Share on Facebook

The Best Way to Apply Foundation, According to Your Skin Type or Concern

Your foundation application is the literal base of your makeup. Find out the best tools and application techniques to fake flawless skin.

1 / 6
Slowly pouring liquid beige makeup foundation or bb cream on a clean pink sponge on light pink backgroundRudo film/Shutterstock

Dry skin

Because dry skin tends to have an uneven texture, applying foundation or concealer with your fingers may end up emphasizing dry patches or other uneven texture. Plus, it’s harder for your skin to absorb the product, which can result in an unnatural look. Instead of merely swiping product around your skin, after moisturizing, use a makeup sponge or Beauty Blender to bounce foundation into your face. Always make sure to wet and wring out your sponge prior to foundation application to get the best finish. Good skincare is always your first step to natural-looking makeup. Try these home remedies for dry skin.

2 / 6
Stippling brush for make-up isolated on greyRamon Espelt Photography/Shutterstock

Oily skin

Although finding a foundation that stays put is important, the way you apply it is equally critical. How to apply foundation? In order to remain shine-free, dot your foundation around the face in a circular motion with a stipple brush; this helps achieve a matte finish. However, don’t use too much pressure—it may create streaks. For oilier areas, apply a layer of powder to eliminate shine and prevent makeup from slipping throughout the day. Opt for loose translucent powders which will help absorb excess oil better than regularly pressed formulas. Read on to learn the truth behind commonly oily skin myths.

3 / 6
middle eastern young woman in studio with a foundation on cheek closeupRudo film/Shutterstock

Acne-prone skin

Between the redness, unevenness, and tenderness, your sensitive skin requires a bit more attention. Because you want to make your pimples and acne scars magically disappear for the day, full-coverage concealer aimed at those spots is key. Using your fingers will be most effective at targeting localized areas and will help warm up the product to help melt it into your skin flawlessly. Washing your hands thoroughly before application is a must to prevent exposing your pores to breakout-inducing bacteria. Find out the 10 gross things that happen when you don’t clean your makeup tools.

4 / 6
Make up mineral powder in plastic jar with cosmetic brushesAnna Kosior/Shutterstock

All-over redness

When you want ample coverage for your entire face, flat-top kabuki brushes are the tool for you. These dense brushes absorb the minimal amount of foundation in their bristles, which means more foundation makes it on to your skin. How to apply foundation with a kabuki brush? Start by dispensing foundation onto the back of your hand, then dab only the ends of the bristles into the product. Apply it to your skin using circular motions. The key is to buff the product into your skin as opposed to rubbing it; this will allow the foundation to sit delicately on your pores and give you full, yet natural looking coverage.

5 / 6
Beauty. Makeup. Beautiful woman applying dry cosmetic tonal foundation on the face using makeup brush.Dmytro Flisak/Shutterstock

Large pores

Fake an airbrushed look with a rounded buffing brush. This brush lets you apply foundation evenly and lightly, so it won’t settle into pores. Its long, loose bristles work to pick up excess makeup so your skin won’t look cakey and you won’t have any streaks. Buff the foundation over your face in circular motions for a smooth and airbrushed-looking canvas. Find out more beauty secrets for women with large pores.

6 / 6
Pouring bb cream or foundation on the bristles of a professional make up brush with black handle isolated on blueRudo film/Shutterstock

Normal skin

For a natural finish, flat foundation brushes are your best friend. These have wider surface areas that make it easy to spread foundation without wasting too much product, while the rounder, fluffier design of the brushes makes even application a breeze. Of course, your brush is only as good as the makeup you’re using. Here’s how to find the best foundation for your skin type.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Reader’s Digest editors, who aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of revenue from our partners, such as Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We welcome your feedback. Have something you think we should know about? Email us at [email protected] 

Hana Hong
Hana Hong is a journalist/storyteller who writes for Reader's Digest, InStyle, CollegeFashionista, Her Campus, and The Fashion Network, among other publications. She hails from the midwest, where she graduated from the University of Illinois with a BA in News-Editorial Journalism, but has a passion for the East Coast.

Newsletter Unit

CMU Unit

Subscribe & SAVE Save Up To 84%!