So you have your favourite foundation but keep wondering what could be the best method to apply it. If you didn’t already know, the way you apply your foundation matters as much, if not more, than the foundation itself. A great foundation can be marred by a bad application technique.

When I first started wearing makeup, I was confused which method was best suitable for me. So over the years, I ended up purchasing a number of the brushes and sponges for this purpose. And although its been fun experimenting, I do wish I had a cheat-sheet back then. So today, I’ve compiled that list for you all to help you pick what’s best for you. Let’s begin.

1-The Stippling Brush

6 Ways To Apply Foundation: Beginner’s Guide
6 Ways To Apply Foundation: Beginner’s Guide- Stippling Brush (MAC 187)

These brushes, ususally being two-toned, have a flat head and comparatively low density of bristles. The foundation is applied using a stippling (or dotting) motion rather than a rubbing one. If used correctly, it gives an airbrushed finish to the skin.

Work best for liquid and cream foundations.


– Since the bristles are low in density, it picks up little product at a time. This allows you to build coverage.

– Results in a natural sheer to medium coverage.

– Stippling motion gives an airbrushed finish.

– Gets the product into the pores and is good for people with large pores.


– I feel it a takes a lot of time to do my foundation with this brush.

– Its not the best option if you want a full-coverage foundation.

2- The Flat Foundation Brush

6 Ways To Apply Foundation: Beginner’s Guide
6 Ways To Apply Foundation: Beginner’s Guide- Flat Foundation Brush (Vega Foundation Brush)

This brush is one of the classic ways to apply foundation and was the first foundation brush I ever purchased. The foundation is applied in a downward motion. Many makeup artists swear by this brush to apply their foundations. However, it is not one of my preferred methods because I found the technique a bit ‘difficult’ to manoeuvre. And I soon found other ways which were easy and convenient. 

Works best for liquid foundations.


– Helps achieve a full coverage of foundation.


– Can leave visible streaks.

– Not a great way to get a sheer coverage.

– Not ideal for people with large pores.

– I don’t know if its a general thing or with this particular brush (which is the Vega Flat Foundation Brush, if you’re wondering) but I found there was a lot of product wastage. The brush absorbs nearly half of it!

3- The Buffing Brush

6 Ways To Apply Foundation: Beginner’s Guide
6 Ways To Apply Foundation: Beginner’s Guide- Buffing Brush (Real Techniques Buffing Brush)

This brush has short, dense bristles which are usually synthetic. It may have a completely flat head (like the Sigma F80), slightly curved (like the Real Techniques Buffing Brush– pictured above) or rounded (like the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush). The foundation is applied using a circular, buffing motion.

Works well for liquid, cream and powder foundations.


– Provides a full coverage of foundation.

– The product gets into pores, good for people with large pores.

– Provides an even coverage.

– The technique is fairly quick and quite convenient, especially if you’re in a hurry.

– The buffing motion leaves no streaks.


– Since the product is vigorously rubbed into the skin, the process causes micro-exfoliation and can highlight dry areas on the face.

4- The Kabuki Brush

6 Ways To Apply Foundation: Beginner’s Guide
6 Ways To Apply Foundation: Beginner’s Guide- Kabuki Brush (The Body Shop Round Kabuki)

This brush has long, synthetic bristles which are very densely packed (much more than a buffing brush) and has a very short body. It mostly has a rounded top but can have a flat top too. The foundation is again applied using a buffing motion.

Works great for pressed/loose powder and mineral foundations.


-In my experience, they are the best brushes for applying powder foundations.

-Provide a much higher coverage than other methods because of tightly packed bristles.

-The buffing motion leaves no streaks.

-And this is my favourite, they are so easy to carry around in your handbag(because of the small size) to touch-up your powder foundation.


– Buffing motion causes micro-exfoliation; not good for dry skin

5- Sponges and Beauty Blender

6 Ways To Apply Foundation: Beginner’s Guide
6 Ways To Apply Foundation: Beginner’s Guide- Sponges
Beauty Blender
6 Ways To Apply Foundation: Beginner’s Guide- The Beauty Blender

Sponges come is different shapes, sizes and textures. One thing to remember is that not all sponges are made the same. Some absorb more product than others. Some might be easier to hold. All sponges are used damp using a patting/ stippling motion.

Work best for liquid and cream foundations.

Also Read : Beauty Blender- Review, Price, Availability in India


– Results in a sheer to medium coverage that looks ultra-natural and dewy.

– Foundation goes on evenly.

– The technique is very easy to manoeuvre.

– Using a big sponge like the beauty blender takes very little time.


– Sponges are the most vulnerable of makeup tools to harbour bacteria. They need regular cleaning, else can lead to skin problems.

– They have a relatively short shelf-life; Have to be replaced more frequently.

– Not the best method to get a full coverage of foundation.

6- Fingers

If you feel none of these methods fit you, you can always use your good ol’ fingers.

Work best for cream foundation but can also work for liquid ones.


– Warmth from the fingers makes the product easier to spread.

– Requires no monetary investment 😀


– Can cause an uneven coverage of foundation

Oh and my personal favourite? The Beauty Blender for an everyday look and the Real Techniques Buffing Brush if I intend to go full coverage.

I had a lot of fun coming up with this post. Hope you guys find it helpful. I’d love to know what your preferred methods of applying foundation are. Please share in the comments below.

22 Comments on 6 Ways To Apply Foundation: Beginners’ Guide

  1. This is really an awesome post! Loved the way you have described the various ways, & pros nd cons of each method!! 🙂

  2. Wow….loved the article dear. . You have explained very elaborately along with the pros and cons.

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