A damp sponge (non-latex) gives the lightest, most sheer effect and works best with more concentrated formulas, thinning out the effect, says Raffaele.
A dry sponge gives full, even coverage that works with powder foundations, says Espinet. Dry sponges are also useful for blending. Just avoid sponges with full-coverage formulations, he recommends, as they absorb moisture out of the foundations, giving an effect that’s too matte.
A foundation brush, which should be flat, stiff, thin and made from synthetic materials (used dry), is good for precise spot applications, says Raffaele. It also gives a heavier, more perfect finish.
Fingers work best with sheer liquid formulations that tend to spread themselves easily. The warmth aids in the blending of foundation for a “stained” second-skin effect, says Espinet.
Airbrushed makeup gives a perfect finish (think of thousands of tiny dots sitting on top of the skin). It’s hard to master and, for now, best left to the pros, although there are foundations available in aerosol sprays (see sidebar below) that can give a similar seamless finish.
FLARE’s picks: M.A.C Foundation Brush #190, Shiseido The Makeup Concealer Brush , Linda Cantello Foundation Brush, The Body Shop Foundation Brush, Make Up For Ever Brush No. 8N, Era Face Cosmetic Puff. —Y.C