Getting perfect coverage with foundation can be tricky.


How do I get a flawless finish?
What’s the best method for application?
How do I keep it from streaking?
What is the best way to apply liquid foundation?

We use foundation so that we can have that smooth, airbrushed look.

But when our makeup disappears or goes on cakey (often highlighting the very imperfections we want to diminish), it doesn’t do us any favors, am I right?

A study conducted by research firm The NPD Group and commissioned by Make Up For Ever found that foundation application seems to be a big concern.

I hear ya, ladies!

Today, I’m excited to share some of my favorite tips and tricks for applying foundation like a straight-up pro!

First Thing’s First
While makeup can help you in your quest to achieve flawless-looking skin, your best bet is to start with your best skin through good skincare.

This creates the ideal canvas so makeup goes on smoothly and accentuates all those fabulous natural features!

Below are the steps I recommend you take before applying foundation.

Step 1: Cleanser – Start by washing your face with a cleanser formulated for your skin type.

This will help remove any dirt or excess oils and get skin glowing and ready to go.

Use a gentle exfoliator 2-3 times a week to slough away dry skin that can cause patchiness or flaking.

Step 2: Toner or Astringent – Place a few drops of a toner or astringent on a cotton round and swipe over face and neck.

Again, make sure you’re using a toner for your skin type to get the best benefits.



This will remove any dirt or residue leftover from your cleanser, and help clarify and balance skin so it’s perfectly prepped for your next step.

Step 3: Moisturizer/SPF – Dry skin and fine lines look even more apparent when makeup settles in and creases.

Hydrate skin with a good lightweight moisturizer before moving on to makeup.

If you have oily skin, don’t fret – it can actually help prevent excess oil production.

And, unless you’re getting ready to go out at night, make sure to layer on daily sun protection with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Or, get a double-duty formula moisturizer that includes SPF protection!

Step 4: Primer – This step is optional, but a primer gives your skin an even surface to help makeup go on more smoothly.

It’s gotten big in recent years for its ability to give your foundation, eyeshadow, and/or lipstick some serious staying power!

More advice for folks with oily skin – primer will prevent grease and shine from taking over and making your makeup disappear.

Some formulas also fill lines and pores, color correct, or contain SPF.

A little goes a long way!

Choosing the Right Foundation

One of the main elements in making sure your makeup looks on point is to use the right foundation for your skin.

Remember that study I mentioned up top?

Well, it also found that 73% of women say that finding the right foundation is a challenge and 54% struggle with getting the correct color match. 

Here’s a quick rundown of a few things to consider when choosing the right liquid makeup for you!



  • Shade – The biggest factor in your makeup looking natural is to choose the right shade for your skin tone, making sure you’re not going too light or too dark. Choose a couple shades that look closest to your skin color and do some test swatches on your cheek near your jawbone. The one that disappears most is your match!
  • Undertones – Don’t just look at the lightness/darkness of your makeup; choose a shade that will complement your skin’s undertones (cool, warm, neutral). To determine your undertone, look at the veins on the inside of your wrist. If they look blue or purple, your undertone is cool; if they’re green or olive colored, you’re warm; and if they’re a mix of both, you’re a neutral undertone. Foundations with a red/pink base are best for cool undertones; a gold/yellow base for warm; and a nude for neutral.
  • Skin Type – Today’s formulas offer different benefits to target concerns tailored to your skin type. Do you need a hydrating formula for dry skin? A mattifying one to keep oil in check? Or maybe you want to combat some signs of aging while you’re beautifying? Choose a makeup that will best suit your skin while you wear it!

I’m going to include a little more about what formulas are best for each skin type – it’s important!

  • Dry skin – cream, liquid, or stick foundations as their consistency is more moisturizing
  • Combination skin – apply more or less powder foundation in certain areas (i.e. your T-zone vs. your cheeks)
  • Oily skin – oil-free liquid or powder foundation with a matte finish to control shine
  • Sensitive skin – hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and scent-free foundation
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