What’s the Best Way to Apply Foundation?

What’s the Best Way to Apply Foundation?

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If you’ve ever watched a makeup tutorial on YouTube, you’ve probably noticed that some people use sponges to apply foundation and some people use a brush. Why is that? What’s the difference? In true Gina-Jet fashion, I’ll tell you that there’s no simple answer. This debate really isn’t a matter of preference, but instead, practicality. Each tool comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so it’s up to you to decide which one fits your lifestyle and skill level. After all, brushes and sponges are made in an assortment of shapes and styles just like everything else.

Since there are so many different types of foundations, you’d assume that each one would have its best application method, and you’d be mostly correct. The truth is, there are only three main ways to apply foundation, and all three ways can be used on all types of foundations. However, some tools are better for certain types of foundations. I have outlined each tool’s pros and cons:

Foundation brushes come in three basic styles: flat, round-flat, and round-fluffy.

Foundation Brush Pros: Inexpensive, widely available, easier to clean than sponges, and last forever.

Foundation Brush Cons: More “laborious” than sponges, won’t get into small areas such as corners of eyes and nose, must be taken care of.

TIP: Foundation brushes will be effective for any type of foundation but they are particularly useful for thick foundations such as cremes, solids, and sticks. NOT for beard cover. Heavy beard cover products should be applied with fingers only. They do work with liquid foundations too but will “sheer it out” more than a sponge.

Flat Brush Pros: Flat brushes are available everywhere and will not require much effort to find. They’re very inexpensive so if you lose it or ruin it, you won’t feel bad. They’re also easier to clean than sponges and waste less product than the round-flat or round-fluffy types.

Flat Brush Cons: They only work in a “flapping” motion, like painting a house, which requires more work. They also leave behind streaks, so it’s more laborious to get an even, streak-free layer.

Round-Flat Brush Pros: These work in a circular motion, which means much faster blending.

Round-Flat Brush Cons: They waste more product than the flat type and they’re a little more difficult to clean. They’re also harder to find and cost more. A decent round shouldn’t set you back more than $15-$20 but I’ve seen them go for $65 or more, depending on the brand. Try the E.L.F. line of brushes!

Round-Fluffy Pros: These also work in a circular motion, and the extra bristle volume means even faster application and blending than the regular round and flat brushes. These are also inexpensive and easy to find.

Round-Fluffy Cons: They waste a lot more product than the other two types and do not get into tight spots very easily. A second, smaller brush might be necessary.

Foundation sponges come in three basic styles: wedge-shaped, disc-shaped, and teardrop-shaped (and variations of). They should never be used in a “wiping” motion, they are always used in a “stippling” motion, which is “dab dab dab.”

Wedge-Shaped Sponge Pros: Available everywhere, super cheap, come in multi-packs, and disposable. No need to clean or maintain them. They can also get into tight spots due to their “pointy” shape.

Wedge-Shaped Sponge Cons: They’re small but absorb a lot of product. Their small size require more time and effort to cover large areas. The multi-packs also take up more space than a single brush or sponge.

Disc-Shaped Sponge Pros: Like their wedge-shaped cousins, they are super-cheap and available everywhere. They’re also disposable, so no cleaning is necessary.

Disc-Shaped Sponge Cons: Their round shape makes it hard to get into small areas, and the package takes up space.

Teardrop-Shaped Sponge Pros: These sponges are the best for blending large areas quickly. You can do your entire face and neck in seconds with minimal labor. The stipple motion blends as it applies, so there’s no need for two separate motions. They absorb much less product than the wedges (and round-flat/round-fluffy brushes) and last a good long time if you take care of them.

Teardrop-Shaped Cons: Expensive, hard to find (the good ones, anyway), and can be difficult to clean. Unlike a brush, they wear out over time and need to be replaced. The knock-off versions of these types of sponges are terrible and I only recommend two brands (Beauty Blender and Real Techniques).

TIP: Overall, I prefer these types of sponges over any of the other methods. The reason for that is the end result. It allows for the most even application at the fastest speed. I can get 99% of the face with these sponges, but I prefer to get into tight spots, such as the corners of the eyes and nose, with a small synthetic brush. The only drawback to these sponges, for me anyway, is their price and that they take effort to clean (I use a product called “Soil-Love” which is found in the laundry section at stores).

Fingers: Believe it or not, this tried-and-true method might be best for some folks. For me, it provides the most “tactile” experience because I can feel when my foundation is applied evenly and has absorbed properly. I use my fingers for my own foundation, but never on clients.

Finger Application Pros: No product waste, no brush or sponge cleanup, and I can feel when the product is even and properly absorbed.

Finger Application Cons: It can be messy and you’ve got to thoroughly clean your hands and fingers, including under the fingernails, afterwards. You should always have some baby wipes ready before you begin so that you don’t get your grubby fingerprints on your other makeup products and tools.

TIP: Be cautious when using your fingers to apply foundation if you are wearing any kind of beard cover product, so as not to “disturb” it. It’s easy to mess up your beard cover with any foundation application method, so I think it’s best to do the beard area with a sponge on top of your beard cover.

I hope these pros and cons will help you decide which application method is best for you!

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Category: crossdressing, Makeup, Transgender How To


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