Why Makeup Artists Want You to Get More Handsy With Foundation Application

Why Makeup Artists Want You to Get More Handsy With Foundation Application
Photo: ImaxTree.

Though I’m not a fan of wearing makeup everyday, when I do, it has to be on point. That means dark circles are disguised, dark spots are nowhere to be seen and my face is dewy without being greasy. For as long as I’ve been watching tutorials, getting expert advice from makeup artists and making mental notes of backstage Fashion Week tricks, the one thing I’ve never given a fair shot is learning how to apply foundation with hands.

I’m a germaphobe and the method just never appealed to me. Going against dermatologist advice which says to keep your hands off your face outside of cleansing and moisturizing is crazy, right? Well, according to some, there are exceptions and foundation application is one of them. Because while beautyblenders and pretty makeup brush sets are great for backup, nothing beats using your skin to get that second-skin effect.

The Downsides of Tools

When it comes to brushes and sponges, too much of a good thing is definitely possible. “The downside of using brushes are in that some brushes can layer excess product, resulting in too much of a full coverage finish,” says Dior Makeup Artist Ricky Wilson.

Brushes are also more likely to leave streaks, making it obvious that you are wearing foundation versus looking more natural. Sponges have a tendency to absorb a lot of your makeup too and more often than not, you’ll end up with more foundation trapped in the sponge than what makes it onto your face.

“Sponges are also subject to bacteria growth, so if they aren’t washed regularly, they can cause breakouts,” says Wilson.

The Benefits of Your Hands

In makeup artist circles, hands have always been the gold standard. Before brushes and sponges, they typically use their hands to apply the base, which makes it easy to continue the same method while applying coverage.

“One of the best benefits of applying foundation with your hands is the ability to warm up the formula so that it spreads easily, virtually becoming second skin,” says Wilson. “The other benefit is that you only use what you put onto your fingertips, which allows you to use much less product.”

How to Do It

Start by dabbing one or two pumps of foundation on the back of a cleaned hand–whichever one you don’t write with. Next, Wilson suggests picking up the foundation little by little using two fingers (index and middle).

“I start applying the foundation starting from the center of the face working my way outward,” he says. “The key is to smooth the foundation into the skin until it disappears. And if you want more coverage, you can use your fingertips to tap a bit more over a problem area.”