Base Makeup Basics Part 5 : How to apply Foundation ~ Tools & Techniques


Hey everyone!

Continuing with the Base Makeup Basics series, today I’ll be talking about the different tools for foundation application and some general tips to achieve an even, neat finish!


Base Makeup Basics Part 5 : How to apply Foundation ~ Tools & Techniques

Base Makeup Basics Part 5 : How to apply Foundation ~ Tools & Techniques




Lets start with the different tools you can use to apply foundation :


  1. Makeup Sponge : A small piece of cosmetic sponge can be used for foundation and works really well because it prevents excess application. The sponge removes all the excess product and gives a very neat finish. I’ve personally used The Body Shop sponge for a long time for applying my foundation with excellent results. The only downside is that the sponge absorbs some of the product leading to wastage! Also, you cannot really build up coverage while using a sponge beyond a certain point. Sponges are quite versatile in the sense that they can be used for liquid, cream, mousse as well as powder/compact foundations. I have some cheaper sponges as well but nothing beats the TBS sponge which is really smooth and gentle on the skin!
  2. Foundation brush : These are generally of 2 types ~ Flat profile paddle brush and Round profile stippling brush. Both brushes work great and it is a personal choice and the foundation formula which determines which brush works better! I have used both and I find that I get better coverage and finish when I use a stippling brush with certain foundations. Some recommendations for foundation brushes ~ Colorbar flat paddle foundation brush (available in stores for Rs 600), Inglot 21T flat paddle brush (Rs 1150), Colorbar Stippling Brush (Rs 1200), MAC 188 brush (Rs 2000), MAC 187 brush (similar to 188, just larger – Rs 3000), Sigma F80 Flat top Kabuki brush ($16.00).
  3. Fingers : A lot of makeup artists love using their fingers for application as the warmth of the fingers really works the product onto the skin giving a very natural finish. I use my fingers to apply and blend foundation many times especially the creamier ones that respond better to the fingertips. However when I need some extra coverage, I prefer to use a brush!

If you’re a newbie, I would recommend using fingers or sponge. I find sponge the easiest as it automatically removes the excess and makes application easier!

I own the following 3 Foundation brushes :


How to apply Foundation - Brushes

How to apply Foundation – Brushes


1. Inglot 21T flat foundation brush (Rs 1150) : The bristles are soft enough, it applies evenly and blends well. It does not shed on washing and is overall a good buy!

2. MAC 188 Duo Fibre Stippling brush (Rs 2000 , US$34.00) : It is a little small so it takes time to do the whole face but it gives a very good finish and coverage when done with patience.

3. Coastal Scents 518 Buffer brush ($14.95 = Rs 830 approx.)  : I don’t really like this so much as it doesn’t feel as soft against the skin and I find that it absorbs a lot of foundation since its quite dense. I haven’t used it a lot since I didn’t like using the first few times though I’ve read some good reviews of this one. Its no longer listed on the website so it may have been discontinued.

2 brushes that I hope to try out and review in the future are – the much raved about Sigma F80 brush and the newly launched Colorbar brush!


How to apply Foundation - Brushes

How to apply Foundation – Brushes


How to apply foundation ?


There are some simple rules that one must stick to and following these alone makes the application smooth, even and neat! I have personally skipped/not paid attention to some of the points listed below in the past and realised how simple things can make a huge difference!


  • Always moisturize before applying foundation. Ideally, do the whole Cleanser, Toner, Moisturizer routine. Let the moisturizer sink into the skin for 7-10 minutes and then apply primer. You can also rub an ice cube on your skin before moisturizing to tighten the pores and add a glow to the skin.
  • Primer is not an essential but it does affect the finish and smoothness of application. It also helps makeup stay fresh longer. Read details on Primers HERE. Apply primer all over the face (excluding eye area and lips) and wait for another 5-7 minutes before applying foundation.
  • Always apply foundation in daylight. This ensures that you do not overapply!
  • Take out some foundation on the back of your palm, take out a small quantity at first especially if using a pump bottle.
  • Using any tool of your choice, start applying foundation from the center of the face ~ on the nose, around the mouth and chin because this is where most people have natural pigmentation. Next, move on to the problem areas like a spotted forehead or acne marks on cheeks etc. Finish by blending at the outer edges of the face. Try to use very less product on areas that are clear and use product only on areas that need coverage, this results in a very natural look.
  • Always apply foundation small strokes and in direction of hair growth which is generally downward. If you apply in the opposite direction, it will cause your facial hair to stick out.
  • Do not rub foundation all over face in long strokes. Work on a small area at a time.
  • Do not dot foundation all over face (the moisturizer routine) and then use your palms to massage it all in. This does not give a good finish!
  • Work around the eyelids, lips and take care to avoid getting it in the eye brows. Some people like to apply foundation on the eyes too but I avoid it as it gives my eyes an ashy look and makes my shadows crease faster.
  • Always start out with a small quantity of product, don’t pump out too much from the foundation bottle. You can always pump out more and apply if you need more coverage but its not always easy to tone out heavy/cakey application.
  • If you’re using a sponge, using short gentle strokes and dabbing motion to blend. If you’re using a brush, do the same. Always moisten the sponge/brush with a face mist or plain rose water in a spray bottle. The brush should just be damp, not dripping wet. It helps in blending the foundation better!
  • Do not forget to apply foundation on the neck and take special care to blend the foundation properly along the jawline.
  • Set foundation with a light powder. If you have dry/combination skin, only powder the T-zone to control shine and leave the rest of the area as it is for a dewy finish.
  • Do not use puffs/sponges to apply the powder, use a fluffy brush. Using a puff can cause the foundation to transfer onto the puff and disturb the even finish that you’ve worked so much to achieve!


Check out this Video Tutorial by Lisa Eldridge on Foundation Basics :


[note color=”#FFE4C4″] I hope you found this post useful! I have at least one more post for foundation lined up – How to choose the right shade + Foundation recommendations from the Indian Market. If I’m able to take the pictures properly(I’ve never done a face tutorial before!), I might do another post with a  Step-by-Step tutorial on foundation application. For any queries, drop me a comment below![/note]

Also read :

Disclaimer : This post is accurate to the best of my knowledge. All information presented here has been written by me and not picked up from the web (Except for the video ). Kindly do not copy or reproduce the information given in this post.



  1. July 9, 2012 / 11:51 pm

    that’s a v informative post n guess i m just done wid taking pictures of all my brushes to start brush series n i see this post noticing the coastal scents brush 🙂
    that’s actually my fav 😛
    i use it for blush, powder n foundation

    indeed like it for it’s versatility

    it’s just my personal view

    • Ankita Chaturvedi
      July 16, 2012 / 5:05 pm

      I should give it another try then!

  2. July 10, 2012 / 12:12 am

    Yeah,the step by step foundation tutorial wud be much better!! Waiting eagerly for that!!! 😀 😀

  3. July 10, 2012 / 1:55 am

    Thanks a lot for this post. Was thinking of buying a foundation for long…this really helped 🙂

    • Ankita Chaturvedi
      July 16, 2012 / 5:05 pm

      Glad it helped 🙂

  4. Alanah
    July 10, 2012 / 9:50 am

    This is very much useful especially to me who barely even put foundation on. I just put on some powder and that’s it. I like how you go on to details with the foundation. Thanks so much and more to come. 🙂

    • Ankita Chaturvedi
      July 16, 2012 / 5:06 pm

      You’re welcome 🙂

  5. Shivangi
    July 10, 2012 / 1:12 pm

    That is really a helpful post! I need to buy a sponge now :d

  6. Preethi
    July 10, 2012 / 2:40 pm

    Wow…. I can’t thank u enough Ankita 🙂

    • Ankita Chaturvedi
      July 16, 2012 / 5:07 pm

      You’re welcome!

  7. July 10, 2012 / 10:34 pm

    so very informative Ankita…I have a few foundation brushes and sponges too, but mostly when I’m in a hurry, I end up using my fingers….

  8. Shai
    July 11, 2012 / 4:05 pm

    Very useful. Have never been a regular foundation user and noticed that I do some of the things you have said I mustnt! Must be careful.

    • Ankita Chaturvedi
      July 16, 2012 / 5:08 pm

      🙂 🙂

  9. July 11, 2012 / 5:27 pm

    Thanks Ankita for these base makeup basics series…
    they have been super helpful for beginners like me…
    looking forward to the step by step tutorial 🙂

    • Ankita Chaturvedi
      July 16, 2012 / 5:09 pm

      Glad u found this series useful!

  10. July 12, 2012 / 2:28 pm

    I have just come across your blog. You are doing a mighty fine job !
    I have had the longest struggles with foundations in India. Finding the shade match is most prominent pain and the salesgirls are totally unhelpful with the shades. I use Maxfactor stick currently simply because i got my shade in it. I usually use my fingers to blend the foundation …it works best for me that way ! I really wish companies would bring more subtle shade choices instead of just beiges in light and dark !

    • Ankita Chaturvedi
      July 16, 2012 / 5:11 pm

      Agree on that. Its ridiculous how brand come out with just 3 shades of foundation to cater to all skin tones!

  11. July 14, 2012 / 12:28 pm

    hey ankita..thanks 4 this the topic n its really useful like we new bees..i have maybelline dream mousse but i didnt know how 2 apply it..but now thanks n i hope ur next post on foundation ll be also helpful for us:))waiting..thanks

    • Ankita Chaturvedi
      July 16, 2012 / 5:12 pm

      You’re welcome Helly!

  12. Joo
    July 30, 2014 / 1:14 pm

    I use flat brush then blend it with kabuki brush… Looking forward to get MAC stipplig brush…that's amazing when I tired

  13. Joo
    September 10, 2014 / 11:33 am

    Recently I also tried Inglot sponge need to try it again before purchase

  14. Maithili
    November 9, 2014 / 12:40 pm

    Really helpful tips…& u hav covered almost evry point..thnx Ankita

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