How to Apply Foundation

Learn the right way to apply foundation, and create the flawless complexion you crave.
  1. Pick the proper formula. First, consider your skin type as well as the level of coverage and the finish you want. For a natural result, opt for tinted moisturizers or liquids. If you have acne-prone or sensitive skin, try mineral makeup. If your skin is dry or mature, use creams, sticks or whipped foundations; their hydrating formulas provide more coverage.
  2. Shop for the right hue. Select three shades that best resemble your coloring, then draw vertical stripes of each along your jawline. Examine the stripes in natural light. The product that disappears into your skin is the match. Can’t test before you buy? Many drugstores, including CVS and Rite Aid, let you return opened makeup.
  3. Apply like a pro. Start with a clean, moisturized face. When working with creams and liquids, warm them between your hands and blend into skin with a finger. (Acne prone? Try a synthetic-bristle foundation brush instead.) For powders, use a brush with natural bristles. Dab product on uneven spots (usually under the eyes and around the nose and mouth), then smooth on in light layers.
  4. End with translucent powder. If you’re using cream or liquid foundation, a light dusting sets the look and helps prevent shine. Dip a large velvet puff or fluffy brush in powder, tap against the side of the container to remove excess and apply sparingly along the T-zone (across the forehead and down the nose and chin). To eliminate shine during the day, touch up with oil-blotting papers.