How To Apply Liquid Foundation With Brush, Sponge, And Fingers

Now you know the best ways to nail the smoothest foundation finish every time.

Reviewed by Shelly Shimoni, Hair & Makeup Artist Shelly Shimoni Shelly ShimoniHair & Makeup Artist facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (English Literature) Sushmita Barman MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Madhumati Chowdhury MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , BA Anu Pallavi BA linkedin_icon

Foundation is the heart of a flawless makeup look. It is, thus, important to know how to apply liquid foundation to get a natural skin-like texture. The secret to a beautiful pay-off is the right tools and techniques. This article lists various ways to apply liquid foundation — with a brush, fingers, a beauty blender, and a sponge. Read on!

protip_icon Keep In Mind
  • Natural Light: Natural Light Apply your foundation in natural light to ensure that you’re choosing the right shade and that your foundation blends seamlessly into your skin.
  • Determine Your Skin Undertone: Natural Light Pick a foundation based on your undertones. If your veins appear blue or purple, you have a cool undertone. If they are green, you have a warm undertone. If you can’t decide whether they appear blue or green, you have a neutral undertone.
  • Avoid: Natural Light Do not touch your face after applying foundation as it can cause smudges. Let the foundation dry before applying any other makeup products.

How To Choose The Right Foundation Shade

Here is a guide to choosing the right foundation shade for a flawless makeup base.

  1. Identify Your Undertone: Identify if your undertone is cool, warm, or neutral. Warm tones are inclined towards yellow or golden hues, while cool tones have pink or blue undertones. Neutral tones have a mix of both.
  2. Test Shades: Swatch the foundation on your jawline or neck in natural light. Pick three shades closest to your skin tone to compare.
  3. Match To The Jawline: The right shade should seamlessly blend into your jawline without stark contrast. Avoid testing on your hand as it may differ from your face.
  4. Check In Natural Light: Step outside to verify the shade in natural light to ensure it matches your skin tone accurately.

Remember, the ideal foundation shade will enhance your skin tone. So let us check how to apply liquid foundation!

How To Apply Liquid Foundation (Tutorial)

Here’s what you need to apply foundation to your skin perfectly:

  • Cleanser
  • Moisturizer
  • Primer
  • Liquid foundation
  • Concealer
  • Foundation brush
  • Sponge

With these tools in hand, let’s follow the steps mentioned below:

Step 1: Wash Your Face With A Cleanser

How to apply liquid foundation step 1
Image: YouTube @Mariaagloriaa

Use a cleanser to wash your face and remove excess oil and dirt that can make your skin look dull and oily. Pat your face dry with a clean towel.

Step 2: Apply A Moisturizer

How to apply liquid foundation step 2
Image: YouTube @Mariaagloriaa

Whether you have oily or dry skin, moisturizer is a must. It hydrates your skin and helps keep it glowing. You must also apply sunscreen if you are stepping out. Wait for five minutes before moving to the next step.

Step 3: Use A Primer

How to apply liquid foundation step 3
Image: YouTube @Mariaagloriaa

Two pumps of primer is all you need to blur the pores and create a smooth canvas for your foundation. Apply the primer with your fingers to your forehead, around the mouth, and areas where you need to blur. Remember to tap it and not drag your skin.

Step 4: Dot Your Face With Foundation

How to apply liquid foundation step 4
Image: YouTube @Mariaagloriaa

Pour some liquid foundation on the back of your hand and dot it all over your face. Focus on the areas that need coverage, like the chin, around the mouth, and pigmentated regions.

Note: You can also mix your foundation with a face oil or liquid highlighter for that extra glow. Less is more. So, use just a teeny-tiny bit.

Step 5: Damp And Stamp

How to apply liquid foundation step 5
Image: YouTube @Mariaagloriaa

Use two pumps of a setting spray and damp your foundation brush (a flat top stippling brush or Kabuki brush). Wipe off the excess, and with a quick and gentle stamping motion, spread the foundation all over your face, neck, and ears evenly.

Step 6: Blend With A Damp Sponge

How to apply liquid foundation step 6
Image: YouTube @Mariaagloriaa

Damp your sponge/ beauty blender and bounce it all over your face to blend the foundation, soak up the excess, and smooth out any brush stroke lines.

Step 7: Use A Concealer

How to apply liquid foundation step 7
Image: YouTube @Mariaagloriaa

This step is optional. But if you have hyperpigmentation or acne scars, a concealer can help you achieve even-toned skin. Apply a few dots and use your fingers to pat it and blend the outer edges.

Final Look

The final look
Image: YouTube @KaushalBeauty

This is a basic liquid foundation tutorial for beginners. If you want to get into the details of using a brush, sponge, and your fingers to apply liquid foundation, scroll down!

How To Apply Liquid Foundation With A Brush

The type of brush you want to use depends purely on the look you are going for. A flat foundation brush will give you full coverage. However, if you are looking for something a little more natural, you can use a buffing brush, which will yield a medium coverage, or a stippling brush, which will give you modest coverage. If you want your foundation to look flawless, use a buffing brush to buff the product onto your skin in a circular motion.

Freiha, a blogger, shared her experience of applying foundation flawlessly. She wrote, “First I apply a thin layer of foundation all over my face using a flat foundation brush. I then buff the foundation into my skin using a dense brush. I do one layer all over my face and the second layer concentrating on the problem areas, followed by spot concealing (i).”

protip_icon Quick Tip
Use short, paint-like strokes when moving the brush outward for a more natural finish.

How To Apply Liquid Foundation With Fingers

If you have been following the trend on the internet, using fingers to apply foundation has made it huge. This is probably the best option for someone who is experimenting with a foundation for the first time.

Use your index finger to dot the foundation on the required areas. On the large areas of the face, use all your fingers to spread the foundation. For places like under the eyes and around the nose, use your ring finger. This will make sure that the foundation doesn’t sink into the creases. However, do not use your fingers if you have oily skin as the natural oils in your fingers can spread to the face.

How To Apply Liquid Foundation With Beauty Blender

Applying liquid foundation with beauty blender
Image: Shutterstock

The beauty blender has taken the world by storm and changed the makeup game for a lot of people out there. It is an egg-shaped sponge and a great alternative to a brush when you want your skin to look flawless skin.

To apply foundation with a beauty blender, dot the foundation all over the face. Go over the product with a damp beauty blender and blend away! Take your time and have patience while blending. Make sure that the product is evenly distributed so that it doesn’t look cakey in places.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Ensure that you use the pointy tip of the beauty blender to blend in foundation in hard-to-reach places like your nose and brighten the area under your eyes.

How To Apply Liquid Foundation With Sponge

Sponges are cut into squares and wedges and used to apply the foundation to the skin. You can use these sponges either damp or dry. Dab the makeup sponge with the foundation and start applying it to the face in light strokes. Start from the center of the face and go outwards. Keep working on it until you are happy with the coverage.

The tool you use depends on what you are comfortable with. If your fingers give you better control than a beauty blender, use them to apply foundation. All you have to do is give each tool a try and find what works best for you.

protip_icon Quick Tip

Always use the widest and thickest end of the sponge to dip into the foundation before application.

Do Not Forget To Set It!

Creating that flawless long-wearing base also depends on how well you set it. Apply a translucent or setting powder to set your liquid foundation. You can either use a big fluffy brush or a makeup sponge for this purpose.

Give your brush/sponge a swirl or two to pick up the powder. Start from the center of your face – the corner of your eyes, the center of your forehead, the nose, the mouth, and the chin. Whatever is left, use it on your cheeks. Use a little more of the product and set the foundation on your neck and ears.

While applying foundation is desirable, keeping your face clean is also important to avoid pore-clogging and breakouts. An easy way to do this is to remove the foundation at the end of the day. Here’s how you can do it.

How To Take Off Foundation

You Will Need

  • Oil-based makeup remover/ olive oil
  • Cotton pad
  • Face wash/cleanser
  • Clean towel
  • Toner and moisturizer


  1. Soak the cotton pad with the remover or oil.
  2. Use gentle circular motions to remove the foundation from your face, neck, and ears.
  3. Rinse your face with lukewarm water and face wash to clear any leftover foundation and oil traces.
  4. Pat your face dry with a clean towel.
  5. Apply the toner and moisturizer to close your pores and soothe your skin.

Infographic: Top 4 Ways To Apply Liquid Foundation

Effective skin prep and choosing the right foundation shade and formula are the keys to achieving a radiant base. However, the tools you use to blend your foundation are equally important, especially when it comes to liquid foundation. They help make applying the foundation a lot easier and smoother. Check out the infographic below to learn about the four best tools to apply liquid foundation and try the one you find the easiest!

top 4 ways to apply liquid foundation (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

We hope this article could answer one of the most asked questions – How to apply liquid foundation? Foundations can either make or break your look. It all depends on how you use it. Knowing all the makeup tips or beauty tips, and using the right makeup techniques, beauty products, and makeup brushes can help give a flawless makeup application. Check out some makeup tutorials online before you begin. Before buying a liquid foundation, it is important to know your skin color, shade, tone, undertone, texture, and type. As you hit the market, you will know that there is a foundation that is made just for you. So be sure of the shade your skin needs. Always follow your skincare routine before applying makeup. Cleanse your face thoroughly and moisturize it. Do not forget to apply your primer. And most importantly, make sure you have the right tools to create the magic. Finally, take your time to blend your liquid foundation well to prevent the makeup from appearing cakey.

Frequently Asked Questions

When to color correct?

Go for color correction if you have hyperpigmentation to prevent the foundation from looking ashy. It also neutralizes any purple or red tones. Talk to a beauty professional to find out which color corrector suits your skin tone.

What is the best liquid foundation for oily skin?

In the high-end range, you may want to try the double wear foundation by Estee Lauder. If you are looking for something cheaper yet efficient, the Pro-matte Foundation by L’Oreal is the way to go.

What is the best liquid foundation for dry skin?

When it comes to dry skin, you can try the Face and Body Foundation by MAC or Revlon’s Colorstay Whipped Foundation. These foundations are said to have a high moisture content, which creates a smooth, dewy base with no dry patches.

What is the best liquid foundation for combination skin?

The Even Better Makeup SPF 15 by Clinique and Bourjois 123 Perfect Foundation are good options for those with combination skin. These foundations add just the right amount of moisture without drying out the skin.

What is the best liquid foundation for acne-prone skin?

The temptation to go for thick and creamy foundations is understandable, as you may think that this will hide your acne. While it may do so, it will also aggravate the acne. Hence, go for a lightweight foundation so that your skin can breathe. You can opt for the Laura Mercier Smooth Flawless Fluide foundation or the Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup by Clinique. Both are great choices for preventing any further breakouts.

What is the best liquid foundation for sensitive skin?

The Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation and Nars Sheer Glow foundation are suitable for sensitive skin. They are light and easy on the skin and provide decent coverage.

Key Takeaways

  • The key to perfecting the art of applying liquid foundation is using the right tools and techniques.
  • Liquid foundation can be applied with your fingers, a brush, a beauty blender, or a sponge.
  • It is important to remove your makeup before you go to sleep as it can clog your pores and cause breakouts.
How To Apply Liquid Foundation

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

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Shelly Shimoni

Shelly ShimoniHair & Makeup Artist

Shelly's journey within the makeup and beauty industry started at one of London's leading colleges, LCBT. She then furthered her training at LSMM, where she was trained by some of the leading names in the makeup industry. She has since gained 12 years of experience working within the media, fashion, and bridal sectors in the UK and abroad. Her full bio

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