My Foundation Routine (A Collaboration With Marcella)

Published in: Face, Face of the Day (FOTD), Guest Post, Makeup Tips/How To

foundation routine

When it comes to applying my foundation, I’ve had a bit of trial and error over the years. When I first started wearing foundation, I just used my fingers. That was back when the heaviest base I’d wear was a super sheer tinted moisturizer, so anything more than my hands seemed like overkill. Then I played around with flat synthetic foundation brushes but couldn’t avoid a streaky finish.  My foundation game really stepped up when I started using the Real Techniques buffing brush.


I got it last year, and it changed my life. I don’t even know what I was doing before I started using it, and I swore I’d found “the one.”  

But then the makeup sponge hit the scene, and once I tried the Real Techniques makeup sponge…wow. I put down that buffing brush and haven’t used it a single time since. The makeup sponge was PERFECT. I got a flawless finish and, once again, swore I’d never use anything else.

And I didn’t…for about a month.

But when I started using the Diorskin Nude Air Healthy Glow Serum Foundation (that I wore in this post and reviewed in this post), the makeup sponge didn’t quite work. The Dior foundation was just as thin as the L’oreal one I’ve been using lately, but for some reason, the makeup sponge just didn’t produce the finish I was looking for.

I tried the Real Techniques buffing brush, but I couldn’t get a great finish with that either. Since I’d recently gotten a set of Zoeva brushes, I also tried the Silk Finish brush that came in the Luxe Complete Set, and it worked better, but I felt like it took too much work to blend everything in.

Enter the Sephora Collection #53 brush, which turned out to be PERFECT. It’s a wide, flat brush, so it covers a lot of surface area pretty quickly.

foundation brush

Sephora Collection #53 Pro Full Coverage Airbrush.

I love that it only takes a few swipes to cover my face, and it applies my foundation with no streaks. I’d bought it last summer, but for some reason (probably something newer caught my eye), I used it like crazy for about a month, then put it aside.

This just reminded me that sometimes there’s a bit of trial and error in makeup… One tool may work perfectly with one foundation but be totally wrong with another. So, now when someone asks why I have so many makeup brushes, I’ll have an answer ready! 🙂

foundation routine

Because Marcella described her foundation routine earlier today, here’s how I apply my foundation:

  1. Prime my face. To be totally honest, I don’t always apply a separate primer, although I 100% believe that it can make my makeup look better, longer. I’m just lazy and/or in a hurry most mornings. Plus, I’ve been using the new Giorgio Armani UV Skin Primer SPF 50 lately (which I LOVE). When I have the time, I really like to add the Becca Backlight Priming Filter before my foundation. It has a lightly glowy finish, but it’s not over the top (a similar effect to the MAC Strobe Cream).
  2. Mist my makeup brush. I used my Glossier Soothing Face Mist because I am obsessed with rosewater, but a makeup primer or setting spray, or even water will work. I think misting my makeup brush helps it spread my foundation easier.
  3. Apply my foundation starting at my nose and blending out. I just use a couple of drops of the Diorskin Nude Air Healthy Glow Serum Foundation.
  4. I set this foundation using shade ND020 from the Zoeva Nude Spectrum Blush Palette.  Like I mentioned in my first impressions video, since this blush is close to my skin color, it totally works as a setting powder!
  5. After applying blush and highlighter, spray the Glossier Soothing Face Mist all over my face. I’m obsessed with facial mists, and spraying them on my face feels so luxurious!

*A note about this foundation: I really like it but had a couple of hiccups before I finally got it to work for me. I initially bought shade 5 (which I was wearing in this post), and when I first wore it at the store, it looked fine. But wearing it out and about during the day, it felt too orange. I actually think this foundation may oxidize slightly, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re interested in it. So, I exchanged it for shade 4, which I felt was too light at first, but when I asked my brother if my foundation was too light, he was like, “You’re wearing makeup?” (LOL…men!). And, looking at these pictures, it looks fine. The finish is very natural. I was expecting a more glowy finish due to the name, but it’s really a satin finish, which makes sense given that it’s called “healthy glow”. I like that it’s so lightweight, and considering that I only need 3-4 drops to cover my face, this 1-oz. bottle will last a very long time.


foundation routine

foundation routine

As you can see, this lipstick is well-loved!

foundation routine

A swatch of Nars Napoli lipstick. A perfect peachy nude!

foundation routine

The Zoeva Warm Spectrum eyeshadow palette and the brushes I used to achieve this look

Here are the details on the rest of my makeup: Chanel Correcteur Perfection Concealer in 42 (applied using the Zoeva Concealer Buffer brush) // Zoeva Nude Spectrum Blush Palette in ND030 on my cheeks (applied using the Zoeva Luxe Cheek Finish brush) // Zoeva Warm Spectrum Eyeshadow Palette using the bright orange in my crease and the pinky/gold on my lids (used the Luxe Crease and Luxe Smokey Shader brushes) // Diorshow Brow Styler Gel in Brown to tame my brows // Nars Napoli lipstick.

What do you use to apply your foundation?  Are you a brush or sponge girl?

Adia Goss

Adia is a lawyer by day and a beauty blogger by night. She believes that makeup should be fun and simple, but she also likes multi-step skincare routines (she’s complicated!). Adia loves the sight of a brand new highlighter, and she’s constantly looking for the perfect concealer. Follow her beauty adventures at Adia Adores (formerly beautyluxelife) and on Instagram.


Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 23 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Nicole says:

    Nars Napoli is discontinued. Can you suggest a dupe for this?

    • Adia says:

      Hi Nicole! So I did some digging in my stash and although I didn’t find an exact dupe, here are some similar colors – ColourPop Rayezor (just a tad more pink and more matte), ColourPop BFF (just a tad more peach and a glossy lipstick). MAC Freckletone has the same finish but it’s more peach. Kevyn Aucoin Neottiana is a very similar color but in a gloss rather than lipstick. Hope this helps!

  2. Sun says:

    I’m a sponge girl all the way, specifically, the BeautyBlender Pro (the black one). I use a lot of chemical exfoliants, so brushes tend to stir up any flakey skin. I love your makeup — so pretty!

  3. Kwmechelle says:

    So, I actually don’t wear foundation. I know, for shame! And I call myself a makeup lover! I can get away with concealer (my ride or die) and bronzer/blush. But I agree with you. The right tool can make all the difference. Even when we switch up products in the same family. I’m a sponge girl. Can’t. Live. Without. It! It even works to blend out & tone down my highlighter. Love your brother’s response, btw. The fact that he didn’t know you were wearing makeup means you nailed it. Great post 🙂

  4. Kristen says:

    How does the Real Techniques sponge compare to the Beauty Blender? I was contemplating buying the Real Techniques one the other week, but the Beauty Blender just works so well!

    • Adia says:

      Hi Kristen, I think the main difference is that the Real Techniques sponge has a flat side while the BB is totally round. I think the flat side covers my face faster, so that’s why I really like the RT sponge. I think the texture of the sponges is the same, so it really depends on which shape you prefer.
      Adia recently posted … Collagen: Skincare Secret Ingredient?

  5. Julene says:

    I now use my Beauty Blender everyday religiously! Before that though, I used my Sephora Pro Airbrush #55 without fail. I’m telling you, Sephora brushes are on fleek (isn’t that what the young people say these days? Lol). I personally prefer them to MAC brushes.

  6. Amy says:

    I have #53 too and I love it! Trial and error is certainly true. I’d like to say that’s why I have so many makeup brushes also. No, I don’t have a problem – I can stop any time. 😉 So that’s why I recently purchased the SEPHORA COLLECTION PRO Press Full Coverage complexion and concealer brushes. People were raving about them, but so far all I seem to be doing is using quite a lot of product.

    I’ve never tried misting my foundation brush before application, but I’m going to give that a try – also, some of the products you mentioned sound promising. Thank you!

  7. Erin says:

    Finding a foundation that works is such an expensive trial and error process! My skin is super picky. Luckily, NARS TM works for me about 6 months out of the year. I wish I had better foundations for the other 6 though!
    Erin recently posted … Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil

  8. Rachel R. says:

    I used to always use my fingers except for powder foundations. Powder foundations I used a flat-top natural hair Kabuki from bareMinerals. (I’ve had it forever; I don’t think they sell it any more.) I ended up loving the Real Techniques beauty blender dupe when that came out. Now my favorite thing is the e.l.f. Ultimate Blending Brush. It works perfectly with creams, liquids, sticks, powders…and it’s only $6.

  9. Hahaha, well, I stayed loyal to the sponge-that-would-never-ever-go for a bit longer 🙂 I used a Beauty Blender for a good couple years. But lately I’ve been using my fingers more again. Your current routine is definitely working, your base and skin look amazing.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Make-up look | Monochrome

  10. anusha says:

    Hii..ur base makeup looks a baby’s complexion.. 🙂 please do a video tutorial!!!

  11. Nicole says:

    Adia, your skin is gorgeous!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge