How to Apply Foundation so It Looks Undetectable, According to a Makeup Artist



If you're after immaculate skin, foundation is one of the most important components to achieving the most polished look. There are tons of different formulas, price points, and (finally) shades to choose from, so finding the perfect foundation for you has never been easier.

The thing about foundation is that it can be tricky to apply. It seems like foundation should be the easiest thing in the world to put on (it's just a base for your makeup that matches your skin tone, after all), but in reality, it's much harder than it seems. We've all experienced the horrible realization that after painstakingly applying our chosen foundation, it looks like a total mess. 

The key to applying foundation seamlessly is a combination of applying the right skin prep, using the correct brushes, and choosing a formula that looks seamless on the skin. I spoke with celebrity makeup artist Renée Loiz to get the rundown on how to apply foundation so it looks like a professional did it every time. 

What's the best way to prep your skin before applying foundation?

Save your heavy-duty, rich, textured creams for your nighttime skincare routine. When applying skin prep before foundation, it's best to keep things light. "Before applying foundation, I like to use Glow Recipe Dew Drops as a primer to hydrate and smooth skin and the underage area," says Loiz. "The foundation lays beautifully on top of this serum and leaves your skin with the most beautiful, natural glow." She also recommends the Olay Vitamin C + Peptide 24 Brightening Face Serum for similar results. If you're applying foundation in the morning, we also recommend topping it with a lightweight sunscreen. 

What is the best way to apply foundation?

According to Loiz, it's all in the technique. "I like to use a foundation brush to pat on the foundation. I never swipe it on because I feel like that results in a streaky foundation. When using a makeup sponge, make sure you wet the sponge completely and squeeze out the excess water before applying your foundation. You can also use your fingers to apply foundation, just make sure your hands are clean."



Should I apply foundation differently based on the finish?

Loiz says that you can use any method to apply any foundation finish. If you find that a method isn't working for you, it could actually be the amount of foundation you're trying to use that's messing you up. "I always start out with minimal product and add more as need for the desired finished," says Loiz. 

How do I avoid pilling?

Ugh, the dreaded p-word. There's nothing worse than when you follow every possible piece of advice for putting foundation on only to end up with a balled-up mess of product on your face. In general, a good rule of thumb is to always apply products that have the same base ingredient—so stick to only oil-based products with an oil-based foundation, or water-based products with a water-based foundation. Be sure to also allow plenty of dry time in between products. To set foundation after applying, Loiz recommends using the Mally Beauty Face Defender, which plays well with most formulas (and won't result in pilling or caking!). 



Loiz's absolute favorite products for applying foundation:

"It’s perfect for a fresh face glow, doesn’t look greasy, and has excellent coverage." —Loiz

"Pat McGrath Sublime Perfection Foundation leaves a satin finish and once applied it melts right into your skin leaving any trace of foundation undetectable. And let’s not forget about the shade range—36 shades, to be exact!" —Loiz

"Dior Forever Matte Foundation is a staple in my kit as it wears beautifully on film and doesn’t leave skin shiny. Make sure you work quick when applying as this foundation sets and doesn’t move all day." —Loiz

"The Beautyblender Pro Makeup Sponge is the OG of makeup sponges. None can complete at all. The finish this gives foundation is otherworldly." —Loiz

"The Otis Batterbee foundation brush is a newcomer to my kit and definitely here to stay. I love how the shape and flexibility of the bristles glide effortlessly across skin." —Loiz

Editor-favorite foundations:

We love how this foundation has skincare benefits. 

Allegedly, this was the most-used foundation on the Euphoria set. 

Somehow, this foundation literally looks like skin.