(2021 Guide) How to Apply Foundation For Beginners

With so many different brands of foundations available today (and tutorials) – applying the right foundation the right way can be overwhelming – especially as a beginner. With this in mind I thought I would write the best post ‘How to Apply Foundation for Beginners’ – a guide for 2021 which of course needs to take masks into consideration.

Masks are compulsory, it is a new way of life and we have to adapt our makeup routines. This doesn’t mean we can’t wear makeup anymore – it just means we need to apply makeup in such a way that it lasts even longer (and of course doesn’t rub off onto the mask).

How to prepare your skin for foundation.

Whatever you do don’t ever apply foundation without preparing your skin. This means a clean face – use a face wash or even micellar water before putting on a moisturizer. Without this step (which is crucial) your skin will be dry, the foundation will find all your creases and crinkles and become flakey and cakey. This is not the look you are trying to achieve right? Whether you want a natural flawless look (which I love) or you want something dramatic prepping your skin is vital! Wait about 5 minutes for the moisturizer to be absorbed into your skin and then apply primer.

Clean skin is essential for the right application of Foundation

Must I use a primer?

Yes!!! Yes! Definitely. A primer is very important in order to achieve flawless foundation – you need very little as a it goes a long way. It will cover and seal up pores and prevent any sebum/ oil leakage during the day. This leakage makes your face shiny and the makeup then melts off even faster. Depending on your skin concerns you can choose a primer for dry or oily skin. It will also smooth the skin so that the application of foundation is easier. Essentially the primer binds to the foundation keeping it in place so that it stays on your face.

How to apply moisturizer and primer:

  1. After washing your face with the right face wash for you (or you can use micellar water) apply a serum/ moisturizer (remember to include your neck area)
  2. Wait 5 – 10 minutes
  3. Apply a small amount of primer onto a flat brush or you can use your finger tips
  4. Apply and blend the primer onto your skin (don’t apply to the eyelids or the brow area)
  5. Let the primer settle into your skin for about 2 minutes to create a smooth surface
Ensure that the moisturizer and primer are absorbed

How to choose the right foundation shade?

This is another blog post entirely as it can be quite complicated (undertones, color of your veins, swatches). In most cases you will need to get some samples. Glamore Cosmetics offers a Foundation matching service whereby you send them a photo of yourself (with and without foundation) and they also need to know your current foundation shade. They give you several samples which you then apply on your face. Once you have done this go stand in the sun which is unforgiving. This will then give you an idea of the shade which is right for you because in the natural light if it looks good on you then more than likely it is the right shade for you!

Remember to match your neck to your shade of foundation

How to apply foundation for beginners

And here we are at the very heart of this blog post! There are three ways how to apply foundation:

Makeup ToolCoverage
Beauty SpongeLight and buildable
Makeup BrushMedium to full coverage
FingersLight

At the end of the day you choose how to apply your foundation – most makeup artists prefer beauty blenders/ sponges because they feel that brushes can leave streaks and our fingers don’t blend properly/ enough.

Something that many people don’t know is that you need to use the beauty sponge damp – as in not dry and not wet. So this step is very important because if it isn’t damp you as a beginner will definitely struggle to apply your foundation.

Easy steps to follow regarding the beauty sponge for how to apply foundation for beginners

  1. Wet the sponge
  2. Squeeze out the excess water
  3. Allow the sponge to double in size
  4. It must be soft and able to absorb the foundation (we recommend not putting the foundation all over your face but rather apply it to your hand and then pick up with the beauty sponge as you go along)
Choose the right makeup tools for you.

How to get a flawless look

At this point we have our beauty sponge and/ or and our foundation of choice is the skin balance foundation from Glamore Cosmetics. This foundation is literally the best for me as I have sensitive skin so being vegan friendly, hypoallergenic and cruelty free is what I look for in cosmetics and makeup. It is light weight but also a buildable foundation which means if you need more coverage you can either add another layer or you can add a concealer after application of your foundation. As you can see from the swatches below, the color range is good, in some cases you might need to mix two shades but in most cases – we have a shade for you!

Skin balance foundation swatches
Skin Balance Foundation Swatches

How to make your foundation last wearing a mask?

The reality is masks are here to stay! It has been over a year now with Covid19 being part of our lives and we need to adapt. I think as a society we have taken giant steps to try and make the new normal a normal. Wearing masks have really affected makeup application and sales worldwide as the makeup doesn’t last and people honestly can’t be bothered anymore! Which brings me to the Skin Balance Foundation – because this foundation is waterproof (yes waterproof), lets your skin breathe and makes it last under a mask easier.

With masks being here to stay I need to emphasize the importance of keeping makeup tools clean! As a beginner learning how to apply foundation can be even harder if your skin breaks out so to prevent mask acne – keep your tools and mask clean. Also to keep makeup in place under your mask your will need to use a good setting spray

How to apply foundation when wearing a mask:

  1. Make sure you have clean moisturized skin
  2. Wait about 10 minutes then apply the primer
  3. In the mean time make sure your sponge is damp and soft
  4. Apply your foundation to the top of your hand
  5. Dip sponge into the foundation
  6. Apply to your face and don’t forget your neck area
  7. Start in the area that you need the most coverage and then work from there
  8. Gently pat the foundation into your skin – don’t drag it just pat and blend it in an upwards motion (this helps melt the foundation into your skin)
  9. Keep tapping and pushing it into your skin – blending is key here
  10. You can add concealer if necessary but don’t overload products
  11. Your foundation can be set with a setting powder (this depends on the shade/ undertone of your skin)
  12. Press the powder into the areas that come into contact with the mask as this will also make it last longer
How to apply foundation = makeup tools + primer + foundation

What does the setting powder do?

A setting powder sets the foundation into your skin so that it lasts longer. Always remember that powder products are used after liquid products and not the other way around. If your skin is dark toned try use a setting powder that has bamboo or banana extract in it because it neutralizes your skin tone. The white setting powders will give you a ghost like appearance or a white mask effect.

How to apply setting powder:

  1. There are two kinds of setting powders: loose and pressed powder – and they need to be pressed into your skin to be most effective
  2. With a big fluffy brush apply the loose setting powder (make sure to tap off the excess, first), gently by pressing or patting the powder into your skin
  3. For normal to dry skin you can then use a setting spray to make it dewy and natural (but you can definitely include a fixing spray as well)
  4. For oily skin the setting powder is followed by a great fixer spray.

And you’re done! Your face might look flat and dimensionless at this point, but that’s the goal of foundation: to even everything out.

Now that your base is properly set, you can move on to adding dimension to your face. This is done using a bronzer, contouring, and highlighting—you know, the colorful parts—and then you’ll see how your whole look comes together. The importance of knowing how to apply foundation properly benefits how long your makeup lasts leaving it fresh and vibrant even under a mask.

These products will set your foundation so that it lasts the whole day even wearing a mask.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback I would love to hear from you. It would be great if you could share this post! Thank you so much.

In conclusion here is a how to apply foundation video from Shannin whereby she takes you through all the steps you need to get long lasting foundation.

Gael Baines

Gael Baines

Gael Baines

I have a PhD in Medical Biochemistry from UCT and has specialized in research fields such as Breast Cancer, Tuberculosis and HIV. I have interacted with the Cosmetics & Fragrance Council of SA which assists with the importing of safe cosmetics into SA.

3 thoughts on “(2021 Guide) How to Apply Foundation For Beginners

  1. Shannin

    So thorough and detailed, thanks so much for breaking it down for us ❤️.

  2. Chloe

    This has been my go to guide! Thank you so much Gael for the insight, your step guide has been a saving grace for me 🙈

    Easy to understand and I must say, my foundation has never looked better and lasts all day

    Thank you 💕

    1. Gael Baines

      Foundation is a game changer get it wrong and everything looks ‘bad’ – get it right and you become flawless!

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