Beauty Basics: How To Choose and Apply Foundation

I asked here, on Twitter, and Instagram for beauty basics questions.
In the next couple of weeks I'm going to answer them all, 
so if you have a beauty question you've always wanted answered, let me know, below.

Savannah wanted to know about choosing the right foundation, and I thought I'd add the different ways to apply it. Enjoy.

Choosing Foundation
  • Forget the advice you've heard in the past: match the foundation to your neck
  • Many stores take back opened foundation, so purchase a couple of shades and try them at home if unsure. If you're shopping at a cosmetics store, ask an associate to match you. You might want to try the Foundation Matrix as well.
  • If your skin tone fluctuates during the year (winter vs. summer) be sure to have a foundation to match. Your face isn't some floating head, right? It has a neck! So be sure to match.
How to Apply

finger/duo fiber/stipple/foundation
  • Fingers--This isn't the most hygienic of resources if you have acne-prone skin, but it's certainly free, and works well. Great for applying tinted moisturizer/BB/CC cream fast for light coverage. Note: For all of these methods, be sure to blend down onto the neck. 
  • Stipple/Duo Fiber Brush--If you like an airbrushed finish or a lighter finish, this is a great brush to have. Use a stippling motion to apply and a swirling motion to blend in the foundation. Only the white bristles should be moving as you swirl the brush. Otherwise, you are applying too much pressure. Use the duo fiber brush (or a powder brush) for all types of foundation, including mineral makeup.
  • Foundation Brush--I think this was the first face brush I started using! This brush is nice for even coverage on the face, for covering a large area, dry skin, and large pores. You "paint" it on the face and go back and forth to apply. Pat it to blend. 

flat top kabuki, beauty blender, wedges,
  • Flat Top Kabuki Brush--This is my favorite way to apply foundation. Apply in a stippling or swirling motion (don't swirl if your skin is flaky) for easy coverage and blending. You can get great coverage this way, including hiding pores.
  • Wedge Makeup Sponge--This tiny triangle sponge is another one of my first tools I started off with. It's great for getting into small areas, like under the eyes and around the nose. These are disposable, cheap, and can be found everywhere, especially backstage at events. Be sure to dampen it first.
  • Beauty Blender--This has been really popular with makeup application in the past couple of years due to the way it sheers out foundation. It allows for a thinner, natural-looking application. To use, squeeze the sponge, place in water, and release. This will cause the sponge to absorb the water and expand. Squeeze out the excess water. A dry sponge will just absorb your foundation, thus wasting product. You can dab and roll the sponge onto the face for application. There are lots of dupes out there for a more affordable price--try Ebay or SOHO cosmetics. I personally do not like the ones from Ulta, Sephora, or Sonia Kashuk, but use what you like! They are rubbery, not as soft, and don't work as well for me. 
More Brush Info


  1. Great post! :) As far as brushes go, I prefer a kabuki or stippling brush, but I also frequently use my fingers. I really want to try a beauty blender, so I appreciate your tips on how to use them!

    I found you on the blog hop and am now following you. :) Here's my blog if you'd like to follow back xo


  2. I love the Beauty Blender! I got one free from Birchbox at fashion week last year and have been using it constantly. I do like my fingers for BB cream though. I don't know, just seems silly to use the sponge for it!

  3. I love the Beauty Blender. My older sis gave me some for Christmas awhile back, and they are fab:)

  4. I'm in love with the beauty blender!
    It works perfectly on me!
    A loser like me

  5. I'm such a disaster when it comes to applying foundation - this is so helpful!

    Courtney ~ http://sartorialsidelines.com

  6. And this is why I stick to tinted moisturizer :) foundation - although wonderful- is way too much work for me.

  7. I'm currently working my way through BB Creams, I enjoy changing up what I use and testing new things. I am pretty loyal to my Beauty Blender sponge, though. I have tried the Sonia Kashuk and SOHO ones and didn't find either to be comparable enough for my taste.

  8. Great post, Elle!

    I use Bare Minerals as a go-to; it's easy and I have a few shades stocked up, so no matter the season I can find a match.

    But if I need a bit more coverage, I mix liquid foundations (again, from my ridiculous stockpile!). Clinique Even Better + Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse makes a surprisingly good combo. :)


  9. obsessed with my beauty blender Xo Megan, www.TfDiaries.com

  10. I always worry about my shade. I don't want to have the "floating head." Even when I have had someone match my color at the cosmetic store, I worry. Ah, the joys of makeup ;-)
    Because my skind is somewhat dry, the stipple brush doesn't work for me, so I use the wedge sponge but have never thought about dapening it, thanks!
    **and thanks for taking time to stop by Pictures and Plane Tickets the other day! :)

  11. Brilliant advice Elle! Especially all the different methods on how to apply foundation. I will try them out in future.

  12. I use Bare Escentuals. Thanks for this post. I know it's basic, but I'm not very good at applying foundation.

  13. Thanks for comment my post sweety!!
    Its a very useful post :)
    Check my new post in;


  14. very good post, new follower here.

  15. Great tips! I've been wanting to try out a beauty blender.

  16. love it! i don't wear foundation anymore but when i did, bobbi brown was my fav. i also used a sponge to apply.

  17. Very informative and interesting. Thanks for sharing and enjoy the rest of your day Elle.

  18. I haven't seen a beauty blender before. That sounds like a really cool tool!

  19. Great post! I prefer applying my foundation with a flat top brush.

  20. I found this post very useful Elle. I use Clinique foundation for a matte effect, and I apply it with.... fingers! In the summer I prefer mineral powder foundation, in which case I use specific brushes. As far as sponges are concerned, so far I hadn't a clue on how to use them!Lots of love, Coco

  21. p.s. I'd love to subscribe by email to your blog updates, but I cannot find the widget. Feel free to tweet me or else and I'll come and check your posts straightaway. In fact, I'm loving your blog more and more every day. xo

  22. Great tips! I like to use a stipple or foundation brush.

  23. I mostly use my hands (freshly washed) to apply BB cream. Mostly because I'm horrible at washing makeup brushes regularly, so I figure clean hands are actually better for my skin.

  24. i need to start following and trying your tips! :)

  25. I have never tried a beauty blender but it sounds fascinating. I usually use a brush or makeup sponge.

    Tracy @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

  26. I love the Beauty Blender sponge! It's worth the extra $$. I use it to apply my BB cream and it's great!

  27. I just started doing my foundation with a brush ( gasp ) It has made a huge difference.

  28. Elle, I remember your advice about not wearing foundation with SPF for pictures because of the flash. I'm going to be in a wedding in May and am going to make sure that I don't end up a vampire-sque bridesmaid because of my sparkly foundation

  29. These are great tips! I have the hardest time finding just the right match. I'll have to try these helpful tips out! Thanks!

  30. Interesting that you match foundation to your neck! It makes total sense.

  31. Thanks for the advice! I'm always super keen to learn new stuff - specially if it makes me look better ;-)

    ♥ Paula Shoe Fiend.

  32. I love sigma brushes n' the beauty blender!





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