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How Do I Apply Liquid Foundation?

By T. Briseno
Updated Jan 21, 2024
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Liquid foundation is a makeup that gives the face a smoother appearance and more even coloring, and it can be applied in several ways to best complement the wearer. You can apply liquid foundation with the fingers, a makeup brush, or a sponge, and some brands even come with a built-in applicator such as an attached brush or sponge tip. Many makeup experts advise applying foundation from the center of the face and blending outward, and some dot the face from forehead to cheeks to chin and blend each area in a circular motion.

A makeup's formula has a lot to do with how it should be applied. Although there are few hard and fast rules in cosmetic application, there are some tried and true methods. Thick and creamy liquid foundation tends to work well as it warms with the skin's temperature, and placing a dollop of the foundation on the back of a clean hand and letting it warm up on contact or by thinning it out with the fingers often makes application to the face more seamless. You can apply with your fingertips and start from the nose outward across the cheeks and gently under the eye area, of you can use a foundation or stippling brush. A foundation brush has flat and densely-packed hairs and can be used much like a paintbrush to layer makeup and a stippling brush has loose-packed hairs and works well as a way to tap or stipple makeup into the skin in a light, circular or dabbing motion.

Watery liquid foundation is often a preference for those with oily skin or for those in humid climates, whereas the emollient formulas can work well with drier skin and climates. You can apply a more water-based foundation by pressing it into the skin with fingertips and lightly circling to blend out the edges, or you can buff it in with a cosmetic sponge or brush. Some companies even market airbrush foundations, usually with a thinner consistency, that can be sprayed on with a special tool.

Some steps before and after applying liquid foundation can make a big difference in how it looks and how well it wears. Makeup primers are specialized lotions that often contain silicone to smooth the complexion and even pores so makeup settles on top instead of into the skin. Organic primers and foundations are a recommended option for those with skin or chemical sensitivities, and if you prefer a very natural makeup application, mixing foundation with a face lotion or cream can provide a less-pigmented tinted moisturizer foundation. Often the most important part of applying liquid foundation is to blend well, making sure that the skin looks uniform from the chin to the neck and around the nose and forehead. After applying makeup and letting it blend into the skin for a few minutes, dabbing it gently with a dry or damp sponge or a soft blender brush and setting it with a dusting of powder can give a final, more flawless look.

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