“What’s the best way to apply liquid foundation?”
We get this question or topic all the time in our makeup classes. So I decided it’s best to write an article for everyone to reference, as well as make a video later on to demonstrate. When it comes to liquid foundation, there’s really 4 ways that everyone uses to apply with (NOTE: I don’t consider airbrushing in the 4 methods because it’s more of something that professionals use. I’m mainly going with the 4 most common methods). However, not all methods are created equal, so today, we’re going to go over each and the pros and cons.
1) Using your finger to apply foundation is probably something everyone has done at one point or another. It’s probably the second most common method of applying liquid foundation. The plus in using your finger is obviously convenience, because you don’t need additional applicators or tools to get dirty. For people on the go, it’s the method of choice because, well, your fingers are attached to your hands, so they are always readily available.
Where fingers fail is true makeup application and sanitation. Unless you are taking time to sanitize or wash your hands before you apply foundation, you are also rubbing in the oils and whatever else microscopic dirt is on your fingers. For the skin-sensitive and for anyone that loves their skin, it’s probably not the most desired method of applying liquid foundation. On top of that, if you are a makeup professional, under minimal circumstances do you ever apply makeup on a client with your fingers directly to their face. It’s just a professionalism thing.
The second downside to using your fingers is the fact that fingers cannot create the evenness in layering, causing streaking and unsightly inconsistency in your look. Just imagine painting a picture with your fingers vs. painting with a brush. Which do you think will look better? It’s especially not desirable if you use a heavy foundation, or want a more sheer and even finish.
2) Using a sponge is the most common method of applying liquid foundation. The addition of a disposable sponge to your makeup foundation regimen is convenient like fingers, because once you are done with it, you throw it away. Using a sponge is also more sanitary compared to your fingers, and you get the evenness in application.
Where sponges fall short, and is the least desirable of all methods of applying liquid foundation, is the amount of product wasted. Sure, you get evenness in coverage, but because sponges just suck up everything, you end up wasting about 1/2 to 2/3 of the product put on the sponge. On average, most women use about 2-3 applications to cover the entire face, which means even more product gone. That hits your bottom line the hardest when you find yourself buying foundation every 1-2 months.
PRO TIP: If you are a sponge-a-holic, or just need sponges for events, I get mine in bulk from Qosmedix if you are a beauty professional. Otherwise, you can get them at any beauty department at your local store.
3) A foundation brush is my favorite way to apply liquid foundation. While it can be the most intrusive because that means you have to carry a brush around with you that you have to clean, the brush is the most complete. A good foundation brush is the best way to ensure evenness of application of all 4 methods, and it uses the least amount of product. Sanitation-wise, it’s on the same level as a disposable sponge, assuming that you clean it regularly after use. For those who are a fan of using a brush, or thinking of trying it out, only use a synthetic bristle brush for liquid foundations. That’s the best way to make sure the bristles stay clean and sanitary from bacterial growth. This is the brush I recommend if you are looking to acquire one.
Water is obviously needed to clean your brush, and/or at least a brush cleaner, so again, it’s more extra items that you will need to put in to your makeup bag, which can be tedious if you are a frequent traveler.
PRO TIP: After using a foundation brush to apply the foundation, go over the almost dried foundation with a sponge for even, flawless coverage.
4) Beauty blender sponges have become the “it” product when it comes to application of liquid foundation. On the go, it’s probably my “go-to” product for application of foundation for myself over a brush. (This is the beauty blender that I use)
These cutesy pink egg-shaped sponges are drawing rave reviews from everyone. It has all the strengths of brush and sponge application in terms of evenness, without the downfall of traditional sponges that suck up a majority of your product. The trick to using a beauty blender, which may be a downfall at the same time, is that you need to put them under water first, so that the pores can get engorged on the water, rather than your foundation. The damp sponge allows for you to use the pointed end to apply the foundation, while using the rounded end to buff it out for that airbrushed-like complexion.
PRO TIP: If you spritz the beauty blender with a makeup setting spray instead of water, it will make your foundation last longer.