When it comes to makeup application, foundation is probably one of the hardest skills to master. Sure, it seems like an easy job — just slap on enough product to cover what you want to cover and that’s that, right? Well, you can probably guess that there is more to consider if you want to apply foundation just like the professionals.

For instance, what kind of formula are you using and is it suitable for your skin type? Are you using a brush or sponge to apply your foundation, and why does this matter? Are you applying foundation in a slap-and-dash way, instead of taking your time with it?


Are You Applying Foundation the Right Way?

As you might have guessed, there is more than meets the eye (or the face?) when it comes to applying foundation. Read on to see if you’ve been making any mistakes with your foundation application:

Swatching It at the Wrong Place

This is a fairly common mistake even makeup aficionados commit when swatching new makeup products. If you’ve ever shopped for base products like foundations and concealers, you’ve probably swabbed them on the back of your hand or the inside of your wrist, right? But, did you know that these two locations will not give you an accurate shade match? Instead, test the foundation or concealer along your jawline so you’ll be able to see if it matches both your face and neck. Another important tip when testing foundations and concealers: go under natural lighting so you can see the actual shade of the product. Often, the lighting in retail stores are too harsh, which can throw off the tone of the makeup shades. Thus, don’t be hesitant to take your time and go out into the sunlight so you can get a proper look at your swatches.

Using the Wrong Formula

Foundations come in a variety of formulas to target the different skin types out there. If you use a foundation with a formula unsuitable for your skin type, you’ll find that the foundation won’t sit well on your skin and can make it look worse than before. For instance, wearing a matte foundation when you have a dry skin type can cause your skin to look flat. It can even emphasise fine lines and wrinkles, thus making you look older than you really are. On the other hand, if you have oily skin and use a dewy or hydrating foundation, you’ll soon look like a grease ball halfway through the day. Therefore, be sure to consider your skin type before buying any foundation. For dry skin, opt for hydrating foundations with illuminating micro-particles to provide your skin with a glowing appearance. For oily skin, go with a lightweight foundation that will not clog your pores.

Not Prepping Your Skin

Providing your foundation with a clean canvas to layer on is essential to ensure your foundation glides smoothly onto your skin. If you try to apply foundation on a face that hasn’t been prepped with the necessary skincare products, you’ll just be setting yourself up for a failed flawless appearance. Therefore, don’t skip on your skin prep prior to makeup application, no matter how much you’re in a rush to head out the door. The basic skincare products you should apply before makeup are moisturiser and sunscreen. If you have a moisturiser with an SPF, that works perfectly fine too. If you find that your sunscreen doesn’t provide your skin with enough hydration, you can layer a moisturiser underneath to boost the amount of hydration for your skin. Primer is another product you should consider applying, particularly if you have oily skin. Primers serve to minimise enlarged pores, reduce the appearance of acne scars, and generally help your makeup stay on for longer.

Not Using the Right Tool

The makeup tool you use to apply foundation depends on the amount of coverage you want to achieve. Generally, there are two types of tools you can go for: brush or sponge. Makeup sponges are great if you want to achieve a natural-looking and dewy finish. Even with a full-coverage foundation, makeup sponges can help sheer the product out, thus reducing the cakey look that can result from wearing this type of foundation. If you’re looking for a flawless, Photoshopped complexion, a makeup brush is your go-to. If you want to hide blemishes, freckles and hyperpigmentation, a flat, tapered foundation brush or buffing brush are the ones to go for. If you’re wearing a powder foundation, however, opt for a kabuki brush or a dense, flat-top brush.

You’re Too Heavy-Handed

Quickly applying a thick layer of foundation from the get-go is tempting when you don’t have much time to spare. However, this is the wrong move when it comes to foundation application because your foundation will look too cakey and just plain unflattering, especially under the daylight. Applying foundation shouldn’t be a rush job; it takes patience and time to achieve a base that doesn’t make you look like you just put a mask on your face. To do this, remember to work in thin layers and build up from there, depending on how much coverage you want. You can even focus more product on certain areas of your face such as those with blemishes and hyperpigmentation, and apply less on the clear areas.