Whether you’re going for a sheer, dewy look or you want to go full glam, here are 7 foundation tips to help you avoid cakey, streaky foundation, and ever-so-effortlessly help you achieve natural and flawless looking skin.
Foundation Tips for Flawless Application
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, Alexandra Quinlann will receive a commission by referring you, at no extra cost to you! You can read more about affiliates in my disclaimer. Thank you so much for your support!
Before we even get started with any foundation tips, we need to address how important it is to start with a good base. Taking good care of your skin, before applying any makeup to your face, is the key to keeping things looking natural! A solid skincare routine will make a world of difference in the final result of your entire makeup look.
Skin that’s dry, irritated, flaky, or dull does not provide a great canvas for foundation application. The goal isn’t even perfect, flawless skin; considering we all have what could be considered “flaws” or “imperfections”. The actual goal is skin that’s well taken care of, hydrated, and healthy. And the easiest way to achieve that is to have both a morning and evening skincare routine curated for you specifically.
Nightly double-cleansing, exfoliating a couple of times a week, daily sun protection, and a main focus on hydration and barrier protection and repair, are all anyone truly needs to keep their skin healthy. Although individual routines will vary.
With healthy skin, you’ll find that your foundation applies easier and more evenly. Plus you might not have to reapply as often, the foundation may not have dry patches to cling onto, and you may even have less texture; like breakouts or fine lines.
As simple as skincare should be, there’s a ton of misinformation out there. Find out if you’re making any skincare mistakes and what you should do instead!
The various types of foundation
If it seems like foundation comes in a never ending variety of choices, it’s because it does! Which makes sense, because there are so many different skin types, textures, shades, and personal preferences. That being said, there is a truly perfect foundation out there for you! But how do you find it? Let’s quickly break down the different types of foundations.
Liquid foundation is the most common, and most popular, type of foundation. It’s often found in a bottle or tube and can come with or without a pump. It can provide sheer, medium or full coverage, with many being buildable, allowing you to achieve your desired look with as much or as little product you prefer. Liquid foundations are the standard because they work for all skin types and textures, and they come in so many different finishes. They’re also really easy to apply, blend out, and layer with other makeup products.
Some of my favorite liquid foundations include the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation, L’Oreal Infallible Fresh Wear 24HR Foundation, and Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Longwear Foundation.
Powder foundations are a great alternative to liquid foundations. They are not, however, more lightweight than liquid foundations. They still provide full coverage and have the lasting benefits that most liquid foundations have.
Looking for a great powder foundation? The L’Oreal True Match Super Blendable Powder Foundation is amazing!
If what you’re looking for is a more lightweight and sheer finish, you may want to try out a mineral foundation. The best being the Bare Minerals Original Foundation.
Know about the different finishes
Matte foundations help to absorb excess oil and leave skin with a more smooth, velvety finish. Matte foundations can be used by anyone, but are best for those with oily skin.
Dewy foundations leave skin with a wet and moisturized look. Once again, can be used by anyone, but work best with those who have dry skin.
No matter what your skin type is, it’s up to you to decide which finish you prefer.
Choosing the right shade
Seemingly obvious, but still something people often seem to have trouble with. Using the wrong shade of foundation can totally throw off your whole look, so this is probably one of the most important foundation tips.
When it comes to choosing the right shade of foundation first figure out what your undertones are. Your undertones can either be cool, neutral, or warm. Skin with a cool undertone has hints of pink or blue, skin with a warm undertone appears to be more yellow, and neutral falls in the middle of the two.
Shade match in natural light whenever possible and always check that the shade matches by testing it on your chest or jawline, not on your wrist, hands, or neck. (This is because your hands and wrists aren’t the same shade as your face, and your neck is paler than the rest of your body because it’s usually covered by the shadow of your head).
Foundation shades also tend to oxidize or warm up on your skin. If you’re stuck between two shades, choose the lighter, it’ll most likely be the better match. It’s also something to keep in mind when shopping for the perfect foundation in general.
Make sure you’re using the right tools
The right brushes, sponges, and tools can guarantee your makeup looks as natural and flawless as possible.
And when it comes to applying your foundation, make sure you’re using the right ones. Use a flat top foundation brush or a beauty sponge to apply liquid foundation. When it comes to powder based foundations, opt for a fluffier brush instead. The right tools can literally be the make it or break it when it comes to foundation application.
Oh, and don’t ever use your fingers! Not only will your foundation look streaky, your fingers could also have germs on them, and you don’t want that all over your face.
Prep the skin
Make sure you cleanse and moisturize before you apply foundation. Just simply wash your face and throw on your favorite moisturizer, oh, and don’t forget to prime!
Primer helps smooth your skin, even out your skin tone, and can even help make your makeup last longer. You can also achieve specific looks, (think matte, dewy, etc), by using different primers. One of my all time faves is the Benefit POREfessional Primer.
Prepping your skin before applying foundation ensures you have the perfect base for the perfect face!
Applying your foundation correctly
To think you can follow all of the foundation tips listed above and yet still, your foundation may not look as flawless as you had hoped. That’s why the way you apply your foundation is so important!
First, make sure you’re doing your makeup in natural light if possible. If not, try using white LED lights, and totally avoid darker rooms or rooms with yellow light. (It’s harder to get a good idea of what your makeup will look like in natural light when you do it in harsher light).
Once you’ve prepped your skin, and you’re ready to apply your foundation, only use a little bit of product. Less is sometimes more, but also you can always go back in a build it up if it’s not enough coverage for you.
Use a light hand with your foundation brush or beauty sponge and just dab your foundation on, don’t rub it in. This helps to prevent streaks, and gives your skin a much more natural finish.
And don’t forget to use a setting powder when you’re done applying your foundation! This helps keep your foundation in place, provides a little extra coverage, and can help give a more flawless appearance.
Check out my review of the Coty Airspun Loose Finishing Powder.
Bonus Tip: to really ensure your makeup lasts all day and stays in place, try finishing your look off with a setting spray like the WetnWild PhotoFocus Setting Spray.
Great post, thank you! I need a new face cleansing kit (night cream, morning cream, etc.) do you have a suggestion for that?
I think it totally depends on your skin type. I have oily skin that’s super sensitive too. I’ve found that only certain products work for me, but I really do love my Clarisonic Mia and their Gel Cleanser. Plus Mario Badescu and Peter Thomas Roth products both work really well with my skin too! 🙂
Thanks for the tips! I find it so hard finding the right shade. I use bare minerals at the moment as it’s so light and they matched me to the right shade!
I love Bare Minerals! I used to wear it all the time a few years ago! 🙂
Love these tips! I think one of the best points you made was about your skincare routine. Since taking care of my skin, my makeup stays on so much better. In fact, it’s probably been the biggest change to how long my makeup lasts rather than the right setting sprays, primers, foundation etc. Thanks for sharing x
You get it! Taking good care of your skin really does make a huge difference in how well your makeup turns out 🙂
These tips are perfect for someone like me who knows close to nothing about makeup (: thanks so much!!
We all gotta start somewhere! So glad I can help! 🙂
This is super helpful! I will definitely be reading more of your tips, because my current makeup game is weak.
So happy I could help! 🙂
Asia M Wilkerson says
Thanks for sharing these tips. I am a makeup newbie so this was super helpful. Gorgeous Blog btw!!
Thank you so so so much! 🙂
I am SOO bad for not having a proper skincare routine. I keep talking about the fact that I need to do something about it, but I think it’s time I actually get my butt in gear and make something happen!
It doesn’t even have to be anything too complex, just simply cleansing and moisturizing every morning and night can be enough to start with 🙂
Lovely post! I use to struggle a bit with getting my base looking flawless but I’ve been finding different ways that work for me. Definitely some useful tips in here!
Cherries & Perfume
Everyone’s skin is different, so you kind of have to take play around with products and techniques that work for you! So happy you’ve been finding what works best for you 🙂
I’ve used Covergirl Clean liquid foundation for years, and am happy with it. You are so right that the correct color is vital! I once tried a bisque-toned foundation, and it totally did not work with my cool-toned skin. Thanks for the great tips!
Tones are a biggie when it comes to foundation!
Great post! But omg, choosing the right tone is an on-going nightmare for me.
I feel ya! I can’t even count how many wrong shades of foundation I had to go through before I found mine!
Kyra || lovekyra.co.uk says
Good tips and super useful! Especially the skincare one, how can you expect good base makeup on a dirty face!
Exactly! You have to start with a good base!
Amanda Burnett says
These are great tips and you went into such detail! Thanks, girl. xx
Thank you! So happy you found it helpful!
Verlene Arrowood says
I am a mother and this helped me!
So happy it helped you!
Laura Kroczek says
Having a clear base is so so important! Other than that I could never resist my Beauty Blender to apply my foundation! I never had a more flawless finish 🙂
Ah I’m more of a brush girl, but I like to switch it up sometimes too 🙂
Sophie Bolton says
Thank you for sharing, this is such a helpful post! I just had to say too that your blog looks beautiful 😀
Thank you so much!