Popular searches

a woman learning how to apply foundation

How to apply foundation: step by step

Okay, so foundation is great and all, especially if you apply it right - but the second you don’t? Ugh, don’t even get us started. It can look dry, cakey, chalky, like it’s sunken into every crevice on your face, and it even has the audacity to only last for a couple of hours. Try and tell us there’s worse things.

So, we thought it was about time we told you how to apply foundation the right way. Take it from a team of writers that has experienced the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to learning how to apply foundation.

To simplify the process, we’ve broken down the same steps, products and techniques we use to apply foundation flawlessly every 👏 single 👏 time.


How to apply foundation in 6 easy-to-follow steps

Step 1: start with a fresh base

A clean face is a happy face - especially one you’re about to put foundation on. When you have a clean base, your foundation is going to go on waaaaay better and look even more flawless.

If you’ve got some leftover makeup (tsk tsk) from the night before or any oil, take some micellar water, soak a cotton pad in it, and gently cleanse your face. You can even use a face cleansing brush if you need a real deep clean. We’re loving the Bioderma Sensibo H20 micellar at the moment - it’s perfect for anyone that has sensitive skin too!

Step 2: prep your skin


Your skin needs to be moisturised and hydrated before you even think about putting foundation on it - it really is the most important step in learning how to apply foundation.

Believe us when we say that without moisturiser, your foundation is going to come out all dry and flakey. It’ll also settle into all the nooks and crannies on your face, which no one wants.

After your face is all squeaky clean, apply a thin level of your fav moisturiser and let it sink into your skin. Give your skin 5-10 minutes for this!

Apply primer

Some people swear by primer, and some are convinced it does nothing. It’s safe to say that we are definitely pro primer. It not only makes your foundation last longer, but it smoothes your skin’s surface and evens out your skin tone. If you suffer from redness, you can even find primers that have a green tint to help neutralise that.

For a flawless base, try the Napoleon Auto Pilot Primer. This primer is packed full of goodness, such as vitamin E, chamomile and yarrow extract. It also gives your skin a hydration boost and gives your skin a gorgeous glow.


Step 3: choose your foundation/coverage

You know those foundations that are too dark or light, that you bought on a whim or without testing, that are in your drawer? Throw ‘em out, and go buy a foundation that actually suits your skin type/tone and coverage preferences.

Finding the perfect foundation shade and coverage can take a lot of trial and error - even those at the top of their game can get it wrong (sorry James Charles). Good thing we’ve written an entire blog on how to pick the right foundation shade, so if you need some help, check that out.

But we know how overwhelming it can be to pick a good foundation (especially when you’re still learning how to apply foundation), so try one of our favourites from Napoleon Perdis instead.

Step 4: blend, blend, blend

Ah finally, the moment of truth. This is the step in learning how to apply foundation that can either make or break your foundation’s finish.

Technically, you can use makeup brushes like stippling or foundation brushes to apply your foundation, but we find that a beauty blender is your best bet - especially when you’re still getting to grips with the whole ‘how to apply foundation’ thing.

Get a damp, not soaking wet, makeup sponge (e.g. the MCoBeauty Blender Sponge). Dab a few drops of foundation onto the main areas of your face (cheeks, chin and forehead) with your finger.

Then, using dabbing motions, gently blend out the dots of foundation. Whatever you do, for the love of the foundation gods, do not rub your foundation into your skin.

Blend the foundation outwards, towards your hairline and jaw. Continue to blend, and make sure you bring the foundation down your neck a bit so everything looks seamless. You can use the pointed tip of the sponge to get into the smaller areas, like around your nose or eyes.

Quick tip: start with sheer coverage and work your way up to fuller coverage. It’s easier to add more foundation than take it away.

Step 5: conceal

Want to cover your spots, dark circles under your eyes or pigmentation? Take some concealer, like the Makeup Studio Camouflage Stick onto your finger and gently tap it onto the spots you want concealed.

Wait for 5 minutes to let the concealer set. Then using your sponge again, gently bounce the tip of your sponge over the concealer to blend it out.

Step 6: set it

To stop your foundation melting off your face or to make sure it stays on all day, you’ll want to set it with a translucent powder (either loose or pressed powder). Take a big fluffy brush (like the Real Techniques Powder Brush), dip it into the powder, tap off the excess, and then dust the powder over your T-zone (forehead, nose and chin). We’re loving Makeup Studio Amsterdam’s Translucent Powder at the moment.

After you’ve added your bronzer, blush, highlighter and finished your eye look, you can set the entire thing with a fixing spray (like the Pixi Makeup Fixing Mist). Hold the setting spray about 30cm away from your face, spritz a few times and that’s it!



Feeling confident that you finally know how to apply foundation now? Good!

Go forth and spread the news to your friends, sister, mother, and cool-auntie-that-travels-the-world. And while you’re at it, why not check out all of the ah-mazing products we mentioned?

Shop everything you need to get the perfect natural looking finish at Oz Hair & Beauty today - and don’t forget, we have Afterpay and Zippay!

People also asked:

How to clean your makeup brushes

Wet the bristles of your brush with lukewarm water. Place a drop of your cleanser of choice into your hand (or mug). Gently swirl your brush in the cleanser and massage the bristles with your fingers. Rinse the brush thoroughly and lay flat to dry.

What makeup brands are cruelty free?

The world of cruelty-free makeup is growing fast. But to get you started, there is: MCo Beauty, ecoTools, elf cosmetics, Jane Iredale and Pixi.

How to remove makeup

Micellar water is amazing for removing makeup. Soak a cotton pad in micellar water and gently wipe it over your face. To remove eye makeup, use micellar water again and place the cotton pad over your eye and let it sit there for a minute or two - then gently move the cotton pad over your eyes.