How to Apply Makeup : Foundation

Applying a good foundation or makeup base is key to achieving a natural and well made up face. If you do it right, you’re face will look flawless and natural rather than over-made up and cake-y! Think of it as carefully priming your canvas so that when you start painting, the colors and the overall look will look amazing. Here’s my tutorial on How to Apply Makeup : Foundation.


MoisturizeSTEP 1: Before the foundation — Moisturizer, sunblock & primer

MOISTURIZING should always be an essential part of your skin care routine, especially if you have dry skin or combination. Dry spots on your skin will look horrible once you start applying the makeup because the it will find its way into the cracks and dry flakes.

Many women don’t put SUNBLOCK when they go out–exposing their skin to the harmful effects of the sun! Little do they know that by failing to put sunblock they’re allowing more blemishes to form (ex. freckles) and causing their skin to age faster (Wrinkles!).

PRIMER is important if you want your makeup to last the whole day, plus it helps your skin look much better because it smoothens it out a bit.

BB CREAM top beauty product in asian countries like South Korea and Japan. It’s a moisturizer, sunblock, and primer all in one! Some BB creams even add have whitening (many asians do like lightening their skin) and anti-aging properties mixed in. The brand of BB cream I prefer is Dr. Jart Black Label because it matches my skin the best.


Apply FoundationSTEP 2 : Foundation

After applying your pre-foundation products, you finally get to put on the foundation. I would suggest that people with dry or combination skin should use a liquid foundation while those with oily skin should stick to powdered foundations.

PUTTING ON LIQUID FOUNDATION 1. First, dot your forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin with the liquid foundation then spread it across your face with your fingers (make sure your hands are clean!). How much foundation you use depends on how thick you want your makeup to be. Those with good skin can get away with a sheer coverage, while those with reddish spots and/or blemishes might want to put a bit more.

After spreading it out, use a CLEAN foundation brush to evenly spread and smoothen it out. Don’t forget ot apply foundation down your neck as well!

PUTTING ON LIQUID FOUNDATION 2. Another way to apply liquid foundation is to squirt some on the back of your hand then use a stippling brush to dot the foundation onto your face. When you apply foundation with the stippling brush, don’t swipe it across. Instead, you have to lightly poke your face all over with it (I don’t know how else to explain it) until it’s evenly covered. I prefer this method of applying foundation because it gives me a smoother and more air–brushed look. It just takes a bit more time to apply.

PUTTING ON POWDER FOUNDATION. Applying powder foundation is much like applying other powdered cosmetics–by using the sponge. A tip that i usually see in asian magazines is to apply the foundation in an upward motion to prevent your skin from premature sagging.

Product-wise, I like using the Shu Uemura Face Architect line. Both the liquid and powdered foundations provide good coverage when applied correctly and they don’t cause me to break out. When that isn’t available, for good coverage I turn to MAC Studio Fix and Anna Sui Moisturizing Powder Foundation. While both do eventually cake on my skin when it’s a little humid (especially MAC), they provide very good coverage.

However, other than looking at brands, it’s important to match your skintone! Most peoples’ hands are not the same color as their face. Also, keep in mind that some foundations become darker or lighter as they set on your skin!


EXTRA. During this stage, I usually take a facial tissue and lightly pat my face. I feel like it makes my make up blend better and appear smoother and more natural (I can’t prove this though).


ConcealerSTEP 3 : Concealer

Now that your done getting rid of those slightly red spots, now it’s time to conceal those annoying imperfections!

GREEN. In the picture to the left, the green area under the eyes is for your eyebags. When covering your eyebags make sure to pat on the concealer instead of swiping your finger across when you apply it! Swiping and overpatting usually wipes away most of the concealer leaving your dark circles and red spots visible.

ORANGE. After covering up your eyebags, use a little concealer to fill in a triangle from your inner eye, down to the side of your nose, then back up to the outer edge of your eye. Though not necessary, doing this brightens up your face.

RED. Lightly pat concealer onto your blemishes. Over patting/applying your concealer can make the blemish bump more prominent than before.

PURPLE. Add a little concealer to the sides of your nostrils to hide the redness. If your eyelids are red/brown/purple, you can also even out the color with some concealer

BLUE. The lines that run from your nose to your mouth. Concealing these lines on your face help brighten it up and give you a more youthful look.



ContouringSTEP 4 : Contouring

Contouring your face makes it look more defined and chiseled! By contouring your face, you can make your nose appear straighter or define your jawline more, making your face look slimmer.

Contouring is done by applying brown powder that’s a little darker than your skin tone), bronzer, or a darker shade of concealer. On the picture to the left, I’ve outlined the two basic places you should contour.

ORANGE. For this part, i suggest using powders for a more natural look. It’ll be difficult to use liquid or cream concealer. Sweep some bronzer/powder around the edges of your face to make it more defined. If you have a double chin, this could help hide it a bit.

After that, suck your cheeks in so that you can see your cheekbones. With a blush brush/bronzer brush, apply some bronzer BELOW your cheekbones to give them definition. Some people like to extend the coverage of the bronzer from below their cheekbones to the jaw to make it even more defined. Just be careful when doing this, a little practice is needed.

BLUE. Use an eyeshadow brush or a concealer brush to trace a line down the sides of your nose. Instead of tracing the sides of your nostrils, trace a straight line down to the tip of your nose. Use your finger to blend it down, away from the bridge of your nose. Take some time to practice this as it is a bit difficult. Doing it incorrectly can leave you with a horrible looking nose!


HighlightingSTEP 5 : Highlighting

Highlighting can be done using a concealer a shade or two lighter than yours, highlighting powder (ex. MAC Vanilla Pigment*), or a highlighter (Yves Saint-Laurent Touche Eclat).

GREEN. Sweep some highlighter on your brow bone to open up your eyes. Pat with your finger to blend it if it feels like it’s too much.

PURPLE. Using a small makeup brush, trace a line down the bridge of your nose to the tip. Pat it down a little to make it appear more natural. Doing this makes your nose look straighter and much prettier.

ORANGE. Add a little highlighter to the top part your chin if your feel that the bottom half of your face is darker than the top half.

You can also add highlighter above (under the eye) and a bit on your cheek bones to make them more prominent. Suck in your cheeks and sweep your brush a bit higher than where your cheek bones are. I suggest doing this AFTER putting on blush though.

*MAC’s Vanilla Pigment is marketed as a pigment for the eye, but it works brilliantly as a highlighter!



SettingSTEP 6 : Setting your makeup

Setting your makeup is an extremely important part of any make up routine! Without it, your make up will be gone and look horrible even before the day is through! Setting can be done before or after your apply color to your face.

Some people like to use sheer compact face powder to set their makeup, but i personally prefer using loose translucent powder to set mine. The brand I prefer most is LAVSHUCA Loose Powder (Lucent) as it fits my skin tone perfectly and gives me a warm glow. Shu Uemura Loose Face Powder comes in at a very close second. Try the loose powder before you buy it! If the loose powder doesn’t suit your skin tone, it could give you a white-cast that’ll make your look like all your blood was drained by a vampire.

I suggest applying your loose setting powder with a Kabuki brush (or a fat brush will do) or a powder puff (these usually come with the loose powder). Before applying it to your face, pat or swipe your applicator on the back of your hand first. This will get rid of excess powder so you won’t look as white as a ghost.

Evenly apply it to your face. If you’re using a brush, apply it while moving your brush in a circular motion so that it’s evenly spread, fully covered, and it won’t leave light streaks on your face (it’s rare, but it happens!). Apply some on your neck too!


After setting your make up, you’re all set to create beautiful looks! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or to take it slowly. Makeup, like any other craft, takes time and practice. Once you’ve done it enough, you’ll get faster and much better at putting it on!

Thank you for reading my article on how to apply makeup. I’ll share some more tips in the future!

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