose).

Anne Avatar

Depending on the finish, I either go for a brush for a more full to medium coverage, or a beauty blender (if I want a sheer look). Brush-wise, I usually go for the Zoeva 110 Face Shape or the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush.

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