How to apply foundation like a pro

Expert makeup artist and No7 Makeup Ambassador, Joy Adenuga, shares her tips on how to apply foundation, from shade-matching to application techniques

No7 Makeup Ambassador, Joy Adenuga shares how to apply foundation
(Image credit: No7)

Learning how to apply foundation begins way before you even pick up the brush. The first and arguably most important step is identifying your skin type and its specific requirements. Only then will you be able to narrow down the best foundation formula and finish for your complexion to deliver flawless results. 

The good news is that when it comes to foundation shopping, we have more choice than ever before. Formulas run the gamut from full coverage foundations that will mask acne and pigmentation, to the best tinted moisturisers that offer sheer, skin-like appeal. The selection of shades available today is more wide-ranging and inclusive than ever before, making it easier to find your perfect match without having to blend a concoction of three different liquids every day. 

We probed No7 makeup expert, Joy Adenuga, on her expert tips for finding the right shade and learning how to apply foundation like a pro so that you can create a flawless base that makes you feel confident and ready to face the day. 

How to find the perfect shade

With brands like No7 embracing such broad, all-encompassing shade ranges, we now have more choice than ever when it comes to finding the perfect foundation match for our complexion. First of all, consider your skin type. If you’re looking to cover blemishes and pigmentation, look for a full coverage base. Oily skin will benefit from a matte finish or long-wear formula to prevent foundation from slipping and sliding, whilst dry skin should seek out radiant finishes and hydrating formulas infused with vitamins and oils. 

As for choosing the right colour match, the selection of undertones and shades has never been better, which is great news for all of us but can make the process of pinning down the perfect match a little overwhelming. ‘No7 has made shopping for foundation easy with the new Pro Derm Scan service,’ explains Joy. ‘It’s a game-changing new diagnostic service available for free in over 400 Boots stores that will give customers the ultimate in personalised, accessible skincare and cosmetic recommendations. People can visit a No7 counter for a consultation with the Pro Derm Scan device which will take scans of their face and give them a detailed analysis of their skin as well as their perfect No7 foundation shade.’ 

How to test your foundation properly

If you’re heading into a store, there are a few simple rules to follow when it comes to pinning down your ideal base before you buy.

  • Always head out of the shop into natural daylight before committing to a purchase. Store lighting won’t give you a true representation of the colour match, so head outside and check it out properly during the day.
  • Test the foundation on your cheek to get the best shade match for your face - somewhere towards the middle of the face and blend out. Don’t swatch foundation on the back of your hand or your neck.
  • Leave the foundation on your skin for a few hours to see how it wears. If you have oily or combination skin, you’ll want to make sure it hasn’t slipped after an hour.

How to apply foundation

No7 makeup ambassador, Joy Adenuga reveals the pro secrets to flawless foundation application every time. 

1. Prepping your skin before foundation is important as it helps the formula glide on the skin easily and extends its longevity. Starting with clean skin, apply a good moisturiser, wait five minutes then follow with primer to create an even canvas. 

2. Your application tool really matters. A well-shaped synthetic brush, whether that’s a flat, paint-like brush, great for building coverage or a domed stippling brush designed for buffing, delivers a flawless finish. A soft beauty sponge works well too, and provides a sheerer wash of cover. 

3. Always start applying your foundation from the inner perimeters of your face and blend out. This technique also means you’ll end up using less product. 4. Set your foundation like a pro by using the right powder for your skin type. For dry skin I recommend No7 Airbrush Away Finishing Powder, and for oily skin types I love the No7 Flawless Finishing Loose Powders. 

Which foundation is right for your skin type?

No7 Restore & Renew Serum Foundation SPF30

(Image credit: No7)

No7 Restore & Renew Serum Foundation SPF30

No1 foundation brand in Boots

Specifications

RRP: £19.95
Shade range: 18
Finish: Radiant
Coverage: Light to medium

‘The No7 Restore & Renew Serum Foundation SPF30 is a staple in my makeup kit, especially when working on more mature skin,’ says Joy Adenuga, No7 Makeup Ambassador. ‘The light-medium coverage foundation offers a sheer and flexible formula that doesn’t settle in fine lines and wrinkles, which is exactly what is needed for older skin so the finish looks natural, brighter and cleaner.’ 

No7 HydraLuminous Moisturising Foundation

(Image credit: No7)

No7 HydraLuminous Moisturising Foundation

Best foundation for dry skin

Specifications

RRP: £14.95
Shade range: 23
Finish: Radiant
Coverage: Medium

Foundation can appear cakey and claggy on thirsty skin, drawing attention to dry patches, rather than concealing them. This base has a gorgeously glowy finish, and is infused with grapeseed oil to give skin a big glug of moisture so that over time skin appears fresher and more radiant, even without make-up. 

No7 Stay Perfect Foundation SPF30

(Image credit: No7)

No7 Stay Perfect Foundation SPF30

Best foundation for oily skin

Specifications

RRP: £14.95
Shade range: 40
Finish: Natural
Coverage: Medium

This foundation hits the sweet spot between long-wearing, slide-resistant coverage and a comfortable, breathable formula that won’t dry out your skin and exacerbate sebum production. It has a natural, velvety finish that creates a more uniform skin tone, whilst blurring the appearance of blemishes and pores. 

No7 Lift & Luminate TRIPLE ACTION Serum Foundation SPF15

(Image credit: No7)

No7 Lift & Luminate TRIPLE ACTION Serum Foundation SPF15

Best foundation for mature skin

Specifications

RRP: £18.95
Shade range: 24
Finish: Radiant
Coverage: Medium

MATRIXYL 3000 PLUS™, a wrinkle-fighting peptide (and the hero ingredient in No7’s sell-out Protect & Perfect Serum) is included in this smoothing foundation to help target the three key signs of ageing - wrinkles, pigmentation and loss of tone. Coverage-wise, the glowy formula is infused with light-reflecting particles that blur over lines, uneven skin tone and imperfections. In fact, in a 4 week trial, 93% of testers saw a visible reduction in age spots.

Stephanie Maylor is a Beauty Editor working across five national magazine titles, with almost 15 years' experience in the industry.  She has written for many brands, including woman&home, Grazia, Now, More!, Fabulous, NW, Woman, Woman's Own, Woman's Weekly, Essentials, Best, Chat, and OK! online. 


In 2010 she launched her own beauty blog, which was shortlisted for Best Beauty Blog in the 2011 and 2012 Johnson & Johnson Beauty Journalism Awards. She has interviewed many high profile industry experts and celebrities including Alesha Dixon, Twiggy and Christina Hendricks.