How to Apply Liquid Foundation

Liquid foundation is one of the ficklest products to apply. Ever. Not only is its basic application a chore, but even after you feel like you have a routine down, the smallest hiccup — anything from product buildup on your brush to a stray brush stroke — can throw off your entire look for the rest of the day.

But after years (literally, it has been that long) of trying different methods, brushes, and foundations, I think I finally have it down to a handful of simple steps that can make all the difference in the world.

1. Grab your favorite liquid foundation

Grab your favorite liquid foundation. Now, I almost always choose a full coverage one, as this method will sheer it down a bit, making it suitable for most skin types and needs. Pour or pump an amount about the size of a nickel or quarter (this will vary depending on the condition of your skin) onto the back of your hand or a palette.

2. Take a dense, flat-top brush

Take a dense, flat top brush (my favorite is the ( Royal Care Cosmetics Foundation Brush), and dip it into the foundation. Dot this onto your nose, the cheeks, around the borders of your face, and your chin (one “dip” should pick up enough product to lightly dot around all of these areas).

3. Starting at the nose…

Starting at the nose, stipple in small, tight areas, moving to the cheeks and the borders of the face, stippling product inward towards the center. Repeat this process for your chin.

4. With what is left on the brush…

With what is left on the brush, stipple over the area above your lips and below your mouth. Avoid the area where you get smile lines for now (this will look weird, but we’ll correct this malfeasance later.

5. If you regularly use foundation under your eyes…

This next step is only if you regularly use foundation under your eyes, rather than or in conjunction with concealer. If you don’t, skip to the next step. Take a bit of foundation on the outer edge of your brush, and dot lightly under the eyes, concentrating the product at the lower inner corners where your under eyes are darkest. Stipple lightly over this area, taking the foundation applied under the eyes up and onto the eyelid and brow bone.

6. Stipple across your forehead and into the hairline

You should have about 1/3 of the product left. Take some on your brush, and stipple it across your forehead and into the hairline (almost as bad as the jawline is a blatant change in color at your hairline, which many people tend to neglect). Your entire face should now be covered (except for the small area around your smile lines).

7. Dot under your jawline

Take the remainder of the product on your brush, and dot it under your jawline. Stipple this upwards to “connect” with the product on your face, and downwards slightly to fade it into your neck. Stipple lightly where your ears connect to your face.

8. Stipple all over your face

Stipple all over your face, using any excess product to deal with problem areas. This distributes the foundation evenly. You may now go over your smile line area, which will only be covered with a small amount of product, greatly reducing the chance of creasing.

9. Buff in a circular motion

After you have stippled all over your entire face once, lightly buff in small circular motions using the same brush. This blurs imperfections and removes any excess product, and melds the product with your skin, giving it a natural skin-like texture. Make sure to buff under your eyes, over your eyelids, and around your hairline to blend the product into the tight borders surrounding these areas. Keep buffing until the foundation starts to feel a bit tacky (it usually takes 2-3 passes over my entire face and under my jaw to get to this point).

10. Apply any cream face products now

Apply any cream face products (blush, highlighter, contour, etc.)

11. Let your foundation set

This step is crucial. Let the foundation set for 3-5 minutes. Take a tissue, and blot all over your face, avoiding the nose if you have large pores. Pay special attention to the eyelids, lines under the eyes, and the corners of the eyes (where excess product will definitely have creased and collected). If your foundation tends to set into your smile lines, you may wish to buff very lightly over this area once more using the same brush as before.

12. Apply loose powder with a puff

Apply loose powder with a puff, rolling and pushing it into the skin.

I like to use Big Powder Brush from Royal Care Cosmetics

13. Finish with any other powders and blend

Apply any other powder products (blush, bronzer, contour, etc.), and blend well.

This may seem a tad complicated, but ignoring the setting times, this whole thing takes 5-7 minutes at most, and results in smooth, even, porcelain skin.

If you wish to sheer down this application even further, dampen your brush slightly before application to prevent excess product from being absorbed by the bristles. Make sure to always use a (relatively) clean brush for application (I tend to wash mine every 3-4 days) to avoid caking. And never forget to set and blot!

With this quick tutorial under your belt, you’ll always be able to put your best face forward.

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