Tutorial: Applying Foundation

I know this is very basic but someone asked me for such a tutorial a long time ago. It was so long ago that I'm ashamed to tell you when exactly that was. I'm something of an anti-foundation person as I don't wear it in daily life. However, I recently got samples of 2 foundations for which I will do a review of soon. In the process I figured why not add a tutorial while I'm at it.

Take note, I'm having some "peeling issues" along my hairline so that's why it might seem to be darker or patchy there. It's from a skincare thing I'm trying out. GREAT results but the peeling around the hairline is annoying. I will post about this more elaborately.


  • Determine what kind of a finish you and what coverage you want. Factor in whether you are going to use a concealor or not. You might be able to go lighter on the coverage if you're going to use a concealor.
  • For hyperpigmentation from acne scars, you can usually erase their appearance temporarily with concealor and foundation. For blemishes that are still alive and thriving (like mine), I like to first cover with a concealer first that matches the skin tone, then apply foundation, and touch up if necessary. For pitted scars, I can do a tutorial because I find that it is easier to show step by step what to do.
  • Figure out what your undertones are and what undertones in foundation suit you best. I know some very fair desi women who have pink cheeks and so assume that their undertones are pink. Look at the face as a whole. Determine what undertones are overwhelmingly present and use that as a starting point to choose your foundation. My undertones are very olive/yellow and so I would look for a foundation that would complement that.
  • On me, too much yellow in foundation looks horrible and mask like. I would ideally look for a foundation that is more balanced that only yellow undertones. For me, it is necessary that there be olive in the formulation too. Try to see what balance is necessary to look natural on your skintone.
  • Walk around for a day with the foundation you're interested in to see whether it oxidizes and how it looks during the day. When foundation oxidizes, it becomes darker and you're left with very obvious looking foundation

Make-up used:
  • Nixie Natural Finish Foundation/Oil Free (test driving this for you ladies)
  • Besame translucent powder. Basically what you need is powder to set the make-up.
  • Revlon Skinlights Illuminating Wand in Medium Touch. Sadly, this concealor is discontinued. Pity since it matched my skintone perfectly and conceals dark circles and blemishes very well. I found mine at Big Lots for $2 a few weeks ago so they are still on this planet.
  • Benefit Moon Beam. I like the soft, dewy look and I love this highlighter for it. You can skip this step if you want. What I like about the Moon Beam is that the glow is soft and understated. No discoball effect, just a dewy finish.
Tools used:
  • MAC 242 brush. I use this to apply concealor on blemishes and sometimes on under-eyes too. I prefer using my fingers to pat the concealor on my under-eyes.
  • MAC 187 brush. I use this for foundation as you need very, very little. It spreads the foundation evenly and in a very thin layer so you get a natural, 'my skin is shining through' look. This brush allows a very controlled level of application so you can layer foundation if necessary. You can find stippling brushes from other brands too that are quite good.
  • MAC 129 brush. I use this for powder and when needed for blush.
Step 1:
I always recommend patting on some eye cream and moisturizer first. If you want, you can use a primer on top of that. I'm going to start with concealing the most obvious problem I have: my under-eye circles. I apply my concealor on the inner corner of my eye, on the sides of my nose, and along the lower eyelid. If you want, you can apply some on the top lid too. I prefer to leave that be because I will use primer and shadow on my lid anyway.
Step 2:
I like to use my fingers to tap the concealor gently on my under-eyes and blend it into the surrounding areas. Be careful not to tug at your under-eyes and to make a tapping motion to spread the concealor. I find the MAC 242 works very well for this purpose too.

Initial Result
The concealor is blended into the under-eyes and the surrounding area. It's very close to my skintone. If your concealor is not sensationally lighter than your skin tone but if it's a bit off, foundation will fix that.

Step 3:
If you have any active blemishes (mine has been alive and thriving for the past 1 1/2 months just So you know) or a lot of hyperpigmentation, mask them with a concealor that matches you skin tone. This is why I love the Revlon skinlights concealor. It does such a good jod with my under-eyes and any blemishes.


Step 4:
Apply a few dots of foundation on the forehead, cheeks, nose, chin, and on the outer bridge of the nose near your eyes. Remember, you can always add more foundation later so it's better to do it by layers. You might find out that you don't need so much after all.

Step 5:
I blended the foundation out by making small circular movements with the MAC 187. I find that circular movements give the best results with a stippling brush because they spread the foundation more seamlessly.

Step 6:
If necessary, add some extra concealor on persistent blemishes to neutralize them (I like the sound of neutralizing them. sounds very "this is the CIA and we need to kill this blemish. Ok, I just realized how lame that comment was). Blend the edges into the foundation.

Step 7:
I like to add a glow which is very soft. If you want to skip this step, do so by all means. I applied Moon Beam on the bridge of my nose (very lightly), on top of my cheekbones to my temple, on the brow bone and followed the curve of my eyebrows all the way to the highlighter on the cheekbone, and on my cupid's bow.

Step 8:
I blended the Moon Beam with my fingers.

Step 9:
I dipped my powder brush in my translucent powder, tapped off the excess, and applied a thin layer over the foundation to set it.

Step 10:
Don't forget to set the concealor on the under-eyes with powder. You can also use an eyeshadow brush for more precise application.

Final Result:
See, that wasn't so hard. It looks very natural I think.


Anonymous said...

what foundation are you using exactly? is it MAC? if so which one specifically? Also, can you apply the foundation with your fingers or a sponge as opposed to the brush? Thanks, great tutorial!!

10:52 PM
Anu said...

It's the Nixie foundation I mentioned. I am test driving this to let you guys know what I think of it. For now it has great olive undertones that match my skintone. I dont like applying foundation with fingers or a sponge because the amount of make-up used is more and I like the fact that the brush spreads a thin layer of foundation all over the face. Sponges absorb so much make-up and fingers dont spread foundation as well in my opinion. Although i think fingers are great for applying tinted moisturizer. hope that helps.

11:46 PM

evasitoe said...

This is a very good tutorial on foundation. I strongly believe in using my fingers too to apply concealer (especially the 4th one)!

10:51 AM
worship-elle said...

do you also have to ad foundation on your neck?

12:45 PM
Anu said...

hey evasitoe,
i am glad you like it.

hey worship-elle,
i dont really find it necessary esp especially if the foundation matches your skintone. however i can see the need since my face is a lot darker than my neck. you could put it on your neck if you wanted to even the tone out a little bit, just be sure to blend into the surrounding area.

6:03 PM

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anu!
I really liked this tutorial, especially since the look is so natural and breathable!

7:16 PM
ilovecheese said...

Hi Anu! Your skin looks flawless despite the blemish and the final effect is wonderful. Can I please request a tutorial for skin with pitted scars? I have bad skin that way..

11:16 PM
Hijabi Apprentice said...

great tutorial!

10:06 AM
Aarthi said...

Great tutorial as always...
It would be great if you could offer some tips on how to apply makeup for pitted scars.I look forward to that post! I have acne prone skin and I dread silicone-based primers. Are there any primers out there which will not break you out but have that same smoothing effect of silicone?

10:58 AM
10-C said...

Nice tip on using the brush instead of a sponge/fingers. Can you reccomend any drugstore brands? Right now I use the Loreal True Match (when I do wear makeup)-- it fits my yellow undertones the best, but looks weird if I put on too much.

My question though: my undereyes are darker than yours, or seem that way because I am light, making me look like I haven't slept in 2 years. I have tried green and yellow color correctors for my undereyes, but have to put enough (read: a lot) foundation to cover the abnormal green or yellow color and match the rest of my face. I set with some powder, but by that point, I feel like I have so much makeup on my face, any advice?

Also, any advice for raised pimples and dry skin (that won't go away with moisturizer) when applying foundation?

7:28 AM
The Anti Hair Slave said...

Awesome tutorial! I need to practice... everytime I wear makeup my boyfriend realizes right away.... I need to be able to fool him!

9:05 AM
Anonymous said...

hey anu
i love nixie face stuff
i havent tried this one yet
i lvoe this tut. i just started usuing this brush with my liqudi foundation. what would you suggest though for cream formulas. i use a sponge but was wondering if anything gives a better look?

9:17 PM
An Indian's makeup musings said...

I love your lashes !!! They are so beautifully curved upwards. Mine are awfully straight and pointing downwards :(
Do you have any fav mascaras that helps hold the curl and may be lengthen a lil bit? Thanks girl !

10:42 AM
Mehia said...

this is soooo great!I buff my foundation into my skin too. I really like that brush I even looked it up ($42 O...M...G...) and I must agree with every you are just so crazy beautiful :)

5:38 PM
Anu said...

hey anonymous:
thanks. I'm a huge fan of less is more when it comes to foundation. i hope it comes across well.

hey ilovecheese:
you do not have bad skin, ive seen your pics. but yes i'll have a post on that. you cant make miracles happen but you can minimize it (in my experience. the skincare i will post about has done a good job though).

hey hijabi apprentice:
I'm glad you liked it :) *hugs*

hey aarthi:
i will def do a post on that. I have a couple of pitted scares that I've really seen some difference in with some great skin care products. I'll add that to the mix too.

hey 10-c:
i really like covergirl smoothers if you're looking for a nice tinted moisturizer. otherwise i am a huge fan of revlon colorstay. however i havent tried the new formula but i did love the old stuff. it looked great in real and in photos. as for concealor, I really recommend a corrector that's a bit peachy or salmon coloured, depending on your skintone and undertones. I then pat on some concealor on top of that and add some tanslucent powder over it. that usually make a huge difference.

for a raised blemish, i'd pat on a good concealor over it that isn't too dry and then pat some powder to set it.

hey anti-hair slave:
glad you lieked the tutorial. practice does make perfect :)

hey khamila:
I tried out the nixie stuff based on your raves. I am really liking the fact that it's got olive undertones which doesn't come across too yellow on my face. as for a cream foundation i love buffing it in with the mac 109 brush. I know it's meant for blush but this stuff is awesome if you want to buff in foundation, esp cream ones.

hey an indian's make-up musings:
i'm not that fortunate either. it's all the remaining mascara that's helping.

hey mehia:
try and see if you can get to a cco because they're 30% off there. i've heard that the sonia kashuk for target version is pretty good as is lumiere's. I have one brush from lumiere that i adore so i think their quality should be good. i get a pro discount so that always helps. see if you know anyone who works there who can help out with their discount. there are quite a few dupes out there so dont be disappointed.

10:11 PM

Bali said...

Hey Anu! This is Bali again, girl in quest of finding the right foundation for her skin tone!
Can you pls tell me what shade of Nixie you used? There is 5 Olive tones on their website, I'm all confused now =)

9:01 AM
MsJamie said...

Hey anu!! I would love if you did a post on products that us indian people can use to make our skin look brighter and even-toned. Even without foundation, your skin looks amazing! I would love to know what kind of products you use or would recommened for more even-toned skin that would make acne scars much much... much lighter and skin around your mouth lighter Thanksssssssssss a million!! :D

7:51 AM
frosted-lemonade said...

I'm such a big fan of your blog, and this foundation tutorial is my favourite!

I'm not a desi but have tanned complexion too, and since everytime I go to a beauty counter they only know how to play with fair skin the results were disappointing... And referring to Asian they only good with much lighter skin complexion than mine... Frustrating...

I love your natural yet beautiful look. I've learnt so much reading your tutorials... Keep up the good work! :)

Oh, will put a link to your blog on mine soon :)

10:41 PM
Anonymous said...

Hi Anu
I love your blog, keep up the good work.

10:30 PM
nicky said...

what kind of foundation r u using
cause ma skin and ur colour is exactly the same
i mean is it beige etc....

please reply

4:14 PM
ma story said...

what kind of foundation r u using is it beige or is it just natural foundation

and i'm new at this i mean makeup so i need some help

our skin colour is exatly the same
so whatever u used i can find that in store and try it one

can u plzz help me
i'm very interested in makeup buh i don't know how to put it on

4:25 PM
Pooja said...

have you tried high beam? i cant decide which one to go with..high beam or moon beam..

1:26 PM
Sati said...

Hi, in this one you wrote "For pitted scars, I can do a tutorial because I find that it is easier to show step by step what to do." I can't seem to find this tutorial? I don't have any deep scars, but there are tiny ones I'd like to learn how to hide.
I'd also be interested in any treatments you'd recommend to even out these & hyperpigmentation issues for dark skins.
And any tips you can add about color matching for Indian skin tones, I'd appreciate. I'm often surprised that you can use common products, or a Revlon concealer that comes in just 3 shades when you have medium-dark skin like me, when I seem to have trouble. Actually I think I'm just terrified of using the wrong shade and walking around looking blotchy or ashy and being completely unaware. If you lived near me, I'd be going to you for help in person.
Thanks Anu - looking forward to more posts from you!

5:09 PM
Anonymous said...

hi Anu
i'd like to buy this nixie foundation but i dont know where to get it. i live in vancouver and i'd like to know a store from where i can buy this type of foundation.
great tutorial it helped a lot :D

2:47 PM
Anonymous said...

great work .....i have a problem with my foundation..i use stick foundation and it doesn't stay on and i feel so much embarrassed..plz give me some useful tip

3:01 PM
Rabab sheikh said...

hello anu! i jus love your work....i have a bit discolored chin and i use stick foundation to cover it but my foundation doesn't stay on for a long so plz tell me some perfect solution to fix my foundation :)

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