How To Wear Foundation If You Hate Foundation

Sable Yong


Complexion makeup can be an item of contention whether you just can’t get how to apply it, don’t know how to find your shade, or don’t want to feel or look like you’re actually wearing foundation (which is the real crux of the struggle). You might just throw up your hands in despair, saying “I don’t need foundation!”, which while technically true, doesn’t mean that you don’t want your skin to look flawless sometimes despite its natural penchant for acne, redness, or unevenness. If you’ve been coasting with BB cream and tinted moisturizer but want to up your coverage, foundation is the next obvious choice. Fear not, you won’t necessarily need a whole new set of tools or some kind of airbrush gun if you don’t want them. Here’s some simple ways to ease your way into foundation.

Find Your Shade. This is probably where the most leg-work comes in. Don’t want to spend a ton? Drugstore foundation is totally legit. If you’re getting into it and not sure if you’ll like wearing foundation on a regular basis, best not to splurge a ton of money on something you may not use. The only tricky part about buying drugstore foundation is that it’s difficult to test and try them in the store (plus, the lighting is usually terrible) and most drugstores don’t accept opened cosmetics as returns (larger stores like Target and Walmart will, however—just something to keep in mind). You’ll want to test along your jawline and in natural daylight. If the color camouflages into your skin without much blending, you’ve got the right one. Also, remember that you can always go to a department store or a Sephora and have a makeup consultant match you on the spot if that’s easiest for you.

What are you using it for? Something to keep in mind when buying foundation is knowing when you’ll be wearing it and what for. Just for fancy events once in a while? You may not have to worry about long-wear, but may want to look into fuller coverage if photos are involved. All day, every day? Definitely look into skin-friendly and breathable formulas. Makeup tech these days will impress you with what it’s capable of. There are foundations with built-in serums for brightening and anti-aging, sunscreen—all the bells and whistles. Finishes now range from matte to semi-matte to dewy, since makeup trends tend to be more a la carte than what finish is necessarily in vogue.

MORE: How to Repurpose Your Foundation

Prep your skin. Not always necessary, but certainly helpful if you don’t want your foundation melting down your face midday–a primer or priming moisturizer (two in one!) will not only give your foundation a smoother canvas to glide on, it’ll grasp onto it for as long as you’re wearing it. Applying a primer before your foundation is basically the equivalent of “set it and forget it” once your full face is done. Primers aren’t meant to be another layer of shellac beneath your makeup, rather they’re a buffer between your skin and makeup so your natural oils won’t disrupt the finish of your makeup, and your makeup won’t necessarily clog your pores or irritate your skin.

Treat it like your much less intimidating BB cream or tinted moisturizer. Foundation is really just a beefed up version of those two, probably with more pigment than moisturizing or skin-treating ingredients, per se. That said, you can totally mix a drop or two of foundation with any moisturizer. Applying with your fingers is probably the best way for a natural finish, since the heat of your hands will help the makeup melt into your skin better as you press it in after spreading. You can in fact apply it just like a moisturizer, by rubbing two drops of foundation in your hands and spreading onto your face, beginning from the center (nose and mouth) and spreading and patting outwards until it blends in. The great thing about using your fingers is that it feels and looks the closest to skin’s natural texture, and you can spot-apply just where you want it.

MORE: 5 Reasons Your Foundation Isn’t A Perfect Fit