Beginner’s Guide on How To Apply Foundation

How to beginners guide to apply foundation

So, you purchased your first ever bottle of foundation, but don’t know how to apply it? or Have you played with foundation but can’t seem to get it right? Well, I’ve put together this Beginner’s Guide on How To Apply Foundation for all my lovely ladies that want a little inspiration on how to apply their foundation correctly.

Now, this guide will apply mainly to the infamous liquid foundation; that only 99.9% of the female population owns (don’t take my word for it I just made that statistic up). Seriously though, who do you know (female especially) that doesn’t have at least one bottle of liquid foundation…

See my point.

So, You finally acquired your first bottle of foundation. You pay and watch the cashier bag your liquid gold so enthusiastically. Now, your trotting back home like Jill about to meet Jack. You sit at your pretty little vanity and start smearing your new guilty pleasure all over your face. But, now you’re staring at your reflection in the mirror and see that you’ve become a little too enthusiastic about the application. You’ve heard all the horror stories, and now sadly, you’re living the nightmare … you have CAKE-FACE.

You would think applying foundation is just putting the product straight on your face and smearing it around hoping for the best. In reality, you can apply it that way if you wanted too, but it’s not recommended.

Without the proper tools and application technique, you risk giving yourself the oh-so-dreaded cake face. Trust me, you do not want to become that girl with so much foundation on her face that it literally looks like she’s wearing a pancake for a mask.


don’t fret I’m here to help. Keep reading for the trick to preventing cake-face.

A quick Disclaimer: I promise you I DID NOT edit any of the following images in any way. My skin has just been cooperating with me on phenomenal levels lately.

beginners guide on how to apply foundation

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1. Have a Clean Canvas

Beginners Guide to Apply Foundation

In other words, implement a good skin care routine.

What does skin care have to do with having a flawless foundation? With regular cleansing & exfoliation, you will remove any dirt and dead skin cells from your face. Make sure to Moisturize! With moisturizing, you will prevent dry skin from forming. You will create a smooth “canvas” that will allow for smooth application for your foundation.

How? Well, there won’t be any extra texture for your makeup to stick to. No texture, no patchiness. So, no need for additional layers of foundation.

2. Get Out Your Favorite Primer

Loreal Magic Lumi Primer

There are a ton of primers out there for every skin type. If you want a matte finish, get yourself a mattifying primer. If you want a more luminous finish, go for a more hydrating primer – Get what I’m saying.

By adding a primer to your foundation routine, it will help fill in pores, and it will also give your foundation something to stick onto for a longer lasting result. I find that the primer also creates somewhat of a barrier between the foundation and your skin. This allows for easier removal because it doesn’t allow your foundation to sink to deep into your pores.

For the application, you can just use your clean fingers to work the primer all over your face. But if you’re grossed out about using your fingers, you can easily use a brush to apply your primer.

Try out my recent holy grail face primer, Loreal Magic Lumi Primer for a luminous finish.

3. Conceal by The Spot Method

Beginners Guide to Apply Foundation

For my ladies that have acne scars (myself included), you need to pick up your favorite concealer and spot correct any blemishes. This will be your first cover layer for any acne scars that need a little extra to hide. Just don’t forget to blend out your concealer so there are no harsh edges.

Beginners Guide to Apply FoundationBeginners Guide to Apply Foundation

By using the “spot” method on your blemishes it will prevent you from applying too much foundation to cover those blemishes later on. Use a concealer that matches your skin tone …sorry no highlighting here guys. Or you can use a color correcting concealer to help cancel out blemishes with their respective colors.

4. The Moment of Truth – Foundation Application 

Maybelline Fit Me Dewy + Smooth foundation

The moment we’ve all been waiting for, foundation. To start, you HAVE TO get your correct shade. Because cake-face alone is bad, but cake face in the wrong color is just horrible.

The best way to get your correct shade is to match your color to your neck and chest. Naturally, the rest of your body is darker than your face because you are prone to wash and exfoliate your face more than any other part of your body. When in doubt, just take a trip to Sephora or Ulta to get color matched to the foundation of your choosing.

My go to foundation at the moment is the Maybelline Fit Me Dewy+Smooth Foundation since my skin is a little bit more on the dry side. For those of you with oilier skin try out the Maybelline Fit Me Matte+Poreless Foundation. They are both extremely affordable foundations with a high-end payoff.

So what’s the big secret to avoid cake-face?  The trick behind avoiding cake face is very simple, use as little product as possible and build in areas you absolutely have too. By using little product as possible to allow your natural skin to peek through; even with the full coverage of foundations. Let them freckles shine girl!

You spread your first layer of foundation out very thin. For more coverage, you should only work another thin layer in the areas you need it, most commonly the chin and/or forehead area.

You want to avoid too much foundation around your t-zone which is the area between your eyebrows down your nose and the sides of your nose. It may or may not include the chin area for some people.

What is the reason for avoiding too much foundation around the t-zone? Because this is where we normally get oily. Also, it’s the #1 spot to be on full display and stand out the most if we were to accidentally go over board with the foundation. It’s best to set this area very lightly with some powder after you apply your foundation to control your natural oils.

But, even the best foundation is only as good as the tool you apply it with. Even though there are tons of ways to apply foundation, for the beginner’s sake we will only talk about what’s the most common.

Related Post: 7 Must Have Beauty Essentials

You will need to get yourself a good foundation brush. A good brush will give you a smooth and even application. Also, depending on the size, with a  brush, you can finish your face fairly quickly.

On the other hand, my personal favorite is using a beauty blender. You can use either the Original Beauty Blender which is amazing but I personally use the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. A beauty blender will give you such a beautiful airbrushed finish, both with light and full coverage makeup looks. Unfortunately, they are not so great with cream foundations.

With a Brush

Beginners Guide to Apply FoundationBeginners Guide to Apply Foundation

First, you get a small pump (because that’s really all you need) either on the back of your hand or on a small dish. Then, you dot and blend it all over your face a section at a time, like your cheeks then move to your forehead, and so on and so forth.

Beginners Guide to Apply Foundation

Now with your brush, blend your foundation out with a mix of light circular and stippling (patting) motions.

Beginners Guide to Apply FoundationBeginners Guide to Apply Foundation

Do not forget to blend out your foundation down your neck and around your ears. By doing this you will eliminate that sharp mask effect around the edges of your face.

Now use a facial tissue and pat your face to remove any excess foundation. This step is imperative when using a brush because if you leave that excess foundation on your face, it will settle in your fine lines and be very noticeable. We want a smooth application, not a cakey one.

Beginners Guide to Apply Foundation Beginners Guide to Apply Foundation Beginners Guide to Apply Foundation

With a Beauty Blender/Sponge

MAKE SURE YOUR BEAUTY BLENDER IS DAMP.  Run your beauty blender under water and squeeze out the excess water until the beauty blender feels damp.

This does two things:

First, it will make your beauty blender very soft.

Second, you prevent the sponge from sucking and removing too much product from your skin since it’s partially filled with water.

Beginners Guide to Apply FoundationBeginners Guide to Apply Foundation Beginners Guide to Apply Foundation 

With the beauty blender, pat your foundation in the same way you would with your brush. Do not want to smear the product around. It is best to pat and press the foundation into your face.

The beauty blender will deposit and absorb just enough product so there is no real need to use a facial tissue like we did with the brush. Think of it as a brush and tissue put together, working at the same time.

Understand now why the beauty blender is my preferred method of application. So easy to use and the finish it gives you is absolutely beautiful.

Beginners Guide to Apply Foundation

5. Set your Perfection!

Beginners Guide to Apply Foundation

If you are going for a more glam look by applying concealer under your eyes and/or any other cream products, you need to set them with a light layer of translucent powder. This will prevent creasing and allow for your makeup to last all day. Try to avoid too much powder because this will make your makeup look dry… we all know that dewy and luminous is whats in right now.

On the other hand, if you’re going for a more natural look and do not want to bother with a setting powder, you can try a long lasting setting spray like Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray.

Beginners Guide to Apply Foundation

That is pretty much it. Hopefully, this guide has explained and helped some of you understand how you can now avoid the dreaded “cake-face.”

Please let me know what you guys think and if you guys have implemented this guide to your foundation routine. Tell me how it has turned out for you in the comments down below! Thank you for reading!

beginners guide on how to apply foundation

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