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Foundation Makeup for Beginners - The Complete Guide

Understanding how to apply face products is the foundation of any flawless makeup look, pun intended. The best foundation makeup sets the stage for all your other essentials, creating the perfect canvas for everything from soft blush to a sexy smokey eye. The only catch? It can be a bit of a headache, as there are a lot of mistakes one can make along the way. Some of us had a middle school phase of picking a color that’s three shades too dark, while others went overboard for a look that’s cakey and not at all cute. Don’t even get us started on the epic error of not applying our All Nighter Face Primer for a smooth and long-lasting look. Ugh. The good news? Urban Decay is a completely judgment-free zone. We’re here to help you lock down how to apply foundation with helpful tricks, tips, and tools.

We have the best foundation makeup for all skin types, like Stay Naked Weightless Liquid Foundation and Hydromaniac Tinted Glow Hydrator, which is a great start. But we also know that learning how to apply foundation makeup for beginners is so much more than building up your beauty collection. Even the most outrageous eye looks can be overshadowed by a cakey foundation, which just won’t do! Follow these step-by-step processes to perfect your blending, shading, and smoothing skills for the best foundation makeup.

How to Apply Foundation Makeup

1. Cleanse and apply moisturizer + SPF

The first step in how to apply foundation doesn’t even involve face makeup at all. Funny, right? Before you even think about reaching for Hydromaniac, there’s some serious skin cleansing business to attend to. Regardless of your skin type or what time of day you’re prepping, it’s of the utmost importance that you gently scrub your skin. This process eliminates leftover makeup, oil, dead skin cells, and other icky things that make even the best full-coverage foundation less effective. Also, don’t even think about just using soap and water! Instead, try a simple product like micellar water or a cleanser with gentle ingredients like hyaluronic acid and aloe vera.

A few minutes after your face is dry from cleansing, it’s time to slather on your go-to moisturizer for makeup prep! This means relatively lightweight, mega-hydrating, and made with SPF for all-day sun protection. Adding a skincare product to your makeup routine is a must for several reasons. For one, it helps to smooth the surface of your skin for a more even and balanced makeup application and keeps your foundation looking fresh for hours. With the help of all your Urban Decay faves, of course. Also, moisturizer provides hours of moisture to prevent dry skin, as nobody likes a flake!

2. It’s primer time

Set the canvas for a killer complexion with your OG favorite, our All Nighter Face Primer! Starting from the center of your face, blend outwards with your fingers or a makeup brush to cover your cheeks, nose, chin, and every other feature. You may also want to get your neck and chest — depending on how far you’re willing to go with the best full coverage foundation. You can also apply a color corrector during this step to address skin imperfections, although it’s completely optional.

This primer helps you get a grip on the best foundation, providing lightweight coverage plus smooth application, superb hydration, and up to 8 hours of staying power. Pro tip: if you want to give your skin extra sparkle, try the All Nighter Ultra Glow Face Primer for ready-to-go radiance.


3. Start your foundation

It’s officially time to go in with the best foundation makeup, and we’re really freaking excited for you. We’d recommend using Stay Naked Weightless Liquid Foundation, which can be built up to a light, medium, or full coverage foundation, depending on your choice of beauty tools. As for today, we’re teaching you how to use the UD Optical Blurring Brush for medium coverage, which is beginner-friendly and will make you into a total babe.

Start with two pumps of foundation on your hand or palette, and mix in a small amount of our All Nighter Setting Spray to guarantee a super-set face makeup look from the start. Trust us, you’ll thank us later, as this beauty mix-in medium is the ultimate hack for flawless looks that last. Next, you’ll dip your brush in before applying foundation to your entire face. You’ll want to use a minimal amount of product, as it’s always better to add more foundation later if needed than to risk a cakey look! Spread it across your forehead, cheeks, jawline, and neck for even application; the blending game is about to begin.


4. Blend your heart out

Nearly all makeup woes can be fixed by proper blending, and learning how to apply foundation for beginners is no exception. Using the same UD Optical Blurring Blush from the previous step, gently but firmly swirl this tool in circular motions to blend out your face makeup. Beginning from the middle of your face outwards, twirl this blending tool across your nose, cheeks, jawline, forehead, and neck. Basically, working your way across every inch of your skin ensures the most even coverage. And while it can definitely be a hand workout, it’s worth it when you’re left with the most radiant, smooth, and striking coverage from Stay Naked.

5. Add extras

Your foundation is in place, and you now have our full permission to add a pop of color. Or two, or five. Blush, Bronzer, Highlighter, and of course, you can’t forget to send eye bags packing with the Stay Naked Correcting Concealer. This is the final step before you need to lock in your look, so please go as crazy with color as you’d like. You deserve to enjoy the ah-mazing canvas you created with the best foundation makeup!


6. Don’t forget to set

Last but most definitely not least, it’s time to set your look with two tried-and-true Urban Decay products. First, go in with your favorite powder, like the All Nighter Waterproof Setting Powder or All Nighter Softening Loose Setting Powder, to complete the first step in your foundation setting routine. Next, lock in your foundation with a setting spray. More specifically, our award-winning All Nighter Setting Spray which leaves you with smudge-proof and transfer-proof protection for up to 16 hours. Often referred to as the ”holy grail of setting spray,” you’ll never experience melted face makeup again with your new ride-or-die.


Foundation Makeup Tips and Tricks

1. Know your undertone

Knowing your undertone is just a part of the beauty bible, but it’s essential to learn how to apply foundation. Are you cool, warm, or neutral-toned? No idea? No prob, let us explain. The concept of undertones is fairly simple. As the name suggests, they refer to the hues beneath the surface of your skin that make up your overall tone. These are one of the deciding factors when choosing makeup made for your complexion, as even the most flawless blending job will look off when you’ve chosen the wrong undertone for your skin.

Undertones aren’t to be confused with skin tones, as the general shade of your face can easily change based on environmental factors or natural bodily processes. On the other hand, undertones stay consistent throughout your lifetime and are personalized to everybody. Even if you have the same skin tone as your best friend or favorite beauty influencer, you can (and likely do) have a unique undertone. That’s why you should always be sure to swatch, or use the Urban Decay shade finder, when shopping for the best foundation makeup!

2. Don’t miss any sections

This one may seem obvious, but there are plenty of smaller areas on your face that somehow manage to escape your makeup brush when applying foundation. Think of those hard-to-reach places like around the nose and mouth or the inner corners of your eyes, where you may notice later feel a bit left out! The best solution is to do a full scan of your face after blending out your face makeup, checking every inch and corner of your skin to ensure that it doesn’t leave an unwanted blank space. It’s called “full coverage foundation” for a reason, guys, and you can avoid gaps in your makeup look with plenty of patience, primer, and an extra pump of your Hydromaniac Tinted Glow Hydrator.

3. Invest in multiple products

Makeup is a mood more than anything else. And while some of us may have our signature styles, it’s natural to switch it up based on emotions, occasions, seasons, or whatever else. Just like you go back and forth between your Naked Palettes, it’s also normal to own several foundations to appease both your daytime and dramatic lewks. Even if part of you is thinking, “wait, I wore a super-sheer foundation and peach eyeshadow after days of glamming it up? Who even am I?,” we give you full permission to be totally you. UD is about unleashing your creativity and being undeniably fearless. You can have your versatile foundation makeup looks and wear them too when you own both Stay Naked and Hydromaniac.

While Stay Naked is super-versatile on its own, able to adjust to all types of coverage, it’s often the one used for more elevated looks. Hydromaniac, on the other hand, is your glow-to for lightweight, glowy, sheer-to-medium coverage foundation makeup. The smoothing and blurring effects help to minimize pores and produce a real-skin finish, a must-have for warm weather or casual makeup days. Did we mention that it keeps your skin moisturized and mega-glowy for 24 hours? Yes, a full day, and you’re free to listen to your skin and switch up your foundation makeup schedule accordingly.

Speaking of warmer days, let’s talk about locking in your makeup looks to avoid meltdowns, literally. You already know All Nighter Setting Spray is the real deal, but have you met its citrusy sister, the All Nighter Vitamin C Setting Spray? This makeup-skincare hybrid has all the staying power of the original, keeping your makeup looking vibrant and smudge-free for 16 hours. It also has a few bonuses in the form of an energizing scent, hydrating powers, and all the abilities of Vitamin C to help you feel good in both your own skin and your makeup looks. While you carry the original in your purse for nights out, the Vitamin C version of this holy grail setting spray helps you brighten, protect, and energize your skin for during-the-day slay.


4. Wash it off nightly

Listen, your skin doesn’t care that you’re too tired to wash off your face makeup before bed, and neither do we. There’s never an excuse not to cleanse every night and those who don’t will pay the price in the form of breakouts, dryness, and patchiness in the AM. Ew. Bottom line: always be sure to rinse off your makeup! In fact, those who are fans of glam makeup and full coverage foundation (looking at you, UD fam) should even consider double-cleansing to eliminate every last piece of skin debris!


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