For many people, makeup can be very intimidating. And if you fall down the social media rabbit hole, it can feel like you’re already failing before you’ve begun thanks to constantly changing techniques and challenges that are more about clickbait than founded makeup techniques.
Before you throw your hands up in despair, just remember that makeup is meant to be fun. While you can absolutely apply makeup and share it with the world on social media, you don’t have to feel constrained by the latest Instagram or TikTok trend. And this is especially true for applying foundation.
Understanding the Basics
There’s more than one way to apply foundation. And, depending on the product you use, and the other kinds of makeup you plan on applying, even when you apply it during the overall makeup application process may vary. Thankfully, the Keshima Kabuki Brushes are excellent tools that will help you quickly apply your makeup.
Regular vs. Large Flat Top Kabuki Brush
Your first step is going to be deciding whether you should use the regular or large Flat Top Kabuki Brush. While both are excellent at applying and blending out your foundation, beginners should use the regular size.
If you’re not used to applying foundation, the slightly smaller size of the Regular Flat Top Kabuki Brush will allow you to master the basics of holding the brush properly, and learning the difference between applying and blending product with the brush.
Meanwhile, more experienced makeup wearers will appreciate the speed that the Large Flat Top Kabuki Brush can provide. The larger-diameter brush head allows you to quickly apply foundation — regardless of formula — with ease while still giving you the control you need to properly blend or buff in crevices.
Picking Your Foundation
Both the regular and large Flat Top Kabuki Brushes can be used with liquid, powder, and cream foundations. However, your techniques may vary slightly depending on the formulation you select.
Ultimately, the foundation you pick is going to depend on your skin type, the finish you prefer, and of course in a shade that most closely matches your real skin tone. If you need help picking the right foundation, check out our guide to shade matching foundations here.
Consider Your Coverage Level
Foundation comes in a range of coverage options — usually sheer, medium-to-full, and full coverage. Sheer foundations can include tinted moisturizers where it’s just a hint of color. These are ideal for someone who simply wants to have a little bit of makeup to possibly even out skin tone or hide minor blemishes.
Medium-to-full coverage foundations are probably the most common option you’ll find and they’re often promoted as buildable. This means that if you apply a thin layer, you’ll get a uniform look to your skin, and can also hide minor imperfections. It’s more coverage than a sheer coverage foundation, but it offers a “your skin but better” effect. However, if you opt to apply additional layers, you can create full coverage.
And full coverage is ideal for more heavy-duty makeup needs like photoshoots, special events, or if someone has more serious skin blemishes that can’t be minimized with a lighter coverage level.
Before the Foundation…
Before you start covering your face in makeup, always make sure you’re starting with clean, prepped skin. At a minimum, this means that you’ve washed and moisturized your face. But if your goal is long-wear, along with picking a foundation that’s designed to last the test of time, also invest in a good primer.
Primer serves as a base for all makeup. It can help to prevent makeup from shifting or fading throughout the day — which is essential if you want your makeup to look as fresh on hour eight as it did when you applied it.
Applying Powder Foundation
For beginners, powder tends to be the most goof-proof option that’s also the least messy. If you’re a “less is more” makeup fan, one simple layer of powder should be enough to give you a sheer coverage effect that helps to even out skin tone without being overdone.
Begin by gently brushing the head of your Kabuki brush over the powder. Depending on your coverage goals, you may need more or less powder. Gently tap the brush against your powder container to remove excess powder. Forgetting to do this step may leave you with fallout on your clothes!
Start by gently rubbing the brush over the center of your face, focusing on the main areas — this will be your cheekbones, forehead, jaw, and nose. Don’t forget to also do your neck to avoid floating head syndrome if your foundation isn’t a perfect match for your skin tone.
Once you’ve finished the initial application, you want to go back and buff the product outward in soft circular motions towards your hairline and below the jawline to create a more blended, natural look. If you feel you need more coverage, dab your Kabuki brush back into your powder, tap off the excess, and reapply as needed.
Full Coverage Powder Application
While the application steps are similar, if you want a full coverage powder application, you’re going to switch how you use the brush. You’ll still start on your T-zone and focus on larger areas first. But instead of rubbing the brush over your skin in circular motions, you’re going to use a stippling technique.
To do this, you’ll avoid dragging the brush and instead will gently tap the powder across your face. Ideally, you should use our Stippling Brush for this, but in a pinch, a Kabuki brush will work. Prevent caking by working in small circular movements to create even coverage.
Applying Liquid Foundation
If you’re ready to graduate from powder foundation, liquid is usually the natural progression. While everyone has their favorite product, liquid can be ideal because it’s easier to control how sheer or full the coverage is based on how much you apply.
Keep in mind that liquid foundations can vary widely in texture — which will impact how you apply the product. Some liquids are thicker, having a consistency that seems more like a slightly runny pudding, while others are thinner like water.
You may find that thin liquid foundations are easier to work with when you apply the product directly to your skin and then use your Kabuki brush to blend and buff. Meanwhile, thicker foundations that aren’t as runny can be applied directly to your Kabuki brush before buffing the brush over your skin.
Whichever you pick, just know that our Kabuki brushes are up to the challenge and that the synthetic bristles are designed not to soak up the product. Regardless of the texture, you’ll apply and buff liquid foundation just as you would a powder formula.
Begin in the larger parts of your face (forehead, cheekbones, jaw, and nose) and blend outward towards your hairline and down to your neck. With liquid, you need to ensure that you complete the buffing step as you want to avoid streaks or demarcation lines where your makeup stops and your skin begins.
If you prefer a fuller coverage finish, apply more foundation and repeat the application and buffing steps. For a sheerer effect, first spritz your Kabuki brush with a misting product or water so that the brush head is damp before blending and buffing the foundation.
Applying Cream Foundation
Cream can be an interesting medium for foundations. It’s great because cream stays put. Additionally, if you crave full coverage, it’s very easy to achieve with a cream foundation.
While you can find liquid creams and even mousse formulations, this category can also include foundations that are marketed as cream-to-powder. This usually means that it has a gel-like, slightly moist texture when in the pan, but once applied to your face it buffs out to a powder finish.
This is one way to get a great airbrushed finish if you don’t have an airbrush set or a stippling brush. Additionally, it also means you’ll experience less fall out since the product is less likely to go airborne. For people who like the idea of liquid foundation — but not the application process — cream-to-powders can be a happy medium that offers the best of both worlds.
Applying Cream-to-Powder Foundation
Cream-to-powder foundation follows an application process exactly like with powder foundation. These are pressed pans of product. So, you’ll begin by swirling your Kabuki brush into your cream foundation to pick up product.
Just like with powder foundation applications, start by applying your product on the main features of your face — forehead, nose, cheekbones, and jaw. But, remember that cream tends to be more full coverage and budge-proof. So, you’ll want to blend outward towards your hairline and down towards your neck to create a smooth, finished effect.
Depending on your coverage goals, this may be enough product or you might want to add more to specific areas where you think you need it.
Applying Traditional Cream Foundations
Working with traditional cream foundations is similar to using liquid foundations. Usually, these foundations are fairly thick. So, if you prefer, you can apply them to your brush and then work the brush across your face, starting with larger areas before blending out to your hairline and neckline.
Tips for a Flawless Look
Once you’ve mastered the basics of foundation application, be sure to follow these tips so you can create a flawless look every time you use one of our Flat Top Kabuki Brushes.
Less is More
Even if you love a full coverage look, avoid loading your brush or face with too much product initially. It’s very easy to add a bit more foundation to reach your desired coverage level. But if you apply too much, it’s very hard to sheer it out — especially with a thicker liquid or cream. In most cases, you’ll need to wipe it off and start over.
An Easy Hack for Matte
Even though you can get foundation in a matte finish, you can easily turn any other formulation matte by simply following up with powder. Clean off your Kabuki brush with either a quick makeup wipe or a sponge cleaner and then dab a little bit of translucent setting powder onto the brush head. Gently swipe it over your face, remembering to buff it as you work to prevent any harsh lines.
A Little Moisturizer to Sheer Your Foundation
If you genuinely want just a hint of color on your face, you can easily turn any liquid foundation into a sheer formula by adding moisturizer. Using a palette, add a bit of foundation to a pan and add a pea-sized amount of moisturizer. Mix them using a spatula and then apply with your Kabuki brush following the liquid foundation application steps listed above.