The hard truth: Finding the *perfect* shade is only one third of the struggle that comes with wearing foundation. You also have to narrow down what formula will work best with your skin type and give you the coverage level you're after. Finally, when it comes type to actually apply the makeup, properly applying it is essential for a natural, streak-free finish.
In general, celebrity makeup artist Daniel Martin, who counts Jessica Alba and Elizabeth Moss amongst his clients, says that not properly blending or understanding what kind of finish you want or need are common areas where people go wrong.
Since foundation formula types aren't one size fits all, you're going to need a different method and makeup tool for a powder than you would for a creamy liquid, so we turned to Martin for his tips.
Once you patted on a powder foundation with a puff, Martin says it's key to remember why you apply setting powder in the first place. "If you're wearing full coverage foundation because you're oily, then you need to wear it all over, and pressed onto the skin with a powder puff," he explains. "For tinted moisturizer or sheer coverage foundation, powder in the T-zone with a brush is fine."
There's a reason why you love stashing a stick foundation in your makeup bag when traveling. Not only is it TSA-friendly, you don't need to pack your makeup tools in order to use it. Martin agrees: "Stick foundation can be applied directly to the face, or as a spot treatment where you want coverage. Depending on the type of coverage you want, a flat foundation brush like NYX's Pro Flat Foundation Brush ($15; nyxcosmetics.com), a buffing brush, or even a sponge is great for this application."
These multitasking hybrids are great if you want buildable coverage that feels lightweight and also offers skincare benefits. Martin recommends a buffing brush such as Dior's Backstage Buffing Brush ($53; dior.com) because it will spread the product quickly and evenly on the face.
FULL-COVERAGE LIQUID FOUNDATION
If you're craving a pore-free, flawless complexion but don't want your makeup to look cake-y, Martin says to reach for a makeup sponge to apply it. "For full-coverage liquid foundations, I like to use a wet sponge to stipple onto the face. I'm obsessed with Tweezerman's Bbuddy Blender Sponge ($12; tweezerman.com), a new egg sponge that also has a flat side. It's perfect for this technique and when moistened, because it helps the product blend in seamlessly."
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SHEER LIQUID FOUNDATION
If you want absolute weightless coverage, whether you're using a BB cream, tinted moisturizer, or sheer liquid foundation, Martin says that simply using your fingers is the best route to take. "The light texture melds well with the warmth of your hands so it spreads easily and evenly. Afterwards, press powder in your T-zone to finish," he says.