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Step-By-Step Tips For Flawless Foundation Application

Step-By-Step Tips For Flawless Foundation Application

Now that face mask restrictions have been lifted around the country, it’s time for makeup to become a part of our daily routine once again! With no more masks to blame for our blotchy, smudged face makeup, it’s time to step up our game. 

The first step and base layer for all makeup looks is foundation. The way that your foundation looks on your skin can really make or break your overall makeup looks, so it’s vital that it’s applied correctly. 

After years of experimenting with makeup (and slowly becoming beauty-obsessed), I can now share with you all the things I have discovered about foundation and how it should be applied. This includes what types of foundation to use based on your skin type, the best makeup brushes, and tips on foundation application. So, here is a step-by-step guide on what foundation you should be using and how to correctly apply foundation for a flawless, airbrushed look. 

Best Foundation Makeup By Skin Type 

Foundation is such an important step in any makeup routine, so it’s vital that you’re using the correct type of foundation for your skin type. Everyone’s skin is different, and foundation is a great way to perfect your makeup looks based on what your skin needs the most.  

Here are the types of foundations you should be using based on your skin type: 

Dry Skin

For those who suffer from dry skin, using a hydrating foundation is key. While you may be hesitant to layer any makeup on top of dry, flaky skin, it can actually be a huge help. I suggest opting for sheer or medium coverage water-based formula (high coverage, heavy makeup is more likely to look cakey on top of dry skin). Water-based liquid foundations will do the best job at hydrating your dry skin, resulting in smooth, moisturized skin! 


Makeup Brush Tip: This tip completely changed the foundation game for me, and I recommend this for anyone applying foundation. Use a beauty blender or makeup sponge WET when applying makeup to your face (this goes for liquid and powder). Especially for those with dry skin trying to avoid the “cakey” look, running your sponge under water (and squeezing a few times to really soak the sponge) will make all the difference in natural, flawless foundation application. Use the sponge to press the foundation into your skin (rather than smoothing it around) is the best method. 

Oily Skin 

If you have oily skin like I do, you’ll want to look for a mattifying foundation (look for words like ‘matte,’ ‘oil control,’ or ‘shine-free’). An oil-free formula is essential, so be sure to find those words somewhere on your foundation bottle, as well. Those with oily skin can also try out a powder foundation, which will absorb the oil your skin produces throughout the day for a velvety texture all day long. 

Makeup Brush Tip: Whatever you do, don’t apply makeup to your face with your fingertips if you have oily skin. Even if your hands are clean, the remaining oils in your fingertips are likely to transfer to your face, adding to the unwanted shine and keeping your makeup from absorbing properly. For oily skin, I recommend using a buffing” brush and applying in circular motions. This will help your skin really absorb your foundation and stay shine-free all day. 

Combination Skin 

Combination skin can make shopping for the right foundation seem like a daunting task. Essentially, you’ll want to combine the suggestions for dry skin and oily skin, above. Look for oil-free moisture, matte finish, and medium coverage. If you have combination skin, I recommend going to the store and testing a few brands out to see how it meshes with your skin (and then head home to buy it online because, well, we all like to hunt for discounts and price drops online, right?). 

Makeup Brush Tip: If you have combination skin, I highly recommend using a “stippling” brush for foundation application. Stippling brushes have 2 distinct lengths, making the application a bit gentler than other brushes. This gentle application method will make it easier to apply your foundation lightly in the places that might get dry, and a bit heavier in places that might get oily. I also recommend applying your foundation in a circular motion when using this type of brush. 

Mature Skin 

Shopping for the best foundation for you can be difficult if you have mature or maturing skin. You’ll want to look for something super lightweight that won’t cake or crease—high coverage formulas will make fine lines and wrinkles even more visible! Those with mature skin should opt for sheer coverage that is super hydrating. Look for words like ‘lightweight,’ ‘hydrating,’ and ‘dewy finish’ for an even, plump look.  

Makeup Brush Tip: If you have mature skin, I recommend applying foundation with either your fingertips (very gently) or a silicone blender. Using your fingers lightly will help your skin absorb your foundation in the places that need lighter coverage. A silicone blender will do the same, and is better used for spots on your face that need more coverage. For those with mature skin, I recommend using small dots of foundation in the places where you need coverage instead of applying makeup on your entire face. 

Step-By-Step Foundation Application


Priming your face is by far the most important step in foundation application. Applying a primer (and letting it absorb/dry for a few minutes) before your foundation will create an even canvas for your foundation and the rest of your makeup. 


Never, ever put your foundation directly on to your face. Not only does this not allow you to control the amount of product you need in certain areas, but it’s also a great way to build up and spread unwanted bacteria. Yuck! Instead, put small amounts of foundation on the back of your hand while you are applying and dip your tool into the foundation, lightly picking up small amounts of product as you go. 


This is an absolute vital step for any foundation routine, even if you have oily skin. I highly recommend soaking your makeup sponge in water OR spraying your brush with primer/setting spray before applying. This will seriously help with absorption and will look so much more natural! 


Take your time when applying your foundation—it’s the most important step in your makeup routine, after all! Apply small amounts at a time, using less or more where it’s needed. 


Once you’re finished, there’s no way you can let all that hard work go to waste! To be sure your foundation stays flawless all day long, lock in your look with a setting powder or setting spray!! 

It’s time to take off those masks and begin showing off your flawless makeup looks once again! These tips will help you achieve a naturally airbrushed look that will last all day. 

About The Author

Kari Emerson

Kari Emerson is a NYC-based blogger and model. She is the writer and creator of The Important Things Blog, chronicling her experiences navigating life as a 20-something in New York City. Her goal is to help her readers attack “adulting” in a stylish and resourceful way.

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