December 13, 2020

12 Tips to Consider Prior to Applying Foundation

How to Apply Foundation to Your Face

Foundation makeup is the literal foundation of your overall makeup look. You need to put your best beat forward if you want to go out feeling as good as you already look. If you’re new to makeup and need some guidance or are a budding makeup artist looking for a technical process, here are our 12 makeup application tips for a flawless foundation finish.

1. Know Your Look

Do you love bold lips and eyeliner so sharp it could slice bread? Or do you vibe with a dewy fresh face a la TikTok influencer? Find out what inspires you so you have an idea of what you want from your foundation.

2. Know Your Skin Type

You can’t learn how to apply foundation if you don’t know the face you’re working with. Consider whether your skin is sensitive, dry, normal, oily, or maybe even a combination of a couple. You can determine this from how it feels on a day-to-day basis, or how it reacts with different products and sweat.

3. Choose the Right Formula

Now that you know your skin type and what you want from your foundation, you can choose the right formula. Do you want to apply foundation to receive coverage for acne, scars, discoloration, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, or wrinkles? From tinted moisturizers to powder foundation, there’s definitely something out there to fit you.

Tinted Moisturizer

For any skin type, a tinted moisturizer is great for sheer coverage with a hint of tint. It’s for when you want your skin to breathe but you still want a little something on.

BB Cream

Blemish or beauty balm cream—a Korean beauty staple—is just like a tinted moisturizer, but can also include blemish correctors, anti-aging serums, SPF protection, and more. Perfect for those days when your skin needs some love but you want to feel put together.

CC Cream

Like BB Cream, color correcting creams also contain anti-aging benefits. CC cream just adds slightly more color for fresh-faced evenness. Although it’s generally used more as spot color correction, it can be used for the whole face following our color selection tips.

Whipped Foundation

Whipped or mousse foundation is just air whipped into liquid foundation. It’s good for all skin types: particularly those with dry or mature skin because of its lighter, more weightless feel.

Liquid Foundation

If you want basic coverage, liquid foundation is your best bet. Ranging from light to full coverage, liquid foundation works on generally all skin types. However those with oily, acne-prone, and dry skin should look for oil-free, non-acnegenic (non-comedogenic), and moisturizing foundation respectively for the best-personalized results.

Cream Foundation

For normal, dry, and mature skin: cream foundation provides medium-full coverage on hyperpigmentation, scars, age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Stick Foundation

A great fuss-free foundation option for coverage, stick foundation is applied to the face by turning the product out of a tube. Since the formula is denser, it’s better suited for normal to oily skin and provides medium to full coverage on hyperpigmentation, scars, age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Cream to Powder Foundation

The best for normal skin, this foundation goes on as a cream and dries as a powder for fewer steps in your makeup routine. Foundation coverage is typically more than liquid but less than stick and cream. Note: it can come out cakey if applied too heavily.

Powder Foundation

Easy and convenient, powder foundation is great for those with oily skin who want a lightweight, matte appearance.

Mineral Powder Foundation

Similar to powder foundation, mineral powder is a great option for makeup users who want natural and organic options. However, it is a little bit messier than regular powder as it requires a sifter within its compact.

4. Choose the Right Foundation Color

To feel your best, your makeup needs to be a reflection of yourself. Not the two-shades-off-color version of yourself. Start with your undertone: are you warm, cool, or neutral?

Know Your Undertones

Warm undertones are yellow or peach. Cool undertones are blue, pink, or red. Neutral is when you have both undertones present. People with warm undertones tend to have olive-green veins, look flattering in gold jewelry, and get darker in the sun. People with cool undertones have blue-purple veins, look flattering in silver jewelry, and burn more easily in the sun. Experience both? Then you’re most likely neutral.

Two Colors Are Better Than One

When you’re at the store, grab multiple foundation shades similar to your skin tone. If you’re looking for tips on how to use foundation, we recommend applying each makeup color. The color that disappears best into your skin is the foundation for you. Remember: your skin color changes every couple of months. Get the two shades closest to your tone to mix and match you perfectly in any season.

5. Prep Your Skin

Your foundation will look the best when your skin does too. Exfoliate your face at least once a week to remove any dirt and dead skin. Use a cleanser daily to clean any gunk out of your pores. Your foundation can’t be B – L – E – N – D – E – D if it can’t stay in place on your face. Follow that with a moisturizer to hydrate your skin and help it hold the foundation makeup. You can end your makeup prep there or add a layer of primer to smooth your skin texture.

 6.  Application Tools

Now that you’ve got your foundation products and your skin’s glowing from the inside out, you’ll need to decide on an application tool or two so you know how to apply foundation with it. Be sure to thoroughly wash your tools or it could lead to acne breakouts, poor foundation application, and in some cases, faster tool breakdown.


Believe it or not, using your fingers is a great way to warm your foundation and really apply it the way you want to!


The easiest tip to follow to achieve flawless foundation application is to purchase a makeup brush with the correct texture and shape. Use a tapered brush for liquid foundation, angled for contouring, flat kabuki for optimal blending, or stippling for powder.

A quality makeup brush can give you a flawless foundation application with minimal effort. Tapered for liquid foundation, angled for contouring, flat kabuki for optimal blending, stippling for powder, and so on.


Your best friend for smooth, well-blended foundation application, sponges go with generally any type of foundation formula. They can be used wet or dry depending on how much coverage and blending you prefer.

7. Know Your Lighting

Where you apply your makeup is just as important as where you’re going with it on. When it comes to the lighting used for your foundation makeup application process, natural daylight is always best. Otherwise, avoid fluorescent lights and use warm, white LED lights. Pro tip: invest in a light-up mirror so all your admirers see is flawless foundation coverage when you’re up close and personal.

8. General Application Techniques

The holy grail of makeup tips: less is more. Your foundation should enhance your features so you feel good, not try to change them. Start by dotting some on your face only where you need it, and applying a small amount on both your cheeks, forehead, and chin. Apply the foundation in a stippling or circular motion spread it. This will avoid streaking. If you want a little more coverage, gradually add more until it’s right for you. After that, use your tool to blend your foundation from the center of your face to the outside of it. Use tapping and patting motions so it really looks like your skin. Now your face is beat to the gods and you’re ready to handle anything.

9. Consider Your Ears, Neck, and Chest

Apply and blend the foundation makeup from your face down your neck to keep your skin tone consistent. If you’re going out with a cute strappy top, you may want to use a little foundation or bronzer on your chest. Do your ears get red when you travel during the winter? An easy tip to eliminate redness is to dab a small amount of foundation on your ears. But you can totally rock no transition foundation in these places too. Makeup is for fun self-expression, not just to hide the tan lines everyone has!

10. Consider Concealer

If even the foundation couldn’t cover those (designer) eye bags or other unwanted facial marks, you can always dab a little concealer over them. Make sure to only tap it in when blending so it doesn’t move the foundation! If you still see any unwanted spots afterward, don’t sweat it. Trust us: your bad self still looks good.

11. Set It

Make sure your foundation stays put by dusting it with a light setting powder. Tap a fluffy brush in the powder and on the edge of the compact afterward to shake off any excess. Then, lightly sweep it across your face. Feel free to pat more on areas that tend to get oily.

12. Spray it

After applying your flawless foundation and any additional eye or lip makeup, it’s time to set your look (yes, set it again!). This time, use a setting spray to lock in your makeup and give yourself a kiss in the mirror on the way out because you’re ready to go!

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Looking to learn more in-person on the foundations of makeup? Pivot Point Academy offers an 84-hour MUD Makeup program. Our Make-Up Designory program is filled with essential beauty courses led by certified instructors combining traditional and trendy techniques. Learn about facial analysis, contouring, color theory, highlighting, and eyeshadow to ensure flawless application, radiant color, and long-lasting wearability. Whether you want to jumpstart your makeup career or effortlessly slay your everyday look, enroll in our program and earn your Level I Make-Up certification.

750-Hour Esthetician Program Offered By Pivot Point Academy

We know what it’s like to not just like makeup, but love it. The esthetician program at Pivot Point Academy is designed to help beauty buffs like you master moderate and advanced concepts and skills in skincare, make-up, and beauty. Located in Bloomingdale, Illinois, our school is partnered with the International Dermal Institute to provide students interactive educational in-person and video resources for their journey from makeup lovers to gurus.

Inclusive of our 84-hour MUD program and Level I Make-Up certification, our three-phased, 750-hour esthetician program creates skilled professionals ready to dive into the beauty industry face first. On the other hand, our 1500-hour cosmetology program is designed to enhance your hairstyling techniques and skills. Immerse yourself in a world of beauty and request more information. If you have any questions about our beauty programs, give us a call at (847) 985-5900.