Tips on applying your foundation powder

Applying foundation

Since reverting back to using compact powder foundation, I’ve been obsessing with the application techniques to ensure that I get the best coverage without having my makeup looking all cakey and streaky. I’ve discussed the merits of compact powder foundation vs mineral foundation and loose powder but how we apply them is also important.  So what have I discovered in my experimentation which maybe of interest to you?

Must have good eyesight when applying your foundation powder
I’ve discovered one of the reasons my foundation wasn’t looking right was my eyesight!  You see, I am both short and long sighted.  I always apply my makeup after I’ve put on my contact lenses.  Big mistake!  Because by doing that, I couldn’t really see my application correctly up close and end up overapplying on some areas.  Since discovering this mistake, I’ve made it a point to put on my makeup first and this has saved me from looking all cakey at the wrong places! 

Stand away from your mirror to apply your foundation first
I’ve never understood why hotels have those magnifying mirrors.  I thought it was ridiculous using those to apply makeup because it means my skin looks doubly worst!   Gosh, no!   I’m pretty certain that if I apply my makeup using a magnifying mirror, I would have to end up looking like I have paint on my face because I would be tempted to cover up all the flaws!  So I’ve discovered that it is better to stand away from even a normal mirror to apply my foundation first and then move closer to the mirror to fine tune so that the temptations to overapply is reduced.  This is also something endorsed by the authors of The 21st Century Beauty Bible.

Make sure you have good lightings
I prefer natural lightings when applying my makeup but in the mornings, I really have no choice but to resort to the bathroom lights which is somewhat dim.  This is why my makeup don’t look good when I’m in a hurry early in the mornings.  I kind of like fluorescent lighting because I had one attached to the top of my vanity table in my old place and it worked very well.

Use clean makeup sponges to apply foundation
This is not just about hygiene but I noted that when you keep applying foundation with the same side of the sponge that already has old powder, makeup can look a lot heavier.  So I replace my makeup sponges very frequently.  I don’t like washing them because I find they don’t function as well for me. Of course you don’t have to restrict yourself to using sponges.  Some women use their fingers while some prefer the use of brushes so as not to overload their skin with too much powder.

Apply foundation 10 mins after applying your sunscreen
First, you should always apply your foundation powder to moisturized skin or you’ll end up looking really dry and cakey.   What I found is when I’m in a hurry, my foundation powder doesn’t look good because it’s difficult to blend well when I slap it on immediately after applying my sunscreen.  So the best is to wait about 10 minutes after applying your sunscreen to apply your foundation.  The same is true if you’re using a makeup base unless it dries up quickly.  However, I’ve also learnt that I shouldn’t wait too long either because the foundation won’t sit as well too once my face starts to secrete sebum.

Use a facial spritz to settle your foundation
In my earlier entry on whether facial mists set or disperse makeup, I’ve already indicated that use of facial mist is essential for me.  After I apply my foundation, I always use a light mist to set my makeup because foundation powder can be quite drying on my cheeks and the mist help to hydrate.  The trick is not to over spritz, and to make sure your mist comes out fine.  But don’t use the facial spritz if you’re using a makeup base or liquid foundation base as they’re likely to be ruined.

Use a smaller brush to keep the shine at bay
This is an interesting tip I picked up from the 21st Beauty Bible to keep the shine off our face for hours.  The authors Sarah Stacy and Josephine Fairley suggested using a 2cm brush and dip it into translucent powder that’s close to your skin tone.  “Tap the brush on the back of the hand to get rid of excess, and work the powder with the brush into the areas that shine most.”  I’m going to try this to keep the shine off my nose area!

So do you have any special techniques you swear by to get a flawless foundation makeup?  Share them!


  1. pinky says:

    Thanks darling for the useful tip. I sure need some guide the maximize the outcome of using them:)

    pinky: You’re welcome! Glad you find them of use. ?

  2. prettybeautiful says:

    i always have this problem too, i can’t apply powder or blusher nicely in dim lights. I always go work with overly done blusher coz i thought it looked ok at home before i came out. and, i love to use spritz before i apply my powder foundation actually, the powder can settle better.

    prettybeautiful: I can’t do without my spritz… ?

  3. MisSmall says:

    The lighting in my bathroom in Melbourne is excellent, and deceiving! It’s part natural light since we have a sun roof. Everyone looks immaculate in the mirror, and hence dressing up in that bathroom would really boost one’s confidence. Problem is, you’re brought back to earth the moment you look at yourself in the mirror at work. :/

    MisSmall: Ah, I know exactly what you mean. Some lights, particularly those yellow lights make us look really flattering…

  4. Robyn @ PurelyCosmetics says:

    If your skin is dry and you’re using a powdered foundation, trying mixing the foundation in the palm of your hand with a dab of moisturizer. Then you can buff on any additional layers without caking. For oily skin, use a primer first – either silk powder or bentonite clay are excellent oil absorbers. The silk is transparent, so you can also use it for touchups during the day, if needed.

    If you like sponges, but don’t like washing them, you might want to look at the Beauty Blender – it’s very washable (it doesn’t absorb makeup – it sits on the top), and dries quickly. It’s also designed to be washed, while most other sponges aren’t.

    Robyn: Thanks for sharing your tips! I must keep a lookout for Beauty Blender. Don’t know if they have it here.

  5. claire_cemolina says:

    what kind of foundation do you use?
    do you prefer natural or mineral?

  6. claire_cemolina says:

    or the conventional ones from like chanel, etc?

  7. sesame says:

    I used mineral foundation for about a year or so before I switched to conventional type – Shiseido. I need a heavier coverage for my acne blemishes now.

  8. With says:

    so you switched back to conventional type of make up. where did your acne come from? i thought mineral make up didn’t cause any acne….

  9. sesame says:

    My acne was mostly internal issues…the mineral makeup just don’t cover up too well for me. But some girls reported breakout with mineral makeup and once they stopped using it, the acne breakout stopped.

Leave a Reply