There is no right or wrong tool to use in the application of your foundation, however the tools you use will impact its finish and the amount of coverage you get to some degree. You can achieve different looks with the same foundation by simply changing your method of application. With makeup artists always using their fingers and beauty sponges all the rave for the past few years, knowing what tool will achieve your desired effect can be a game changer. Today I will be exploring the difference between using brushes, a beauty sponge, as well as the tool everyone’s got in their arsenal, our fingers.


Fingers are easy. Everyone’s got them and they’re always with you no matter where you are. Using your fingers to apply foundation gives a more concentrated result, as no product is wasted by being absorbed by a sponge or brush. The warmth of your fingertips adds extra blendability to the product by warming it up. This technique is ideal for light coverage, as it helps get the maximum coverage from minimal product. If you want your skin to still look like skin, just evened out and balanced, use a small amount of foundation warmed up between your fingers then blend out into the skin. If you find your fingers give you a streaky result, simply pat out, however it most likely means you are using too much product.

The downside of using your fingers for application is that it can get messy or streaky, but again this may just mean you are using too much product. If you are looking for fuller coverage, one of the other tools may be the way to go. Fingers can also spread bacteria, so ensure you always start off application with clean hands.


Synthetic foundation brushes are best for achieving medium coverage. They are great for distributing cream formulas on the skin and building up product. Rounder, more heavily packed kabuki brushes are great for buffing out heavier foundations for a more natural, flawless finish. A current favourite of mine and a very affordable one at that is the Morphe M439 Deluxe Buffer Brush. It blends out foundation seamlessly with little to no effort.

Kabuki brushes are best for normal to oily skin, as the buffing motion can disturb and emphasise texture in the skin such as dry patches and peach fuzz. If you have dry skin and want to use a brush, try a classic foundation brush (the ones that look like paint brushes), blending out with smooth, downward strokes.

Every time you use a brush, it will absorb more product and oils from your skin. This makes a it perfect environment for bacteria to grow. A dirty brush will not do a good job of blending out makeup and will likely cause breakouts, so ensure that brushes are maintained and cleaned regularly for best results.


Beauty sponges as best for when you want a full coverage foundation. While some argue that a beauty sponge is good for lighter coverage, I find that due to the fact that they absorb product, they will cause you to over-apply.

Sponges work their magic at pressing product onto the skin instead of diffusing it, giving you a high level of coverage. A full coverage foundation and concealer can be seamlessly blended with a sponge, with its texture imitating real skin without moving the pigment around too much. Using a dampened sponge will add moisture to the skin, making even heavy makeup look dewy and youthful, avoiding a cakey appearance. If you enjoy a more dewy appearance, sponges can be amazing at applying cream products such as blush and bronzer, as they will easily bounce the product over your base without disturbing it.

Sponges require frequent, even daily washing and regular replacing as they trap moisture which harbours bacteria and even mould. It is one of the most costly and wasteful methods of makeup application.

While most of us are pretty attached to our method of daily application, it can be fun to experiment with something new. You may be surprised by how much a product you’re very familiar with can be manipulated by simply changing up your tools, creating a variation in finish and giving you more options without having to purchase multiple foundations.

3 thoughts on “The Best Tools for Applying Foundation?

  1. I am 100% attached to sponges. I do have some brushes that work excellent with foundation, and on the rare occasion that I can part ways with my sponge, the brushes still amaze me. I do clean my sponges after every use, and I dispose of them every three months or if they tear up really bad. I save money with buying awesome drugstore sponges- no beautyblenders for me!

    xoxo Amanda |

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great blog post! I normally use a combination of fingers and a brush, so I guess I like a light-medium coverage. I love mixing a highlighting primer, moisturizer (with spf) and foundation in the summer – it just leaves my skin looking so summery ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree about achieving a difference look just by changing tools. Like you, I clean my sponges after every use, but I do mine in hot water in the microwave before air drying- which I find kills bacteria and means you almost never have to replace them (great for cutting down on beauty waste) x

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