Friday, June 19, 2015

How to Apply Foundation Like a Pro

Brushes. Oh, brushes. How do we know which one to choose when there are so many these days? And now that makeup sponges are in the mix as well, it seems like the options are just endless. Well, here's the key to getting it right:

1. Determine what kind of coverage you'd like to achieve.

2. Figure out which tool will best fit your skin texture.


When considering coverage, you need to think about the density and texture of the brush. The more firm a brush is, the more coverage you get. It is also important to consider whether or not the brush hairs are synthetic or natural. This is more of a personal preference, but I like to use a synthetic brush for cream or liquid products. This is simply because synthetic hairs pick up and deposit more product than a natural hair. Natural hair brushes are great for blending purposes, especially when using powders, like eyeshadow or blush.

Skin Type

When it comes to skin type, you have a bit more flexibility in the type of brush you use. However, I still think it is important to consider. If you have larger pores like I do, a more dense bristle brush is going to be a better option when applying a liquid foundation. Think of the texture of an orange when thinking about skin with large pores. The stiff brush hairs will push product into the texture of the skin, giving an even appearance to the surface. For smooth skin (like the surface of an apple), it is better to use a fluffier brush. This will give provide a less streaky appearance on the skin when liquid foundation is applied.

Brush Recommendations

My favorite tool to apply foundation is The Original Beauty Blender. I know a lot of you are probably skeptical about spending $20 on a sponge, but I promise you it is worth it. I have tried all the “dupes” from Amazon, Forever 21, Target, yada yada, and it is just not the same. The reason? The material the sponge is made from. 

The Original Beauty Blender is soft enough to squeeze in the palm of your hand (wet or dry) and completely disappear. A sponge that is too dense will not apply the product to the skin correctly, and will absorb most of the product. The soft texture of the Beauty Blender will diffuse foundation onto the skin, giving it a smooth and flawless skin-like finish whether you are working with a full or sheer coverage foundation. Beauty Blenders are very universal and can be used wet or dry, with powders or liquids, even primers and moisturizers. My favorite way to use a Beauty Blender is to fully saturate the sponge with water, squeeze it out, and use it damp. Since I like to use a full-coverage foundation, it allows me to get the coverage I desire while avoiding the dreaded "cake-face”. I always, always, always use a stippling (or bouncing) motion when applying product with the Beauty Blender. Using a buffing or wiping motion will only soak up product, just as if you were wiping up spilled water with a kitchen sponge.

When using a brush to apply liquid foundation, my go-to is always a Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki. There are plenty of similar brushes out there, but what makes this one my go-to is the density. It is the perfect amount of density for the full coverage I prefer (full) and skin texture that I have (large pores). But to be honest, no matter what skin type you have, this brush will work perfectly. I like to use the F80 in buffing and stippling motions. Buffing motions help blend the foundation onto the skin while stippling motions will help steer away from any brush streaks.

The Sephora Airbrush Foundation Brush is my go-to when working with clients who like a lighter coverage (hence the fluffiness of the brush). This brush is ideal for people with smoother skin, however, it can be used on any skin texture. This brush does exactly what it claims it gives an even, light, airbrushed finish. When using this brush I like to use stippling and buffing motions.

For powder foundation, I love the Real Techniques Powder Brush. This brush is very inexpensive, and it is great quality (as all of their brushes are). With the perfect amount of density, it will give you the perfect level of coverage with a powder foundation not too heavy, not too light. That’s what I love about it! 

You can also use this brush to lightly dust a powder all over the face to set your liquid foundation. When applying powders, I like to dab or press the powder onto the face, as this provides the best coverage. You need to be careful when setting a liquid with a powder. Make sure that you are setting the liquid, rather than simply smudging your makeup around. Pressing or dabbing will avoid the “cakey” look we all despise. After your face is set with powder, it is safe to move on to blush or bronzer.

If you need a little more insight on makeup brushes, I did a full video on my YouTube channel. In the video, I talk about all of my favorite brushes and why I love them so much. Plus, I do a little makeup brush 101! You can find that video here.

Oh, and be sure to like The Beauty Bar on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for more beauty tips and tricks!

Brittany Lima | Beauty Bartender

Brittany is a full time professional makeup artist & educator from Philadelphia. Whether she's working on a client or filming YouTube videos, she's always finding a way to share her industry knowledge. Her sassy yet congenial Northern attitude is what makes her most relate-able to her viewers. She can't live without music, YouTube, cheesecake, Instagram, pasta, and laughing.
Twitter: @itsBrittLyn | Instagram: @itsBrittLyn | Youtube Channel: itsBrittLyn


  1. I LOVE my Beauty Blender. like I probably will never use a brush again. Great post!



    1. I love mine too! If mine is clean that's my go to!

  2. I don't know HOW they created such a magical cosmetic instrument, but the Beauty Blender simply IS the best. I didn't believe it either, and it took me a whopping year to finally jump on the bandwagon!! Other than my Sephora #56, I use it all the time! I go back and forth between the two :) In summer though, I tend more towards powder foundation, so I will have to try the RT brush you recommended! Thanks!! Oh, and I will go check out your vid! :D

    1. I just realized that the Sephora Airbrush you recommended IS the #56. Haha awesome. Isn't that brush just the best!!

    2. Thank you!! Yes the beauty blender is my holy grail!! I love the Sephora 56 too!

  3. What fantastic advise. I've been doing so much research on correct tools for foundation, and I never get the full information i need.
    You explained everything so perfectly and makes so much sense. I will definitely take your advice and finally buy the beauty blender.
    thank you for also explaining in detail how each tool should be used

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