How to Apply Foundation With a Brush

woman with foundation applied with brush


Who better to instruct how to apply foundation with a brush than a celebrity makeup artist whose job is making sure top stars look impeccable both on and off the red carpet? We reached out to one such makeup artist, Nick Barose, whose client list includes Lupita Nyong'o, Rachel Weisz, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, to give us his step-by-step tips for achieving flawless foundation coverage—using a brush.

"The great thing about using brushes is that it lets you be very quick and not messy," Barose explains. Foundation brushes also help to create an even, precise finish that can be difficult to achieve with other application methods. If you're looking to work a foundation brush into your makeup routine or simply want more strategies in your arsenal for achieving even coverage, study up on the below tips. Ahead, celebrity makeup artist Bob Scott shows us a step-by-step guide to applying foundation with a brush, plus pro application tips from Nick Barose.

  • Stick to Liquid Foundation Formulas: "Applying foundation with a brush works best with liquid," notes Barose. "Anything thicker, like a cream formula, can end up streaky, so always be sure it's with liquid."
  • Use a Synthetic Foundation Brush: Barose prefers a synthetic foundation brush "that's not too small or too big, like the one from Koh Gen Do, so it covers a lost of areas in an instant." If you're someone who prefers building more coverage, Barose suggests a newer brush that is blunter, such as the full-coverage foundation brushes from Lancôme or It Cosmetics.
  • Start With a Clean Brush: Always be sure your brush is clean every time you start," reminds Barose. "Any old leftover foundation on the hairs will turn foundation cakey."
  • Dot, Then Blend—In Every Direction: Barose says the best way to apply foundation on the face is by dotting it in. "Then use the brush to paint and blend in every direction," he advises. "It's very random—you should go every which way instead of stroking the brush in just one direction, which can look streaky."
  • Use a Sponge For a Smooth Finish: "For an extra-smooth effect, I usually take a sponge and gently pat it all over to blend [the foundation] in even more," explains Barose. "This way it always picks up excess product that can become creasy or cake."

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