How to make your foundation stay on longer and look better

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For something so basic, foundation can be really intimidating. There are so many different options and methods for applying it, and they’re usually being explained to you by someone who’d very much like to sell you something.

Depending on where your beauty skill level is at, you may feel more comfortable using your fingers to apply your foundation, a beauty blender (which is basically a new fandangle foundation sponge) or you may feel completely comfortable using a foundation brush. Once you have mastered applying foundation with a brush, it’s actually quicker than using your fingers – but you’ll have to put time in learning to save time later on.

Because I’ve worked in the beauty industry for quite some time, I feel most comfortable using a brush to apply my foundation – and for the most part, I recommend it. Why? Because when you use your fingers to apply foundation, you are warming up the liquid on your fingertips as you blend it onto the skin. That can look fantastic immediately but isn’t so great for longevity.

When you apply with your fingers, you are cutting the life-span of the product down. When you use a foundation brush, the product is heat activated by your face once it’s applied, not by your fingers. Not pre-heating a product with your hands means it will mould in and last longer throughout the day.

But since makeup is a ‘choose your own adventure’, here are some suggestions for you, no matter where you sit on the makeup skill scale.

Beauty Beginner

If you’re a believer that your face is not a canvas and brushes should be left to the Monets and Picassos, there’s nothing wrong with a little ‘finger painting’.

BB Creams are a great way to combine serum, moisturiser, primer, foundation and sunblock. The coverage of the product is higher than a tinted moisturiser, and using your fingertips to apply is encouraged for a ‘glowy’ second-skin appearance.

BB Creams rarely last on the skin all day, and SPF has a two hour lifespan, so keep it in your handbag for a midday touch up and add cream blush on the cheeks for a quick dewy flush.

Beauty Amateur

Beauty Blenders are a great way to buff your foundation into the skin if you’re always stuck with streaks when you attempt foundation application using a brush. If you want to skip the brush step all together, you can even place some foundation on the sponge itself and blend into the skin.

Cheat a professional finish, every time. $7.99, click image to buy.

 Aspiring Beauty Guru

Here are the steps that makeup artists employ to get their clients 'camera ready'.


First step? Primer. Primer is different to moisturiser as it doesn't penetrate the skin to hydrate the way a moisturiser is designed to – it stays on the surface on your skin, creating a barrier between your skin and your makeup. This means when you apply your foundation, it won't sink into the pores or wipe off your face. Primer will make your makeup last past your lunch-time latte.

Foundation looks best when applied sparingly, especially when using a brush. Apply your product starting at the centre of your face, then feather outwards. Use any excess product left on your brush to blend the foundation in on your forehead and around your jaw line. Blend with tapping stippling motions to smooth into the skin.

This way, like a magician uses the slight of hand to trick the eye, you can give the illusion of a totally flawless face – that looks completely 'you' rather than appearing like a mask.

Concealer is best applied after foundation, so only apply it where the foundation doesn't quite do the job. You can also blend concealer more easily when foundation is already applied to get that super-natural finish. When applying concealer under the eye area, use a small synthetic brush and concentrate the product on the inner corner of the eye and by the bridge of your nose, where darkness is prominent.

If you can, use a orange based product to really counteract purplely blue tones and try to avoid the outer corners – as fine lines will become more prominent throughout the day if too much product is used. For more detail read my guide to hiding under eye bags.

Also, unfortunately, most foundations require powder to last all day. A light dusting with a powder or kabuki brush is all that’s required. But if you’re a no-powder kinda gal and cringe at the thought, ask a makeup consultant at a department store for a foundation that is 'self-setting' - they do exist.

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