How to Put on Foundation

by Lisa Finn

Foundation is used on the face to even out skin tone, conceal blemishes and smooth fine lines. It's not a one-size-fits-all makeup -- foundation comes in hundreds of shades and formulas for all skin types. Knowing how to apply foundation so that it blends seamlessly with your skin tone is key to your foundation success. Putting on foundation can be tricky at first, but after you get the hang of prepping your skin and using the proper tools, wearing foundation can make your skin look flawless.

Decide on the foundation that is best for your skin. Foundations often include sunscreen, can be oil-free and have a matte or dewy appearance. A liquid foundation gives sheer to medium coverage that you can build depending on the look you want. Pressed powder foundation, good for normal skin, has a silky feel and is known to blend easily. Cream-to-powder compact foundations leave you with a slightly matte yet powdery finish that provides a wide range of coverage, while a foundation stick tends to give a thicker coverage and can double as your concealer.

Discover your perfect color by visiting a makeup counter. Swipe a sample on your jawline but don't rub it in. If it disappears into your skin, you have the correct shade. It's also a good idea to check the color in the outdoor light.

Mix the foundation with a gel primer or your daily moisturizer so that the foundation goes on evenly and lasts longer throughout the day. Squeeze a dime size of liquid foundation and moisturizer onto the back of your hand. Mix using your finger or a foundation brush. When using a compact, stick or pressed-powder variety, apply the primer or moisturizer directly onto your face first.

Dot foundation on the forehead, nose, chin and on either side of your nose. For minimal coverage, use your fingers and gently rub in circles working from the center and blending your way out, and use a lighter touch as you hit your jawline and hairline. Finish the job by using a foam makeup wedge or foundation brush to smooth foundation into the corners of your eyes and nose.

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Items you will need

  • Moisturizer or primer gel
  • Foam makeup wedge or foundation brush


  • Use foundation on your eyelids as a base for eye makeup.
  • Change your foundation as the seasons pass. You'll probably need to go a shade darker in the summer months and one shade lighter in the winter.
  • Always shake liquid foundation before using.
  • Apply concealer under your eyes after your foundation is set.


  • A foam wedge soaks up foundation quickly. Refrain from putting foundation directly onto the wedge.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.

Photo Credits

  • Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images